It hit me that Carter and I broke up exactly a year and a day ago. I broke up with him after another gut-wrenching hour of counseling with our therapist. It seems that all those grueling hours of psychologized soul-searching actually worked. It illuminated the inevitable.

Carter and I broke up because we had radically different values. He believed that sex was an incidental — a mere plus in an already summed-up equation of vacations away, shared dinners and comings home to the same roof together. I believe that sex is integral to a relationship. Kinsey has his triangle of love, respect and sex. I could make up my own dodecagon of key points for success in a relationship but I’m sure that sex would be one of them.

I’d have to admit that this conclusion was borne in the context of our open relationship. I respect that relationships come in all different shapes and sizes. The challenge is to find the perfect fit for all parties concerned. Carter and I felt that we were set in the midst of a sea of pleasure floating aplenty with available skin (considering that we met under these circumstances — a sexually-charged gay Friday night party.) NY, after all, is the new Babylon. The old moral code of monogamy struck us as such — old and dated. We were revolutionary and experimental. We were brash in our hedonism and brazen in our philosophizing. We pursued our new moral contract in an open relationship, consensually and sensibly.

There lies the rub. Consensus and sensibility are key. One cannot succeed without the other. Senseless consesnsus is pointless and soulless. Sensible points that are divergent and ultimately irreconcileable are diminutive and wasted.

Our relationship hit a wall when I ranted about not having sex and when Carter would hear none of it since he was having a healthy sex life with other men. What was hurtful was that it really wasn’t an absence of desire per se to have sex but that of a desire to have sex with me. He was right when he claimed that he was doing nothing wrong since we had an open relationship. I was right when I screamed at how I was put in an unfair position by what was owed each other in our own construct. There were a lot of hands flailing and voices raised to the roof but what all this noisy effort painstakingly pointed out was this creeping realization that lay stuck in our throats — we were both wrong for each other. Someone had to undo our own undoing. I chose to end it.

It has been a year since and I haven’t looked back. I am single right now but am not foolishly rushing into anything. I’ve had a few relationships in between. None lasting but, yes, all learned from. Carter? The last I spoke to him he said he was happy with who he was seeing. Isn’t that the whole point anyway — to be happy with who you’re with?! I am happy with where I am with myself. I am single but I don’t feel alone. Neither are my thoughts wasted nor am I diminished by words. The wall has been broken down a long time ago and my road lies ahead, that new year after this new year, limitless and potent with passion.

Break-ups after the new year aren’t at all bad. It actually strikes at the essence of the holiday. A new beginning is already a treat. A fresh start twice over is healthy self-indulgence long overdue.

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