— Unknown (via jttlv)
The first time we broke up we weren’t even a couple. Maybe it doesn’t count as our first breakup, then, but it sure felt like one. He wasn’t living in town and I didn’t want to do long distance so we had agreed not to be exclusive. It was my choice, my hesitation to give ourselves a label, but when he told me he slept with someone else, it still felt like betrayal. We sat on the bench in his backyard and I didn’t cry or leave, so we sat, mostly quiet, until we couldn’t stand to sit quietly anymore. We had dinner plans so we kept them, and I finally understood all the times I had waited on couples who sat across from each other and barely spoke throughout their meal, some mix of love and longing, and mostly caution, in the air over the table. We spoke only when necessary, expelling words gently, apologetically, as if they had to walk over shards of broken glass to reach each other. He spent the night in my bed, where I curled around the edge of the mattress, pulled so far away from him that he might as well have already been sleeping in another city. He left town the next day and we didn’t talk for weeks.
The next time I thought we were breaking up, I left in a more official relationship than when the conversation had begun. In the weeks before he moved back, we had fallen back into dating purgatory, a little hell of being halfway together. We sat on two dining room chairs at the corner of his kitchen table and had two different conversations: one, in which I thought we were ending things because he wasn’t ready to call me his girl, and two, in which he thought this is where he gets to start calling me his girl. We had what I thought was breakup sex and what he thought was make-up sex. I left, and when I saw him at the bar later that night, he introduced me as his girl. We broke up once in our subconscious. He’d fallen asleep on the backyard bench and I’d dozed off waiting for him to come inside to the couch; both of us, confused and angry at being alone in sleep, passed breakup dreams back and forth through the living room window.
A couple months later we had a fight over the phone that ended with two different text messages: one, in which he told me I wanna make it up to you, and two, in which I told him, I think I’m done. The next morning, I thought we were done when I went through the back gate and sat in one of two patio chairs he’d arranged, facing each other. “Is this our little conference center?” I joked. We were within feet of where we’d done this dance a few times before, either just inside or just outside the back door, but we kept adjusting the setting just so.We sat on different chairs, positioned ourselves at different angles, just enough that it wouldn’t seem familiar. Each time, we made it different enough that we wouldn’t recognize that we’d been having the same fight, the same doubts, over and over. Sit in different chairs each time and you might not realize that you’ve been breaking up since before you were together."