Trip 4: day 4 …πŸ˜”

It’s 5am. I did it again.

I’m finding this hard to write, pausing before every word because I don’t know how to explain. My feelings are undecided, confused. I don’t understand myself.

I don’t know where to start.

I will be succinct and factual. That’s something new for me, isn’t it?

I was angry with him. I lost my temper. OK.. so why?

He came home at lunch and everything was fine after the previous night’s hiccup. We spent the day on the sofa. He watched a national football game. We played a game of draughts. He watched a series on his phone and played his football computer game. Later, I asked if we could watch a film together and he said we could, in the evening. But when that time came, he said he was too tired and we would do it Sunday.

I got a quick kiss and a goodnight and he went to bed. I was disappointed and angry. I sent him a sarcastic message.

He didn’t see it. I then heard the music from his game and I lost it. I stormed out the bedroom, stood at the end of his bed, glared, and stomped back.

He followed.

I was angry. I said that I wasn’t his wife, I was his girlfriend and he needed to make an effort. Ouch. He replied that they are the same thing, aren’t they? I said: “I’m your wife when you put a ring on my finger.” Ouch. (I would still want an effort if we were married though, surely? I’ve been down that road.)

He was genuinely confounded. He laughed at first as we rolled off what he had done that day. But he had absolutely no idea what we could have done instead. He was confused and surprised.

Problem is, neither could I. This is why I am confused. This is why I am writing this at 5am to work it out.

Did I feel happy? Yes. He spent most of the day on the sofa with me, his feet in my lap. I enjoyed when we played the game and when we took 10 minutes to take a walk on his rooftop. I would take this over not being with him any day.

Was I frustrated? Yes. I’ve come a long way, spent a lot of money, to be sat on a couch watching him play a football game on his phone. I felt like I had made all the effort. Throughout the day, I sent pictures of him on his phone (with humorous but clearly frustrated captions) and at one point danced around the room to get his attention.

Did I enjoy the day? Yes. Did I want more? Yes.

Does effort = feelings? In my head, at that moment in time it certainly seems to.

He told me, there and then, “I don’t show my feelings.”

So, let’s unpick that right now.

I undoubtedly show and tell my feelings probably too much. Losing my dad taught me the importance of telling those you love how you feel as often as the feeling hits you. He shows his feelings, of course he does. But he is very guarded and I feel like there is a whole well of emotion hidden that I don’t comprehend. So, if he doesn’t or can’t spell it out for me, my over-imaginative brain makes up its own mind. As I’m anxious and afraid, it’s often negative.

He’d told me that he hadn’t wanted to cuddle and kiss in bed with me because it always leads to sex and he didn’t feel like having sex (you can imagine how my self esteem dealt with that one at first!) because he was tired and ill.

He’d told me that he hadn’t felt well all day (which I should have known, apparently) and that he had said we could watch a film on Sunday before my flight home. He said we had spent all afternoon and evening together on the sofa (true) so what did I want? What did I want to do?

What did I want…

Alone time. Holding hands. Cuddles. Kisses. Not worrying about his parents walking in. Being unguarded. It didn’t have to be sex. So that’s intimacy, overt signs of love.

What feelings did this situation trigger?

I associate low effort with low interest. My ex husband didn’t try, took me for granted. I eventually walked away. Alongside that, I believe that if we are not making an effort he will get bored and find someone else.

I don’t need taking out BUT if we had gone for a walk (it was raining) or a coffee, I would have felt special. If we had watched a film, it would have felt special because we were doing it together and his attention would have been on me, weirdly. We would have been alone in his room.

My self esteem states that if he doesn’t make an effort, he isn’t interested because he doesn’t tell me otherwise.

So….although I’m not usually bothered about material things or being taken out, when there is no other evidence (like him telling me) I have no other choice but to associate an engagement, a date, a gift, an activity, physical intimacy to his feelings.

Is that it? Is that the problem?

The argument ended with his frustration and my fear that I’d caused another row. I didn’t understand my own behaviour. Why was I arguing about something that deep down I wasn’t actually bothered about? I genuinely don’t care about going out if he doesn’t want to. Material objects are worthless without the thought behind them. I now realise, on some levels, that it is true. I do believe that, even if I seem like I am contradicting myself. I wasn’t bothered. I enjoyed sitting on the sofa with him, his feet on my lap or getting warm between my thighs. I enjoyed him winking at me when he caught me looking. But, as I have to use his actions to understand the depth of his feelings, perhaps I by extension am looking for the substantial always fearful that we are not.

He sat on the edge of the bed frustrated and said he didn’t understand me. Eventually he lay down, his arm draped over his eyes. I was knelt between his legs and rested my head on his lap, gazing into the distance and trying to figure what the hell was going on in my head. It raced from explanation to excuse, trying to understand that rush of anger over something so silly.

With my head on his lap, I kept apologising and telling him to go to bed. He didn’t and said nothing.

After a few moments he sat up and ran his hands up and down my arms. He then planted soft, soft kisses on my lips and cheeks. The kisses became more passionate. He half lifted me and twisted me towards the bed.

“Is this what you want?”

I told him that I had been happy with the kisses and that I knew he didn’t want to have sex so it was fine, we didn’t have to.

We made love instead.

Along comes the fool

This post was written six days ago

Sobering, heart wrenching reality. Wow, it hurts.

The last few days I’ve really tried. I realised how much I had let myself go. I’ve started my face care, pampered myself. Even put makeup on when the furthest I’ve gone from my house is the coal bunker. I’ve tried to install some pride and self esteem in myself.

But the puzzle pieces have slotted together this afternoon. And I realise just how ridiculous I am.

My family have long teased me about how I act around Wildcard. They’ve joked about my constant laughing and smiling, and even how my voice changes. On Christmas Day they laughed as I practically ran to pick up the phone as I hadn’t spoken to him all day. My sister mimicked me by grabbing a Barbie doll, and copied how I flick my hair and laugh like a school girl, taking great delight in showing him.

I laughed with them, although it stung a little.

Today, when my daughter got up, I exclaimed how much she looked like me – I had braided her damp hair last night and today it is hanging in chocolate waves like mine. She laughed and said, “not quite”, before pulling the expressing I apparently make when I’m talking to Wildcard – engaging my natural pout and widening my eyes. She joked again at my voice and laughter. And it stung a little bit more.

Just then, Wildcard called as he was on his way back to work. Determined, I kept my voice neutral and said hello. He was part way through his usual sing song “hello daarrrrling” when he stopped in his tracks.

“You didn’t say it.”

“I didn’t say what?”

“Hello darling, you just said hello”.

Then it dawned on me. “Oh..so when you say ‘Hello darling’, it’s not you being affectionate, you’re laughing at me.”

He laughed at that and continued with his impression of me. I told him what my daughter had said and he laughed again, “so she has noticed too?”

My eyes filled up. I thought he was doing something nice. He was laughing at me all along.

He was about to show me something else I apparently do when I kiss him, when he was interrupted by a work colleague. We made a hasty goodbye.

It doesn’t matter that he messaged immediately to say he was just laughing with me, and that he loves me. The damage is done.

And so, the puzzle pieces slot together and form a picture of a clown, an idiot, a fool. Something everyone laughs at.

So, after two years, why do I do that? I pondered as tears streamed down my face. I don’t realise I am doing it, but clearly everyone else does.

Because I’m trying to be something I’m not. I’m trying to be the beautiful, sweet young thing..when actually, I’m an average, overweight 41 year old.

I feel like such a fool. Who am I trying to kid?

The reason he doesn’t show me the affection I want is because he doesn’t feel it.

The reason he doesn’t give me compliments is because he doesn’t see anything worth complimenting.

The reason he hasn’t proposed or bought me a love token is because he isn’t sure he wants me. I’m not worth celebrating or treasuring or championing.

I’m just entertainment. A nice girl. A fool.

What I want

I’ve heard some hard truths over the last few days.

That I’m being too patient, too nice. My belief that he is too good for me is clouding my judgement.

I’m a simple person. I’ve never desired riches or designer brands or fancy cars. I believe in working hard, family and showing/sharing love.

In a relationship, fancy restaurants and expensive gifts whilst gratefully received are not the be-all. Something simple which shows thought is much more valuable.

I’m well aware of my flaws. I can wish I was more beautiful or thin or intelligent and I will work to be the best I can be. But I know that I am just an average girl. It is who I am.

I want someone who sees the beauty in me, who will tell me I am beautiful even when I wear no make up and need a shower.

I want someone who will give me the gifts of love and care and respect and forgiveness. To feel loved and wanted every day, no matter what I’ve done wrong or what mistakes I’ve made. To make me feel appreciated and needed.

The only man who has even got close to showing me that much love is my dad. And my dad is gone.

Life is so unfair.

I can’t remember the last time Wildcard told me I was beautiful. I can’t remember the last time he said he wanted me or missed me without me asking.

In being angry with me, in sulking with me, he took away the only thing I’ve asked for: his love.

Am I not worthy of that? I ask for so little but even that is too much.

Time and time again I am let down by men who take my love for granted. Men who fail to see, until it is too late, that just because what I want is free and simple to give, it still requires effort.

And this is why I don’t feel good enough.

He is probably 98% back to normal now but there is still a lingering tension in the air.

My friend is adamant I’m giving too much, forgiving too much. But I don’t know any other way to be. This is who I am.

Tears and fears and talking part one

It is hard not to feel like I am in the eye of the storm somehow. It has been a tumultuous 24 hours.

I know Wildcard, probably as much as he knows me. Perhaps a little less- his understanding of me sometimes is uncanny.

I said that I thought his anger came from me having travelled with my ex from the airport but also that I hadn’t told him soon enough. I knew this. But my desire to get home did override the common sense of discussing it with him before. I had tried to broach it in a call before I left the hotel and he didn’t take me on. And then, because it wasn’t certain, I didn’t mention it in the airport. I found out it was definite just before I boarded and it wasn’t the right time to mention it then.

When I landed, as requested, I messaged to say I was safe and he responded. I attempted to call him and he didn’t answer. Knowing him, he was too tired/half asleep but I know full well he could have answered. I was going to tell him then. I was anxious that he hadn’t answered. I was anxious about how my ex would be with me. I was tired and nervous and fraught. So I didn’t message to tell him how I was getting home. There may even have been a little stubbornness in there too – you don’t want to answer because you’re tired but I’m tired too, so why should I have to tell you this? The complexities of my mind.

He has continued to be ‘off’, ‘cold’ the last few days. I know him enough to know the stages of his annoyance:

  • ❄❄❄❄ Ends our calls with ‘talk later.’ Snappy and cold. Will ignore messages by reading and not responding. Doesn’t answer calls but will call me.
  • ❄❄❄ Calls perhaps a little less than normal. Calls are shorter. Frosty reception but periods of normalcy. No kisses, no I love yous, no take cares, no joking comments. Will not let me off the phone if I am upset to make sure I am OK but no real warmth as such. If I question him about the state of our relationship he is non-commital. May seem OK when he is talking to his family.
  • ❄❄ Calls are as frequent as normal. More normal conversation – asks if I am OK, talks about everyday things. Will tell me to take care, and sleep well. Sporadically will send kisses. Some calls start OK, some start with moods. Definite thawing. Still no ‘I love you’. Responds with ‘I know’ or ‘thank you’ if I say it to him. Will pass the phone to his family for me to say hello.
  • ❄ Some joking. Some kisses at the end of calls. Tells me not to be sad and checks I am OK but may seem annoyed whilst on calls. Often interchangeable with ❄❄ until there is a sudden return to normal, lovable and loving Wildcard.

You also need to remember that I’ve seen this from the other side – weeks of him barely speaking to his mum when they have rowed. I think I get off lightly in comparison though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

So, yesterday we were moving between❄❄❄ and ❄❄. There was a five hour stint of no contact which is unusual but he seemed a little more himself. After an afternoon call I couldn’t take it any longer and had to ask him what was going on.

We started with messaging and then I just called. We were on the phone over an hour. What is clear is that he was as unhappy with me being in the car with my ex as the fact that I was late in telling him. For example, I told him how important he was to me, and he replied that he was ‘not that important if you get in the car with your ex’. He feels I should have asked him his opinion when the option came up.

Jealous, yes. Controlling? Maybe a little. This is very much a cultural thing. But part of me is thinking, if we are that serious that I need to confirm that with you, where is the engagement ring and the commitment from you? There is also a part of me that realises the depth of his feeling from his reaction. He loves me enough to keep calling and to be jealous but is angry all the same.

Anyway, there were a lot of tears on my part. I asked him straight out if he still loved me and wanted me (a stupid question if you consider my previous paragraph but at the time…) and I got ‘not important’ which is his stock phrase when he is being awkward.

I cried and he stayed on the phone. If I disappeared to blow my nose he would call me in panic until I returned. He asked why I was crying as he should be the one crying as I had done the bad thing. ??!!

At the end of the call, once I had stopped crying sufficiently, he told me to take care, sleep well and even gave me a kiss. Moments later he even messaged to say goodnight and tell me not to be sad which was a temporary move to ❄.

Today, he called me a number of times this morning as he was getting ready to go to a family wedding. He warned me he would be busy today and so would speak to me later. Probably a ❄❄ overall. Who knows, maybe being busy will help him miss me.

Anger and relief

As I said in my previous post, things with Wild Card were getting steadily better.

I told him I was worrying about him because he wasn’t himself. He said he was ok. We had a couple of good conversations, but equally, there were a couple when he was quiet and snappy again. I think what actually turned the tables was when he conversed with my youngest – he was his typical, animated and charming self. Half an hour later, he was not like that with me. Realisation dawned.

I know there have been other things going on in his life. And maybe that is affecting his mood and his reaction to me. I understand that. I wish I knew more about it to understand more but that’s his choice. But what was clear, is that he could turn off that ‘mood’ when he wanted. He could be normal with my son – jovial and happy – no matter what he was feeling. And I am grateful for that. Maybe he felt like he didn’t need to pretend with me. Or, maybe, the whole mood was because of me. Despite my apologies and tears and regret, he was still angry.

So, I got angry. Not a loss of temper as such, I didn’t start shouting or anything, but I challenged him. We didn’t argue but there were words. And then a hasty goodnight.

Half an hour later, I had to text for my own sanity. I told him I didn’t want to fight anymore and I just wanted to feel his love. Could he love me like before again.

His reply?

“Are you crazy? You know I love you.”

I asked him if he was still angry and he said he didn’t know. Which of course means yes. The text exchange ended relatively positively.

Yesterday, for the most part, things were back to normal. I was relieved. I felt like I was myself again. It had cleared the air, somehow. We had an evening of joking and laughing again. I was happy.

Today? Well. I am happy. But I’m pensive.

Is it OK that he took a week to come down from this? Did I deserve that? Should I respect his feelings and accept that people take longer to process this stuff than me?

What am I doing? Am I blinded? Are we really as suitable for each other as I want to believe?

How much has Covid and everything help contributed to this moment? Are my expectations too high or is my mood too low?

I long for him. I long for the day that I am next to him again.

But I can’t deny that there is a part of me that’s hurting too.

Letting go… Just a little.

I want to say that everything is alright, but it isn’t. No matter how many ways I force myself to look at it, it isn’t.

Yesterday started off well. There was still an edge to him but he called as usual in the morning and we even laughed about our antics the night before.

In the afternoon I decided to text him as I was missing him. Just a little text. Maybe I shouldn’t. Who knows? But I was missing him so I did.

I got a response a few hours later: he’d been asleep. I called him and we chatted. Or, I should say, I did most of the talking, filling him in on my day. He was half asleep as he had just woken and he didn’t say a great deal, other than ask a few questions.

The call ended and my stomach sank.

He called me after he had eaten. Once again he was quiet. We spoke briefly then he said he would go. So, with my new impetus on being honest I asked why? He said he had nothing to talk about and he wanted to watch something. So, we are still doing this, are we? I said that there were lots of things we could talk about and I felt like he wasn’t even trying. His response? ‘Like what?’

I told him that I just wanted to be with him (he said ‘I know’) and this was making me feel that he didn’t want to be with me.

“That’s your problem, not mine.”

By this point he’d gone into defensive position (eyes shut like he’s going to sleep which he may well have been) and I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I said it was our problem as we were in a relationship. I told him I would go then. He shrugged his shoulders and said ‘If you want.’ I told him I didn’t want to.

I attempted another conversation with limited success and then I just gave up. I said goodnight, that I loved him and blew a kiss. I barely got a response.

I took an hour to reflect. If he wants to go, I just need to let him whether it’s because he’s still making the point, sulking or just wants to be alone. I’m getting nowhere otherwise. By pursing it, I’d once again nearly started an argument with him when he wasn’t in the mood.

So, I text to say I was sorry, that I just wanted to be with him because I missed him. I said goodnight and sent a kiss. An hour later, he sent me a kiss back.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking since then. As I said, it’s not good, however you look at it.

I can’t keep making excuses for his current behaviour. Maybe he is a little depressed – with the situation in his country I can hardly blame him. Maybe he’s still sulking. Maybe he is pulling away, despite what he says. Fact is, his moods at the moment are hurting me.

Perhaps I need to be stronger. Perhaps I need to have more faith in his insistence that he doesn’t have a problem with me. One thing I have realised, is that I can’t keep chasing him. It’s getting me nowhere.

So, I’m letting go, to an extent.

Courtesy of me.me

I’m going to text in the morning as I always do. But then, I’m going to give him space to contact me. I will check in with a text in the afternoon if I don’t hear from him. I still want him to know that I miss him, that I’m there if he wants me which is important if he is low.

If he wants to end a call, I will let him with a smile on my face. I can’t make him want to talk to me and so making an issue out of it is counterintuitive.

If he behaves in a way that upsets me or I am worried about anything, I will let him know. But at the moment, I’m not expecting him to want to talk like he did – if he is low, then he’s not going to want to. Likewise, if he’s pulling away this will just be more fuel to the fire.

My strategy is to check in, remind him that I’m here and I love him, but give him the space that he needs or wants at the moment. For whatever reason.

And in the meantime, I’m going to work on myself and my own resilience.

If he’s pulling away, there’s nothing I can do other than remind him occasionally that I still love him and want him but let him make his own decision. I need to use this time to prepare myself for the end, if this is what it is. It’s going to destroy me so mentally I need to prepare and limit the damage.

If he is low then he needs space not further problems. So again, check in, let him know I’m not going anywhere, but watch from a distance and see how this pans out. Having experienced poor mental health myself, I’m not going to run from him – these are unique and challenging times. But I need to learn about him and whether our relationship can be sustained. Maybe it can’t.

And if he’s still sulking? This is a red flag. It’s big enough that I need to decide whether I can cope with it or whether it’s a deal breaker. I’ve apologised enough. I’ve let my feelings be known. So if it is sulking, it will blow over, and I need to use this time to work out if I can deal with this in our relationship.

The caveat to this is that Ramadan and lockdown are having a major impact in many people’s lives. I can not under-estimate that. In my heart, I need to be sure that it’s not these things that are causing the issue. Which is why I’m letting go, for now. I’m stepping back and letting this play out and giving myself some space to think.

We learn and grow from relationships. Learning isn’t easy. We learn when things are not easy. This situation is giving me opportunity to learn about myself, about him and about us as a couple. That’s the normal part of a developing relationship. I just need to keep going. Whether this is the end or a crack in the plate (read my previous posts to understand this reference), maybe it is happening so I can learn from it. To calm down, refocus, prioritise myself again.

All I know is, nothing else seems to be working consistently so this is worth a shot. And whatever the reason for his behaviour, I still love

Sulking off the pedestal.

In a vain attempt to pull Wild Card out of his sulk, or at least learn how to deal with it better, I of course have read whatever I can.

Anything you read online has to be taken with some caution. Just because someone claims to be an expert/doctor /whatever, doesn’t mean they are or even that they’re any good. At least though, it makes me feel some control and gives me a distraction – – even though the distraction is still him. Weird but true.

These are the highlights from my study:

Sulking in adults usually comes from learnt behaviour as a child.

It is passive-aggressive and non confrontational. But designed to create the most impact and irritation for those on the receiving end whilst the sulker is feigning innocence.

Sulking happens when someone feels betrayed or let down by someone close to them. Someone they thought knew them better. Someone that they love.

Sulkers act this way because they are hurt and angry and don’t know how to express these feelings appropriately or how to deal with them.

The purpose of sulking is to get the other person to feel what the sulker is feeling. Their intended’s attempts at reconsoliation or apology will be ignored or denied a number of times.

Real reconciliation will only happen when the sulker feels that their intended has learnt their lesson, understood their wrong doing. This is often a power or control play. It is manipulative. The intended will need to show a high level of distress or anxiety for this to happen.

At this point, all is forgiven as the point has been made.

Sulking involves silent treatment, one word answers, eye rolling, tone of voice, sighs. They will respond to questions about what is wrong with ‘nothing’. Any irritation shown by the intended will be used as extra fuel for the sulking because the passive aggressive behaviour makes them look innocent.

Despite its manipulative outlook, sulking is actually unpleasant for the sulker too. They are in distress, feel let down and alone.

My last conversation with Wild Card tonight proved that he is still sulking with me but still claiming there is nothing wrong.

But you know, today was more than that. It wasn’t just malicious sulking with the design of teaching me a lesson. That was yesterday. Today, I actually realised how low he was.

I don’t know if our altercation has caused this low mood. But he’s not just sulking, he is unhappy. So maybe, he is not the only one who has fallen off his pedestal. Maybe I have for him, too.

I took something we both loved and enjoyed and devalued it with an angry, flippant comment. Which I don’t even mean. So, yes, I probably have fallen off my pedestal too.

There’s a crack in the plate.

So, there is definitely a crack in the plate. Hairline, I think, but it’s still there.

I was not in a good place this morning. I was tired and emotionally worn out. I had lots of thoughts running through my head, some of them that I did not expect to see a few weeks ago:

Maybe he is not the person I thought he was.

Can I go on like this, if this is his pattern of behaviour for dealing with hurt?

His hurt and reaction is justified to a point – it was my fault. His sulking and, with sad realisation, his subsequent manipulation, was not justified.

Maybe this is the beginning of the end. And if it is, I say here with my hand on my heart, I will not love again. I’m done with it all.

Of course, it’s not over yet. In essence, I myself am sulking today. And there poses my first problem – don’t know how to act today. I’m sad and I don’t want to pretend that I’m happy – he will see through it anyway. I don’t want to be petulant and negative either.

Do you want to know what happened?

In anger, I said, “Why did you call me? Why did you call me if you don’t want to talk to me?”

So let’s go back to what I said. I was too ashamed to mention it in my first post.

Let’s add some context. He’s tired. The moment was pretty quiet and that was an angry outburst. We were doing what we have done for months – enjoying each other’s company even though there wasn’t much to say. We do it every day and I love it. His way of showing his love, whether he is aware of this or not, is the amount of time and contact he makes. He is usually the one to call me and include me in his daily life. And I love it.

So why did I say it? I was frustrated and angry. I missed him and wanted his attention. I wanted him to flirt and laugh with me. I wanted more than he was physically able to give me in that situation. So anxiety took over. Bad thoughts crept in. And, in an explosive outburst, I said that.

Maybe it doesn’t seem much to you. But I know him like he knows me. I have basically thrown a fundamental part of our relationship back in his face. I have cheapened it and made it feel like I never wanted all that contact and those times of just ‘hanging out’. I hurt him and criticised his wanting to just be with me.

The annoying part is, it is actually one of the things I really, really love about our relationship. Sure, it’s become more regular due to coronavirus and lock down. Before that, there were texts in the morning and a few videochats in the evening. We were both at work and had other elements to our lives. But that doesn’t mean I want it to change yet.

So, his response? (Please keep in mind what I’ve just said. I caused this.)

He first tried to end the call. Then, when I wouldn’t let him because I had realised what I had done, he said that he would no longer call me unless he had something to say. And at the moment, there wasn’t anything to say. He said that I could call him if I wanted to. Later , he said that maybe we should just have one videochat a day and texting. And I should choose a time when that should be.

So yesterday, true to his word, and the first day of sulking, he did not call me once. He responded to my usual morning text with a text instead of a call. I called him and we proceeded as usual, although he didn’t talk a great deal. I asked him when he would finish work as this would be the next time we would usually talk. He again said he wouldn’t call but did message me and we had a videochat again. At one point he asked if I had anything to say, which was of course a bitter reference to our argument. He then said that we would talk later.

We had two more conversations, at the usual times – I called him. The last one, he text me so I would call. It all sounds very childish, and it is. He’s hurt and he’s making a point. I get that. Does he need to do it this way? No. I’ve acknowledged the blame, I’ve apologised. But I also know from a couple of occasions before, that this is his pattern.

The last call is the one that has made him slip from his pedestal. The pedestal that I put him on.

It started off OK. I knew that he was still sulking and decided to continue to acknowledge his hurt, even though he denied it, and my guilt. He pursued his present thoughts… He would not call unless he had something to say. I could call him but maybe its best just once a day. Oh and this was my idea, not his.

He got the reaction he wanted. I told him how much I loved the way things were and that I didn’t want it to change. I reminded him of the many, many times where I have just been around him as he’s washed his car, or talked to his family and that I loved that. I acknowledged that I had said something hurtful that I didn’t mean and I was sorry. I told him that his calls were how I knew he loved me and that this was our relationship and I was happy with it. I also said that if we went back to just texts and one call then I was no better than any of his other ‘Facebook friends’.

Only when I was crying did he stop. He apologised repeatedly and asked me why I was crying (!).

Today is day two of sulking.

It’s better than yesterday and much better than the last time he behaved like this. But, he’s quiet – no joking, no laughing. I am getting kisses. I’ve been asked why I was calling and I replied that I just wanted to be with him. He didn’t respond but we stayed on the phone. He did text me spontaneously today too.

So, if he stays true to form, his mood will improve as the days go on until he’s back to normal. There is absolutely no point in trying to talk through this again when he’s in this mood. But talk about it we will.

For my part, this is yet another warning sign that I need to get control of my anxiety and insecurity and not allow myself to blurt out an emotional response. I need to listen to what he says and logically respond. If he’s tired, say goodnight and end the call. Likewise if he’s quiet, ask if he’s OK, try to engage and then end the call if he cant/won’t.

In a way he is probably right. Maybe we were spending too much time on the phone. Maybe it is time things change a little – the way I see it, I’m going to be back in work more from now on. Lockdown will end eventually and not only will this mean that both of our lives will be filled with family and hobbies – things to talk about! – but hopefully we will be able to talk about me visiting again.

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.

Patience and understanding

My mood is very much like the weather at the moment. Beautiful blue sky meet dark clouds.

I’m terms of the amount of contact yesterday, Wild Card called me as normal (apart from the late call in the morning). Our videochats lasted as long as normal. He however, is still not.

I think to myself: he would not call and stay on the phone unless he wanted to see me and be with me. He has no need to prolong this relationship if unhappy. There is no shortage of women interested in him. I try to stay positive and jovial even. Whatever his problem is, I don’t want to add to it anymore. He said I’ve done nothing wrong and it isn’t me, so I have to believe him.

Last night’s last call was a little more typical. He actually cracked some jokes and made me laugh for a while. I actually felt quite emotional… Like he was coming back to me.

But the affection is still missing from his calls. I don’t know if he’s just not feeling it, or he’s trying to prove a point. (And irrational brain wonders if he has met someone else or he’s trying to pull away but we are ignoring irrational brain at the moment.)

In the end, who knows? Only him. There’s nothing I can do but trust he will tell me if I have annoyed him, which he usually does, and try to be supportive and positive.

Last night I tried to research Ramadan and its effects a little more and there is evidence that it affects mood and behaviour. He’s definitely not his cheery self but as he is still making contact, I have to believe that is what it is.

Today he has called as normal – on the way to work and on the way home and as he shopped. Parts of our conversation almost felt like normal. I also spoke to his mother again – he would not have me in the car with her, or speaking to her, if he was pulling away from our relationship.

So, patience, understanding and logical thinking is the order of the day.