“Living with him is like being told a perpetual story: his mind is the biggest, most imaginative I have ever met. I could live in its growing countries forever.”
-Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
It started quite oddly, really, about a year ago.
In the midst of an impending divorce, I joined a dating website. I fooled myself into thinking the dates would somehow rid me of the emptiness I felt as my life slowly collapsed. Let me clarify – I joined the dating website for friends only. However, I quickly realized this particular website didn’t accommodate such mature themes. I found myself frustrated when people thought I meant I desired a friends with benefits relationship. Was it not enough just to be friends with someone of the opposite sex?
In my dating profile, I’d quoted the movie Fight Club. “You’ve met me a strange time in my life.” I cited Tyler Durden as being the source of this quote. I received a message from KyleChaos. “The narrator quotes that; not Tyler Durden.” And that was it. The comment piqued my interest, as it was clear he was also a fan of the film. I replied something along the lines of “Oops, you’re right! I’ll change it right now. Good catch.” A couple of weeks went by before this user graced my inbox with their presence again. Numbers were exchanged after prolonged conversation, and pretty soon I was meeting Kyle for the first time, in my apartment that felt lonelier than ever before.
I liked Kyle. I was attracted to him from the beginning. It felt like there was this chemistry I couldn’t quite put into words. This man was intelligent, dripping with witty sarcasm, and provided me the best conversation I’d had in months. We watched a movie on Netflix, and then he was gone.
The second time, we watched another movie. Dahmer, which is still an inside joke between us to this day.
He told me he did feel a connection to me, but he didn’t want to date. I told him I understood, and was the same. However, my loneliness soon crippled me into a dysfunctional relationship. Kyle met my ex once when he was visiting, and Kyle told me that day that Jason wasn’t a good person. I ignored it. Jason didn’t like me talking to Kyle, even as a friend, so I kept the conversation few and far between. After the second time I kicked Jason out, Kyle was looking for a place to live. I offered him the possibility of being my roommate, but again, my pathetic need for affirmation trumped a healthier situation, and I invited Jason back into my house. Kyle told me how it was a mistake, and how I would regret it. He was right. But at the time, I fought it. And Kyle and I didn’t talk for a period, again.
When Jason and I finally broke up for good, low and behold Kyle was looking for a roommate after just moving into an apartment. Not able to afford my current living situation, I happily obliged. Kyle offered the contingency of this: “as long as you don’t develop feelings for me. Nothing will ever happen between us.” I told him that while I had feelings for him, I would never let it get in the way of our friendship.
Crazy, right? Willingly moving into a housing relationship with someone I have feelings for who didn’t reciprocate them? But somehow, by all accounts… I had the hope that he would come around, eventually. And I didn’t necessarily want a relationship at the time, so I could be patient.
Our nights were usually the same – congregate in Kyle’s room, watch a various choosing of shows (The Office, Parks and Recreation, Breaking Bad, Hell’s Kitchen, to name a few) and talk about all kinds of things. The plethora of conversation in each sitting never ceased to surprise me. We could go from talking about The Universe, to meditation, to favorite memories from being overseas, to performing random quotes from Fargo. My feelings grew, but I hid them away with two locks and a key. A part of me was terrified to have such feelings for someone else, as the last person I offered these to completely annihilated my heart.
I don’t know when the dynamic changed, really. I could say it was the day we had an argument, and he sent me a link to a youtube video apologizing for being a jerk at the time. The song was I Never Meant To Hurt You, and I melted with every word. It made reference to feelings, and I knew he did care about me in that way. But Kyle was scared of labels, and I taught myself patience.
Kyle and I celebrated Halloween in New Orleans. I didn’t understand the affect alcohol would have on me after not drinking for a long time. I made the mistake of drinking shots, and Kyle had to take care of me for the rest of the night. I am not proud of this, but I want to reiterate what this man did – at one point, I was puking in the bathroom. I couldn’t muster the courage to get up. A few girls tried to come in the restroom as I laid my head on the porcelain altar of regret. He stopped them from coming in, and waited for me to feel well enough to help me stand up. I later threw up in a bar, and they told Kyle he had to get me out of there. He defended me, saying he would as soon as I was well enough to get up. There was a man cat-calling me and making me uncomfortable. Kyle got him thrown out of a bar and armed his pepper spray when the guy tried to come near me again. We lost the parking garage where we parked the car, and he tugged me along as I was whining about the cold and eventually got us back to the car without having a nervous breakdown. While visiting my family, he sat beside my ill uncle on the couch and engaged him in conversation for over three hours. I texted him, offering him a way out to sit next to me, but he said he didn’t mind.
It was after this trip – after seeing me at my worst in months – that he decided we were a team, and there is no reason we shouldn’t label the relationship. I was ecstatic, humbled, and comforted.
I remember the first time I knew I loved him. It was a trip we took to Burgess Falls. I noticed we both followed the same pattern of behavior, without prompting the other. We both went off to the side of the trail and took pictures. We connected with nature by taking our time, while whirs of families raced past us to get to the end of the trail. This was someone I could explore the world with.
Nothing is ever perfect. Kyle is more thinking-minded, and I am motivated more by feelings. This can cause misunderstandings and disagreements. But you know the greatest difference between Kyle and most guys? He will research what it means for me to be an INFP. He will try his hardest to understand my feeling, the F in the Myers-Briggs. He has looked up my life path number, zodiac, and natal chart, all with the desire to understand me better. I have always done this in relationships, but rarely has it been reciprocated. He is constantly thinking of ways to improve the relationship. I am ever thankful for this.
Meet Kyle, my life partner.