Do you have a question about relationships and flirting?

You can email me about any of your relationship and flirtation questions, and I'll be happy to address them in my blog. Won't that be fun! Its very Dear Abby, but hey...I'm just as good as she is! Just put "Dear Ottis" in the subject. Make sure your letters are annoymous though, to protect you and me. Send all questions to

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Final Good-bye

Having a relationship end between two people is such a fascinating roller coaster of emotions. The thoughts and feelings that go through a person's head and heart are complex, confusing, bewildering, heart wrenching, dramatic, traumatic, fierce, numbing, and extremely powerful. This past year, as I have discussed the breakups of several of my close friends--as I have counseled and cried with them--I have found a common thread: how could I ever do better? How could I possibly find someone who loved me as much? The question eats at the core of a person. It causes such pain for weeks and months after the relationship ends. So, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and insights.Let me begin by ending the story I told a couple of posts ago--which you can find here. Maurie finally helped me leave the abusive man I was with. She stood by me, and wouldn't leave with out me by her side. But let me tell you what happened while she waited for me:

I entered the bedroom and found him emerging from the bathroom. I sat down on his bed, and looked up at him. I told him that I couldn't do it anymore--that I couldn't be in a relationship that caused me so much pain, both physical and emotional. It was time for me to leave him. He sat beside me and he cried. He begged me to stay. I told him that wouldn't be possible. I also informed him that Maurie was waiting for me, and wasn't going to leave without me. But it was at that moment that I found a spot of courage as well. 

"You were supposed to be the one to love me more than anyone else" I spoke as tears trickled down my face. I was strangely calm. "You were supposed to be the one I was gonna be with forever. You were the one for me. We were sole mates. How could you treat me like this? How could you do this to someone that you say you love?" I was now standing in front of him, though I don't remember actually getting off the bed.

I wasn't expecting any type of response or justification. He merely looked at me as I stood before him. With tears in his eyes he said he knew he couldn't keep me from leaving. "I understand why you have to leave" he spoke meekly. "Just know that I will always love you. That you'll always be my everything." 

As I gathered my things to leave for the last time he asked if he could have one last hug. His eyes were red and puffy from crying, but he had a numb stillness about him. I acquiesced. As he came for a last embrace, tears once again filled his eyes and mine. He kissed my cheek and said goodbye. It was probably the most tender memory I have of him. I released him quickly and grabbed my things and left without saying another word; without turning back. 

As I exited his condo and walked down the stairs to Maurie's car with my belongings, I completely broke down. I don't think that anyone has ever seen me in such a state. Tears streamed down my face as I gasped for air. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Maurie quickly came to comfort me, but I was inconsolable. I was holding on to her car, barely able to stand. 

Now, I confess that I've always had a certain flair for the dramatic... I mean, I am a gay man after all. But, this was not an artificially inflated reaction; this was raw and painful for me. Here are some of the thoughts that were going through my head: I just lost the only person that ever loved me; I will never find anyone better for me; I deserved everything I got from him, I ought to just go back; he was the one for me; who else would ever put up with me; how could I ever do better; I didn't deserve him; will I ever be happy; will anyone ever tolerate me; am I that broken; am I that unloveable; am I thought terrible; why can't anyone want me and love me?

Well let me answer that big question: will I ever find someone better, who would love me that much? Yes! Hell YES! 

I've dated a lot since then. I've had my eyes opened in many different ways. I spent an entire semester (4 months) going on 8-10 dates a week. I just wanted to meet people and remember that there are nice and wonderful people out there. Dating that much is an adventure. I learned so many wonderful and valuable lessons.

When I sit with my friends who have just ended their relationships--as they sit with me in tears lamenting the loss of the one they really loved--I can assuredly tell them that they will find love again. "You'll always have a place for him/her in your heart. Love is love. But you will find another who will sweep you off your feet. Who will make you feel giddy. Who will make you blush. You'll fall for him/her and you'll never be the same. Just have faith and hope. Let yourself heal, and then get out there, date and have fun."

To any of you out there that are hurting at the close of a cherished relationship. Remember, there are lots of wonderful people out there--amazing people. You will always have some kind of love for the people who once held your heart. That's not a bad thing, and its not a weakness--quite the opposite. It is a strength. Don't numb yourself to your feelings, embrace them in all of their crazy complexities. Remember though, you will find another person. You will find love again. You will feel that joy and happiness. Don't ever get down on yourself. Be the wonderful and amazing person you were meant to be!

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