Learning to let go

He got back to me eventually and said he would like to stay friends. He told me I’m the sweetest person he’s ever met. He told me he still loves me. He told me that he thinks about me all the time and misses me. But he didn’t tell me that he’d changed his mind; or that he’d had a crazy moment of madness and wanted to take it all back.

I poured out my heart then in a virtual text essay, putting my spin on the situation, telling him we’d clearly moved too fast; offering a more laid back, child-free version of the immediate future together. 26 hours later he replied “I still think about you all the time and miss you but I just don’t know what to say at the moment ❤ X”.

After that I had some more conversations with friends and my sister and everyone said the same thing: “DON’T TEXT HIM!”.

I managed that for nearly 48 hours but yesterday was his birthday and I felt really weird to just say nothing so I texted “Happy Birthday X” in the evening. He then pinged back almost straight away “Thank you darling” and a twinkly heart. Then again “How are you?”

I replied “Up/down…sad. Happy, supported. Excluded. How did you celebrate your birthday?” He responded “Up/down Lonely Sad Alone Confused Crying X”. I was surprised. I felt sad for him – I hadn’t realised how fucked up he was feeling, and I tried to talk to him some more – asking him whether he really knew what he wanted to which he replied “I want to be Happy”. I said “Do you know how to be happy though? What is making you so sad?”. He went silent.

I ploughed on the next morning, sending a text… let’s just say reminding him what he was missing (it wasn’t a picture!) and he responded over an hour later confirming the obvious – he still thinks about our sex life. Nothing more.

I kept pushing – would he come over tomorrow afternoon and help me fit a bike rack on my car? After all he’d promised to help me whenever he can and up to a week ago his schedule was very free or very flexible – he came over at least three or four times a week and when I was child-free he made a special effort.

Five hours later he sent a ‘sorry, I can’t make tomorrow’ reply with a couple of lame excuses attached. At that point I found myself finally sobbing again. I think somehow I thought I could change him; change his mind; heal him; bring him back to me. But now I know he has no intention of letting that happen.

I drafted several different versions of a ‘fuck you then’ text in my head but then my seven year old saw me crying and acted really gently towards me. I dried my eyes, played a couple of board games with him and began to appreciate that this is what matters – not some transient relationship with a man who clearly has issues which I couldn’t even have guessed at two weeks ago. And really – do I need that kind of emotional instability in my life right now? No I do not. What I need is a chance to recover from the heart shock of all this. I need a chance to get over it and eventually open my heart back up to the possibility of a true, stable, balanced, loving, honest, tenacious partner who will not drop out like bad Wi-Fi the second my kids get a little bit hangry.

I have to admit I am still tempted to have my final word – you know the ‘have a nice life then’/’forget friendship’/’screw you and your lame excuses’ kind of stuff but at the end of the day I’m still that sweet girl who doesn’t want to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth as their last memory so I’ll take the advice and let it slide. I’ll stop looking at the pictures, stop checking to see when he last looked. Let the silence rush back in and fill my void with as much love, self-love, laughter, family, friends, plans and pursuits as I can and one day soon it won’t hurt any more to remember those four months of love and romance and happiness.

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