Have you ever pondered how a relationship, even if it does not exist any longer, nourished you, your heart, your life? I have. I was in a romantic relationship with a married friend for a year. We’d been close friends for several years before that.
We shared a deep connection, initially as friends. He had a brilliant sense of humour. Being with him was joyous. For the first time I felt I was wholeheartedly into a relationship. I was so completely in love. I loved what we shared, the openness, the energy, the conversations, the sex. We spoke about what we were reading.
We shared stories, what inspired us, what made us mad, anything we were struggling with, listened to each other intently, asked questions, boosted each other, gave hugs, even over the phone by just being silent, called each other when we heard a song play on the radio which we had danced to together, sang out loud to each other over the phone.
Being with him, I grew hugely. I learnt to be a partner and understood what it was like to have a partner. It intrigued me that he didn’t get perturbed easily. If someone said something to him that he didn’t like, or if I got angry with him, or he had a misunderstanding with a colleague at work, very rarely would he react immediately. He had an innate calmness, and his immediate response would be to be silent; completely present and yet silent, as though almost saying, “I am right here, listening.” That was so powerful. It gave me a moment to breathe and calm down. He didn’t ask me to do that, but I could feel the power of that act in the moment.
Another rare lovable thing was his ability to encourage me to let go of things he’d done that caused me pain or something I did which pissed him off, which strangely, he rarely pointed out. One day I was really mad at him and he’d already apologized about it several times. He asked me calmly, “What can I do about it now? Should I just beat myself for it? Tell me what I can do to make up for it. I will not do it again.” It brought me back to the moment. I could hear his helplessness in what he said, exactly what he’d wanted me to hear. There was nothing more then that he could do to better the situation; it couldn’t be undone. And I let go.
And there was so much passion in our lovemaking. What made it really beautiful was that we’d ask each other what worked for the other. Making love was so much pleasure and such a satisfying experience, something both of us acknowledged. We’d talk while making love and ask the other if they liked it. I can’t think of making love any other way. If I wasn’t connected to him during such an intimate moment, I wouldn’t be able to totally be there, in the moment and with complete willingness.
Once we made love blindfolded. It was pure joy. Later he asked me why, and I said that I wanted to carry his memory in me through my sense of touch, since we wouldn’t be meeting each other for several months after. I remember the connection I felt with him in that moment; in the quietness of the room, and in the way we hurt and equally cherished what I said.
I’d never imagined I would create something like that, but I didn’t create with intention. I didn’t think; it just came from a deeper place within me.
We couldn’t be together as a couple. He was a married man, and I was single, aware of his wife and the fact that they still did want to come together and make it work. Ironically, I too wanted that in some ways. To be able to see him whole, with the complete truth that he was a married man. I also wanted to be true to myself.
And so we parted ways mutually, though very painfully. Why did we decide to end the relationship when we were happy? Yes, we were happy, but the guilt became too much to live with, and we wanted to stop lying to ourselves. Another thing that helped was that we had been friends all through and often talked about how we really felt, and so we both knew it was time to end it.
(As told to Parul Agarwal)