I recently had a partner of a trans woman ask me – and many have asked before – when it’s time to go. I didn’t have an answer, but I did want to point out that asking when it’s time to go – what straw breaks the camel’s back – is certainly not exclusive to trans partners. All sorts of people in all sorts of relationships ask this question of themselves – some for years, some for days – before they make up their minds about staying or going.
I’ve always seen relationships as more like a daily or weekly affirmation. Not that I’m not planning the long haul – I admit I’m painfully loyal – but I also like to remind myself that I’m in a relationship because I choose to be in one. I don’t have to live with another person. I don’t have to do someone else’s laundry. I choose to. I hope, in the long run, that helps me enjoy the company of my partner more.
But I’ve certainly left relationships in my past. In some there was little gray area; I’d made up my mind as to where the line was, & even if I hadn’t articulated it, I knew it the second it was crossed. But what did it? In almost every instance, looking back, what I see is a lack of engagement – not engagement as in the “we’re going to get married” kind, but engagement as in participation. I’d traveled to be with one guy a few times & when it was time for him to come hang in my court, he didn’t, and that was that. With another, it was time for a change in our relationship, a greater commitment, & he couldn’t manage it, & that was that. (& Only now, writing this, does it occur to me that I was one the one who instigated the breakup in all of my past relationships. Who knew?)
I’m curious about your own stories: when did you leave, & why? Was it after a lot of torment? A simple lack of progress? One act of betrayal?
(& I know this isn’t a pleasant topic to end the year on, but I thought it would be worse to start the year with it!)