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.

Advertisement

Day 12 – thinking and honesty

Is thinking dangerous? Would I be happier if my thoughts were as simple as the life I led?

Or do we miss something by living in the moment? Do we fail to see the bigger picture, the rest of the puzzle, whilst we scrutinise the one piece, engrossed in all its colours and intricacies?

Now for honesty. At least to myself. You may have worked this out days ago.

I came here for many reasons. To escape my life and problems at home. To see my boyfriend after 16 months. And to confirm my future.

I’d hoped, that this second longer trip would clear the uncertainty, either way. Please do not assume that I excepted hearts and roses. I expected a frank and honest conversation. I expected to discuss issues and make a decision on how, and if, to proceed. I wasn’t expecting a proposal but I was expecting a discussion about its possibility.

Part of the difficulty comes from our different cultures, and the modern fluidity of his. On the one hand, me being there at all with him and his family is a sign of the seriousness of our relationship. He has said as much himself over the months. Whilst we have tried to be respectful, his parents must be aware that he sneaks in and out of my room morning and night. They leave us alone, albeit briefly, when they shop. They’ve seen him rest his legs in my lap, him tickle me, heard his playful slaps on my bottom. They’ve seen our glances and smiles and playful looks.

On the other, the fact I am there at all and they know these things show the modernity of their thinking. Are they accepting of the seriousness of our relationship or are they modern enough to accept that it might not be the case?

If Wildcard was of a different nationality or even religion, me being here after nearly two years together would mean less. I expect a serious discussion because of his culture.

For whatever reason, he can’t tell me the extent of how he feels. I know he loves me. I know he cares for me. But I don’t know how much. I sometimes think he is scared to admit his feelings. I sometimes wonder if his feelings are as deep as I would like.

Whilst his lack of in-depth discussion worries me, I am comforted by his touches and kisses and concern. Today, when he came home from work he was unwell. I sat with him as normal until it was clear he was asleep. I started writing this post and, realising I too was sleepy left him to rest whilst I retired to his room. Half an hour later he arrived. He shut the blinds, took off his shirt and legs entangled, we fell asleep together.

Putting his culture aside, surely by now he would know if he wants to be with me? And if he didn’t, given the opportunities our long-distance-covid-affected relationship has given, he could have moved on quite easily and painlessly. He hasn’t though. He has dealt with my fear and my tears and disappointments and he has stuck around. He has asked for nothing.

And yet, he has given nothing either. No insight into his heart or his feelings.

So maybe I have to accept that this man loves me, but not enough.

Underwhelmed

You never thought that I would write that, eh?

My state of being seems to be constantly overwhelmed although I do an amazing job of ploughing through it 90% of the time.

So why the title? Allow me to explain.

Today is the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s a weird one, because I actually count yesterday too. On the 6th June 2018 we made the decision to end my dad’s suffering and take him off the respirator which was prolonging his life. He was tired, bruised and had suffered for two weeks in attempt to pull through. He was staying alive for us. Fighting, but ultimately losing.

That day we said our goodbyes. And then my sisters and I stayed with him all night, watching him fall unconscious, singing to him, talking to him, loving him the best we could at his bedside. So although he died at 1am on 7th June, we lost him on the 6th.

My eyes are stinging as I write this, but there are no real tears. Maxed out antidepressants will do that to a girl. If you remember, a month ago when all the crap with work started I was reluctant to up my dose – defiantly not wanting work to be the thing that put me on max dose. Honestly, I’m still not sure I should have agreed – I’m not the walking zombie I was four years ago. But I have taken them and today I am coping.

The fact is, for the first few years, every significant date seemed like a massive hurdle, a tsunami of emotion. Today, I realise it doesn’t matter what day it is. I miss him every single day. I wish he was here every single day. So the date is irrelevant.

Except of course it isn’t. And I probably will cry at some point. But, I’m not the mess I was last year, or the year before.

And I’m convinced dad sent me a little gift last night. Late at night I received a message from a friend telling my that Wildcard’s borders are finally opening and that at present, the UK are on the list for entry.

You know I believe in the power of coincidences. And for me, at this time, being told that is a gift, a message….

Life changes. It has its ups and its downs. It ebbs and it flows. And you just have to ride the waves, keep your head above water and keep swimming.

Being honest though, the underwhelmed title is less about me and more about Wildcard.

Last night, whilst morosely but stoically remembering the pain of my dad’s passing, I was also filled with an excitement and happiness about the news. (As someone with anxiety and depression, I am a pro at feeling conflicting emotions at once.) I went on to Ryanair to see the flights and allowed myself to reach in to the now no so distant future to when I can fly to Wildcard.

So this morning, I was even more looking forward to speaking to Wildcard. I sat, drinking coffee and attempted to complete a painting I had started of me and my dad. Up until this week, I haven’t had the strength to finish it (thank you antidepressants).

So when he called and we had got the daily ‘good mornings’ and ‘how are yous’ and ‘did you sleep well?’, I waited for the moment…

‘So, do you have any news?’ At this point he is in the car driving to work. He is a little late, as always, and 19 months in, I know the exact moments of his drive to speak and when to wait whilst he manoeuvres out of a junction etc.

He hasn’t mentioned the borders. Maybe he doesn’t know yet?

So I tell him.

“Ah yes, around the 15th I think.”

So he did know. And that was that. No hasty discussion about when I was coming, not even excitement that it won’t be long until we are together.

I was stunned. There was a few moments of silence.

“What baby?” He glanced at me as he drove.

Maybe this isn’t the time. He’s driving, he is late for work. It is my Dad’s anniversary. His friend died yesterday. We are still on amber.

“Nothing, I’m ok.”

And so, today, that is what I will settle for. An underwhelming ‘ok’.

Hello…

Hello out there. I disappeared again but I am back. I’m hoping you haven’t disappeared too.

I’m sipping coffee on a chilly, autumnal morning. I love autumn. The feeling of change in the air…the colours, the warm sun and cooler breezes…the fires, dark nights and bright mornings.

My dad loved autumn too and he has been in my thoughts a lot recently. I miss him terribly.

There has been some development though. I have been on my increased medication for some weeks now and it is having a positive effect. I feel calmer. Proof of that was when I listened to a set of songs from my Dad’s death and funeral. And I didn’t cry. I was sad, yes, but the overwhelming wave of emotion didn’t crush me. I felt like that was progress…I hope it was.

Work has been ridiculously crazy. Unless you are working in the education sector, you have absolutely no idea how difficult it is the moment with all the Covid restrictions. School is a maelstrom of stress and anxiety and concern: caution, change and long long hours. Staff are exhausted. Pupils are unhappy. It’s not easy but life goes on, of a fashion.

Added to that for me, is that my school is in the process of becoming an academy. More stress. More anxiety. Rumours of job losses and change. Certain staff in school have been particularly stressed and that has made for a very uncomfortable atmosphere in meetings. Other staff are out for what they can get, maneuvering themselves into a better position and not caring who they step on. It’s horrible. I value my integrity too much for that, so I’m sticking with honesty and working the best I can.

Interestingly the Covid and academy situations have come together to create an interesting situation. At one point, five of our leadership were absent, leaving the four of us in charge without a Head or Deputy or the capacity to cover the duties as normal. We came together and worked better as a team than we have ever done. And then, the academy staff came in to help and having worked with them for two weeks now, some of my anxiety is gone. I like how they work. I just have to hope they like how I work too.

Which leaves me with Wild Card.

I’ve had weeks of things being really, really great. He’s reassured me. We’ve talked of our future together. We’ve laughed and we’ve loved.

And boy, do I love him. More and more and more. More than I thought ever possible. And it terrifies me that I feel so much. Because what I feel isn’t enough, is it? It has to be both of us.

There have been real signs and conversations that he feels this way too. Equally, some off moments. This week has been challenging as he had some issues at home and even though he said it wasn’t me, his behaviour towards me changed. It’s not the first time this has happened and I need to remember that. He told me, ‘I’m not ok, but I will be. It’s not you, everything between us is ok. You don’t need to worry.’ But it’s hard when he is emotionally distant even though he is in contact as much as ever.

Last night he was more himself again so hopefully things will return to normal. There’s still no sign of being able to get over there and it is now nearly nine months since I have been with him. It’s heart achingly hard. I sometimes wonder how this can ever work out but I have to keep positive and jeep faith that if it is meant to be, it will be.

Take care everyone.

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.

Contrasts

I am sat on a park bench. The sun is blindingly hot but there’s a wonderful breeze which is just taking the bite of the heat away.

The park is a hubbub of people and noise: groups of teenagers lurking; juniors on scooters or cartwheeling across the cool grass; babies in pushchairs accompanied by proud grandparents or tired mums.

The play area is crowded. Families are dotted on picnic blankets around the park. Every bench has an occupant or two.

I’ve just enjoyed eating my lunch on one of these benches after my first day back in work.

Sitting here, you wouldn’t think that Corona is still destroying the lives of so many people. You wouldn’t think that it’s keeping people apart as borders remain closed. Or destroying businesses and industries. You wouldn’t think that tomorrow, my colleague is burying her mother after waiting four weeks and suffering in the knowledge that the death could have been prevented. You wouldn’t think that I’ve seen children cry today because their ‘exam’ results are just another unfairness , added on to all the others they have faced in the last few months. You wouldn’t think that I’ve learnt that the academy will take over my school and that people will lose their jobs or their careers are going to change. Mine, more than likely.

For a few minutes I can sit. I can forget it all whilst listening to children laugh and while I feel the breeze and the sun in my face.

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.

Anxiety 1, Me 1

I think the increased anxiety medication is finally having some impact, thank goodness. That’s not to say I haven’t been anxious, but not quite as much and my mind has been able to process and calm myself a little. It’s an achievement, no matter how small.

My sister and I discussed my anxiety yesterday, particularly around Wild Card. We both acknowledged that my anxiety is to expected due to the distance (the Facebook LDR group has proved how normal my feelings are), Coronavirus and all its stress and then my own historical dating issues too.

Tuesday night, Wild Card and I had a bit of a wobble. We were both at fault. Once again, he demonstrated how well he knows me. In the end, it was nothing too serious and the call ended well. Yesterday everything was wonderful again.

As my mind is starting to work better through the anxiety, events have made me think. My sister’s questioning likewise.

I love him. I am wholly and completely in love with him. I don’t know how it happened or why and I certainly didn’t expect it to. But it has.

I’m scared of losing him. It makes me react sometimes in a way that creates problems. I’ve just got to realise, that if my irrational fears ever turn out to be true, then he wasn’t the person I thought he was or want to be with. It will sting but it’s the truth.

I know he loves me.

But we are eight months on. I’m waiting and waiting for those borders to open so I can be with him and take this to the next step. It’s essential. And yet – as my sister quite rightly pointed out – my mind has already taken that next step. Hours of daily videochat means that I feel like we have already done that, somehow. It’s confusing.

If you have never been in a long distance relationship you will not understand this. I wouldn’t have understood this before. My sister barely understands it. “How can you be in love with someone that you’ve been with for 7 days?”

But it’s not seven days. It doesn’t feel like seven days. It’s seven months. Seven months of seeing him on video chat, for hours every single day. That’s more than I saw my husband when we first met – it was once or twice a week with a couple of phone calls for about six months.

I’m frustrated, not just because I long to be with him (sexually, romantically – yes, but also just sat next to him in the car or eating dinner together.) but because I feel like I need proof that this really is what I am feeling.

I doubt myself and my thoughts. I allow my negativity to tell me that this can’t possibly be happening, he can’t possibly love me like that… There has to be a mistake or a misunderstanding or something nefarious going on because there is no way that this handsome, funny, caring man wants me. Or even if he does, it’s not going to last. I’m just temporary. Or someone better will come along and I will be forgotten. Or he will get sick of my… Whatever… And go and choose one of the many girls who like him.

Whilst those thoughts have always been there, the last few weeks of increased anxiety gave them a power to overwhelm me. To make my chest tight, heart pound. To make fear course through me.

But I know he love me.

And now I have some calm. If he ends up with another girl then he wasn’t who I thought he was and I don’t want him anyway. Ironically, trust and honesty is really important to me.

I may not be the most beautiful, or thin or intelligent or funny, but he phones me repeatedly every single day. It’s me he spends hours with, me he makes laugh.

Who says I’m not worthy of him? Or not good enough? Only me, it seems.

And if this was to end…well then it wasn’t meant to be. So I learn from it. I try to learn by mistakes. I tell myself that him not being the right one, no matter how much I thought he was, doesn’t mean the right one isn’t around the corner.

I’m good enough to be loved.

So, take that anxiety.

Superstition and change.

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly superstitious but I’ve realised these past few days that is exactly what I am.

And the reason, you ask?

I’m superstitious because I haven’t written my blog for one reason only: things were going well with Wild Card and I was scared to jynx it.

So what happened?

Well, in my last post I acknowledged that things were not good. I considered why that might be and although I had thought of some reasons, I didn’t actually know. I decided to take a step back from the clingy but to keep a loving, reassuring presence. Well, that was what I was aiming for.

I won’t deny that I was hurt. I’d hoped that my attempt at honesty-without-fear would come good but it hadn’t with ‘that’s your problem, not mine.’

I’m reality, I would like to think that me telling him that I wanted him to ‘try harder with our communication’ and that ‘I just wanted to be with him’ had some impact – the next day he suggested I download a game we could play together. We have never done that before and it has really helped. We’ve played it on and off over the past few days. It gives us something to talk and laugh about, allows us to show some playfulness and competitiveness and we are spending quality time together.

The other thing that happened was that a couple of days ago it all just got to me. I was sad, melancholy. Not angry, or jealous or pretending to be anything other than I felt – happy to see him but so sad that things were not right. And I don’t think I could have hidden that from him if I tried, so I didn’t.

After one particularly acerbic conversation, I actually ended the call. He was surprised and asked me why. I made up some excuse but I could tell it bothered him. By the next time we spoke he had already started to mellow.

That day he asked me multiple times what was wrong. Eventually, keeping my honesty-policy in mind and thinking that I could hardly make this much worse I told him: I was sad because I missed his love. I missed his face when he looked pleased to see me. I missed his ‘I love you’s’ and his kisses and our laughter.

From then on, things have been pretty good.

So, for now, I’m keeping up with my plan. Stick to my routine, remind him I’m here and love him, but give him space and end calls – nicely–if he appears out of sorts. I’ve learnt that I don’t have the ability to pull him out of that mood, so why try?

Ramadan ends this weekend. I have just over a week left until I am back in work full time. Things are about to change again and I hope that this time it is for the better.

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