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Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

Farewell Letter for Chris

I can’t believe I am sitting here (again), writing a letter to my former boyfriend.

Since I started this blog I have found a strange relief in writing even about the most personal events of my life. I wasn’t always feeling super-comfortable publishing them (and more often than not edited them down), but trying to structure my thoughts often helped me find clarity. I hope this will be the case here too because believe me I am fucking confused.

When we met I wasn’t ready to be in a (monogamous) relationship and we talked about that endlessly. Our connection was too strong to ignore, so against all odds, we decided to keep seeing each other. Our beginning wasn’t the easiest one. I kinda wasn’t ready (and I’m not so sure if you 100% were) and we knew that I was going to spend at least three months in Berlin later that year. But we were in love. I fell so hard for you, I just couldn’t ignore my feelings. You were so different from the men I’ve been with before, so refreshing and such a unique soul. It was wonderful.

At the start, we barely had any fights. I remember that it was very harmonious and looking back at that I wonder if that was the case because we were fresh in love or because you didn’t tell me what was bothering you. Only over time (and with me motivating the shit out of you to be honest with me) did you start to open up about what you wanted and when you wanted it. That completely changed our dynamic and I have to admit that this wasn’t always easy. We started discussing even the simplest things and sometimes I wish we could’ve just gone back to the beginning where everything seemed so easy. But I know that wouldn’t have been true or fair to yourself and in the end, I am happy that you trusted me enough to open up. Together we grew taller in many ways.

During our honeymoon phase when everything was exciting and new we did so many things. Whatever I wanted to do, you were down for it. In that period of time I lived faster than ever before. I started struggling to not constantly be doing things and sometimes my personal FOMO definitely killed the mood. I struggled to relax and just do nothing and sometimes that reflected badly on our dynamic as well. I am really sorry for that too, you know?

Then Berlin came – a harsh cut into our relationship. We weren’t prepared for that at all. But how do you even prepare for being separated from your loved one for a couple of months? It was the first time we decided to open our relationship a little bit. For everyone’s sake, I am not going to go into details about this. Although I was scared at first I (mostly) had an amazing time in Berlin. I couldn’t have handled it vice versa, being at home while my partner is far away… I don’t know how you did it. Over Christmas, I came home and it was wonderful… as if nothing had changed. I was still in full honeymoon mode for sure. Then you came back with me and we spent some time together in Berlin and that was nice too – even though Berlin in the winter isn’t the most inviting city. When you flew back home we both cried hard and I felt off for a couple of days.

When it was time for me to leave this wonderful city again and come back to Graz I was excited at first. I was working from home and you too spent a lot of time at my place. We went from zero to 24/7 in just a matter of days and I don’t think that did us a lot of good. What made things even harder was that I fell into a deep dark hole after coming home from Berlin. I didn’t wanna continue my life in Graz but I didn’t find an escape or my way back to happiness. After I slowly managed to get better I think I became very selfish (even more than I usually am). Let’s say I wanted to take care of myself at first. But this ended up in me not being present in the moment, constant overthinking, not really listening to you. I see now that I would’ve needed more time for myself but that’s no excuse for how self-centered I had become.

We slowly found our rhythm and dove more into the routine of our relationship. Life wasn’t boring though. If there was one person I could always count on for going clubbing it is you. We went to our first sex-positive parties, explored the world, went on many trips… I wouldn’t wanna miss a second of the beautiful time we spent together! One of the best times we had was probably when we flew to Berlin in the summer. I wanted to show you the cities’ charm and flair and we both fell in love with it. It meant so incredibly much to me to be able to show you the city the way I had come to know it and I am so grateful that you enjoyed your time there. The downfall came as soon as we arrived back home: Now the both of us were depressed for having left such a wonderful place. We made plans to come back and possibly even move there. In another universe where Corona didn’t break out we are now in Berlin enjoying our time there. I don’t know if we’re still together in that universe but I like the thought of it. I’d still move there with you. I just don’t know if that’d be weird or if we could pull it off.

We both found our way out of the depressive post-Berlin state. However, I think that this is when things started to fall apart. We were both low-key sad and couldn’t really help each other. Still, we kept spending time together at home. It all became more of a routine. I know we’re not the first people to have this happen. I just wonder how all the other couples living together manage the pressure of constantly seeing each other. It’s not that we weren’t good around each other, living together worked out way better than I ever thought I could pull it off. Maybe we just became best friends with a special connection and a lot of good memories, but I am not sure if we were still partners in the same crime.

Again, we talked a lot about our relationship dynamic and an old topic resurfaced: monogamy vs. non-monogamy. At that point, we weren’t strictly monogamous but somewhere on the spectrum of an open relationship. Again, I am not going to go into details here. It was harmless fun at first, but I ended up flying too close to the sun. I didn’t wanna limit my feelings anymore when I probably should have. I gave in and enjoyed what was happening without looking around myself. I know I hurt you with that and I wish that wasn’t the case. You were really cool about it and told me to keep going and do what I wanna do… But I just couldn’t not regard your feelings. I had the feeling something wasn’t right and now I see all the signs and red flags I should have noticed earlier.

So, we were finally at an end pass. We talked and talked and spent some time apart, searching for a solution that just didn’t exist. And now we’re here, apart from each other, the both of us struggling not to contact the other person. There is no beef between us, so chances are good we’re gonna end up being friends. Possibly best friends. I think we need some time apart to reflect and find our ways in this new situation but I know I don’t wanna lose you for good. Don’t be the one that got away.

You are one of the most important people in my life and when you told me you saw no way to continue I was very shocked. I didn’t expect that after all. I thought we were always gonna make it work somehow.

I don’t believe that what we have ended here, I think it is going to go much further. Just not in the way that we’re used to. Maybe even a better one, who knows? Maybe all that I’m writing here is bullshit and simply me trying to convince myself that everything’s gonna be fine. But I really do believe that things are gonna work out somehow.

Do you remember when we talked about marrying when we just knew each other for like a month? You made me cry when you told me you were gonna take on my name. And you made me laugh when you said you were gonna wear a suit for the ceremony and a dress for the reception. These memories are very valuable to me and even though this article focused on what went wrong between us I just wanna put it out there one more time that the good things outweigh the bad by a mile!

Thank you for not compromising your wishes and your personality. Thank you for always having been there for me. Thank you for making me try so many new things and always pushing me further (you think my drag alter ego Nicole Clitman would’ve ever been born if you didn’t do it with me, Libbie Doe?). I am so grateful for having had such a wonderful time with you. And I am looking forward to more of those times in the future. I wish you all the best – including the things I couldn’t give you.

Love,

Ben Leander

2 thoughts on “Farewell Letter for Chris

  1. That was very sweet, and sad, and honest. I’m sorry for your pain. I hope some day you get to look back on this and know it was the right thing for you both…and maybe you’ll get to be sharing a drink with Chris when you both realize it. Not all relationships work, but there are more options than hating each other. I wish my exes were able to have this kind of break up with me…it’s sad to go from caring about each other to being total strangers. Hope that never happens for you two.

    Be well.

    Hugs.

    1. Hello there,
      I really hope we will do that. You’ll never know what the future holds. We’re definitely not hating each other and I’m glad for that. My other ex broke off the contact completely and that sucked at first but I do have to say it made it easier to forget about him. But I’d rather not be strangers.

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