It all started innocently enough. It always does, doesn't it?
Throw in a deadly combo of PMS, the last night of a wonderful week together and an incorrect assumption about exactly when I'd have to head back to Texas and all hell breaks loose.
I'd decided to leave a little earlier than usual because I needed to get some things done after being gone for a week. When I shared that information, during some heavy breathing spooning, well, let's just say the spooning stopped and so did the breathing. Aaannd, if I know anything from yoga, when the breathing stops, so does the clear thinking.
He reacted out of pure sadness and anger, saying something that I took as hurtful. He's good at snapping, processing and getting over something all in the realm of about 3 minutes flat. Me, on the other hand? Pfft. Not. So. Much.
I reacted to his single statement and the deep inner feeling of "I let someone down" and things only got worse from there.
Today was a continuation of my stubbornness and unwillingness to just let the damn thing go. I couldn't. It seemed like a culmination of much discontent lately. So many things... that I just wanted to get back to the comfort of MY house, MY space. He knew I was still upset. He knew none of the excuses to leave even earlier were true. He's good at figuring me out so he, of course, tried to stop me and talk some sense into me. I would have none of it. When he grew angry, again, I snapped and did something I never thought I'd do.
I left the room, told my girls to tell him goodbye because we were NEVER COMING BACK and loaded us up to leave.
He rushed to the door after the girls were loaded and told me that he couldn't believe I would do that to the kids, in front of the kids. What could I say? I had completely lost my mind at that point. I pushed him away and aimed for the door. Then there was the whole, "If you walk out that door, it's over" statement that I fully expected to hear. I didn't care. My heart was pounding in pure fight or flight and I wanted to get the hell away before I started throwing things.
I got in the car and backed to the end of the driveway, very nearly leaving the dog behind. When I looked back and saw complete shock and sadness in the eyes of my girls, mommy-mode kicked in. Suddenly, my thoughts were a little clearer. I put the car in park and went back inside.
That's when I saw something that will stay burned in my mind for some time.
He was on his bed, tears streaming down his face, already typing me a text message on his phone. He was deflated. He'd lost faith in me, in himself, in our relationship. He looked at me and said he'd never forgive me for leaving with the girls like that. He said, "How could you ever take away my girls from me?"
He wanted me to go ahead and leave. He said he wasn't sure anymore. I was completely, utterly broken.
I brought the girls back inside, promising them I'd do whatever it took to work things through with him.
More intense, heated discussions took place, as you'd imagine. I said I would stay until he opened back up to me. I apologized profusely. We talked about us, the kids, life, past relationships, pain, frustrations, jobs, moving, not moving. Finally, after about an hour he softened, "I understand why you ran away. It was fear. Fear of the unknown. Well, I'm scared of that too, baby." Then he took me in his arms.
I'm devastated that his ex-wife got something from him that I'll never get: the promise to be together always. We don't have that because we don't know. Also, sadly, neither of us is that naive anymore. Too much experience and no idea what the future holds.
What do you do when there is no plan? I would advise anyone in a long distance relationship to make a plan but we don't have one. It seems impossible. What do you do?!
He made me dry my tears and go talk to my girls. He knew that I'd be honest and loving with them and they'd be fine. He also asked that I speak to his son who was witness to the whole thing. After a giant family snuggle, the kids all knew that everything was okay. The basic understanding to them was that leaving, after a week of bliss, was just really really tough. And that's at least most of the truth.
The drive home was even more processing for me... to the soundtrack of a million songs I could relate to. You ever notice that?
I know that I have been in a low lately. I'm recognizing this and again, I know what it takes to get out of it. But my question is WHY DO I GET SO LOW? I think much of this started when GJ noticed that I was so busy with my new job that I was not keeping him in the forefront if my mind anymore. But still, why do I let that, or what other people do or say, affect me so much?
Someone commented on a recent post that perhaps I was writing about Gentleman Jack. I was writing about many people close to me but yes, he does come to mind also. This single parent thing is no easy task for either of us.
I recognize that each of us is responsible for our own health, emotionally, mentally, physically, fiscally. I know that, intelligently, but I keep seeing lack of it everywhere. Then for some reason, I end up feeling like I'm supposed to do the saving. It doesn't seem fair that I should feel good if someone else isn't.
The truth is, we're both struggling in some way. But when I feel like I'm struggling less, I end up feeling guilty about it. Instead of continuing to take care of myself, I feel bad... and choose to let myself go instead. This doesn't help anyone, I know, and I've read a thousand books that tell me this. I do know it. I've written here before that I treat myself better when I'm single and this is why. I don't feel so bad about doing good FOR ME when I'm not in a relationship. I don't feel so selfish about it. I know it's not a selfish thing and yet.... *sigh*. Then, when I let myself go, I'm not a good mother, girlfriend or anything else for that matter. Suddenly I look for something else to hang on to. I over react. I don't think clearly. I take things personally. All in the name of look at me, I'm not doing so well either.
I AM NOT A MARTYR. Dear God please rid me of the codependency. I am aware and choose it no longer.
Relationships feel like so much work for me because I do this. I can't seem to find a balance of "me" versus "me and him". I don't like to let people down or disappoint. I don't want to be seen as selfish or any of these ugly things that I am. Also, a long distance relationship is fucking hard. Sometimes I wonder if I do self-sabotage or look for lack in our relationship because I get so tired of not knowing or trying to find that balance.
I'm home now and need some serious sleep. I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. Still, I needed to say goodnight and apologize to my man one last time.
We talked for a bit with him saying that I don't need to apologize anymore. Then he reached across the phone line to my heart and let me know that we were stronger than ever:
"I hated that you walked out the door like you did earlier. But the fact that you walked back in? That just showed me that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. That was love, T. And our relationship is spectacular. Ours is one for the record books, baby."