Trip 5, day 1

Travelling makes you patient. That’s my new revelation.

I’m sat waiting for my flight. I’ve seen the gate number on the Ryanair app but it hasn’t yet appeared on the notice board. There are a handful of people here and I’ve bagged a great seat next to an industrial fan.

Boarding doesn’t close for another 45 minutes. Soon the rush of people will be here.

There is a marked difference in the airport this time – now Covid has apparently departed, people are travelling again. I was lucky enough to travel last year and can see and feel the difference. Despite the bad press, this London Airport was smooth and efficient. Too efficient really- I was through security in a blink. What I will say is, it’s clear some people have forgotten the rules of travel: there were lots of people who were sent away to repack.

I need patience. I’ve realised how much I can be impatient and how this is a trigger for my anxiety. I automatically think the worst.

I’ve got two weeks with Wildcard. I can’t wait. I also can’t deny that something has shifted and I’m not sure what.

However, I was really really happy last night when he told me that he has taken 9 days off. Actions speak louder than words – I’ve said this before – he is choosing to use his holidays to be with me.

After a major wobble the other week, I had an enlightening conversation with my Facebook friend, one of two who are in serious relationships with men from Wildcard’s County. This wonderful lady has been a rock for me and has helped me navigate many a relationship stress. She’s talked me through this one, and made me realise how some of my behaviour has put pressure on him around my visits.

She’s an expert. Her husband is living with her and they have two small children. She’s lived this life and whilst she acknowledges the difficulties, she’s happy.

She helped me put a new perspective on some of his recent behaviours. She’s honest and highlights the good and bad in this life we lead. She says I’ve helped her as much as she’s helped me. It’s funny how we find people like that, when we need them.

And so to patience. Here are my trip pledges:

I am patient and understanding.

I am reflective of how others feel, not just me.

I’m committed to relax, laugh and enjoy.

I will not apply pressure to myself or him. It helps no one.

And now, to wait patiently.

Straight and clear

I’ve often wondered if I have some form of SEN, following my son’s diagnosis. I know I am not alone in doing this. Maybe it’s due to reading through all those symptoms and recognising some in yourself…I don’t know. It can be hereditary so it has to come from somewhere.

I like things to be straight and clear. I like to know what I am doing. I don’t like blurred lines or uncertainty. Or last minute changes that make no sense. The fact that my career in English teaching has evolved my ability to analyse and see multiple possibilities and interpretations probably doesn’t help me here. The desire, no the need to know can often be overwhelming. My sisters, and daughter for that matter, often joke about this trait in me. I don’t find it funny – I just want to know where I am at.

Last night, Wild Card called me in some distress. His mum had taken ill earlier in the week and he had taken her to hospital. I will never forget the look on his face when he called me from the hospital, the distress and pain in his fleeting call. Or his crying when they got home. He had never cried before, he told me. He has not been himself almost week, understandably. Last night, his mum had told his she was still unwell and he was worried sick.

He opened up to me, talked about what had been going on recently, where before he had only hinted. He criticised himself and his actions, blaming himself where there was no blame. His description of himself – wanting things to be straight and clear, openly speaking his mind – was just like me. His self-imposed guilt and grief and love for his mother made me love him even more, if that is possible.

Of course, I wouldn’t wish his mother or him ill. But is it wrong that I was glad he was opening up to me? That he had turned to me when he was at his worst, again and again? That he could show me the most vulnerable side to himself and wanted me to be there for him?

I hate that he is pain. My heart ached as I watched and listened because, what could I do? Not even hug and kiss him. But I was there, at least I was there.

I love every part of him. Every last part. And I willing him to love me too. I know, deep in my soul that we would be good together. I just don’t know if that will ever happen. He wants everything to be straight and clear, but I am not 100% sure what that means in relation to us. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, I know. But I need to see that it is in one of the interpretations.

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.

Passive aggressive pain

I waited until 5.45pm and decided to call. Having spoken to my sister (the one who likes Wild Card) and a friend separately, they’d both said a similar thing – yes, I made a mistake but it was nothing huge. He has over-reacted and I just need to give him time.

When I called he answered the phone. He was in his work vehicle and was driving. He answered the way he always does and for a second I had hope that all was well.

But then there was an awkward silence and he said we would speak later.

I ended up calling him again though, later when he was at home. And although he said there was no problem and he was not angry that was clearly not the case. He read and typed on his phone the whole time we were on videochat. He pretended he didn’t hear me when I spoke. I got one word answers.

I apologised. No response. I asked if he wanted me to go. That’s your business. Did he still want to be with me? Doesn’t matter. None of your business.

I was in despair. He answered the phone and didn’t ended the call quickly but was clearly not happy with me. In the end, he was called for dinner so said goodbye. I sent him a message, trying desperately to explain and turn things around while he was gone.

When he must have returned to his room I got an ‘OK’ and a ‘goodnight’. No night time call.

I cried that night and my sleep was disturbed. I woke the next morning feeling heavy and glum. I fought tears for most of the day.

He responded to my morning text but ignored a later one where I told him that I would be late home. So naturally, by the time I got home I was not good.

I waited until 6.30 but when he didn’t call, I again called him. He had just finished work and was driving home. Upon entering his home though, he started arguing with this mum and so said he would speak to me later. I got a brief call about an hour later, telling me he was out with family and would call again.

Part of me felt better. He was answering my calls. He had called me back. But the warmth was gone, the conversation, the smiles.

Again, by 9.30 I had heard nothing. After an argument with myself – if he wanted to speak to you, he would call – I decided to try anyway. I love him, i want to speak to him and I want to show him that I don’t want this to end.

He answered, surprisingly as he was at a family’s home. He showed me on the video and as usual, there was silence as he cannot talk to me when there – its a cultural thing. I mouthed ‘are you ok’ and the call ended. There was then a text back and forth – pretty much in line with the previous night’s call. He gave one word answers.

Then, during a pause where I honestly could not think of a thing to say to revive the converstaion, he sent this:

“I am thinking that you were not well, lying to me. I can’t believe it.”

Wow. You can read so much into that, can’t you? Like he never thought I would lie. That he thought better of me. His disappointment. Sadness. And, yes, anger.

I sent an answer. I explained that yes, I was really stressed at that time. That I made a mistake, panicked when he called me out on it and lied to cover it. I reminded him how well he knows me, that he knows when I hide things or lie and that I have never done this before and will promise never to again. I told him how much he means to me.

I was rewarded with a short call when he got home – normality. It was short, but always is, and there was perhaps a little less anger but still no real conversation. Another day of limbo and grief.

Oh

Today, the borders opened unexpectedly in Wild Card’s country.

It’s all a bit of a mystery. Covid is raging there at the moment. There are rules and guidelines to who can enter – so tourism isn’t fully open, but tourists from certain countries (UK included) can visit.

It came as a bit of a shock considering. My immediate reaction was – ‘oh great, open when I just go back to work.’ Then, ‘this is not going to help me as the UK requires a two week quarantine after travel.’ After a few moments of unsuccessfully working out how to persuade my headteacher to let me have three weeks off, I realised it is still a no-go until something changes. Who knows, maybe I will be able to go in October or December if I’m lucky. Which I am not.

Wild Card seemed as surprised as I was and he lives there. My joking that ‘I’m coming’ (I had already explained that I can’t) didn’t go well though.

We had a serious and meaningful (alone, sorry sister) conversation where he told me why he didn’t think I should come to see him. Basically he’s worried that his government will make a sudden u turn and I woild be stranded. He said that he would be responsible for me if I was there and he didn’t want that problem or responsibility of the government made a snap decision. He said he was ‘noone’ so wouldn’t be able to do anything to help. It made him nervous.

He kept saying how I must not think he did not want me to go and that if I was happy with the risks then I was welcome. But he felt that he must explain the situation in his country and how he felt. He didn’t want me to go through that. And could I not wait? Waiting was OK, wasn’t it? Until it was safe?

So, yes, I was a little disappointed even though I knew I couldn’t go and it was hard not to think he just didn’t want the hassle of me going. Or that I was some lovesick child that wasn’t thinking straight. What he said made sense though and I kept assuring him that I understood and wouldn’t do anything without him being happy about it. (He said it was nothing to do with him being happy but you get what I meant.)

Thing is, apart from it being a meaningful conversation, he has once again proved himself. Me not going is prolonging this ever getting serious as defined by the laws and culture of his country. If he didn’t care, he would not be advising me to wait until it was safe. And surely, he would be desperate for me to come to ‘woo’ me into this fake marriage.

So, yup, it stung a little but I want entirely unhappy allthesame.

Need

Yesterday morning he didn’t call as usual.

I sent my daily morning text at the same time as always. I started to put my make up on, eyes occasionally straying to the clock – I could expect a call any time from 9.20 to 9.50 – the usual being around 9.30am.

He didn’t call in that period but it wasn’t unexpected because he wasn’t in work. But at 10.30 I still hadn’t heard from him so I called him.

He answered the phone lying in bed, eyes sleepy. He picked up the phone and brought it close to his face, closer than usual, and kissed me. For the next 5 minutes, amongst husky questions of ‘are you ok?’ He kissed me, smiled at me , brought me close.

It’s amazing how loved you can feel despite being on different continents.

My heart raced, my stomach fluttered and I can’t tell you how much I longed to be with him…feeling those gorgeous soft lips on mine again. Feeling his love.

It has now been six months since we have been together. My April trip was cancelled. May’s likewise. My July flights were cancelled and so now have my August flights.

Rumours fly that his country may open in October or December. As a teacher, I have holidays in both these months but I dare not hope. He has told me to put this year out of my head. The Covid situation in his country is not good and in the UK, things seem to be getting worse.

For someone who already suffered relationship anxiety, this situation is getting tougher. Will he wait for me?

Yesterday my head was in turmoil – not just because of this situation. My sister has just split with her selfish idiot of her husband after he threw her and all her belongings out of the house. She’s living with me whilst she attempts to find somewhere to live. My ex father in law has recently been admitted into hospital with heart failure and despite being divorced form his son, I’m still worried about him. I don’t want to think about work. I was supposed to go in yesterday but couldn’t as my youngest was now at my house because of his grandad’s illness. Not to mention that mentally I couldn’t cope with it.

I have done nothing more in my six weeks than pray for borders to open that have remained shut. I’ve cleaned my house, cared for my children. I’ve read books and painted pictures. I’ve hosted for my sisters and their families. I feel like I have done nothing and achieved nothing and there are only two weeks left of my holidays.

I needed my trip to Wild Card. I needed to see him and feel him. I needed to evaluate where this is going so that I can once and for all put these demons to bed. But I also needed and wanted to focus on just one thing for a little while, something that gives me so much pleasure and happiness even with its associated anxiety. I needed a holiday. I needed to think about just myself and just be me. I needed to escape and follow my dreams, just for a little while.

Today we have laughed uncontrollably. My mum has tutted and frowned and called us both crazy whilst smiling at me whilst I laughed at the phone, watching him laugh back. I loved every second of it.

I don’t know how I’m going to fill the next two weeks. I don’t know how I am going to fulfil those needs – it just seems impossible.

Everything is crossed.

I’ve waited a few days, just to be sure, but – dare I say it – my relationship with Wild Card has gone back to normal.

Sunday was the end of Ramadan and there was a noticeable (for me anyway) change in him. It’s like he lost an ‘edge’… not as strong as a change in atmosphere but something like that…a weight lifting… You know what I mean.

Since then, things have been really good. 😁

That doesn’t mean things are forgotten though. There was some behaviour that was perhaps amplified by the situation but that we both need to learn from.

Anyway, for now, I’m just going to enjoy being with him virtually and try not to think too longingly of the summer when hopefully I can visit again. Obviously, with this week being half term and borders still being closed, summer will be the earliest.

I’ve got everything crossed.

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.

Why? And learning.

The last few days have been much better with Wild Card.

The day after my last post, I continued to be as bright and sparkly as I could be. I ignored any irritability he showed unless I thought it was worthy of comment. I had to comment once. Apart from my standard morning text, I did not contact him but let him take the initiative. I’m not game-playing here. I just felt that, with the mood he had been in, giving him some space and time was important.

Boy was it hard though. I kept busy, making myself do the things I needed to do. I played music and sang to keep my mind occupied. I repeated my mantra whenever I felt myself get anxious.

His contact went back to his usual routine. As before, each call he seemed more and more like himself, but still tired. And he commented repeatedly that he thought I hadn’t missed him.

I’ve continued to read Mark Mason’s online articles and I continue to like them. They make sense. A couple of things he said really struck me and I took the time to really think and work through what he was saying; writing things down and exploring.

I know I over-analyse. It’s the curse of an English teacher. But what I have realised is that I often run with my initial, anxiety driven perceptions. I’ve talked about this before on this blog – nothing new as such – but considering Wild Card’s ‘motivations’ (Mark Manson suggestion), not just his speech and actions was a turning point for me. Asking why.

And the thing about asking why, is you can’t just go off your first answer. You need to ask again. It’s no different from analysing a text. I needed to be much more objective.

My conclusions?

That my own insecurities make him insecure. By questioning his feelings, by being jealous, I am unintentionally making him question mine. And I hate it when he questions mine. So how must he feel?

Somehow, things just slotted into place. I realised that following recent events and the possible cause of them, and his comments about me not missing him, I needed to show him that I do love him.

So, for the last few days, I have done just that. I’ve told him how much I miss him and love him. I’ve sent him the odd text in the day, just to let him know.

And things have been much, much better. Yesterday, apart from his tiredness, he was pretty much back to normal: funny, affectionate and even flirty. I’ve relaxed even more.

So, why did this happen?

He wasn’t himself because of Ramadan. I took his mood the wrong way and behaved badly. It isn’t all about me! This further caused stress for him which made him even more moody which in turn made me more anxious.

Relationships are hard work. And, thinking about it, it seems right that even though I’ve found someone who lights up my world and is everything I’ve ever wanted, it’s natural that I will have anxiety. It’s normal that I will need to learn – look at this way, I’ve only got failed relationships under my belt, haven’t I? Doesn’t matter how amazing he is, I need to work on myself.

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.