Breaking a plate.

John Lewis

I really wish I had published my last post. In it, I wrote down a conversation I had with my boyfriend. He said something so romantic and poignant that I felt blissfully happy.

Disappointingly, I have to report that we have met another bump in the road. A week after the last one.

My experience of relationships is that there are stages where things seem to go wrong and this is often when they tend to end. Around the three/four month mark seems to be a common one – when the lust and honeymoon period end and you realise that actually, this person isn’t right for you. Sometimes around six months. Then around two years – this is usually when one partner wants more commitment than the other is willing to give.

I’m hoping, with all my heart, that we overcome this six month bump in the road.

There are some factors that are having a real impact on our relationship. One, is that long distance relationships are not easy, not easy for anyone. Take all the usual insecurities and anxiety you feel in a new relationship and double it, triple it and you’re somewhere close. Of course, when you really love that person and feel that connection, no problem is insurmountable.

Two is the fact that I was unable to make my second trip to see him in April. I think this would have consolidated things for both of us, either way. I think, if it had gone as well as we both expected, we would have both felt more confident about our feelings and our future together. Instead it’s deepened the missing, added to the anxiety of the unknown.

Three, is coronavirus. Not only did this stop my visit, it’s potentially going to prevent a future one for sometime. It’s meant that we are both in lock down and whilst that initially meant we have more time to talk to one another, there is nothing to talk about. So you want to be together but there are silences. Most of those time we accept those silences because we just want to be in each other’s company. Sometimes, they cause an issue. See below.

Four – more recently, my boyfriend has started Ramadan. I have to state here that I fully respect his religion and his choice. I am amazed at what he is doing and am proud of him for doing it. The issue is, I had no idea how much it would affect his general mood and behaviour. He’s exhausted, most of the time. He’s sleeping in odd patterns. He’s quiet and grumpy. And for an anxious person like myself, far too many erroneous conclusions have been jumped to which have caused problems.

Take yesterday. Relatively good day communicating. Usual laughing and joking. Regular contact. All good.

But then, his last call of the day (which has been occurring just after his first meal of the day when he breaks his fast) went wrong. Typically the call doesn’t last too long. He eats, he gets drowsy, he falls asleep. I can cope with that. I understand. Occasionally though, that short time between the start of the call and him getting drowsy is filled with… Nothing. He’s silent. He’s staring into space.

I need to state a fact here: he is the silence filler. He’s the one that cracks jokes, makes me laugh, fills the void. I am pretty useless. I try to make conversation, but go back to point three. By this time, there isn’t much to talk about. If we were together, no doubt we would just cuddle together, watch TV, content in the physical connection and silence. It’s clear that’s what we want. But it’s very hard to achieve when you are staring into a phone. And have anxiety.

It doesn’t matter that he has told me before – more than once – that his silence isn’t to do with me. Sometimes, he’s just in one of those moods. It doesn’t mean there is a problem or I have done something wrong.

So, the fact that I asked him what was wrong and he said ‘nothing’, should have been enough. The fact that he also said ‘it isn’t you’ should have been enough. Or even that he looked exhausted and we had a good day.

Oh no. Idiot here strikes again.

I made a comment. Something that has really hurt his feelings. I knew as soon as I said it that I shouldn’t have. I didn’t even mean it. It was born of frustration and missing him and childish selfishness and anxiety. I did wrong, not him. I own that. I’ve apologised, profusely… explained myself.

My boyfriend is amazing in a multitude of ways. If he upsets me, he is apologetic and caring. He won’t let me off the phone until he knows I’m OK. He owns his mistakes. If I am upset because of my anxiety or a perceived (and often imaginary) problem, he is equally caring and patient. He talks me through, settles me. Leads my thinking into a better place.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said the other way round. If I upset him, he sulks. It takes time for him to come down from that – I, on the other hand am notoriously volcanic: I erupt, behave badly, quickly realise, apologise and forgive. Move on.

I will state again, this is my fault. I have taken a time where he just wants to be in my company and I have cheapened it and thrown it back in his face.

But. I have apologised. I have tried to explain.

He has said I did nothing wrong – we both know I did. His behaviour has changed accordingly so I know full well he is still hurt.

He’s not ghosting me. He’s still in contact, still answering calls and texting. But he is sulking.

If the past is anything to go by, he will slowly and surely come round. I will need to be patient and positive – like he is with me. Each day things will return to normal until it is forgotten.

Time will tell though. Six months in, we are experiencing each other’s flaws and working out if we can accept them. I know full well you can’t change them.

Mark Manson talks about China plates. That a big problem in a relationship is like dropping a plate. It breaks in two. But with hard work and determination, you can fix it. It may be a little weaker than before, but in time you will not notice that weakness and it will not impede on its use.

But break that plate two or three times and you have problems.

I don’t know if we’ve broken the plate. I don’t know if it’s just a chip – something you accept and get used to and eventually ignore. It might even have shattered and we are both trying, and maybe failing, to put it back together.

I don’t believe it is the last one. But one day it might be. One day, my stupid mouth and even stupider insecurity is going to smash that plate. Or maybe, his post-stupidity behaviour might cause me to smash that plate like an enthusiastic Greek.

I’m calmer than the last time he behaved like this. I was tempted to tell him, since I’ve apologised, to get back in contact when he’s forgiven me. But only for a second. I’m being patient, like he is with me. I was the one in the wrong and I hurt him. Yes, he’s being childish. Yes, despite telling me there is no problem, he is behaving otherwise and he is not in the right mood to discuss it.

So, be it a scratch, a chip, a break or a smash… Watch this space.

2 thoughts on “Breaking a plate.

  1. Thank you for your honesty. Long distance must be so difficult. Plus there are two more possible bumps that PLEASE be mindful of…
    1. Cultural differences
    2. Religion….this is a huge one for muslims…I expect you will have to convert…are you prepared for this? Please, I’m not trying to be negative, but after 67 years and observing people this is a major for some religions…its not like Methodist to Presbyterian….its their life….it just is….
    I struggle to say this, and you’ll probably block me for it and I understand but I find myself seeing red flags…please don’t be offended…I actually care about you and your child.
    Xxxx
    Rex

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello there, thank you for your message and your concern. ❤️ There have been some minor cultural differences but nothing too bad. Whilst a Muslim, he comes from a place that is European and he is quite western in a lot of his thinking. In regards to religion, Muslim men can marry Jews and Christians and should encourage their faith – there is no need to convert. I have asked him though and he said he would enjoy teaching me more about his religion but would never ask me to convert as it is my choice. I’m happy with that at the moment.

      Like

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