Last night started with dreams of making love to her again, but then the dreams started to no longer involve me in them at all. For the whole night, I was trapped watching as the woman I love, loved another.
Surrounding this were flashes of dream conversations with her family where they would slip and talk about her new relationships in front of me.
I woke so many times last night drenched in sweat, feeling like my stomach was trying to eat itself out of my body and my chest constricted and tight with dread.
Among the many promises that we made each other, and didn’t manage to keep, was that I would not end up finding out that she had been having a relationship behind my back, like how we got together. I suppose there’s a certain justice to the fact that I was at times surounded by a circle of her friends that all knew she was already seeing someone else, when I did not. I’m sure that there were some that were wishing I would just go away, while pretending to involve me. I should be honest and realize that there’s some of the same in how she felt about me at the time, and maybe still does.
We promised a lot of things that we didn’t manage to live up to. We promised to do yoga every morning. We promised to never go to bed mad at each other. We promised to give ourselves at least two months before ending the relationship. We promised to make sure that we knew why the relationship was ending by being honest with each other and talking through our problems each month.
We stopped doing yoga after our schedules changed. I’m sure there were plenty of times when we both were angry when we went to bed. The decision to end things was quick and non-negotiable. She wasn’t able to feel like she could address a lot of the anger she had with me because she was uncomfortable even bringing up little things due to my temper.
But it can’t be just about goals and criteria, although I think there’s a place for those. Maybe she doesn’t remember, or maybe I misremember, but there were so many times that I was happy. I was happy when we cuddled. I was happy when we read harry potter to each other. I was happy when we made good food. I was happy when she smiled. I was happy making love to her. I was happy when we walked. I was happy when we held hands. I was happy when we were silly.
For all those things, I realize there were also times when I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy when sex felt like I was just another machine trying to give her pleasure instead of us making love to each other. I wasn’t happy when we walked when it was uncomfortably hot out. I was unhappy when we couldn’t think of anything to do. I was unhappy when I felt like I was forced into the back room, isolated when I wanted to do computer stuff. I was unhappy when we would make plans to do 20 somethings and only get to a couple of them because by not getting to the things she wanted to do, I felt like I had failed her, and having so many meant that that was inevitable. I was unhappy when we’d talked about doing something and then she would change her mind and go hang out at her father’s for a few hour-minutes instead.
I do know that without a job after getting laid off, and without any outside interests, I relied on her far too much. I wanted to be with her all the time, and since there was nothing else on my plate, that’s what I worked toward. This certainly would have caused her to feel a lot of pressure from which she would naturally want to escape.
I do know that I relied on her to take care of bills from our joint account and things, and that certainly helped her feel like she was having to take care of me. This was something that would have easily made her feel like she was back in a mothering role, taking care of me.
But at the same time, I did a lot to take care of her. I tried to be there for her. I created a safe, patient, gentle place for her to explore her own pleasure. I moved to a place where she was comfortable, but I knew only her friends and family. I originally agreed to get a pet cat because I knew how much she missed the cats she had from her previous relationship. I tried to suggest and provide her with the kind of space she needed to be herself, and a place where she could grow. I suggested that we start yoga, and got the DVDs so that we could do it. When she suggested she really wanted to go back to school, I immediately started helping her to get materials for schools. I helped her to start being comfortable with being artistic, drawing and sculpting and making things.
I know I made mistakes. We both did, but I also know that we both did a lot of things right, and that there was a lot of love that went into our shared space together.