I was walking away from this man, a few years ago, because of his never materializing promises.
I wanted a real relationship and if he didn’t love me then I was done. He showed no interest in taking care of my needs at all.
I’d ignored his calls and texts for less than 24 hours.
He’d made comments basically stating that I should wait on a shelf like a loaf of bread, until he was ready to make some toast. It was frustrating the way he would contradict himself…and I’d hang hope on every word, and action.
I tried interpreting signals…except, they all lead to a dead end.
When I began ignoring him, it wasn’t to get a response, it was for my own sanity. It was an opportunity to gain back control of my emotional state. I had a man who wouldn’t let go, and wouldn’t come forth.
I remember opening my front door to him.
Seeing him forlorn on my doorstep, looking as if he hadn’t slept or changed clothes for days, I thought again…perhaps, this was a game changer.
Maybe he was realizing how important I was to him?
I let him in my house, he stood right next to the door, just wanting to know if I planned on talking to him again. He had driven to my house to get this information? In the back of my mind, I wondered if it was love or anxiety? Was it abandonment or was he missing our unbelievable connection?
I said, “So this has nothing to do with loving me?” He said he couldn’t feel anything in his heart. His heart was locked up.
As we talked, he admitted he had feelings for me, and that soon, he would really communicate about his wounds, his pain and what was keeping him locked up.
I thought the day would be a monumental turning point in our relationship.
It wasn’t. I heard from him later in the day and then not for a week. He fell off the face of the earth. He was like that, disappearing for a week or three. The anxiety I would go through was a killer. I had no idea where I ever stood, so I’d always leave—who could stay with someone showing up and disappearing all the time?
When he showed back up again, he didn’t want to put a label on us. As long as I would allow him, he proceeded to be on the peripheral—all the while assuming the emotional space of significant other in my life.
Inevitably, I would get tired of us getting close and him disappearing. Goodbye again.
I worked through my own issues; I was forced to deal with me. I didn’t hide from myself. I admitted my own truth over and over—breaking my own walls and patterns that allowed this painful connection.
Inevitably, days or weeks after I told him no more, he would show back up.
After the doorstep incident, his ability to express his feelings grew over the past few years. He loves me, thinks I am amazing and wonderful, etc.
Five and a half years later and he still comes back with his terms…except there are no real terms. If I didn’t love myself now or value my needs, I might slip back into the comfort zone of hell with him.
And at the same time, when I have questioned, how is it two people who love each other so much cannot make it work? He thinks I try to hard, have too many expectations and if I’d just let it grow organically, it’d all be fine. He says I want to control it all.
I appreciate the feedback. I’m totally open to taking responsibility for my actions and how I show up. The funny thing is that statement has been told over and over to me by him, no matter how I show up or what I ‘d do or didn’t do…whether I’d let go or held to strong boundaries….it didn’t matter. He will not move things forward. He’s also admitted to it… saying he knows he’s the one standing in his own way.
Every time I let him in, it’s a standstill. Each time he’s just not ready, he doesn’t want to be accountable or consistently there in a relationship.
At the same time, he doesn’t want to lose me, ever.
I no longer have expectations, or hope or wonder in his direction. The interest and pull to him is no longer intense. In fact, it’s almost a moot point. I realize his repetitive coming back, and being noncommittal at the same time is about him. No matter what I say, or if I do nothing…I know it produces the same results.
I’ve learned my lessons, I’m screwed up, just like the rest of the world. But, I’m also open to real love, commitment and happiness, without having crazy expectations, or forcing my will. I accept me in my imperfections and I accept him, as he is, still jumping puddles, afraid to get wet.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Freda Nichols/Pixoto