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“What Happened With Ro?”

·1178 words·6 mins

It may be that you aren’t ready to write about this yet, but I’m waiting for you to tell us what happened with Ro. I hope you’re ready one day. In the meantime, hugs for the hard days, and thank you for writing x


You know… it’s funny sometimes. Every now and then writing in public, I’ll get a question about my personal life that I haven’t even thought to ask myself. And certainly a question I haven’t asked relevant parties about.

This was one of those questions. Because I have an understanding about what happened with Ro, but I never talked to her about it explicitly.

I first met [Ro][1] in 2011 at a friend’s house. At the time, I was in the process of breaking up with a bunch of people and just seeing the one surviving partner post breakup. And she was just starting to date a few new guys.

We became friends pretty quickly. That’s because we’ve always gotten each other, on this weird instinctual level. Part of it is likely because our parents were very similar in some key ways. And she’s an awful lot like the women I tend to date (i.e., she’s my type).

I had an eentsy crush on her immediately (as frankly, a lot of my friends did, because she’s hot). I would bet money she didn’t return it for a long while — because I’m not really her type. Way too femme-y. I’m barely at the edge of that circle, I think.

Anyway, it wasn’t until 2017 that we dated. Even then, it wasn’t a straight shot. Ro warned me repeatedly that she didn’t really have time and energy to date anyone else. I was cool with it and waited, and then mysteriously we drifted into dating when she did.

I was surprised when it happened because I had written the whole thing off. Thought maybe she was letting me down easy. But nope.

We Have Always Had the Coolest Trust

Ro and I always kept things light and flexible. We saw each other regularly, but if either of us had a conflict, it was effortless for either of us to say so and reschedule.

There was never any pressure. That was one of the beautiful things about the relationship. It just kind of took care of itself.

And in a space where there was ambiguity, we always assumed benign intent about the other. It was a refreshing turn from a lot of relationships I’ve been in, where one person demands a lot or smothers.

There was just this really cool trust that organically developed. It’s hard to even write about because it’s not something that happened explicitly, with words or formal agreements.

When I Moved, We Drifted Apart for a Bit

Ro and I both lived in Cleveland when we started dating. In April of 2019, I began to prepare to move to Dallas, Texas, for a work opportunity, and by July 2019, I was living in Texas full time.

Ro and I had talked about the possibility of her coming down to visit Texas sometime, perhaps a few months later in the fall (we both _love _to travel). But it never quite came together. And her job (high-powered and stressful) took a turn for the extremely emotionally and attentionally draining, and I didn’t hear from her much for a while. As far as I understand it, she didn’t talk to anyone much then, mostly just went to work, said hi to her husband when she came home, and went to bed. Rinse, repeat.

This isn’t all that unusual for her. I’d experienced the same when we were dating locally. There were times where it might be a few weeks before we could even meet up for dinner, even though we didn’t live far apart. It was what I expected, and I wasn’t bitter.

Besides, I was fairly shellshocked myself, adjusting to my move. Trying to figure out the area. And trying to make some new friends locally.

And then covid-19 hit. Just as I was about to make some local friends.

During this time, we did talk at irregular intervals. About the most random stuff, too. Never relationship meta talk. But about interests we share.

We never had the “so what are we now?” talk. Honestly, it never occurred to me to.  Because I never felt awkward about any of it. It just seemed very natural.

She’s Moving Even Further Away from Me

Her work stress just died down quite a bit, which is awesome – and I am happy for her. However, part of the reason is because she took a job opportunity that has her moving even further away from me.

So the reality is that we adore one another and are very close and always appreciate the random times we can talk about stuff, but I have no idea when I’ll see her in person again. I’m sure whenever it is, whatever we are then, it’ll be great.

But for the time being, we’re just kind of doing our own thing.

We Never Talked About This Until I Got This Reader Question

I actually went and talked to her before I wrote this piece. Very much like “so I got this reader question, and I realized that we had never even talked about it, and I’d come up with this implicit understanding of it in my own head, but I wanted to check with you in case I was way off, so you weren’t ambushed by it.”

And I shared what I just said. And she agreed to it.

What Happened with Ro

So the answer to “what happened with Ro?” is that she stayed behind in Cleveland when I moved to Dallas, and then she happened to get a good job that has her relocating somewhere ever further away. Honestly, this is what upward mobility looks like for a lot of career-focused millennials (having to move).

I have no idea when I’ll see her again in person, but I look forward to it, whenever it is.

Things between us sort of trailed off, between long distance and the pandemic. They didn’t end abruptly. We didn’t break up or formally deescalate. We just drifted into something that made more sense. I guess you could call it an implicit deescalation if you wanted to be fancy. And apparently we both did that without really discussing that we should. (I know I’ve said it a lot in this piece, but we really do get each other).

And we’re both okay with the fact that we drifted apart, despite not discussing it, really. That’s honestly one of the things I’ve liked about knowing her. Just that neither of us were driven to madness by trying to definitively answer the question of “what are we?”

But yeah… it was never something that I really thought to write about. Because it was natural, mutual, and completely unremarkable in a lot of ways (neither of us are bitter about any of it).



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