I’ve written about the Vanishing Act a few times, and even a little about the lessons that experience taught me, but a year and a half later I still find him teaching me things about myself.  His name was Tim, and at first I didn’t want to let him in.  There was enough travelling distance in the wrong direction to make seeing each other an issue, and I could tell right off the bat that he had more walls up than I had the energy to scale.  I was on a temp assignment in New York when we met.  At first he was a way to pass the time, but one day he called me, and I answered.  I’m not a phone talker for many reasons, so the fact that I felt as comfortable as I did on the phone with him surprised me. 

Over the course of a few months we took it slow, but we were both extremely open with one another.  We had a couple conversations where he voiced concerns about being hurt, but he was on board with the poly thing, and he and Hubby got along.  He told me once that I was a little intense sometimes and that it caused the flight risk in him to perk up, so I altered my behaviour and agreed to let him set our pace.  Things seemed to be going extremely well.  When we finally spent time together the connection was stronger than both of us had imagined, but we still seemed to be on the right track.  I wanted him to kiss me, but he was sick.  Definitely next time, he said.  There wasn’t a next time.  There wasn’t even a goodbye.  He just stopped answering texts in the middle of a conversation about macaroni and cheese. 

I drove myself crazy for weeks, then months.  My worst fear was that something had happened to him.  There had been no indication that he was about to rabbit, but I prayed every day that he’d at least send me an email or a text, even if it just read, “I hate you. Never call me again”.  I just needed to know he was alive, but a year and a half later I have nothing to go on.  I still have no idea what happened or why he suddenly fell out of existence in my life. 

Even before he vanished, Tim taught be to stop pretending, to stop accepting relationships that only looked like love on the surface.  Before him I had let myself go through the surface romance of a relationship, but the meat was never there.  It was safer that way.  I got to have my warm fuzzy feeling and not risk too much disappointment when it ended.  My sudden powerful love for Tim and the way I opened up to him without even noticing it showed me what I could have if I let myself, and it caught me off guard. Tim taught me what I was capable of, what I wanted from a relationship, and how to open up to someone new.  While the end result was debilitating for a while, what I got from my short experience with Tim was invaluable. 

What did I learn from all of this after the fact?  I learned how to be heartbroken like an adult.  I learned how to process my sadness and pain while contributing to a functioning relationship, how to not take my frustration out on Hubby, and how to not close myself off to everyone.  I also learned how to not feed the mudslinging demons.  Everyone I spoke to told me what a jerk he was, to let him go as no good, and how the whole thing was probably a lie.  While I had to accept that those possibilities existed, what good would it have done to hate him behind his back?  I choose to remember Tim as a good memory instead of as someone malicious.  I choose to believe that he’s a good person no matter what the circumstances were.  I’m not blind or naive, but holding grudges hurts no one but myself, so why even go down that road?  I feel free knowing that I never spoke poorly about Tim.  For all I know he deserves it, but for all I know he doesn’t, and that makes all the difference.