There are no words for this. There (bleeping) should be.
What am I now? We were not married so I am not “wife”. We were a couple, but then we were not, had not been for a while. His stuff, not necessarily mine. I would say we were friends, but I wasn’t going back to being his girlfriend. Was not going back to living with him. And as for sex. No. Hell no. Hell no with bells. And don’t go there because he would. I like women as friends. Sleeping partners, presently, no.
So who are you when you know a person well enough that he can be naked in your presence and you don’t care? Who are you when you have access to his place, mainly to feed the cat, stock the fridge, and take the trash out that he can’t see because he is now blind? Who are you when the universe of social services agencies expect that of course you will be his “chore worker”, won’t you? You won’t?
There have to be a legion of us “former partners” connected to the ones who gave us AIDS or some STD or who emptied out our bank accounts or took our cars without permission and the car ended up in the impound lot. There must be entire batallions of us: former lovers, former business partners, former creative partners, former bandmates who show up with enough money for bail or a bus ticket, or who will put a month’s rent on a credit card so said former partner does not have to couch surf at our place because we have a new lover, another kid, a kid, a new dog, a new job, and a new life after the life we have had with them, and then some. And we are, who?
In the nomenclature of relationships if we are not blood kin, could we be heart-kin? In the heirarchies of significance were we the one before the one that s/he married then divorced and then moved back in with, but we always got a call at Christmas, and a rose on Valentine’s day, and on our most recent birthday a couple of ersatz Hostess Cupcakes since that company went out of business a few years ago? Is it possible we were the one night stand that lasted for ten years or so, off and on, when she/he/it/they were sober enough, clean enough, or in their own mind together enough to carry on what they felt was a coherent conversation?
Neither the law nor the heart is capable of making such fine distinctions.