Found… A few steps behind

After yesterday morning’s early post and my absolute bafflement of what to do, I did what I felt I must. I was true to myself and my knowledge of him. I sent him a simple message.

I love you.

He said last week that I don’t say it enough, only when he asks me. If he was angry, he’d know how I feel without being incendiary. If he was hurt, it would soothe. If he was fed up with me, it wouldn’t matter what I said.

I sent it and went to work. This week his morning texts have been really early – 8.30am – but that time came and went with nothing. I can’t tell you I wasn’t anxious but I was hopeful too. I knew I couldn’t write more than that, so I just had to hope it had the desired effect.

Finally, at 9.30am I got a ‘morning’. That’s it. Far removed from the ‘good morning beautiful’ of earlier in the week. But it was something.

How to reply? Again, be myself: ‘Good morning baby’. No kisses as he hadn’t sent any. There was no response to that, but there often isn’t until we both finish work.

However, when I got back to my office at the end of the day (4.30ish), he had sent me a thumbs up sign about 45 minutes before. That was unusual as he still would have been in work and he never responds to our good mornings unless he is asking how I am- I guessed it was an olive branch… So, I replied with a simple, ‘hope you are OK.’

He called immediately.

It was difficult as I was in work but I was very pleased that I had worn my hair half down and looked well, considering. It was awkward, to say the least, but he asked if I was OK a number of times. The signal went pretty quickly and so I went to my car and called him back.

I told him I had missed him. When I told him it had made me sad, he asked why. I said because he didn’t want to talk to me and he always talks to me. His reply? “You always accept my call.” So there you have it, it was that I didn’t answer. He refused to talk about the day before any further and said he had ‘forgotten’ it now. Well, I certainly haven’t.

We had a brief catch up about the Coronavirus situation in our countries and he discussed how his first week in lock down was being enforced. It can’t be easy over there as they have imposed super strict measures. He has at least another two weeks of this.

Eventually, talk moved on to his work and seeing his usual spark returning, I kept him on this subject. He enjoyed talking me through and I was grateful that, being an English teacher, I was able to question him sufficiently to keep him talking and relax him to normalcy.

It was soon time to pick up my son however, so the call ended. How did I feel? Relieved that he had called and we had talked. Wary that this wasn’t over yet – we needed to talk and he clearly didn’t want to. And, honestly, a bit annoyed at what I thought had caused it and frustrated that he wouldn’t discuss it.

I got home shortly after and messaged to say we were at home. I didn’t know what to do after that and this is part of what needs discussing – his behaviour has left me wondering how to be. That’s a real concern. In the end, I decided again that I could only be myself and act as normal. So, I called him.

He surprised me by answering. His mood had declined somewhat but I kept him online as I served the dinner. I then went upstairs.

Trying to talk to him was difficult. He was sullen and quiet. He was insistent that we didn’t talk about the day before and whilst I was frustrated, there’s no point talking to someone if they’re not in the mood to. I asked him if I should go or did he want to talk? But he just threw the question back at me. I said I did want to talk to him so we carried on.

Following some more awkward silence punctuated by me trying to find a conversation starter – as I have said, it’s him who keeps the conversation going usually – I told him again I was going. He asked why. I said because he wasn’t happy with me and it was making me unhappy because I didn’t know what to say.

He then made an effort and we chatted for a bit longer. In the end, I actually got a kiss and he said he was going for dinner.

Feeling more comfortable, I had my own dinner and spoke with my sisters. An hour later and he called again, and this time everything was back to normal – his joking, his mood… Everything. We laughed together, he smiled and winked and you would have thought there had not been a problem.

We spoke for around 40 minutes and then he said he was going to sleep.

How do I feel? Honestly? A bit annoyed. It’s unusual for him to not talk about what’s bothered him. Any occasions where he’s not been happy and we usually talk about it the next day. He’s never refused before. My sister thinks he knows he was in the wrong. My, albeit limited, experience of that is he apologises. Not this time, as yet anyway.

Whilst I was relieved things had gone back to normal, he’s activated a step back for me that I never considered would happen with him. Maybe it’s a character fault of mine, maybe it’s self-preservation. Maybe I’m just protecting myself from experience of past relationships. But when something like this happens, my feelings dull, just a little. A little piece of my esteem for him chips away. With my previous relationships, particularly my husband, each betrayal and each lie chipped away to eventually nothing. I could feel it in my mind each time it happened. I didn’t expect this to happen with Wild Card, not yet.

The occasions where he has been unhappy with me have been similar. A couple of times when I have been going out at night – he gets jealous and insecure and this is culturally incompatible. As I get equally jealous when it’s the other way round, I can currently accept this behaviour. It doesn’t stop me going out either.

The rest have been to do with me not answering the phone. I think there have been three occasions now where this has led to this reaction. There have been more occasions when I have not answered or missed it but he hasn’t bothered, only to ask why and move on. I have no idea what makes those three incidents different from the rest where he has not been bothered.

There’s certainly an element of insecurity there. And we all know how irrationally insecure I can get, so, I need to temper my reaction to this a little. He’s human too, and he’s dealt with my fears and doubt with patience and love – every time. We are in unique times too – I know him well enough to know he’s worrying about it and he’s been in lock down for a week. That’s enough to unsettle anyone. Plus, admittedly, I’d been hard work earlier in the week.

It does need talking about though, eventually. It’s highly likely, at some point, that I will miss another call. I’m not going to live in fear of that, just in case he has a bad reaction again. And whilst I can’t pretend that I won’t be fearful in that instance, I also know now that he’s activated something within me that means I won’t just roll over either.

Ultimately, he’s not perfect. Neither am I. We have both reacted to situations with anxiety and insecurity and as this is my first LDR, I’m not sure how much of this is normal and how much is a part of our personalities and the strength of our feelings. I love him and I know he loves me. I just have to hope that, when we have spent more time together and these unusual times are over, it will be enough for us both to take steps forward and not back.

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