Craigslist Love: Letting Go

As a service to the gay community, throughout this Valentine’s Day season, Queerty is playing Anne Landers/Dan Savage to the online gay world of Craigslist, our favorite go-to spot for unintentional hilarity. We’ll give our advice to online suitors, but we hope you’ll get involved as well, helping to play cupid to the digital masses teeming to breathe heavy.

breakupWell, this is it, our last edition of Craigslist Love. It was fun while it lasted, and we had some good times, but really, I feel like it’s time that we see other articles. This isn’t easy for us, of course. Breaking up is hard to do, as evidenced by this sad, sad letter.

“Time and again I dream about you; I dream of you time and again – m4m – 22
Reply to: [email protected] [?]
Date: 2009-02-11, 10:53PM EST

It’s been three months since I sent that last letter to you. I promised you and myself that if you never wrote back, it would be the last one. So far I’ve kept that promise. I like to think that it got lost in the mail. It makes it easier thinking that it simply never got to you, even though I know it did, and you read it, and it changed nothing.

Sometimes, I think you never wrote back because I wasn’t what you expected, that in some way I just wasn’t enough for you. I imagine how all the hopes you projected onto me, with each letter I sent you, came crashing down when we met last summer. The spell was broken, the physical reality of me incomparable to the fantasy you constructed. But the last two sentences you wrote to me still reverberate in my head and rip me apart with their ambiguity: “You were so much more than I expected. I just…don’t know.”

Sometimes I imagine that you justify not returning my letter in order to spare me and yourself the heartache. You thought the distance separating us was too great for us to get involved with one another. And yet that was somehow inconsequential when we were separated by an ocean. I still entertain the thought that you could be that chivalrous.

Maybe when you held my hand on that couch and fell asleep on my shoulder, it occurred to you I could maybe give you everything you wanted, and it terrified you. I wish I could give you the courage to take that risk. I wish you could feel what I feel every time I pass the Graham stop on the L train and think of you, every time I have to walk down 14th street and am reminded of our hunt for the tambourine, every time I step anywhere in the city we stepped. I wish I could see you again and give you the kiss I never got to give you.

I still have your hand print that you traced for me on the back of one of your letters. It’s incredible what a perfect fit it is. I keep it tucked away in the envelope you sent it to me in, in a drawer I rarely use so I’m rarely confronted by it. But occasionally I take it out — smiling at the sight of that pale blue construction paper you use for stationary, your poor spelling, and your i’s dotted with little circles — and I place my hand in yours. I wonder if you still do the same.”

Dear Dreamer,

You know it’s time to move on when you start waxing poetic about your ex-lover’s poor spelling—though, not to be a dick, but a comma wouldn’t kill you, would it? But we feel for you—really, we do. When we were younger (four years ago), heartbreak was a constant companion. Rejection is hard, and unless you have the benefit of writing for a blog where people say all sorts of entertaining things about you on a daily basis, personal rejection can really sting. You get caught up in a cycle of thinking, “What did I do wrong? How could I have fixed it?” and every moment that came before seems suffused in the light of a love that’s now been snuffed out.

We’ve heard a lot of cures for love in our day. An English professor once told us how he had taken all the love letters his boyfriend had written him, sealed them in a Zip-Loc bag with salt (“so that nothing could grow”) and buried it in the Oregon woods. You don’t need to go that far, but closure is an important part of moving on, and you can’t expect to get it from your ex or from Craigslist. Get rid of all the things that remind you of your ex, put them in a box and hide them away somewhere you can’t get to easily.

Next step in Uncle Japhy’s Patented Wash-That-Man-Out-Of-Your-Hair plan is to write down all the awful things you didn’t like about your guy. This can be tricky, because, as you yourself are doing, even the awful stuff looks great when you want someone back. Still, there was a reason the relationship never worked and you need to keep that in your head.

The most important part, however, is to stop blaming yourself. Relationships unfold in millions of different ways—that’s why we like them so much. But the risk we take in gambling with our hearts is real and when we find ours broken, that doesn’t mean you “failed.” If there’s one thing I can impart on the lovelorn, it’s that no relationships are failures. With each one, if you’re willing to be honest, you’ll learn more about yourself and what you like and what works for you and how to be a more authentic person. That’s always a good thing, and life wouldn’t be worth living if it were all happy-sunshine time.

Nobody’s saying you have to forget those magical times on the L train, but if you’re so caught up in remembering the last guy, you may miss out on the guy sitting right across from you.

What do you do when you break-up with a guy? What’s the best way to move on? Help this kid out!