Not Broken, Just Damaged

So that last post was…well…melodramatic doesn’t begin to cover it. Am I sad? Yes. Am I over it? Not yet. Is everything dire and do I feel like no one cares? Not at all, in fact, I feel like I can rely on people I didn’t expect to be able to.  There’s definitely a lot of emotion in my life right now though, given my family situation (that merits it’s own hellish blog post), and that’s exacerbating all reactions (as is Aunt Flo).

I have some great friends that have been stepping up. It’s hard, because you find out any negative feelings people had after something happens. If I did ever get back with him, that’d take work. Aside from that, one friend questioned the honesty of everything he’s said and done from the beginning, which just raises even more questions and uncertainties. It makes me think about all the things that ever concerned me, which according to some is too much for the time we were together. These seem like a bigger deal in a list, but I never made a list while we were dating, and we did discuss some of these things, we just weren’t together in the same place long enough to see if those conversations worked. Things that bothered me, or concerned me, included:

  • Reluctance to use condoms. Sometimes, he used my interest in teasing and denial to bring me to the edge, and then ask if I was desperate enough to go without a condom. That borders murky manipulation of consent. Then, he’d use a blindfold, and I couldn’t relax/enjoy/trust it, because I was worried he’d just not use a condom when I couldn’t see. Not cool.
  • He was extremely snarky, which sometimes was fun and teasing, but he often he didn’t use positive words to reinforce things he snarked about. Snarking on my interests or intellect without making an effort to use words to counterbalance doesn’t leave one with super positive feelings. I like snark, when balanced.
  • Sometimes he made me feel slutty without the reinforcement I needed to enjoy it, and didn’t seem to understand that or grasp it enough to change after I’d commented on it…timing may have been part of that though.
  • He didn’t initiate plans that much or demonstrate a desire to see me more than once or twice a week (including weekend).
  • He was out of town a lot, and when we were seeing each other extremely infrequently, he wasn’t in touch much or verbose or chatty over phone/email, making it seem like he didn’t care much, despite saying he missed me.
  • He didn’t seem to laugh at my jokes all that much, although he did seem amused by me, it was just sometimes in a sort of condescending way that made me feel like he didn’t think I was all that bright.
  • He didn’t seem to value casual conversation much, as in chatting about everyday things that don’t matter.
  • He rarely came up with ideas about dates or logistics to plan them.
  • He wanted a lot of validation from me on my feelings and enjoyment of things without returning the words. He claimed actions showed his side, but it made me doubt.

And, of course, there’s him talking me away from these concerns when I brought some of them up, including two weeks ago–which is when, according to him a few nights ago, is when he started to feel differently…so why the hell would you reassure me? Why would you be affectionate and meet my family and such when not feeling it fully? It could have been my mom, and not wanting to interrupt that…I don’t know. He did act differently the last week though, so maybe I should have been more aware?

I’m frustrated because I’m someone who typically moves cautiously and slowly, and he pushed to go fast and claimed (and seemingly demonstrated) falling hard. He did all the romantic gestures, in terms of flowers, cooking…hell, he’d spontaneously dance with me in the street…but the effort wasn’t really all there in terms of communication and time together. I’m annoyed that he was the one moving quickly and always bringing up serious things like marriage or moving in together eventually, and then when I start having strong feelings, he freaks out.

It’s hard because I was very attracted to him, and despite issues, when it was just the two of us, I enjoyed our time together immensely and I had fun with him. He made me happy far more than he made me unhappy. He had such faith in me and it seemed as if he genuinely cared immensely about my happiness, which was incredible. When we were communicating, he was easy to talk to. He was affectionate and romantic. I miss his voice, talking to him, his excitement about things. I will be sad not to do all the things we had discussed and planned, like taking more photos together, and exploring DC. I will miss sex with him. Most of the things that concerned me were technically just things that could be modified and centered around communication. If he communicated more, had more initiative, and paid more respect to the emotional impact of his words, I would have been great. All of those things maybe would’ve been there if his feelings were stronger…so I should’ve gone with my gut, basically, in terms of calling him out earlier on.

With him being gone so much (almost every weekend the last 6+ weeks), it was hard to tell how things really would be. I was happy enough to see what happened when we were in the same place. He was great with my family, and with me when all this crap happened, and that cemented my decision, so I convinced myself to trust and believe his words…then he ended it a week later. So many things remind me of him…

Also, to be fair, I could have likely been better. He said I was awesome, but I could have made more of an effort in driving out to his suburb on weeknights and investing more in some of the geekier things he enjoyed to show I cared more about his interests. And honestly, if he really didn’t have any issues at all, the fact that I had so many “conversations” I needed to have because we communicate differently and understand/show care differently (5 love languages – he’s action/touch, I’m words/time), that could get pretty discouraging. Add to that the heavy load of me having my mom’s illness to deal with and leaning on him much more, and the intensity of a wedding, and he had family deaths/illness among grandparents…well, there was a lot going on that could’ve been different or better or easier.

Anyhow, I will say, that one of the hardest things in it all it is my mom. I’ve been really sad, and he took my mind off the sad and made me feel cared for, safe, and better. No one cares for you like a romantic partner. You can talk about things and support one another in unique ways. It’s someone to be by your side, there for you – and I desperately miss that. I want someone to hold me and tell me it’s going to be alright, and he was really awesome at that, and I’ve lost that. And, yet again, my mom would make it better, but she’s unable to communicate or anything, and so that makes it hurt even more. That’s not why I was with him at all, but it was really helpful to have and will be an adjustment to figure out how to cope differently now. I probably should have been coping differently before anyhow, but now I have to. I may find someone to talk to, or just journal a bunch more, I don’t know.

There were bonuses from the whole experience, though, that I’m trying to hold onto:

  • He gave my family the gift of amazing photos of my sister’s wedding
  • When I was surrounded by family and people focused on themselves, my mom, and such, he was someone focused on me. I needed that immensely.
  • I’m closer to my dad and sister, and I know I can talk to them about ups and downs in relationships without necessarily being judged or having them freak out. I didn’t expect that.
  • He showed me that I can have and enjoy sex without pain.
  • I now know I can care about someone that deeply, and that I can be in a relationship and communicate and trust and all that jazz.
  • I’m much closer with my friends that live near him. This sucks because they live near him, but I’m very grateful for our strengthened relationship.
  • I’ve learned how important it is to me to hear feelings vocalized.
  • I’ve learned that teasing and denial is, in fact, my biggest turn on.
  • I know that to be submissive, I need reinforcement that my actions are pleasing my Top, I need encouragement (and if that doesn’t work, forced accountability), and I need consistency.
  • I know that while kinky events and fetish activities turn me on a lot and can be a lot of fun, I can also be happy without any of them should the right power dynamic be present in the bedroom. That power dynamic doesn’t have to be formalized, even. Open-mindedness is still key, though, just I can not get intense pain or not go to parties and such and not miss it a ton under the right circumstances.

So yes, maybe I’m better off, at least if he wasn’t willing to work on things, and it’s definitely better to know sooner rather than later that someone isn’t feeling it. Should he contact me about getting back together (he called tonight, and it’s killing me that I don’t know why he called), I don’t know what I’ll do. If we were to try again, it’d essentially be like starting over in some ways, and I’d definitely need to address some of these issues before agreeing to it.  I need to understand better why he didn’t think it was worth trying, because that’s a hella strong statement. But, there was something special there, and I don’t know if I am ready to abandon it. Who knows, because that may not be why he called.

No risk no reward, all that jazz. Would I have slowed down and put in some effort to make us stronger and see what happened? Yes. Were things perfect? No. Am I broken? No, just not as whole as I was a day or two ago…but I’ll get there again, hopefully sooner rather than later. Assuming I can have an appetite for food again sometime soon, although that’s a whole other issue. I’ll have to reevaluate what matters to me in a relationship at some point, but I’m so not anywhere there yet.

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