I have been really devastated by BFD’s neglect and absence over the past 10 days. Yes, he was with his family — parents, siblings, their children — then he flew west to be with his extended family. He has ignored me since Christmas and cancelled a date we had arranged three weeks ago. We have not seen each other in so long and we have not been speaking regularly. It’s been awful.
I freaked the fuck out last night. I called and left him messages. I texted him. I emailed him. All the while keeping it relatively light, but inside I was dying. Inside, I was ending it, knowing the only person I was hurting was myself.
I broke up with him in my heart last night. I started to build back the walls I had knocked over to let him in. I started to consider myself single and I started to think about how nice my upcoming trip will be now that I am single.
I called him again today, knowing he was back. He updated his facebook profile, so clearly he was back. Still no answer. Exasperated, I texted him 10 minutes later asking if we were going to reschedule. He called immediately.
We spoke for 36 minutes and it was good. I started off very coldly towards him, but I quickly melted as he described how personally meaningful his trip had been.
His excuse for not calling: he was so engaged in his extended family, some of whom he had never seen in the US (many not since he was a little kid and visited his ancestral homeland), that he just stayed focused on that. He said he cried because the experience was so moving and the reconnection so strong. He spoke of that blood connection and how it had never clicked for him before that this was his family. He has already reached out to some of his younger cousins (via facebook, of course) and he is trying to figure out what he can do to help some of the more recent arrivals who have not been able to achieve success (or even much stability) here.
He said he felt a little guilty about not doing more to help them. For all of them, he is a beacon. His father is a very famous and successful man in his field, but BFD is wealthy. He described a mistake he made with being a little too generous to one family in particular, which caused him to embarrass a cousin. It was an important discussion of culture, class, and responsibility, and it was important for him to tell me — and to share every detail. It also transitioned into a talk about philanthropy and some of the guilt he feels. (He gives a tremendous amount away every year to organizations he supports and more money supporting people he cares about.)
I told him the people I am closest to in the world are people to whom I am related. He was excited to hear about my big, boisterous family and all of its ethnic diversity. He mentioned a couple of times that some [people like me] had married in (including his own sister in law, of course), but it general, it is homogenous. BFD is first-generation, and so fully engaged in American culture that he completely identified with an ethnic group not his own until he was a teenager. He does not speak the language of his family, so some of his cousins translated for him this weekend. (He has some proficiency in 3 foreign languages, but not his family tongue. He is an interesting man.)
I told him that for me, as someone who lives very much in her own head, family is that connection to something bigger than myself. He interjected how much he lives within his own head, and I reminded him that I am perhaps only 75% as bad as he, which is one of the reasons I can put up with him. I told him that, for him, seeing the bigger picture, feeling those stronger connections, is a way of getting out of the intense focus he has on himself and his work. We discussed roots and growth and the responsibilities we each feel to our families. I told him a bit about mine — some chronology, some history, some connection. He was so happy to hear how close I am to my cousins and my aunts and uncles.
Reconnecting to his extended family, to his heritage, has had a profound impact on BFD. I feel as though it might have an impact on us, too, but I don’t know if it will be a positive or a negative impact. We are ethnically different, though he can never quite remember my background (dude, it’s two things — both of which are obvious), and I wonder if that will be important as he feels the pull to reproduce. I know that is where his mind is heading. It’s where he has been with me. Since we are sexually active and I am not on bc, we think about it every time we are together. (I suspect we will become intentionally more careless as time goes on.)
As I knew he would, he was spending the day working, to try to get caught up a bit. He is flying out on Tuesday morning for some important meetings. It sounds like he may be back on Saturday, but I did not ask. He said January is going to be bad. Dammit.
Here is the good stuff — the stuff keeping me in this relationship (for now):
He cancelled all non-work-related travel for January. He said he will start competing in February rather than in January. That means I might get to see him on a random Saturday here and there. Maybe. It is easier to accept him being going for work rather than for play, though I support his doing both.
He did not believe me when I told him how long it has been since we have seen each other. When I told him I had actually checked the calendar, he had the grace to be embarrassed and to say, with emotion, “we will do better.” I think I am such a part of his life already, and I have been since the beginning, that I think he forgets about the little details — like seeing me. We are connected, I am with him, so he knows we’re fine. It’s not the reality, but every time I point something out to him, we do better.
Again with the timing, he said, “Really? That long? We need to [have sex].” Uh, yeah, we do.
We made plans to see each other tomorrow. I don’t care what we do, really, I just want to see him. It may be a little awkward since it has been so long.
(BP has been teasing me about BFD tonight — I told him I could not see BP tomorrow evening, since I am seeing BFD. He said, right, so you can have sex . . . because you are monogamous. Yes, BP, that is right. I am so glad I confessed all so he can tease me about everything. He insists that BFD is not going to be around for the long-term because he is not enough for me. Sure, whatever gets you through the night, BP. )
For now, I am holding BFD a bit at arm’s length. I am not racing back to him. I am glad we did not see each other today, and I half-expect us to not see each other tomorrow. For now, whether we see each other or not, we are together. I will see if things improve and continue to evaluate how I feel. I am crazy about him, I do see a solid future with him, and being with him (whether in person, connected by phone, etc.) is extremely satisfying in a way I do not find other people satisfying.
I know I am putting up with a lot more than most reasonable people would, but it still feels right — despite the hurt, the pain and the anguish, despite feeling all tortured about him. I feel connected to BFD on a deep level and as he spoke to me, sharing his epiphanies, I saw the heart of our problem and also the solution. Instinctively, I have felt us moving in a certain direction and I am even more certain now.