I finally broke it off with Catfish.
The first thing I did was count all the people I consider to be in my "top friend level" -- 18. Eighteen! People whose hearts I carry around with me, whose hearts I know carry mine (to paraphrase e.e. cummings). People I'm actually somehow regularly in touch with.
Of course, 99% of them don't live in the Cleveland area (this is an estimate), but right now that doesn't matter. I reached out to many of them and receiving even a few simple words back makes me soar.
I am so lucky. And my family. Even my extended family. My mom and my aunts and my grandmas and my cousins make it impossible for me to feel alone. Sisterhood!
When I was talking about the inevitable breakup with one of my grandmas, she told me many wise things, one of which echos in my mind: "It will be good."
It will be.
He would've stayed in our relationship as it was indefinitely. I got too stressed by it. I have never felt so loved, so I don't understand how he could let me go. I think a lot of it is his money and not feeling able to support me, and some of it is his having been burned by divorce.
It all started with a house. A regular at the restaurant offered to rent me a house for super-cheap while he went to Florida for a few months and then returned to finish renovating it. I told Catfish, and no, he didn't say "no" like I felt he did. But he said too many doubtful things and I dropped the issue. I spent a month in sickening anxiety before I figured out I was anxious because I knew we had gone as far as we were going to get, at least in the foreseeable future.
A few nights after the breakup he called me to tell me his sister returned from Cancun with meningitis. She is out of the woods, but they almost lost her. I texted him afterwards to tell him that just the way we talked, I know I have a friend for life in him. He texted back, "Til death do us part."
Screw you Catfish for the phrasing, but I believe it.
I know it's for the best. I was too stressed out to love-him love him anymore. Now I feel like I can love him better. "Higher than soul can hope or mind can hide," to quote e.e. cummings.
Then I went to Planned Parenthood to get a pap and a clean STD bill. I got checked for STDs long ago inside our relationship and I know I'm clean. Catfish is one of the most loyal people I know. But I need to know my status for sure so I can eventually move on.
I also got an HIV test. I mention this because I know they are hard to get. People should get them anyway. It takes 20 minutes. I got one because HIV is one of my mind's favorite health anxieties and getting tested is the only way to shut it up. And my mind chooses health anxiety above all other anxieties, even during a breakup. It's concrete. Breakup is pudding splattered on the kitchen floor.
And the nurse gave me my form to take to the desk and my method of birth control was "Abstinence."
Screw you nurse.
"It will be good."