Note: This is my point of view only and incorporates only how I felt during this time. This is the last in the series of relationships I’m covering in the last 6 years. After my father died, the men I was attracted to began to change, and this series was prompted by realizing, through another entry, that I may be trying to gain the approval of these men as it symbolizes the approval of my father. With that….on we go.
I didn’t expect this one. It happened out of the blue and was completely unexpected. So much happened over the course of five months that I can’t quite put it all down here. But I’ll try to hit the major points I remember.
I was just trying to meet new people and take my mind off of the relationship that had just ended a little over a month prior. I wasn’t expecting to meet someone I would end up caring for, and as the night went on, we seemed to click more and more. The first day we met turned into the first night we met. We consistently surprised each other by confessing our favorite bad movies and guilty pleasures only to find that the other person felt the same about the exact same things. We spent the time talking and he ended up walking me to my car at 2 a.m. Who spends 10 hours talking to one person? I should have known then that I needed to apply some breaks. I was not ready for anyone to enter my life. I knew he wasn’t either but I figured we could just have fun.
We spent the entire week texting each other, and I remember smiling like an idiot. We were supposed to be going to the same party that week, but it was packed and spent the night getting to know each other instead. By the time we had our first official date, we had already hung out twice unexpectedly. Looking back, I wish I had the restraint they always say you should when first meeting someone, but I was caught up in the excitement. Whenever we were together, we spent between 6 to 8 hours talking and enjoying each other’s company. We had talked about what we were looking for…someone we clicked with, and we discussed that it wasn’t exclusive until you both discussed it. We continued texting every day all day.
It went this way for two months. It was the most fun two months I had had in a long time. We shared jokes and smiles, not to mention nights of kissing, cuddling. He cooked for me and laughed with me. I’d catch him staring at me out of the corner of my eye and I’d wonder what he was looking at. He’d tell me how he’d want to go hiking and to the beach together in the summer. He asked if I like barbecues since his family barbecues for the summer holidays. I don’t remember who the first one was that said I miss you. I had held out for two months even though I wanted to be physical sooner but part of me wishes I had waited even longer. It was the same weekend we spent away and had gotten intimate that everything began to fall a part.
A few days after, I asked if he was going to a party we both had on our calendars, and if he would mind if I went since my previous plans had cancelled. I didn’t want to crowd him and had plans to see him the next day anyway. He felt I was pushing for something more by mentioning it…why I’m not sure. It was then that he told me that he couldn’t be in a relationship; that he hated himself; and that he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to be in a relationship ever again, not since his ex, and that how could he be with someone when he didn’t even love himself. I took it in, said everything was fine. He cried and I held him. I needed to cry as well and excused myself to the bathroom. Both of us had apparently just been seeing only each other during this time, and it was a shock to hear all of this. We were both emotional.
He panicked; I understood that. I panic too, and I panicked a few days later . What did this mean for me? What was going on? Did he even have room in his life for me in any way now? Was this him saying he wanted nothing to do with me? What was the point of all this if he couldn’t even date and have fun? Was I anything? Was I just piece of ass? Was I being used? I thought things were fine as they were, and now suddenly, they weren’t. I felt like the rug was pulled out from underneath me. After my panic attack (which nicely happened during his busiest week at work…yeah timing!), I tried to act like nothing had changed, messaging him throughout my day. Instead, he ended up feeling even more pressured. Everything seemed to have changed.
He became busy at work, and I stopped hearing from him as much. Gone were the days of silly grinning and texting all day; now I was full of anxiety and caution. Red flags were flying. We were getting into miscommunications often, which only heightened my nerves. It still does, and the more anxious I get, the more I want to fix things. We had a big fight one night where it appeared he ignored my hello while we were out in the same place, and before things could even out, he had a death in the family. Everything broke down. I know I should have just let him be, but when I care for someone, I try to be there especially in times like that. Even if things weren’t good with us, I genuinely care about people and I didn’t like seeing him suffering. I checked up on him, tried to be there for him, but he pulled away. It hurt, and it felt like I did something wrong, like it was me that was the problem. I understand that many people need to be alone to grieve, yet I felt responsible. May be it was my past experience creeping in. I didn’t want to fall into a bad situation all over again, and it scared the shit out of me. I cared about what he was going through. I’ve been there. His distance felt like he wanted me gone. I don’t believe he meant that or that he shouldn’t have done what he needed. I’m saying I couldn’t emotionally handle all of the changes that were happening at once. My ex had already contacted me at this point and increased to telling me things he wanted to do to me, sending me messages continuously (see previous post). It was too much.
Everything I said started to be wrong, and he began reading intent in my messages that wasn’t there. It didn’t matter what it was, a witty comment, an innocent question, a song lyric. Anything could cause an issue. I was walking on eggshells and was afraid to be myself. I felt like I was no longer the woman he had fun with, but a woman who he seemed to hate hear from. I went from feeling comfortable laying on his couch, my feet on his lap, to feeling worlds away and unsure how to even move in his apartment. My ex began showing up at my place during this time also, which did not help my anxiety levels. I barely had a chance to even them out after my experience with him before all of this started. I’m sure Almost also picked up on it and could feel me on edge. I didn’t want to bring it into whatever was going on between us so I didn’t mention it. That probably hurt things more than helped
As my anxiety increased, I began to feel like I couldn’t express myself. There was a vibrating pit in my stomach, and I had to move, talk, do something, anything. This is common for me when my anxiety is triggered. It brought up memories and emotions that I just couldn’t deal with yet.
Lack of understanding how he felt genuinely made things worse. There was this amazing man that I had such incredible times with, and then there was the man who I had to second guess everything I did or said with. I remember having a phone call where he started yelling because we were texting about something (I was upset about something). I said something regarding how I wasn’t yelling so I would appreciate it if he didn’t speak to me like that. His response was that this is what he was like when he gets upset, and if it was a problem, we wouldn’t work. That shook me. I had just come out of two relationships where I was yelled at, talked down to and told what to do, how to dress, how to wear my hair….all the time. It always felt like they didn’t respect me enough to speak to me like an adult. I could not go through that again. I hadn’t even had a chance to heal from the last one.
I remember telling him I was scared, and he was wounded by that. I wasn’t scared of him physically, but emotionally, I was terrified. I was terrified of enjoying his company while he was indifferent or could care less. I was terrified of falling for him and just being someone to kill time. I was terrified that all I was, was a piece of ass that meant nothing. I was terrified that I was going to end up in the same place I had just come out of. I’m not sure he understood as we were back at square one in a couple of more days. I cared, but I felt myself slipping into being the “victim,” letting someone walk over me again whenever he’d get angry. I was back and forth consistently, as much of an oxymoron that is. I couldn’t figure out what the right thing for me was any longer, staying or going. What was the best option? Those feelings of anxiety and panic was what I had just come from, and that experience broke my spirit along with my heart. I couldn’t be a scapegoat or someone’s punching bag ever again and that is what it began to feel like to me.
The day he called me crazy I cried. It was over something stupid. I had texted something that was meant innocently, and he was defensive about it. I think it was just a question that wasn’t meant to be negative, just curiosity. I retaliated, and it went pretty far down hill. I think that’s the first time I had ever yelled or cursed back. I had reverted to that 12 year old girl defending herself. We ended up meeting shortly after and talked about what was going on. I tried to explain what I was looking for, but I’m not sure it came across. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend; things were too chaotic. But I wanted to be the only person he was intimate with. I did want to mean something. I got a no as a response; that it wasn’t me, but it was him. He couldn’t handle anything right now. That July, I told him that I couldn’t handle whatever this currently was. I clearly cared too much. A week or so later I went to text a friend of mine with the same name and texted him instead (yes, it was a real mistake). We talked and a few nights after, he asked to go back to seeing each other once a week. I said yes…it ended up being the same as before. He felt I was putting expectations on him, but the only expectation I had was that he was going to yell or get upset at me over something I would say. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I didn’t do anything wrong. I was on edge the entire last 2 months, so I’m sure things came out wrong time and again. I’m also sure he could pick up on my anxiety and my wavering.
I left on August 2 when he got upset at me for texting a lyric from a song about sex a few weeks later. I was pressuring him. Granted, if you don’t know the lyrics to the song, you might not know that it is about sex. You do have to listen to the verses. I missed the man I had so much fun with, the one who seemed to enjoy just being in the same room with me no matter what we were doing. I felt I had somehow become a burden or a chore to him. It was like he didn’t see me any more but a woman who wanted to push him into things that weren’t even there. I went from feeling secure with him to being on high alert at all times. I was exhausted, and it was tiring contemplating every word. I re-read text after text trying to make sure there was nothing in it that could be twisted, only to have all that effort fail. I sent any messages I was considering sending him to my two best friends first to see if they could find anything that would make my messages negative or offensive before sending them on. When I told him that during an argument once, he was angry that I had been reaching out to my friends for their advice. I was more upset that I felt I needed to.
We were out of touch for one month when he popped up on a dating site sending a “Meet Me” request. I didn’t understand why he put that through. I still don’t. To this day I have no clue what he really wants from me; if I mean anything at all. Am I just someone to stroke his ego? Am I only called upon when he feels badly about himself? Am I just a back burner chick? We ended up fighting on the dating site. We messaged back and forth and I was trying to make plans since he “wanted to meet,” yet nothing came of it. I told him I couldn’t do this anymore. Putting through that request, saying he’d be up for meeting and then not following through just felt like a game to me. Especially when you know that person cares…it just hurt too much. He called me crazy and told me I was crucifying him for living his life. I spent the many days after wondering what I did that caused all of this. How had I crucified him? What did I do that made me crazy? I spent a great deal of time that summer wondering what I was doing wrong.
Some of his friends are acquaintances of mine so we’d run into each other out. We’d exchange emails. Eventually, he sent friend requests on social media sites. He wanted to be friends but the above was still happening, and that’s where we are now. I find myself walking a fine line of trying to be friends but not fully opening myself up. I’m trying to keep myself protected but be a friend at the same time.
There is research out there that a person can develop PTSD after an abusive relationship. I know I have an anxiety disorder, but I sometimes wonder if I have a mild version of PTSD, if that is what led to a lot of this. Was I reacting to triggers from my previous relationship? Or was this a new thing? I honestly don’t know, but perhaps that’s why my anxiety ended up being so high and continues to be at times, especially when feelings or past memories are brought up. Instead of becoming anxious now, I do my best to ignore it. The fear of caring for someone who didn’t see me as anything was so great, and it still is. I have been through it during my childhood and right before I met him. Side note: While I wrote this, I could feel my anxiety increase and cried a bit. Not from the memories but because the feelings I had during that time have come back so strongly.
I didn’t have the time to re-establish boundaries since my previous relationship and I was completely raw during this time. I had come from a situation where I was held responsible for others’ actions and feelings, and I hadn’t learned that this is not how things were meant to be. I should have, but with my ex popping up every few months and continuously contacting me, I wasn’t allowed the time. It’s something I’m still working on, but I still often think “what did I do to cause these reactions?” I did realize recently, that while I had been convinced all summer I was doing or saying something to cause all this, that wasn’t true. When issues would surface or arguments would take place, it was always because my intent sounded offensive. It didn’t dawn on me then that you can’t get intent from a text; you can only project your own emotions and mindset onto it.
I do see someone for my anxiety, and everyone I know, including her, says I’m not responsible for how people react or behave. Yet I’ve spent a lot of time feeling other wise. It is still a struggle as I go through moments when I feel like it’s still my fault, that I did something wrong. It wasn’t until recently, when a misunderstanding happened face to face, that I finally realized that is not the case. The behavior I was convinced I was responsible for over the last year was not my doing. Rather it was his own internal issue that would bubble up. This realization did not make it any easier. I’m working on my ability to trust myself again. I keep wavering on what to do and what the appropriate emotion/reaction is. I know there is no “correct” one but sometimes I’m a mixture of many emotions. Sorting through them and locating a root can be difficult. I don’t always know how to properly identify the cause.
I will say this is a relationship that I wish could have or would have worked. Even after everything, the potential that was there is disappointing. When someone you’d be willing to try or work with doesn’t see the potential, it can be heartbreaking. With me, it goes back to my propensity for taking responsibility and the picking a part of who I am. Not taking other individuals’ limitations as a statement on you as a person is difficult, especially when you have a history of doing so. I’ve been told that being able to take responsibility is a sign of maturity and your willingness to be vulnerable. I’m not quite sure how much I agree with that.
I do care for Almost, but I’m leery of the situation. I want to be friends, and I’m being cautious. Things have been said and spoken that would lead me to believe there may still be something there, but I don’t trust as openly after someone shows I shouldn’t have. Investing myself, even platonicly, is frightening right now as I’m unsure of what the intentions are. I second guess a lot of my own feelings and thoughts, and words mean less to me. Actions are required to show me that an individual wants me in their life. The people I call friends hold dear places in my heart, and I guess I’m still scared that at the end of the day I’m just someone to kill time with. I hold my friends dear to me, and they’ve proven they deserve my energy and love.