A break-up letter, Havana, March 2012.

The view from my casa in La Habana, Cuba, 2012

The view from my casa in La Habana, Cuba, 2012

Hello my love.

I’ll try and describe this room to you. It’s pretty plain, but been remodeled in ‘antique’ style, which seems very popular in both the casa I’ve stayed at. Antique style here equals a huge billowy white satin curtain covering one wall (nothing behind it, just a blank wall), a big window with a red curtain with roses on it and a huge stand-alone wardrobe with a big mirror on the front. The wardrobe has actually been scaring me. I woke up one night totally freaked out because I dreamt that I was lying in bed looking at the mirror and I saw Miss Havisham (the creepy old woman from Great Expectations) in it, staring at me. And last night I was tossing and turning trying to sleep and I couldn’t turn my back on the mirror. I was even afraid to close my eyes in case I opened them and saw someone else in the mirror.

I wanted you here, last night.

I’ve been up and down since we parted. I’m cautiously saying I’ve been up slightly more than down, but I’m not sure if that’s because I’m feeling happier, or if that’s just the glow of a new place and new adventure. I’ve had a really low day today, and I’ve been angst-ing all evening on what to do about that, what to say to you, and- this is what I’m finding the hardest- whether to trust how I’m feeling. My trust in myself is totally shaken.

I got the bus to Playa del Este today, it’s a beach about 18k from La Habana. It was pretty average, I swam a bit and read, and tried to write you. This nice guy started chatting to me- Canadian from Toronto- wasn’t trying to hit on me, just another solo traveller and wanted to hang out with someone for the day. And I rebuffed him at every chance I got! He was persistent, but friendly: asked if I wanted to get some lunch, explore the town, share a cab back to Habana, even invited me out with some of his friends tonight to a salsa club. And this is what solo travel is all about right, to leap at chances that arise, and meet new people, and challenge myself socially. And here’s my chance! And I didn’t take it. It’s Friday night, and I’m in bed writing you at 10:30pm. I haven’t been out drinking or dancing in Cuba at all yet! I couldn’t be bothered socializing with this guy. I caught myself thinking on the bus on the way back into town, if I wanted to chat with someone on the beach and explore Habana with someone, that someone is you, my partner of two years, it’s not some random guy from Toronto who I barely know.

And then I got back to Parque Centro and all I could see were couples everywhere. One sticks in my head: they were tourists, and the guy had his arm draped around the woman’s shoulder. He was pointing up at something and she was looking, and they were both smiling. And then they laughed and she snuggled into him tighter and kissed his cheek and he kissed her head. I saw that and thought, we look just like that when we’re together, and I felt so incredibly lonely then, and so stupid and confused and conflicted.

Those feelings have stayed with me all evening. I’ve been trying to write you all week, but I don’t know what to say. I need to make a decision and I just have to trust and hope hope hope that it’s the right one. My options are: A) Come to you sooner rather than later. Reconcile. We feel more like a couple, less like ‘just close friends’ (by this I mean, regular, passionate sex:)). I feel happy and content in the choice that I’ve made. Plan more travel with you. B) Come to you sooner rather than later. Spend lovely time with you, but probably more like close friends, rather than as a full on couple. You go to Costa Rica, I go somewhere close by, probably not back to Canada. We plan to meet up again sooner rather than later, but in what capacity? C) We see each other before we leave Cuba, but we know that will be the last time for a long time. I return to Vancouver, you go to Costa Rica.

I’m trying to approach this decision-making logically, which may be a bad and incredibly frustrating idea, because logically, surely, I’d want option A right? Here’s some of the things that are making this decision difficult for me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to love you like you want me to/like you deserve/like you love me. 

I recall in one of our conversations, you said that the main thing you wanted in life was me, and that I am the top thing that makes you happy. I don’t know if I can ever say that to you, if I can ever say that to anyone. I can’t put that much trust, that much power and hope, on one person. I don’t know if I’ll ever change my mind on this, I feel it so strongly. It also frightens me, that I have that much responsibility pressing on me. I feel like if I don’t ‘give’ you myself, then I am taking away from you what will make you the happiest. That’s so conflicting, because I do want to make you happy, I do.

But this makes me feel trapped and angry! No one owns me, and no one can make claims like that on me. Similarly, I don’t believe I can make claims like that on someone else. The first person I look to in life to give me what I want is…me. And it will always be me. I’m not saying you’re wrong in feeling this way, it’s how you feel, and this is how I feel. It has crossed my mind that perhaps you would be loved better by someone who felt similar to you in this sense. I’m genuinely afraid that if I pick option A, whose to say that this won’t happen again? I left you in Varadero because I wanted something more than I wanted our relationship. I can’t guarantee this will be the one and only time.

BDSM.

It’s bizarre that I’m thinking about this, now, when I’m feeling the least horny I’ve ever been. This is tough to write to you, because I know this is something that cuts very deep with you, and something that is particularly sensitive. My recent experience with BDSM in Vancouver was eye-opening, mostly in how I reacted. The most eye-opening thing is how quickly and consciously I went against what you specifically asked me not to do. The thought of possible S and M creates an drug-like reaction in me. I wonder if it’s close to an addiction? I do things that are completely against my better judgement, I think of no-one but myself. My reaction defies all sense and logic. The second thing that surprised me is that once was never enough. If you can imagine some kind of animal tasting a certain type of meat for the first time, and then going on a feeding frenzy to get more of that meat, that is how I felt.

And the ‘meat’ wasn’t exactly quality. It excited my mind more than my body. For example, I was never shaking with horniness. I was never as wet as I am with you. I never came as hard, and as often, (and as truthfully) as I do with you. So then why did I crave it? It flicked something in my brain, something that was impossible, and still is impossible to ignore. It got closer to the core of my S and M cravings than anything else I’ve experienced, and that is something that is mean and scary. Something that is without love, something that is about pain, something that is about being used for a sadist’s pleasure. Something about being forced to submit, even though my better sense is screaming at me not too. Something dangerous and risky. Can you see why I can’t explore deeper with you? You can’t be any of those things to me, even if we’re acting.

And we’ve already discussed this, and you said something in our last discussion that made my heart leap with hope. You said that perhaps I could fulfill this separate to our relationship, with your knowledge, consent and perhaps participation. This is my best case scenario. But I’m afraid that I’m unable to do it successfully. As I’ve already demonstrated by trashing the terms of our open relationship, the promise and hint of BDSM makes me crazy and stupid. It fucks with me, more so with my head than my body. I don’t know if I’d be able to have an occasional Dom on the side, without going into a feeding frenzy, without lying to you, without hurting you in some way.

THIS is what it comes down to: I don’t know myself in this situation, and if I decide to go deeper, I don’t know how I’ll react. If I want to experiment further with BDSM, it could be unfair and hurtful to do it within our relationship. And the big question is IF: is BDSM ‘just’ a sexual preference, or is it a larger part of who I am? Which do I want it to be? Do I want to find out?

I’m no longer a stable person

Ok, that sounds very dramatic! I don’t mean that I’m ‘unhinged’. In Auckland, I was stable. I knew what my goals were, they were achievable and I didn’t question them. I knew what made me happy and what made me sad. I knew what I valued and where my strengths lay. I had a mid to long term plan that filled me with hope and excitement.

Now, I don’t know anything. The goals I have are guesses at best- I’m unsure if they’re good goals or not. I have many ideas for plans, but I don’t know how to pick one- and whether they are good plans or not. I still have some idea of what I value, but I’ve been thinking about new values too- and I’m unsure whether they’re good values or not. My strengths are still there, but mostly I sense my weaknesses, and feel inadequate. And I can brainstorm thousands of things that bring me happiness- but they are things that brought the old, stable ‘me’ happiness. With little sense of, and trust in my goals, plans, values and strengths, how do I know what I’m looking for?

I need this year. I need to develop a deeper sense of who I am through experimentation and trial and error. Can I do this while in a relationship? No. I can’t live experimentally while I have the grounding consistency of a long-term relationship, one that brings all my past actions, behavior and assumptions to the present. I have to live selfishly, and just for me. I have to travel solo. Is this goal worth it, is this goal worth forsaking my happy relationship?

Yes.

I’m so sorry, my love, my best friend, my bear. I choose option C.

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