Monday, December 15, 2008

A new contract

I've said this before ---

I believe that in relationships, we all initially sign this "unwritten contract" of who we will be in relation to the other person.

Hence when the form of the relationship changes, i.e. divorce, break-up, sobriety, major life change, both parties in the relationship have to find new ground and create a new normal. Subsequently, there is a new contract or else the relationship ends.

I have, for the past month, been searching out the new ground with Soldier. Sometimes it is downright painful but bear with me, it is part of my temperament to have resolution.

I am friends with every man I've ever been with, with the exception of the first one, and only because I have lost contact with him. I know it is possible, with time, to create a new contract.

However, the challenge is that I am dealing with a man who is completely different depending on which way the wind is blowing that day.

During this past year, he was supportive, loving and very thoughtful. Then, over our weekend together during his leave, he was distant, cold, then panicked and ultimately, bid me a very bittersweet goodbye.

Since he's been back in Iraq, our communication has declined dramatically, as we'd discussed. Sometimes, he responds immediately and will write paragraphs. Other times, he may not respond for days and only sends one line responses.

But his tone in the emails I have been receiving are strikingly similar to the ones he sent prior to his leave. He's almost acting as if nothing has changed!

I'm having trouble creating this new normal because I can't figure him out.

Lately, I had finally come to the realization that the new form of our relationship is going to have to wait until he's back in the United States, healthy and happy again. Perhaps then, we can talk like we used to, laugh and enjoy each others' company again. As friends.

I'd also decided that I was being over-analytical about his emails because I'm trying to create this new contract. I'm trying too hard. I have to have space away from him.

So, when I received his latest few emails over the weekend, I didn't respond. He knows the dates when his troop replacements will be moving in and he's already sending items back home. I'm so very excited for him. He will be home sooner than I can even believe.


Today, I worked from home. I'm tired from the weekend and a surprise visit from my brother... who keeps me up all night with movies or playing cards or some silliness. Its below FREEZING outside and quite frankly, I get more done from home.

The postman rang my doorbell today. I was perplexed when he handed me a big box but I recognized the handwriting immediately.

Soldier had sent me a care package for my birthday.

I was a mess. I was literally crying so hard that I was getting sick.

What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!?!?

Every time I feel strong, every time I feel that I will let him go... he does something like this. I'm reminded of a scene from the Godfather...


He sent it early, probably assuming that it would take forever with the holidays. It was nothing much, what he sent (including more gifts for my girls), but the very fact that he thought of me, early enough to send me something for my birthday… and from Iraq…


And that’s why it makes me cry. Because I have deep faith that he’s still in there, buried deep beneath the hard exterior. But I’m tired of banging my head against the hard exterior. I need him to soften… more and MORE OFTEN… because I just don’t know how to be anything else but me and I can’t take the inconsistency.

I have to let go - for me and for him. For now.

I will give enough for him to know that I do not judge him, that I still care but that I will not stand to be treated as he treated me while he was here. I think he knows that. He’s actually sent more care packages in the past month than all of last year.

I am simply taking a stand. I will keep my arms open but my heart protected. I know that I am worth more than what he is offering me right now. Whether or not anything becomes of us, and I really don’t know what that means, he is still a beautiful spirit and I cherish his presence in my life.

Yes, I did email him after I calmed down. I said thank you and told him that he was a thoughtful (albeit sneaky) friend. And I left it at that.

Oh and on another note, check out the link in my sidebar for You can foster a soldier and send a care package. Its easy! I fostered a soldier for Christmas from my home state!


  1. "I will keep my arms open but my heart protected" - THIS I totally totally understand!!!!

  2. Why do some guys know just how to play with your heart??

  3. You are a very big person T. Making the effort to maintain contact and create a new contract is something that must take tremendous spirit and strength.

    I'm from the school of simplification, if they're gone, they're gone. I'm no good at balance, and I know I should strive to improve, yet I don't.

  4. I admire that you can still be friends with every man you've been with. I can't. I need to cut, to define, to make it black and white. I remain in contact with a very select few.

    It is the only way MY soul can be at some semblance of peace. But we all are different. I get catharsis from destroying ties to bad memories and releasing from my grasp any material reminders.

    But you already know that.

    I am with you, T. I'm sorry you have to go through this.

    Be well, T.

  5. Definitely sounds as if more space between you two would be better -- for you. I don't doubt he loves and cares about you and that is the motivation of why he is doing what he is...but he's doing it under conditions that are right for him (after implying your contact would be minimal, too). He might be trying to apologize for his behavior in October. And he might be trying to ease into his upcoming role as a man on US soil again. I applaud your open heart, and can relate to it very, very much, but I really applaud you for taking a step back, at least for a bit. I only say (and know) this because I've had that type of thing happen to me, too. It was always up to me to set the boundaries.

  6. That unwritten contract is hard. So often we treat it as if it is written in stone rather than something that is flexible and yielding in accordance with the changing relationship and people involved.

    He sounds like a wonderful person in a challenging environment. I know that it is hard not to try and find resolution but I wonder if it is truly possible given that he is where he is both physically and emotionally. Time and space… and an open heart. It is amazing what the combination can do! (with boundries drawn and in a sense of friendship...)

  7. Spoiled milk. Take the advice you've been giving to someone else and apply it.

    Stay strong, girl. Hugs!

  8. Um, T...referring to your comment on DH, you *totally* are the only one getting any...if anybody else were, we'd at least have something to write ABOUT...


    Be well.

  9. It sounds like your soldier is negotiating his terms of the contract with you. He is letting you know how he wants to interact with you. You can choose to accept his terms or not. You can't force your terms on him.

    From all I read, it seems the healthiest thing would be to just let go. Get to the point where he can send you something and you don't break down in tears.

    Why does he touch you so deeply? Is there something inside you, hidden by a hard exterior shell, that you are trying to release? Often we are most critical of things in others that we don't accept in ourselves.

  10. That Dadshouse can be a wise man. I agree with what he said, but can also relate to how you feel. I had very strong feelings for someone who couldn't be consistant in the way he treated me. When it was good, it was really really good, but when it was didn't end well.

  11. T, big hugs and thank you for sharing the complexities of this relationship with us. You have such a big heart and I'm touched at the way you try to cultivate healing relationships with the men in your life.

    I have no advice as I am not much of an advice giving type, but am cheering you on from the sidelines.

  12. WOW. couldn't have taken any more words out of my mouth...that resemble my very own turmoil with a certain manperson in my world. UGH. I hear it, loud and clear.

  13. I generally feel so deeply different in my feedback when compared to others. I wish there was a Private Feedback option so that I could say what I wanna say without anticipating all sorts of powerful disagreement.

    But there ain't. So I'll just wish ya well and keep collatin' data, as they say in one delightful episode of Firefly.


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