You can't live with them, but you can't quit them.
There are some people you can love so much... from a distance. Love doesn't mean proximity. It doesn't mean you talk to someone. It means you hold that person in your heart, you care about them — not that you talk to them every day.
And for some people you love, it might be best to love them at a distance. You can hold them in your heart, but not in your life.
I was crazy in love with Toph. He was my best friend. We spent our time smoking pot and having sex. Lots of sex. Good sex — the kind of sex that teaches you about sex. He taught me how to give a decent blowjob, and bought me my first dildo. He'd f*ck me while he kept the dildo in my ass and I nearly exploded with the orgasm.
We almost got married in Vegas. We hosted naked parties with raspberry vodka, and once got so drunk that the pizza boy came back to drink with us. We swam with wild dolphins in the Atlantic. He was my everything. I was his.
Over the years, I've Facebook stalked him. He moved across the country, but he comes to town sometimes. I never ask to see him, and he never asks to see me. We know. Deep in our hearts, we know we can't see each other again.
I see my other exes — one was in my wedding, another comes over for movie marathons. But I can't see Toph. I'm still in love with him; he's still in love with me. And we're both married. I love him to the moon and back. But it's best I love him from a distance.
Sometimes it's best to stay away from someone because you still love them, and you're with someone else. You love that someone else dearly but you know you still have feelings for the other person.
And it's best — for you, for your former lover — to keep yourselves apart. Best for all involved. You have to love that special someone from a distance. They can stay in your heart, but not in your life.
There are other reasons to keep someone in your heart, rather than your life. Sometimes, someone you love does something so terrible that you can't forgive them, and you need to keep yourself away from them for your own good.
Whatever happened was so awful that you need to distance yourself. But no matter how horrible the deed, you can't help loving them.
That's one of the reasons I can't see Toph. We were both cheating on each other but probably could have lived with that. One night, I went to a bar with some people and ended up alone with one guy.
He persuaded me back to his apartment, drunk as I was, and raped me. He raped me all night, then drove me home in the morning. When I told Toph, he refused to believe me. "You were just cheating on me," he said. "You're saying you got raped to cover it up." He gaslit me in the worst possible way, and broke up with me because of it.
I still love him. I know why he thought what he did. But I can't allow someone who gaslit me to stay in my life. I can't speak to someone who thinks I lied about getting raped. If I saw him, I don't know if I'd hug him or punch him in the face.
I love him so much. But because of what he did, I need to love him at a distance. I can keep him in my heart. I can't have him in my life.
There's another reason you can have people in your heart, but not in your life. It's called self-preservation. You need to take care of yourself, emotionally, before you can take care of anyone else. You have to preserve your own psyche, even at the expense of others.
You see this a lot with parents and children. Adults need to cut off their parents for reasons of alcoholism or the many different kinds of abuse. They can love their parents very much, but find being around them too difficult.
That's how I feel about Toph. After the rape, I couldn't stand to be around him. By gaslighting me, he had done something so horrible that I couldn't stand to keep him in my life. I had to cut him off for self-preservation.
No matter how gorgeous he was, no matter how wonderful he was, I couldn't be around him. It would be too difficult.
You can love someone desperately and still need to stay away from them. Maybe they're not good for you or your current relationship. Maybe they did something so terrible you can't forgive them. Or maybe you need to preserve your own emotional state.
However you feel, however you love them, you can keep them in your heart. But not in your life.