January 16, 2010

How a dropped call saved my relationship

So, D has been home and gone. After he left, I...I don't know, kind of fell into a little depression I guess. As I've mentioned in much earlier posts on this blog, my ex left me with a lot of issues. Until D, those issues hadn't really posed much of a problem. I never got close enough to any man for them to become a problem.

D, however, is different. He makes me feel loved and important and as though I matter. He makes me laugh. He laughs even if my joke or sarcasm isn't really that funny. He laughs at me when I do something stupid or goofy, and I don't mind it. I never realized until I met him how important laughter is to a relationship. I think it's probably almost as important as love and trust. I trust him. I trust him not to cheat, not to lie, not to hide things from me. I trust him with my children, not only to not harm them but to protect them. We talked about a lot of things, a lot of personal things, over the time that we got to know each other before we ever even met, and developed a sort of closeness. We got closer after we met and started dating. We talked about so many things, a lot of them pretty personal, and it always felt right. It never felt forced, or like I was telling him something because I had to. I was telling him things because I wanted to.

And the first few weeks, I was fine with how close we were becoming, had become. But he left this last time, and I don't know what happened to me, but suddenly I was just drowning in a sea of doubts. Not about him, really, just kind of hanging off of him, in a way. If that makes sense. I began to have thoughts like there is just no way this man can really love me and want to be with me. Thinking it was only a matter of time before he'd break up with me. Taking something I'd *think* I heard in his voice and deciding it meant he was about to tell me it was over. Waiting for a phone call and thinking that since he hadn't called yet, he must be trying to figure out how to tell me it was over. A dropped call, in my head, was him hanging up because he'd decided I was too much trouble and way too high maintenance for him to deal with, and therefore my unanswered calls were not because he had no signal, but because he was avoiding me.

The reality of the dropped call is that a few moments prior to it being dropped, he'd said something that mildly hurt my feelings, and I'd gone silent on him, not to give him the silent treatment but because I was hurt and just really didn't know what to say. Just before the call dropped, I thought I heard him sigh, and the next thing I knew, the call was gone. I waited for him to call back, as he usually does at that time of day, but he didn't. I tried to call him back, it rang and rang until the voicemail picked up. I left a couple of messages, and then tried again later, and it went straight to voicemail, no ringing at all. He had no signal. That was it; just no signal.

In my head, it was he'd hung up on me because he was sick of me not talking to him about what was on my mind. He was not answering my calls because he didn't want to talk to me until he'd figured out how to tell me it was over. And it stopped ringing and started going straight to voicemail because he'd turned the phone off to avoid me.

That dropped call was what made me realize that I needed to stop this. That dropped call probably saved our relationship from the horrible attempted murder I was committing on it. I convinced myself in a matter of minutes that he'd hung up on me and was then avoiding me. I realized, in that moment, that I love this man more than anyone except my children, and certainly more than I've ever loved any other man. In that moment, I realized that if I lost him, and especially if I lost him due to my own stupid refusal to just tell him how I feel, that I would lose everything that mattered to me, except my kids.

I agonized over an email in which I laid out all of my feelings. The love I feel for him, the raging doubts I'd been having and trying desperately to not tell him out of fear he'd tell me I was right. I sent that email, positive that it was much too late to salvage our relationship and that I only had myself to blame for the broken heart I was about to have.

An hour or two after I sent that email, the phone rang. "Well, I finally have a signal again." he said. My heart skipped numerous beats as I realized that once again, my doubts and fears were unfounded. Of course, I'd already sent an email, so it was best to confess what I'd been thinking, since once he read the email, he'd know anyway.

So, I confessed to him that I thought he'd hung up on me. "Why would I do that?" he asked, and he was genuinely confused. And that was when I had my next realization. This man truly loves me, truly wants to be with me and has absolutely no intention of going anywhere.

I was putting distance between us, with all my doubts and fears. I wasn't doing it on purpose, in fact, it was the last thing I wanted. I want to be close to him. He called me on the distance. Flat out told me I was doing it. My first instinct was to deny that I was doing it, except...I thought about it and realized that, although it was completely unintentional and not done on a conscious level, I was indeed putting distance between us. I had a good reason, so I thought: I was hoping, with distance between us, that it might hurt just a little less when he broke up with me, as I was so certain he was going to do.

I've now realized I can't do that. I can't put distance between us in hopes of protecting my heart. Our relationship will never work if I keep him at arm's length. I'm good at sharing my feelings here, because I'm pretty much anonymous and no one knows it's me. You might pass me on the street tomorrow, and you'll never know I wrote this and I'll never know you read it.

Now I just have to start sharing my feelings with him. And I will. It'll be a struggle. And knowing me, he'll probably have to point out to me, a few more times, that I'm doing it again so that I can stop. But I'm going to try really hard to stop trying to hide and protect myself from a breakup that, in reality, is probably never going to happen. I know he loves me, and I'm pretty sure he's hoping for the same future together that I am, even though my fears often get in the way.

We're not there yet, but we are getting back to where we were before. Our conversations are finally beginning to flow as they used to, I'm laughing with him again. I'm feeling closer to him again. And I realized just how much I was missing all that while I was busy with a steak knife trying to kill our relationship in my head. I know now that we're going to be ok. It's probably not the last time this'll happen, nor is it probably the worst thing we'll deal with, but we'll deal with that as it comes. I never wanted us to break up, and I've finally realized that he doesn't either, no matter what my insecurities try to tell me.

And yes, I know, some of you that read this regularly are sitting there going, "WTF? She never gets like this! I don't read this blog to read this crap, I want to read about how much fun she has with D, or what C & J have done lately, or her latest plot to murder the ex? Where the hell did that stuff go?" Don't worry...I'm not going to be all depressed and emotional from now on.

I know I frequently try to post funny stuff, or turn the serious stuff into something somewhat funny, but my life isn't always that funny. And sometimes the crap I deal with just can't be turned into a joke. I nearly killed my relationship with D, and there's nothing funny about that. But lest you think that we're perfect, I figured I'd let you in on that little secret.

And just to show you that I can still make you laugh, here you go:

C got something called "Aquasaurs" for Christmas. They are basically sea monkeys that are very similar to dinosaurs. You put the eggs in water, the Aquasaurs hatch, and you have little shrimp like things swimming around in the water a few days later. We finally got around to doing this the day before yesterday. Yesterday, some had hatched. Well, first of all, C named one Swimmy. J named another Stoppergoer (don't ask me...I just relate the info.). Well, they have to be kept in water that is between 72 and 80 degrees.

Bedtime tonight...C is looking at the tank. Here's our conversation:

"Mom, it's 76."

"That's fine, C."

"But, Mom, it can't get above 80."

"I know, C. It'll be fine."

"But, Mooommmm, if it gets above 80, they'll diiieee!!!"

"C, I promise you, it's fine. It's only 76. They'll be fine."

"But, Mooommm...what if it gets above 80 while we're in bed tonight?"

"I'm sure it won't."

"But what if it does?"

"It won't."

"I think I should stay up and make sure."

"Uh, yeah, I don't think so. Let's go to bed."

"No, Mom, I really think I should stay up and make sure it stays below 80."

"Look, C, that's not going to happen. But let's say I let you stay up, and it goes above 80. What are you going to do about it?"

Blank look and total silence.

"Well, I didn't say I would do anything about it. I just said I should stay up and make sure it doesn't happen." Hops off the stool and stomps to the bedroom.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to call a certain cell phone company and tell them how their bad coverage in one state saved my relationship and thank them for that sucky service. And then I need to call D and tell him again that I love him.

The man deserves a medal for putting up with me.

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