My relationship with J roughly spanned twelve months from 2018 through 2019. It was rife, to say the least. I’ve circled through phases of anger, depression, and self-loathing in the period since we’ve ended things. My ex was a troubled individual who had a lot of personal issues to sort through. I’ve had months to accept that I was not responsible for a history of abuse, identity issues, and the like.
When we met, J presented as a male and had not come out yet as transgender. I’ll detail more of my experience being in a same-sex couple after J’s egg cracked in a future post. When writing in present tense, I will refer to her using her preferred pronouns, and use male pronouns when writing about the past, as that was how she presented and was perceived at the time. In no way do I feel her behavior is a reflection of the transgender community.
There isn’t a straightforward way to document this relationship, but I’ve found a rough timeline helps:
- June 2018 – J and I meet during my 30 for 30.
- July 2018 – I get the pants charmed off me and insist I am not looking for a boyfriend. J takes me climbing, on romantic walks, and texts me cute shit all the time.
- August 2018 – I tell J that someone raped me the previous night.
- September 2018 – J begins staying over more. Basically everyday. We go to the zoo most weekends, out to eat, and run on some local trails. We begin to plan Halloween costumes.
- October 2018 – I ask J, “Do you think I love you or something?” We say those ill-fated words to each other.
- December 2018 – I leave for a month long trip to South America and offer a “hall pass” type arrangement. J declines and says she’ll “prove” to me that we’ll be okay. J also gets a dog (I adore dogs) and says it’s named after me.
- January 2019 – I borrow J’s laptop to check email and see a message from her ex, R. I get gaslit for a few days and rage-quit the relationship. I threaten to sleep with the person who raped me, then fly off to stay with cousins out of state for the week, and consider withdrawing from grad school.
During this time, I find out a few more details that occurred prior to and at the outset of my relationship with J.
- Sometime in early 2017 – J lives in Japan and has a relationship with a nice girl, R.
- Sometime in early 2017 – J moves back to the US for family related matters and maintains a long distance relationship with R.
- Summer 2017 – February 2018 – J abuses drugs and alcohol and begins an affair with a woman, D, from the gym. At some point, they trade “I love you’d”
- February 2018 – D has enough of the arrangement and reveals the affair to R. J chooses to stay with R. J and D break up.
- March – June 2018 – J continues to cheat on R with multiple women, myself being one of those dumb bitches. Kidding, we’re not dumb, just disposable and exploitable.
- June 2018 – January 2019 – J maintains a relationship with R and eventually also with me. Neither R nor I have any idea.
J claims to have broken up with R at some point, but I honestly don’t know. In January, I read text messages between J and R going back practically every day and every week, including pictures of that goddamn dog. Regardless, it was an emotional affair; if they were truly broken up, J would’ve had the decency to tell R about me.
And as for the rest of the story?
- February – April 2019 – I return and agree to a ”new” relationship with two conditions. J must begin therapy and block R and D. I drive J to get insurance and to her therapy appointments. We cry a bunch together.
- May 2019 – J comes out as transgender. I teach her about makeup, hair removal and go shopping with her.
- June 2019 – I leave for Costa Rica to get my head together for a week and afterwards return to the Midwest to spend time with family before work starts. J and I start couples counseling and briefly discuss moving in together.
- August 2019 – J breaks up with me over the phone.
Sometime around October 2019, J entered into a new relationship (intel derived from creeping on Instagram and a poorly considered email exchange I initiated with J). There’s a lot that I’m leaving out, and I’m not particularly proud of the practically clinical tone in this post, given what an emotional rollercoaster it’s been.
So, where do I begin?