And Then There Was One

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With great sadness, I find myself in a position to edit my previous post. While my move to New York City may continue (I sincerely hope it does), my relationship with Devyn will not. After two years of effort forged in the face of what, in the end, turned out to be my insurmountable obstacles, Devyn and I have called an end to our partnership. I harbor no ill will, and though the shock of the decision is still very fresh, I understand.

And I am not blameless. Sometimes we just can’t transcend our deepest fears, our darkest secrets. Our most destructive elements. I know, because in the end, I couldn’t. And my intransigence to seek help for a problem about which I received a lot of warning from the man I loved forced him to make a decision to leave.

And his motives for doing so were spot on. He’s right on the main point. I sat down last night and wrote an email to a mental-health professional friend. I shared the email with Devyn. And if I am ever going to get better and get my soul to the healthy state I so dearly wish it could have been in before I pushed Devyn away so uttery, I need to share this with you. I will not let this be a secret anymore.

In my previous post, I suggested that the remainder of Chicago Carless would address the conflict surrounding my leaving Chicago. A dear friend told me recently that she respected that I haven’t ever shirked from baring my soul on my blog. Well, here goes. The remainder of Chicago Carless and whatever its New York successor turns out to be will, instead, chronicle my recovery from the demons in me. They killed what could have been the best, most fulfilling relationship of my life. I will not let them kill the remnants of friendship that endure. Neither Devyn nor I deserve that.

And for the record, this separation is my fault. And I know it.

I know that some of you will not understand. I accept that and ask for forgiveness for my actions chronicled below. Most humbly of all from Devyn. But the only way through is through. And here’s my first step…

“From: Mike Doyle
Subject: In D.C. and Facing My Demons
Date: May 15, 2007 12:06:07 AM EDT
To: Michael Schwartz

Well, I did it. The flight to DC was bumpy as hell from, like, 100 feet off the ground (take-off was actually kind of scary for a lot of people on board, judging by the faces of those sitting near me–me included).

My friend, Sarah, is a great listener and very incisive. She left her own, troubled husband two months ago, and I’m getting a Devyn-esque perspective from her in a way, as well as her take on the pain that comes from this kind of break-up (i.e what I’m in for).

I’m making a lot of sense out of this, oddly enough. And not a lot points to Devyn. It’s not just a little clinginess with Devyn. And I don’t write this to agree with Devyn and get him back, or affirm his actions (although I do forgive them). He’s right on the main point.

I sat down and went back through my past 13 years of adult relationships. My reasons for leaving New York. My anger back in GLYNY.

I know I have a problem that I have to fix–for me–that’s brought me to this point, irrespective of Devyn. I know, I have this inner terror of not being reassured by those around me. My friends, my lovers. Even my colleagues. I have this wonderful, fabulous life, with great friends across the country and a job I can do from anywhere, and I can’t feel it. I can’t believe in myself and my life and my abilities. I still have that scared little boy in me from a childhood of poverty and loss who, although everything points to the contrary, still fundamentally fears everything will fall apart.

So he clings on for dear life to anyone and anything that validates him.

I believe every single adult romantic relationship of mine ended for this reason–and I’ve been told so more than once. Devyn warned me about it, repeatedly. Moreover, I always said I left NYC because my friends were apathetic towards me. In retrospect, I think they were strangled by me and my bottomless need for validation.

And there’s the crux: I don’t know how to live a life that’s not based around neediness and fear, even though my life is abundant and fulfilling. When Devyn said he felt suffocated, he was being truthful, I have no doubt.

But there’s one thing more. I’ve known one thing for a long time now, and until now, this knowledge was only shared fully by me and Devyn. I told Sarah tonight, in tears, about it, and she was the first outside person to hear it. I fully believe and have believed for some time that I have been emotionally abusive towards Devyn. Not in terms of curses and name-calling. But in terms of my neediness. In my endless urge to get him to say and do the things that would make me feel validated, I picked, and picked, and harangued, and cajoled, and criticized to no end. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times Devyn tried to get me to see…and no matter how many times he told me how awfully I was making him feel. I brought him to tears more than once. All because I couldn’t tell the difference between desire for Devyn and suffocating need.

This is the most awful truth of my life, and it has taken the loss of my relationship to admit it and face it. Where I go from here about it I don’t know. But at the very least, I know why I’ve never felt truly happy for most of my life. Devyn did not deserve the way I treated him. Much as I don’t deserve the future I will have if I don’t get help and fix this. That’s not to absolve Devyn from the way in which he chose to leave. But he left for a reason, and he gave me a lot of warning.

And I think, in many ways, this experience is a blessing in disguise, as long as I don’t shirk from facing my issues. And there they are. And for my own good, I’m not letting them be hidden anymore.

I know you will take this in with a grain of salt. I assure you, no matter how it ended and no matter how afraid of commitment Devyn might be, I am not the victim here. And now I have to find a way, after so many years, to not perpetuate this in the future, or I’ll never be happy, and neither will those who try to love me.

I need to get help and learn to put need and fear in their place, and stop letting them direct my life.

Can you offer me any suggestions?”

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