I’ve always had a weakness for the canon of friends crossing that line and becoming more. You know, that moment in romantic comedies when they decide: “I want to ruin our friendship. Let’s be lovers instead.” They are not exaggerating; when you risk taking a perfectly good platonic relationship to the gutter by deciding to bet on something more tenuous, you are rolling the dice. Sometimes, no matter how much you fight it, there is no choice but to take it to that level.
Now, you might ask, how can this person who has only ever dated one person be going on and on about love? Really, what would I know about that? People forget that even though Andrew and have known each other since we were 14 years old and been romantically involved for 18 years (jesus christ!), we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Honestly, I would have been more worried if we hadn’t had these struggles when we’ve been in each other’s lives for longer than some marriages. At all of these emotional crossroads of course one of the options would have been to let go. Making that choice was even easier when we didn’t have two kids. But each and every time we chose to try again. In my opinion that is more romantic than anything you ever say to each other on your wedding day. When you decide to forgive and have another go, that party in a big white dress just pales in comparison.
There are a multitude of reasons why couples may choose to say together. A lot of my issues and fear of commitment were rooted in never having been with anyone else. Andrew and I have very similar life histories from having attended the same university and graduate school. When you build a life together, the representation of your bond starts to have similar friends, streets and places. What I realized though, when I had the chance to be away from some of these comforts on the other side of the world, is that I didn’t need to actually be romantically involved with anyone else to see how much better my partner was. It’s only when you are in a foreign country, and you meet people of a similar age but vastly different backgrounds and outlooks, that you know there would always be another individual out there for you. But, it’s important to make the distinction that what is possible shouldn’t necessarily be your future.
Can things change? Of course. I believe that love can shift and end to no fault of the parties involve. Sometimes you grow apart and decide that being amicable is the next step. It is not a failing to decide to be happy another way when there is a limit to our time here. People are able to salvage these ties when faced with such circumstances because they remember the love that was there and is still there in a different form. Even in other cases where you might meet someone new who will offer you something else it’s important to be mindful that the initial excitement will cool. Are you still compatible when you have to be two adults making your way through life? My advice to someone in that situation, seriously, take a year, at least 6 months to be alone. Do not be with the next person till you are a bit less broken. They will wait till you are whole because I’m telling you, if you jump right in, that relationship is not going to last.
Being with someone from such a young age ensures that you grow up together. There is no one in this world who understands me the way that Andrew does. There is not a single other person who I want to continually give more to. He is the person I want the best for and I want him to count on me to be there even when it’s difficult. The reason I don’t fear the unknown is because I know that I have my partner, a true intellectual equal to work through what is ahead. We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day because this is the commitment we make to each day every single day. We have a resilient love and that is truly romantic. And god forbid, if it should ever end, because you know I never tempt the fates by feeling like I know everything that will go down, we will always have the friendship.
P.S. Let me add some gossip to your Valentine’s day. I have a deep affection for a certain Canadian ice dance pair whose names rhyme with Lessa Curfew and Dot Lawyer. If you go through my archives for pieces around spring 2014 I wrote about them a few times expressing my confusion about the state of their relationship. Well it turns out that I was not a crazy person and they did have a “thing” around that time. Actually, they’ve been on/off since 2012 but speculation even runs further back than that. They are a perfect example of two childhood friends turned elite athletes and business partners who have had to define their relationship over the years. After a couple of false starts rumour has it that they’ve been quietly seeing each other since late 2015. In fact, their Free Dance is about second chances. Watch it here it’s gorgeous. Fingers crossed that one day all of Canada can breathe a sigh of relief that the two people the entire nation wanted together figured their shit out.