by Khai Devon
Breakups are never fun, whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee. Telling someone, or hearing from someone, “I don’t want to see you anymore,” sucks. But, there are ways to make it easier. This is not a piece about those ways. This is a piece about the shitty ways I’ve broken up with people, or been broken up with. Because sometimes, we all need to take stock of ourselves and our lives, and realize we aren’t perfect.
The first boy I ever dated broke up with me. A year later, he came out of the closet. It would take me another three after that. Clearly, we were not meant for each other. And yet, it wasn’t so much that the relationship (if, as fourteen year old closeted queers who had Spanish class together what we had could be called a relationship) was over that bothered me — it was that he chose to break up with me in class, in between asking for help with his homework and telling me the only reason he was dating me was to get closer to my friend Em, the hottest girl in school. Telling someone that the only reason you were interested in them was because they had a friend you found attractive is a very bad way to let them know you are no longer interested in them.
A couple of boys later, I broke up with a boy who did not respect me or my unwillingness to have the sex with his penis. Should we have broken up? Yes. But did I have to do it by returning his Christmas present to me, something clearly meant to show me he loved me and was interested in making me happy? Did I have to do it by sending my friend to return the gift, in a crowded cafeteria, with a handwritten note telling him I didn’t want his love? Probably not. That probably was not the wisest or kindest way to let him down.
Then there was a genderqueer person, with whom I was exploring a polyamorous relationship, who broke up with me by having their primary partner write me a letter. On the internet. For me to find when I got home from work and logged on to write a blog post. Before them, there was me breaking up with a girl by leaving my rent money on her bed, along with a letter telling her I had read her journal (I hadn’t really, but I knew it would hurt her the way I had been hurt) and wishing her well with the various people she was sleeping with. Oh, I was a cruel person when I was leaving my last long-term relationship, fighting the toxicity of our being together by fighting her. Later, after she asked me to come back, I would tell her that she was responsible for me being sick.
After them, there was a breakup phone call at 1 a.m., rousing me from my sleep after I had just talked this partner into relaxing enough to sleep well. When the phone rang, I assumed she had woken up and needed to talk more; I didn’t expect “hey, I don’t want to see you this weekend, keep my stuff, I don’t want to be with you anymore.” After her, I became very careful about how I ended relationships — even ones that weren’t labeled relationships. My rules are: it must happen in person, it must be straightforward and quick, it must be explained and I must listen to the response, whatever it is. Breaking up sucks anyway. Don’t make it worse.
Khai Devon is a ze. They are learning to let themselves be a human being, rather than a human doing. They work customer service and snark about their clients, and pour their heart out at duffelbagandadream.wordpress.com when they have time to sit down at their computer, rather than checking into facebook from their phone. They have no idea how to date, but are having fun learning, they think. And mostly, they love people. Khai has published one book of poetry, which you can purchase from the back shelves of Amazon.com, and plans to publish at least one more before they turn 25.