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It’s Valentine’s Day.

Bah humbug!!

This is a perfectly fine holiday if you’re in a relationship. But when you’re single, it’s like being Jewish on Christmas. It’s a holiday for other people.

With no disrespect to my Valentine’s Day date tonight (we met very recently), I’m left thinking mainly about my exes today. And of my late partner who died of AIDS in 1998. (I don’t use the term ex when referring to him, it implies a breakup. We were partnered when he died and very much Valentines!)

I propose a supplemental holiday to Valentine’s Day. Call it Ex-Valentine’s Day. Or X-Day, if you happen to be spelling it on a cake.

When you’re single and barely dating (like me), Valentine’s Day is like the world screaming through a megaphone: “So what’s wrong with you?”

So I’m left thinking about what was, since I guess I’m supposed to think about matters of the heart today. That’s why I see heart-shaped balloons everywhere, right?

Pat and I were together nearly 10 years in the longest and most authentic relationship I’ve ever had. It looked every bit like a marriage without the marriage license. And the best I can say about our relationship today, two-and-a-half years after it ended, is that we’re friendly. We’re not friends.

I wish we were. We’re gay men. Gays are notorious for having best friends who are exes. But ours was not a mutually agreed upon break up. It was my unilateral decision. I have no way of knowing what kind of pain that caused him. It may very well preclude any hope of being real friends.

I’ve since been dumped myself, so I got a taste of that nasty medicine. When Twin #2 dumped me six months ago, he still wanted to be friends. (I assume it was a genuine desire to be friends and not just a sugar cube he dropped in that bitter drink.) I haven’t been able to do it. I still have him blocked on Facebook. I still miss what we had. And I can’t just downgrade it to a friendship.

I guess it’s logical that the dumper would be more open to a friendship than the dumpee. It’s a nice gesture, I guess, to say, “Um, I don’t want to be with you anymore but are you available for coffee every other Tuesday?”

That’s the kind of shit you could address on Exes Day. Maybe on your shrink’s couch. Or face-to-face with the ex. Or, better yet, in front of a mirror, repeating the phrase “Just get over it and move on.”

Out of pure coincidence, my first ex (referred to in previous posts as Twin #1) happened to be in town a year ago on Valentine’s Day and neither of us had plans or significant others. We hadn’t seen much of each other for 20 years.

So we had dinner. We talked about things we couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about when we were dating. We talked about why the relationship failed. We shared the insecurities we felt at the time. It was really quite nice. And we’ve stayed in touch much more since then.

Exes Day could also be a holiday for all of those who have stopped looking, or even hoping, to be in a relationship again. I know a lot of those people. They’re resigned to being single for the long haul. None of them, I might add, seems terribly distressed by this.

I’m not one of those folks yet. I would love to be with an amazing person and have meaningful chemistry, again.

But Valentine’s Day gives me a chance to look at all the people I know who are in relationships and ask myself, are they having more fun than I am? Does their relationship make them healthier and happier than I am? Am I jealous of what they have?

The answer is very often, no.

(To be continued…)

  1. Bruce says:

    I must say that while I have had a few partners in my life, when those relationships failed, I always embraced very much being single again and except for the ones who died have stayed friends with the onces still around. I have never expected anything in life to last forever. As as an old gay man, 64 and overweight I know that by those in the gay community I am considered a troll, but I still have enough income to rent a cute rent boy when I need one ! So being single is totaly ok with me.

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