A Note: I wrote this at the same time I wrote the previous well-commented post The Ban.
I considered titling this post “The Heart of the Matter,” which I am now hearing in my head (the India Arie cover), but opted out because it’s a very sad song and this is a happy post.
Frankly, BFD and I have been trying to get down to the heart of the matter . . . and I think we finally have.
Since my perplexing date with BFD on Friday night, we fought on Saturday afternoon, canceled our plans on Sunday mutually (I went to a screening instead), spoke at length on Monday afternoon, exchanged emails (mostly related to the fucking car), spoke at length Monday night when we again outlined our issues and I came to understand a few important things.
Here’s what I know: I love this man — truly, madly, deeply. I really do. I hate to admit it to myself or to anyone else, but I really love him. I am “in love” with him. I am. I deny it, of course, even to myself.
When we argued on Monday, I realized that I know his heart and he knows mine. He always hears in the silence what I am too afraid to tell him. He knows me and I never ever ever give him credit. Not here, not with my friends, not in real life, and not to him.
I often treat him and think of him as someone who is somewhat indifferent towards me. But he’s not. He’s involved and engaged and active in this relationship. He worries about me, cares for me, protects me, and is always here for me. I often hold him at a distance in reality because I am afraid to be vulnerable, and yet, he’s still here. He does push me, but I know intuitively what he is doing, what he means by it, and where he is.
I know his heart. When I feel the need to explain things to other people, the heart gets lost in translation. It’s impossible for me to say, yeah, but I know where we actually are and how it feels and what my heart tells me and what my brain tells me. I am experiencing all of this and then writing about it, warts and all, misunderstandings, misapprehensions, misperceptions, and mistakes. I am often wrong about him. Yes, he can be an asshole, but I know his heart and he knows mine.
There is a lot I have been getting wrong about him and about us. I have been hearing the static and noise from my friends and feeling the need to justify our behaviors to make them palatable to other people and becoming more uncertain. And you know, that’s just wrong.
Yesterday afternoon following our stress and fight on Monday night, I sent him an email:
i hate when you’re right.
i apologize for being oblique when i should be straight. and i apologize for giving you less credit than you deserve.
despite my best efforts to shield you from my stress when you’re so bogged down with your stuff, you seem to always sense what i am not telling you. i have been so stressed out and you get to hear my fear, which i try to keep from you (apparently, unsuccessfully), when i know you lack bandwidth (i.e., always … since mid-may).
things have been steadily improving, but i am still stressed out, and skeptical of some of my own stuff, and afraid to confide in you because, as you said, you don’t really care [about the details of what’s happening], you just don’t want me to be a liability, and, baby, that makes two of us.
on a positive note, like bambi learning to walk, i used something i learned from you on a conference call last night and successfully [. . .].
i guess i pay attention, too.
First, yes, we’re often incredibly formal. Second, he knows me and I know him and, despite the odds and the drama and the separations, we’re still here and still together.
We’re also terrified. He is afraid that I will be financially dependent upon him and that terrifies him because he is already supporting people and he wants me to be with him, but financially solvent. That’s a small thing to ask. I am afraid that if I tell him how scared I am, I will scare him off.
Which is dumb because He Knows! He always knows. He pays so much more attention to my heart than my words and he always fucking knows.
Which frankly makes him more nervous. He closed yesterday’s email with: “As for straight answers – yes, I prefer them, and bad news first.” Which, duh. Protecting him only makes me look sketchy . . . especially when he already knows.
Sometimes, I am such an idiot. I think I am protecting him from things, but in not telling him, I am making him nervous about the very things I am not telling him which he knows are there and I am simply not telling him. It goes back to our alarm bells and trip wires: “My trip wire that BFD keeps banging into is that his issues with me are my issues with me, so the alarm bells are amplified. Everything he is concerned about hit every single one of my insecurities about myself.”
On that note and after a few more exchanged emails regarding training and the car, we met up at training.
I was there early, talking to one of his older friends. She asked about my hobbies, and after I told her the main one, she asked if I had ever been to the place BFD and I went for our first date. (Though I did not mention that.) I told her a couple of amusing anecdotes and charmed her. She sang BFD’s praises to me and I agreed and nearly added to his pro’s “and handsome,” but I didn’t because I am still not out-outing that we’re dating. These are his people, and I am not putting it out there, but it’s obvious given how he acts toward me in class that I am his girl. I mentioned that the guys in the training were friends “of mine” and she said she’d always wondered what their connection to BFD was.
BFD arrived right before we started, immediately scanning the room for me to make sure I was there. He spoke to me a little from 8 feet away, especially about what I was wearing (“wow, cute top, is that new?”). This time we were always facing a different direction (or I was at his back or he was at mine) so I could not see him much as we went through the session. It was so challenging, and I really love it. At the end, he walked over to me and apologized again for being an idiot in his scheduling and tried to get Hot Neighbor to drive me home, which I knew was not going to happen. (We live close enough to the place that HN often rides there, but it’s just a little further than I care to walk in 100+ degree heat.)
I had a few contingencies set up, so I knew I’d be fine getting home. He thought it was ridiculous for me to catch a $7 cab. I thought it was ridiculous for me to skip training because I didn’t have a ride home.
BFD said his goodbyes to everyone and this time, I waited, giving him space, but not leaving. We walked out to the parking lot and he again apologized because he could take me part of the way but not the whole way because he was on a tight schedule with his appointment (taking me would have tacked on an extra 20 minutes and caused him to miss his appointment). (Seriously, it was important, but yes he was a dumbass to not factor in my drive time.) He said, almost desperately, Can I take you somewhere, anywhere? But, I told him it was cool and I would be fine.
We stopped and hugged and he kissed me there in the parking lot. I told him I missed him and asked when we could see each other before he leaves for training camp (he was leaving at 6 am and traveling for the next three days), so we set a date, happily. He walked to his suv (not my car, which was finally almost ready for me as of that afternoon [and the subject of part of our fight on Monday]).
I reached out to a couple of people to see if they were in the area and wanted to grab dinner, but no one was, so I called a cab rather than wait for one to drive by.
He pulled up while I was waiting for the cab and I spoke to him for a couple of minutes across two lanes of traffic and then blew him a kiss. He felt terrible about it, as he should have, but it was not a big deal. I knew before I went that he’d scheduled it too tight, and I had more than enough time to figure out alternatives.
So, where we are is an interesting place. I left seeing him feeling really good and really happy. There are certain things I do to keep a distance between us. A lot of the distance and friction comes from me. All he wants is for someone to love, support, and care for him. I do a terrible job of it. I should be stepping up more often, telling him “no” when he spins off into BFD world, and keep tethering him back here, to our home and our reality. But, I have allowed my insecurities and doubts to prevent me from expressing my anger, frustration, and love to him. He wants me to do the wife bit, to step in and manage parts of his life, to tell him no when he tells me he’s traveling hither and yon. He wants me to be more assertive, more controlling, more engaged. And I have not. I held my tongue, I held my counsel, I withdrew.
I realized after the last few days of soul-searching that I have been an idiot.
If the comments on the last post are any indication, I am clearly not alone in that thinking, but you all seem to feel I am an idiot for being with him, rather than an idiot for not being vulnerable, honest, and open with him. I need to trust him more and love him more and open my heart to him more. If it ends, I will be heartbroken, but I will be more heartbroken if I lose him for failing to be vulnerable.
He is so honest and so sensitive and he tells me what he wants from me. All he wants is for me to figure out what I want and be happy. That’s it. I don’t have to make a ton of money. I don’t have to do what he does. I have to support myself. That’s it.
So after a rough few days, it feels real and honest and true and more in touch with emotion than we’ve been.