I can be so ugly at times.
One of the challenges I've noticed with a long distance relationship is how Gentleman Jack and I both react to silence.
We text in the mornings or share silly Facebook exchanges before work. During work, one of us will generally text the other just to check in, say hello, see how the day is going or whatever. At the end of the work day, we'll text each other with our evening plans and then we'll talk again at bedtime.
It works for us.
Sometimes, however, those exchanges get interrupted by life. Meetings at work, text messages that get lost in the cosmos only to show up 5 hours later, the needs of our children... you get the general idea.
Most of the time, when there's silence on the other end of our precious communication devices, we get it. We both lead the normal busy lives of single parents. Sometimes, however, that silence gets misread and that's when it can get ugly.
My Gentleman doesn't make it ugly. He will be the first one to tell me that he's feeling disconnected or he's worried about me or he wishes he could just put his hands on me to know that I'm OK or he feels sad that he hasn't heard from me. I love it. I adore his complete raw honesty and humble words. It always brings me closer to him.
I make it ugly.
I don't know if it is years of passive aggressive behavior practice or if its fears from the loss of trust in previous relationships or if its because I'm actually certifiably insane.
I hate it. I hate the horrible thoughts that creep into my imagination when I don't hear from him. I hate the anger I feel. I hate the assumptions I make. I hate the tears that well up when I pick up my phone only to see the photo background and 0 text messages. I hate when I say out loud, "Fine then! Who needs you!"
I hate how ugly I get.
Mostly because unlike Gentleman Jack, I don't share those thoughts with him. I won't reach out and humbly say, "Hello? Are you ok? I miss you!"
He admires my strength so much that I refuse to show him my weakness.
No, instead I go into my head. I become aware that I am only shadow-boxing again. I realize all of those ugly thoughts are mine alone. I am fighting all the demons of my "its all about ME" ego. And it feels so ugly, so ridiculous, so unlike the girl that he loves that I refuse to share it with him.
Sort of like putting on makeup before he wakes up in the morning.... except I don't even do that!!
No, instead, in my struggle, I will ignore when he finally does call me. I will play these silly little avoidance games until I can get my head on straight. I do this because he can read me way too well. He flat out KNOWS when something is bothering me and no amount of denial helps.
Then again, part of me wonders if I also do this as some sort of immature passive-aggressive way of punishing him for torturing me with his silence.
Except that he has done nothing wrong!!!!
By the time I do actually answer the phone, I am usually over it, for the most part, and can fake my way back to being fine again. He will be hesitant - completely convinced that something has me upset. Then he'll eventually let it go during the call because hearing his voice WILL soothe me. It always does. And then I'm OK again.
I hate it. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT!!
I am so aware that I do this and I want to change it!
But I'm scared. I'm so scared that he will see this ugliness in me and lose some sort of respect for me or trust for me. I'm scared that he will feel pressure to try even harder to contact me during my self-imposed reactionary silence. I'm scared that he will get more worried and not want to hurt me and then call the whole thing off.
I hate this. Why can't I be honest about this and let him see my weakness? Why can't I share my vulnerability like he can?
I hate being ugly.