Chronicles of The Grey Area: The Major Lesson I Learned From An 8 Year Situationship

We’d been at it for years. On again, off again. He and I began as high-school friends who transitioned into adulthood and somehow got trapped in a situationship. We’d never known the finality or comfort of a title. Privately, we existed in beautiful harmony, but publicly, we clashed.

His behavior towards me bordered somewhere in between homies and lovers, minus the nostalgic fairy-tale. And me?! A whole emotional mess. I rode the spectrum of indifferent and numb to overly expressive and demanding. I couldn’t bring myself to hop off the neck-jerking emotional roller-coaster of being chosen for a moment and then being dumped.

After three separate occasions of major breakdowns and not speaking for months [or *cough* years], we “ended” our friendship and parted ways. Prior to the tap-out at round three, he’d all but proclaimed how much he cared for me only to inadvertently announce to social media that he was in a relationship with someone else a few weeks later. I wrote him off and promised myself I’d turn cold when it came to him. We celebrated major milestones like graduations and promotions separately and exclusive of one-another, like we’d never been connected to begin with.

How ironic that a mutual celebration would be our unexpected catalyst for reconnection?  We were both guests at the celebration of a mutual friend’s and we exchanged our initial casual pleasantries, but were in close proximity the entire night. As the night went on, we became magnets who couldn’t help but to find ourselves in purposely close spaces with one-another.  Our connection flowed naturally, with playful exchanges that were reminiscent of our former existence. The chemistry was evident. But something still felt off.

The night of celebration ended. We’d reconnected and shared several moments. And then, well; nothing. I’d become my vulnerable self again. And he’d reverted back to his evasive tendencies and fell silent. I was partially numb and partially hurt. Numb because so much time had passed with no connection. And hurt for the same reason.

This round, vulnerability won. I took a risk and asked if we could meet up to talk. I was met with an uncomfortable silence and the dreaded few-worded text, but he’d agreed.

Meeting day came and I’d come fully prepared to be an emotional wall. I wasn’t there to spill the contents of my heart again; I was asking for clarity; eight years worth. My defenses melted as I watched the vulnerability of a self-admitted emotionally muted man unveil. On that day, Mr. Grey Area shared his heart without reservation. And I shared mine.

Did a concrete commitment and proclamation of love come out of the discussion? No.

But a facade of nearly a decade came to an end. We both walked away with a level of clarity neither of us had prior. Our complicated existence now had a backstory.Sometimes, confusion makes way for clarity. You just have to give it time. He was and is my gift and my lesson, all wrapped into one.

Bri NorelleComment