I am not a fan of locked doors.  While I may close a door on a particular relationship, I do believe that people can change.  Matt came in to my life at a time when both of us were still figuring some things out.  We tried our hands at a relationship a few times, but there were too many roadblocks in the way for us to have anything viable.  Every time we started up again our respective circles of friends would give us the “again?” lectures, and every time we would ignore them.  When we split for good it was fairly ugly.  He was the first boyfriend I couldn’t imagine being friends with after a breakup, less because of the details of our relationship and more because of things that were said after the fact.  In the days before social media ran our lives, there were still plenty of ways to hurt each other via the internet, and that’s exactly what happened.

Fast forward several years.  I’m now married, poly, and moving on with my life when Matt contacts me on the 4th of July to ask if we can talk.  He’s having some personal issues, and I happen to be available online.  We meet after work, chatting on the phone as he sat in firework traffic.  We drove around for a while, then walked, then sat in the park, catching up on everything from family to work.  My head wasn’t completely sure what was happening.  My heart thought it sensed something familiar.  I told them  both to be quiet and just listen to a man who had reached out because that’s all he needed.  Then he kissed me.  All bets were off.

Where two young, wounded hearts had broken it off, two more learned and experienced hearts had picked up.  For almost a year we reconnected with a love that carried us both through some pretty rough life changes.  In the end he would decide that polyamory just wasn’t for him.  It had been a risk I had been willing to take when we started dating, and it was one I didn’t regret.  Our relationship wasn’t forever, but it was alive and strong when it was what we both needed.  He moved on to a happily monogamous relationship, and I was able to pursue new opportunities, each of us with a more peaceful memory of our past together than we had held in years prior.

Oh the lessons I learned from Matt…

With our first few endeavours I learned that you can’t hold on to something that doesn’t want to be.  I couldn’t force Matt to be who I needed him to be for me, and he couldn’t force me to be who he thought I needed to be for either of us.  We spent a lot of time trying to convince each that change would really benefit the other.  Neither of us was prepared to be in the relationship we were trying to foster, but what we did give each other was a chance to learn and a chance to look at something through another’s eyes.  I gave him a little whimsy and a reason to be silly.  He gave me a reason to really study my life and figure out what it was I wanted out of it.  We were constantly creating and critiquing together, be it art, poetry, or ourselves.  Matt taught me to do this without bias, especially where my own life and behaviour were concerned.

With our last foray as a couple, I think we learned to be a team.  We talked more, and I was less afraid to voice my needs or concerns.  I was stronger emotionally and more in charge of myself, and I no longer feared his reactions to things the way I had at 20.  We found a rhythm, and it was powerful.  Even though he decided this lifestyle wasn’t what he wanted, I think we parted this last time with a better understanding of one another and of ourselves.  We don’t talk extremely often, but I consider Matt to still be one of my best friends and closest allies.  Sure, we still had our issues, but don’t fool yourself thinking any relationship doesn’t.  We aren’t close because he always agrees with me or my actions.  We are close because when he doesn’t he tells me, and he’s learned to accept it when I thank him and follow my heart anyway.  We are close because I know I can do the same and he will at least listen to what I have to say.  That’s all we can ask from another human being.