Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Break-Up (Part 1) - Choices Have Consequences

If you have seen the link over to T's blog you know that once again, T and I have changed our relationship status.  We are not boyfriends / partners anymore.  Some of the readers on his side have had some... well.... interesting comments.  T posted his perceptions of what finally caused us to be over.    I feel like I need to get some thought out so I am going to put them here, in no particular order.

One of the things that K told me when we were going through our slow motion divorce, "Every choice has a consequence."  She is right.  Choose to leave the marriage or stay.  Either choice has a consequence.  I could have continued to live in the closet or come out.  Either choice has a consequence.

T and I have made choices too.  T has made a choice to put his family before me.  It's not cultural.  He has four siblings who are married.  They each put their spouses first, as they should.  This does not mean that T does not love me.  I know that he does.  It does not make him a bad guy.  He is a wonderful man.  It just means he made a choice and that choice has a consequence.  (I will discuss this more in the next post.)

If he wanted to, he could have chosen to spend more time with me.  I have never asked him to abandon his family.  Choosing to spend more time with me, however, would have created conflict with his mother because she would not have approved.  Conflict with his mother would have upset everyone else in his house. So choosing to spend more time with me or not, is a choice.  Choices have consequences.

I made a choice about what I want in my life.  I liked being married.  I liked that kind of a relationship.  I have no interest in the "freedom" of the single life.  But I also don't just want someone waiting at home for me.  I want someone to do things with me.  K and I did everything together.  We were a couple.  If ever I was seen with out her, people would ask, "Where is K?"  T and I were not going to have that.  We were not together enough.  We were not a couple like that and it was not on the horizon.  As my frustration grew with no end in sight, I made a choice that I could not continue this way forever.  It was time for us to break up. That was a choice and that choice has a consequence.

And here we are.

I don't know if anyone expected me to feel a weight lifting off my shoulders now that I am "free" to seek what I want with someone else.  Was I supposed to feel better?  I don't.  Not even a little.  I think in some ways I feel worse.  I didn't want to be with just anyone.  I wanted to be with T.  

I need to accept that it's just not going to happen.  

That's going to take some time.

In part 2, I am going to address the many comments about how much time I spend with the kids.


Anonymous said...

First let me say I don't know if this is relevant to your situation or not so take it for what it's worth. But I have a general observation about relationships between young couples just starting out with families and people who meet and enter relationships as older or even middle aged adults. Young couples tend to live in each others back pockets. They do it for lots of reasons, not the least of which are the demands of rearing a family and the focus of their lives being on that role. Consequently, much of their time and energy is devoted to one purpose. And if they mostly do it together

No so with "older" people. Each person in the relationship HAS other things they are involved with, or they should. Whether that's career, other friends, hobbies the partner doesn't share, aging parents or other obligation. They've been on their own long enough, usually, to have a life apart from the partners'

You came out of a relationship and you liked the structure of the relationship you had even if the partner wasn't of your choosing. Not so with T. He had another type of "structure" to his life that worked for him...It's no longer building a life together from scratch but fitting two established lives together, much like a jigsaw puzzle. Some pieces fit and some don't. That's where compromise comes in.

If you can't fit those lives together in a way that works for both of you then it is time to part. But there's no blame to place. And I don't think it's as simple a matter as I "choosing" his family over you.

And just because some of T's relatives pursued couplehood over taking care of his parents doesn't there aren't strong...VERY strong cultural influences in all this. Because T remained single as long as he did (gay or straight) it "fell" to him. I've personally seen this a lot. It's usually the female child that bears the brunt of this "obligation" but by no means always.

Do you know any other first generation Asian-Americans? You might want to discuss this with them. I hate to think you're viewing this as T "choosing" is family over you. That is far too...not even Western (there are latin families where the same dynamic occurs)..but American a view. It's way more complicated than that and won't help you understand the Hobson's choice this is for T.

It's hard but you need a partner that can devote himself to you above all else. Nothing wrong with that. But there is nothing "wrong" with T making choices that take his extended family's wants and needs into consideration.

jim said...

I never meant to imply that T's choices are wrong. They are right choices for him. It does not mean that we do not have deep feelings for each other. It simply means that after a long time we have come to realize that his choices are incompatible with what I need. So he and I cannot be partners. But we can be friends. Maybe what I am looking for is ultimately unrealistic. I don't know.

I have never asked for a partner who is devoted to me above all else. K was not like that and I never asked that of T. I never asked him to abandon his family.

It's also worth noting that while they are elderly, his parents are in excellent health for their age. They do not drive, but are otherwise self-sufficient and do not require "care" in that sense. At least not yet.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I understand your situation. 2o yrs. ago I was in a relationship with a Chinese man from Hong Kong who worked in Chicago. He was handsome and I had the best sex of my life with him. His dimpled smile won me over and I made sure that I gave him reason every day to smile. One night over supper he told me that his parents in Hong Kong were growing impatient about the fact that he was not married. He could not come out to them. He told me that eventually they would recall him to Hong Kong and an obligatory, arranged marriage and that he would go home and leave me.

I'm sure that the color left my face as he told me that. Despite my protests that he had his own life to live and that he needed to be happy, he told me that he had to obey his parents. I did not understand. I broke up with him over that. I just could not let the relationship go further with the knowledge that he was going to leave me for a women he could not love passionately.

Sometimes it's just impossible to transcend one's culture. I have read your blog hoping that you and T would figure it out in a way that C and I never could. I presume that he lives in HK with wife and children and wonder if he ever thinks of me and our time together in Chicago.

I grieve with you. Don't look back. Don't give it another chance. Keep moving on. There are other men who would love you.

jim said...

That was a very touching story. Thank you for sharing.