If you read these words, you’ll be confused. After all, wasn’t I only saying the other day that all I could think to do right now was wait for you? Give you as much time as you felt you needed? Six months, or however long?
I’m sorry. I’ve changed my mind, and I’m happy about it.
This doesn’t in any way mean that, for the moment, I don’t love you and am not regretting that our loving, charming, happy time together came to an end with you needing some time alone. Hard as it was to understand, I respected it. And those first few days were awful. Not feeling like we’d properly discussed anything, and I must have done something heinous and not realised it. Sitting there talking through my feelings, trying to understand or see a way around it and you, mumbling impressions and concerns that just didn’t seem to make sense. Things have gotten better between us since that day, but that has been forced from my side. The most you see is a slightly-divorced smile and the most you hear is a half-hearted joke. Inside, I’m crying, throwing stuff at walls and crying some more.
The closest I could get was saying that I probably needed some Alone Time too, to escape the conditioning of two-and-a-half-years’ worth of toxic relationship that came before you. But that said, I still really thought we had a chance, and so, I would give you as much time as you needed but in essence, I’d be waiting for you.
I’ve realised now that I can’t. I’m going to try my best to coherently tell you why.
1. It may be a romantic ideal, but when you find the right person, someone you can adore and REALLY see the rest of your life with, nothing can stand in your way. Not past relationships, not conditioning, not the fact they have that one habit that really annoys you. You stick with that person through thick and thin.
I obviously wasn’t worth doing that for you. If I’m not that person now, I won’t be in six months’ time.
2. Our circumstances were a little weird, I suppose? I’d just moved back in with my mother while I changed my lifestyle and job, and you were trying to figure out how to get out of the house you’d bought with your ex. I hated your circumstance, but I didn’t shy away from it. I tried coming over to yours until your ex, needing to block me out, ignored me and it got too weird. But you still didn’t want to move out. Instead, your things turned up at my mother’s house and after giving you your own bit of cupboard space, I realised just how Moved In to ours you had become. This wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but between you and my mother I tried to work it out.
It didn’t work. And if I’m the girl ‘you can see the rest of your life with’, but not the girl you’re happy to rent a flat with, that won’t change in six months’ time.
3. You can’t swim very well. I really love swimming.
4. You gave up on me. For weeks and months, everything was charming. Our honeymoon period really couldn’t have been any better. We didn’t need to have that whole ‘What are we?’ / ‘Where is this going?’ talk. You’d made it abundantly clear. And then I showed emotion other than joy. I showed fear and upset. You saw me not knowing what to do. I asked you questions that maybe you yourself didn’t know the answer to and perhaps that was unnerving. The picture of the strong, happy-go-lucky girl whom you’d known as a friend for over thirteen years was suddenly replaced with someone who’d recovered from events you couldn’t fathom. Abandonment by one parent and neglect by the other. Sexual abuse as a child. Relationships that took advantage of me instead of cherished me. I let my guard down just long enough for you to see that while I’m a badass mother-fucker for dealing with a horrendously painful past most of the time, I have vulnerability and can’t be strong all the time. I have the ability to love with every fibre of my being, which is the bravest thing about me, but even superheroes need to take their costumes off and give it a clean for a few days…
And it was about the same time you started to back away from me. And if I am too much for you now, I will still be too much in six months’ time.
5. I’m too old to be playing this game. I reached a dreaded milestone this year. My Facebook feed is full of wedding pictures and babies. While I don’t want either of these things immediately, my surroundings as well as my own body, are telling me that I have reached a certain time in my life where I need to take things seriously. If I’m going to be a mother, I’m going to need a partner that I can rely on. While I’m still taking risks trying to advance my career, I’m going to need some security back at home that comes from a committed, sure relationship. I never thought that at this age, I’d be having conversations about back-and-forth, or being on-and-off with someone.
So I’m rejecting it. And I’ll reject your attitude if you still think that that is an acceptable way to treat me in six months’ time.
6. You’re kinda short. I don’t have a thing against short guys at all, I’ve dated a few, but I don’t think I want to wait around on the off chance you realise the mistake you’ve made only for years later, when my son asks me why he’s the smallest in his class, for me to say:
“Because I’m 160cm and your father is 5’5”. You never stood a chance, honey.”
7. You find it difficult talking about your feelings. My penchant for drama saved me. Coming from a Northern family where the most we are able to talk about our feelings is announcing we hate each other when stealing all the spuds at Christmas, my ability to be honest about how I feel with lovers is nothing short of miraculous. In the past, I’ve been able to talk through potential problems with partners because they’ve been willing to talk things through. I’ve gotten to see their side of things with a clear view, and I’ve been able to put mine across so that I knew I was understood. I think it’s important that men, for their partners if for no one else, are able to speak honestly and with confidence about how they feel. I admire men who are able to speak with clarity about how they feel.
You’re not one of those men. And if you aren’t at this age, then you won’t be in six months’ time.
8. I don’t feel like I can trust you anymore. The romance of ‘I’d die for you / I despise all the men who have hurt you / I look at you and can see the rest of my life’ was wonderful. It was everything I wanted to hear, and it came unbidden. I believed it. It felt like I could believe it. You acted like it was true.
And then it was over. And if you’re the kind of person who says those kinds of things but doesn’t mean them, I see no reason to think you won’t be that same person in six months’ time.
9. I’m worried about losing myself in you. My work, as you know, is happenstance. I can have days and days of activity and hard work, only to be followed by a week or two of waiting for the phone to ring, or making myself do the boring admin stuff. But you hit me like a drug. We spent every minute we could together. You adequately took me out of myself to go on all these adventures together, and I used you as an excuse to feel like less of a failure for not getting as far in my life as I wanted to by this time.
If we get back together before I have sorted out how to deal with this internally, or to change my life for the better, there is no guarantee I won’t just do the same in six months’ time.
10. If I’m having all these doubts now, our love isn’t built on sturdy enough stuff for me to warrant waiting for you.
So have your time. Have your six months. Love them as much as you said you loved me. Enjoy them. Get what you need out of them. And I wish you in the future none less of the love than I believed we’d have together. But I can’t wait for you.
I love you. Be happy xxx