One of the issues that’s hard for me to escape at the moment how long it takes to fully recover from an intimate relationship. It seems to happen in layers.
I’ve been navigated the ‘friendship’ stage of relating, which, I must admit hasn’t really worked. My ex appears to have a compulsion to reject me that still gets played out between us even though we are no longer a couple. The last time I ran into him he invited me to join him for a tea, and then asked me to leave. I found this upsetting. Why wouldn’t I? I did text him about it afterwards, asking him what was going on, and he said (without saying sorry) that he’d needed to “reset” i.e. needed some “alone time”. I found this insulting because we rarely sit down for a cuppa nowadays. Like: Am I of so little value to him that even a cup of tea with me is intolerable without it being cut short? Am I so bad? So toxic? I had really tried to love him when we together and this attitude of his has made me feel totally worthless. I think he has an addiction to rejecting me. It makes him feel in control. And now, I’ve really had enough. I can’t be his friend anymore.
He never texts me to ask me how I am, which I did with him. I’ve stopped this now. And I won’t be subjected to another cup of tea in which I get asked (not in so many words) to go away after fifteen minutes. But it’s hard because I did love him and knowing that I won’t be spending any more time with him — he’s made it impossible — brings up another layer of grief. Hopefully the last one.
I suppose that, even though it feels difficult and sad, it will eventually pass. Life always moves on, even when it seems like that won’t ever happen. The difficulty, or part of it I guess, is that I still see him about. The door keeps being swung open again on my feelings every time I see him.
Yesterday, when I walked up to the bookshop for my volunteer shift, he was sitting in the cafe at the end of my road talking to one of his friends. As he didn’t see me it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t have to negotiate the boundary of how friendly to be that wasn’t going to leave me feeling empty and unwanted again. Like he can pick me up and put me down as the mood takes him. I don’t want to be the subject of his whims any more. But I also don’t want to be mean, because I care about him. Caring about his feelings whilst looking after myself isn’t an easy task. Also, I think part of me still doesn’t want to close the door. But really, it was always him that was closing the door in me, not the other way around. It’s not my responsibility. I honestly don’t know why. I feel a responsibility to him and his feelings he has never felt towards me. I wish I was more self-protective.
I’ve deleted my Facebook app, so I can no longer get little snippets from his life to keep him in my imagination. I didn’t exit to get away from him necessarily, but it isn’t doing me any harm. It’s less fuel for the fire.
It does seem to be a case of just waiting until the fire burns out, slowly, which it inevitably will. I think that’s the healthy grieving process. Neither stoking it up nor chucking water over the pit. Just accepting the memory of a warmth and glow that no longer exits. A fire that was always a bit out of control and unsafe when it did live.