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Breaking point

Today I learned that two of my friends may be breaking up after almost ten years together. You would think: ten years? That's nothing! But it is a lot. Indeed, it's more than 'a lot' when you think how long the average gay relationship lasts (or a celebrity marriage, for that matter).
My friends seem to have hit a rough patch in their life together and are *this* close to calling it quits. What could it be? you wonder. Would it be the usual suspects (money, sex) or some problem most everybody has had at some point in their relationships? (money, sex). I usually wonder, because like everybody else, I sometimes see myself reflected on the relationships I see around me. I see the joy and the laughter and the sniping and the bitching too. I have learned to recognize the signs of good sex (body proximity, sly smiles, little touches and lingering looks) and bad sex (bodies never touching, snide comments, refusal to look at each other), the signs of high tension and deep connection, of shared memories and common despise.
It's all there, for you to read when you know how to look for it. Because you know you've been there.
But when it happens to a couple you consider very close (and very stable) you always wonder, 'why?'. And 'is it me/us next? how can I avoid this? Because deep down, you know you'll consider you've failed, you've not done EVERYTHING that needs to be done to save the relationship (forget about the money problems for awhile, blame the lack of sex on his/your new job, excuse his flirting with your friends... the list goes on and on...). And worst of all, you'll be alone again. Weathering the lonely nights, the lack of somebody to talk to about your shitty job, attending parties and sit-down dinners on your own and spending the holidays alone. Going back to being the third wheel all over again. Because when you were part of a 'couple' you socialized mostly with ... DUH! other couples (with the token single guy here and there) and then you have to learn to avoid get-togethers where he will be too and bracing yourself for the moment when you meet your replacement. It's Alanis' You Oughta Know all over again. Fuck.
But as with everything, hope springs eternal. There's the young and optimistic, looking forward to getting in a relationship, ready to fight dragons and rescue princes from their slumber. And that is always refreshing. Check the following poem out. The author is sweet and earnest and has all the vitality that we need to muster to keep trying, to go ahead and tell ourselves that it does not matter that your man is not all he could (and you want him to) be and that there is always a silver lining to every storm:

To my loving boyfriend
Though I don't know who you are
I hope to meet you soon
Whether you're near or far.

I know you're out there somewhere
Not hiding from me I hope
I need you now and always
Without you I can't cope.

Just cause I don't know you
The funny way you laugh
What makes you smile that funny way
Or how you look in the bath

I do love you
Though as yet I don't know your name
That you are not with me today
It is such a shame.

I won't ask for perfection
But you won't make me cry
You're the perfect boy for me
Without you I would die.

I have to know you're out there
If you weren't I'd wane
For my concern for us will be
nevermore a bane

Please don't ever cheat on me
Make me cry or sad
Someday together we'll adopt
Someone to call us Dad

I know you'll ever be my boy
You exist as real as me
Today I wonder where you are
Tomorrow I will see.

Even my cynical self cannot help but feel optimistic. Because there's always hope. Even if it's in the vicarious experience of the young and hopeful. Or there isn't?




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