Expectations

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My heartbeat started erratically beating this morning. It’s from being exhausted.

I dreamed of strands of leather hearts burning. Being covered in ashes. Becoming frayed.

I got home just after Midnight from a lot of driving, my first CoDA meeting, a massage, and dinner with a good girlfriend. He texted me once yesterday at nearly 7:00 p.m…”Hope you’re doing ok. Taking the girls home now.”

And he was in our bed. Maybe I should have ended it there, but I didn’t.

You’re sleeping here tonight? What did you do today? I didn’t hear from you all day.

What my heart was anxious to know: What was so important that you couldn’t reach out to me once before, knowing I was hurting and raw, and tell me you’re thinking of me?

He insisted I didn’t get to demand we talk at Midnight when he wanted to sleep, got mad, got dressed, and went upstairs. I followed.

Please, give me the courtesy of five minutes.

Ok.

I hated the sound of my voice as I asked, “Am I important to you?”

As he laid in his bed with his back to me, he said, “Yes.”

I didn’t hear from you all day. What were you doing?

Nothing I shouldn’t have been doing. But maybe I should have to give you something to worry about.

Why would you say that?

“I’m tired of you. I’m so tired of you.”

Without a response, I went back to the bedroom, and began crying. I screamed into my hands twice, so angry and hurt. So dying for some modicum of affection from someone unable to give it. I wanted to break something just to release this overwhelming emotion, but reminded myself I to control myself, and imagined how he’d point to the broken things as another example of how crazy I am.

I looked up the Suicide Prevention Hotline and then dialed my aunt.

I want to give up.

It was not that long ago that I had a date picked out.  March 23. With a gun. In the bamboo glade next to our home. Make it quick. They’d find me quick, too.

I chose him over everything. He promised to make me happy. And then everything unraveled. I was thrown into deep and unrelentless grief. Suddenly, I was the enemy. The not fun one. The moody one. Crazy. Insane. Evil. Manipulative. The worst thing to happen to anyone. The reason his relationship with his parents was destroyed.

And then, when I had enough of being pushed to the periphery, I stood up to him. And then he sought someone else. Quickly, and without announcement. And then I did crazy. And then he left our home as she texted and called him as he made his way to an Airbnb he booked for two. All within a handful of days.

He’d reconcile with me, if I promised to behave.

I stood up to him again and he shared with me how his fling, his coworkers had described me as ugly in body and personality and how he could do so much better. And he agreed with them.

The next weeks, months, were a blur. He cried, yes. But he pushed me away as I begged and pleaded to be given a chance to love him again. He told me to join dating sites to improve my confidence. And I did. And I met some nice people, but always could not wait to come to home, and he would later punish me for dating. He went on dates, too, with a much younger daughter of a former employee who got physical with him on the first date, and though I begged him not to go–cried, pleaded–he still went and then didn’t come home until 6:00 a.m. the next morning. By date #2, he was involved with her small children, calling her “Darling” and playing house.

And again, I begged and pleaded to love me again. And he left for Virginia to visit family, to share his “options” with his parents: me or the 26-year old. We talked on the phone. I blew up his phone when he wouldn’t answer. He said he was leaning toward the other woman. And I begged again.

OK, he said. Give me complete control over you. How you dress, behave, and do at home. And to his surprise and mine, I agreed. And I tried for a few days. And then I found my courage to say no. Again. And then he railed at me for not keeping my promise, for costing him a chance to be with the 26-year old.

At some point, and somehow, we found a balance again. The delicate dance. However, the closer I moved toward him, the further he pushed me away.

I’m a grown man, I can do as I please without explanation, he’d say.

I love him. Even as I lie here in bed, exhausted and puffy from lack of sleep, heartbroken and depressed, I love him.

How I fantasize about him realizing what a good woman he has in me and starting to show up. I’m sorry I’ve been so stubborn, he’d say. I love you, I always have, I always will, and I want a life with you. Let’s make this work.

But what can I truly expect of him? Not to hold a conversation at Midnight, that’s for sure. Not to set boundaries with his mother, or his children. And then there’s the trust. And it’s not a distrust of his faithfulness, though he does not find cheating unacceptable, no, it’s a deep-seated distrust of his ability, his desire, his commitment to love me.

One of the tenants of CoDA recovery is learning to trust those who are trustworthy, and understanding why we choose to love those who are emotionally unavailable to us.

I love him. So very, very much, that my eyes, throat, and chest burn thinking about a life without him. And yet, does he actually love me?

I really don’t know. Maybe yes, when I’m not begging for emotional closeness, validation, or positive affirmation. Maybe yes, when I do not question him on his plans, activities, or intent. Maybe yes, when I am not emotionally unraveled, needy, and desperate to feel love.

But he’s tired of me. So tired of me.

 

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