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"Side-eye", a portrait by V. Mohlere

Ethan, my friend Virginia drew you this side-eye.

Oh Captain, my Captain–

I was in a serious relationship with a man, let’s call him Ethan, a few years ago while we were both in college. We met through our ROTC program. He was a very good guy, and a great boyfriend. I broke up with him around our one-year anniversary, because we rarely had sex, and it was killing me. He’d told me he didn’t have much of a sex drive, and it had gotten to the point where, despite caring about him deeply, and being happy with our relationship in every other way, I was starting to think about cheating on him. I didn’t want to break his heart (or mine) by doing that, so I thought the best thing to do would be to separate.

We remained good friends, and after a short period of separation for healing purposes, we kept spending time together, talking, being there for one another, etc. Eventually he told me that he’d lied about his sex drive–he actually had a libido much like mine! Flabbergasted, I asked him why he’d convinced me otherwise. He’d done it, he said, because I’d been very much hurt by a friends-with-benefits relationship I’d had previous to our relationship–I cared deeply about FWB Dude, and he didn’t return the feeling. Ethan didn’t want me to think he was using me for sex.

Fast forward to last summer–Ethan and I had graduated from college, and he came to visit me while he was on leave. He was to be deploying to Afghanistan soon. We had a very nice visit. Then he asked if I might like to get back together. I wanted to say yes. But I was also very worried about him going to Afghanistan, and I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t screaming “yes! yes! yes!” inside my head because I was mistaking my anxiety for his safety for a desire for a relationship with him. So I told him I needed to think about it. We cuddled in my bed that night. He returned to his home base, and less than two weeks later, I log on to facebook to discover he’s “in a relationship” with a woman there!

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