I am beginning to recognize that I have two connected problems with BFD: I am very reticent, and I am unwilling to push him out of his comfort zone or to reconsider his existing plans.
I rarely tell him how I feel about anything and, beyond an occasional “I miss you,” I never tell him how I feel about him. Last weekend, I told him, essentially, that I wanted to take care of him, and it significantly changed things between us.
Other than that, I am rather reactive. I am so nervous and anxious about telling him how I feel that I say nothing. It is absurd.
I also speak very carefully, so I am hyper-aware of asking him about what he is doing instead of what we are doing.
I do not think of us as a couple. That’s why I am uncomfortable referring to him as my boyfriend (and now I am starting to cry). We see each other regularly, we are not seeing other people, we are sexually active (and not practicing completely safe sex), and yet I do not consider us a couple. I still think of him as someone I am dating. I waiver on this from time to time when we are having a particularly good or a particularly bad week.
This feels like a bad couple of days, though I know it isn’t. He decided to fly out last minute to train for the week. His coaches will be there and he is thrilled. This will be his most enjoyable week of training this year and his enthusiasm was clear. It’s a big deal and I am excited for him. The downside is that it’s part of his life in which I am absolutely not involved.
A bad date, like the one we had last night, still feels like a deal-killer. I know it’s not. I know I am in his life. Objectively, I know I am very important to him when he is here. It’s when he’s not here that’s the issue. I have had him in town basically for the past three weeks, which has been great. Not every time we are together is wonderful, but on balance, it is.
Why I am so stupid? (And here come the tears again though I waited over an hour before writing this paragraph …) I think about missed chances and missed opportunities to tell him how I feel about him, to show him how I feel. Instead, I play off of him. I did not kiss him. I did not hold his hand. I did not touch him as we walked along. I could have done any of those things, and I did not. I always held back.
I am not being true to who I am. I am not telling him what I think. I am not giving myself to him in any way but physical.
Part of my resistance is that he has a very strong personality and he likes to argue. The business project we have discussed: unworkable as he wants to do it. Were I representing him, I would tell him that. Instead, he is dictating what he wants, so I am keeping my mouth shut. He is only doing the deal as is to enable him to give me money without actually “giving” me money. He has been almost that blunt: I know you need money, so I want you to do this. I know he does not need me to do it.
We spoke twice today as he left. I called him a little before noon to say, do you want me to cab to your place and then drive you to the airport. He said, what sense does that make? It would cost the same money. Okay, fine. He explained what he had left to do, and I knew he did not have time to see me before he left. (He is a fretful traveler, for someone who travels every week.) He said he would call before he left, which he did. He called from the cab and I told how excited I was for him. It was a rather short, meaningless conversation that was disconnected when he hit a dead-spot. Surprisingly, he called right back.
He said we would finalize the car stuff the week after he was back. At that point, I mentioned to him the reason I was offering to drive was so that I could get the car for the week, as we discussed. He said, well, just call my assistant, she’ll give you the key.
Right. Of course. Her office is in his house, so of course she can let me into the garage and give me the key.
(A digression: I relayed this to my mother, who I have been driving insane today with my stupidity, and I added, I wonder who she will think I am. She said, “She will think you’re his girlfriend, you wacko!!! You are his girlfriend. . . . The only one who thinks you’re not his girlfriend is you!” I do not agree, of course, and I have no idea who BFD would tell his assistant I am, but I cannot imagine “girlfriend” would be the descriptor.)
Instead of just saying to BFD “oh, cool,” I said, okay, I guess we’ll talk about that. Of course, our talking about it will be my saying to him tomorrow, I’d like to pick the car up Tuesday, tell me when you want it back.
My mother and I had a very difficult conversation about all of this today and confronted some difficult truths. I am being very passive with BFD, which is obvious to everyone. The closer we get, the more passive I am being. It is a struggle for me to physically reach for him, it is a struggle for me to share my emotions with him. My mother said, look, you have to overcome this — do not talk to him about it, just fix it, pretend if you have to, but fix it. The bottom line is that you are a victim of abuse and you have to be normal. You have to act as a normal person would to get where you want to be in your relationship. Once you act like that, you will be that.
I have all of these bizarre defense mechanisms kicking into place, all of these invisible trip wires. When he fails to reach for me, I fail to reach out. I feel awkward being cuddly. I am much more physically affectionate with people I am not involved with than with BFD. A was not an affectionate person at all, but I used to make him kiss me whenever he arrived, left, went to sleep, or awoke. If I hugged or touched A other than that, he tensed up. BP is affectionate when he feels like being affectionate, but we have a lot of physical intimacy that we suppress when we are in business situations. He was always in primary control of our physicality.
With BFD, I have to keep working on our physical relationship. I need to take his arm more often. I could have put my head on his shoulder last night. I could have done a million things to reinforce “I am here, with you.” Instead, I did nothing.
I sent him a pre-flight text to let him know I would miss him very much, but that I was happy to see him experience such joy at the thought of this week. Then I told him I looked forward to hearing all about it, from the bath.
I also recognize that he holds me a bit at arm’s length, too. My mother argued that all of his little meaningless gratuitous things — asking me if it was ok to take the trip, telling me about houses he wants to buy, explaining all the details on his finances — are little tests to gauge my response and my seriousness in this relationship. She said, you are always so withdrawn and uncertain with him, and you need to see what he is doing and meet him halfway. I do not know that I agree with her 100%, but there is a lot of wisdom in what she is saying.
The bottom line, my daily struggle, is being my best me with him. I am anxious to display my full fabulousness to him, to drop my guard completely. I have been so hurt in the past, and I just need to get the fuck over it. I did not know I was still living through some of it, but I think I really am.
By the time BFD comes back, I need to greet him with open arms, and (more) open heart, treating him the way I want him to treat me — with love, affection, and respect.