Sunday, February 20, 2011

an alarming unhappiness


It started out as a fairytale. Even in hindsight, I won't deny that. We met online, though we were three thousand miles away, and tried to pretend we were just friends, but soon we were falling. I had started talking to him just two months before I was to head off to France for a seven-month contract, but I was starting to fall in love with him and the way he told me I was beautiful and that he loved talking about language with me; I wanted only him forever. I told him I liked him and I insisted that he either tell me his true feelings or lie and say I was disgusting and that he'd never want to be with me, because that would make it so much easier to get over him.

But he decided to tell the truth, even though he had just gotten over a big breakup - one that to this day he's not over - and of all fortuitous chances, I had a layover on my way to France in an airport four hours' drive away from him. He knew, and I wondered if he would come. I spent that first flight agonizing over the uncertainty, but giddy with a degree of sureness that he would be there.

And he was.

I lugged my bags and my guitar to the front of the airport, where he was waiting, for the hour-long layover I had between flights. His whole body was shaking, and he held my hand, leading me to a sunlit, secluded alcove under a big escalator where he laid down a blanket and gestured to the picnic he brought. He told me how much he liked me, and how much he would have regretted it if he hadn't come to meet me for the first time in person when he had the chance. I played him the song I had secretly written for him on my guitar, right there in the airport, with my back to the rest of the travelers, not even meeting his eyes because I didn't know how any of this worked.

He gave me my first kiss and waved to me as I re-entered security and made my flight just in time. That flight across the ocean really felt like I was flying, like I had sprouted wings and was high on the excitement of being wanted and feeling the potential of this perfect relationship whose start was so beautifully fresh. Then I was in France, and we talked every day online, he was charming and kind and supportive, and everyone I met was wowed by the romance of our story. Our story, I thought. I would tell it to people for the rest of our lives and it would be the sign that it was meant to be from the start. Imagine - my first love, this perfect!

He even came to visit me for a month over the winter holidays, three months after the airport. We overcame so many challenges in that brief period - my hostile roommate kicking us to the curb and leaving us to fend for ourselves, dirty replacement accommodations without heating or a functional bed frame, more rude people than I can count, the utterly insulting high prices of everything in Paris, my trip to the emergency room for a bad cut on broken glass... We survived all this, and he made me love him so much through it all. He was there for me every second, and I was grateful for that but also felt so guilty to be dragging him through my crazy life.

The day before he left, I said what I had been wanting to say for months. I said what he later told me he's not sure he can ever say to me. I don't regret it, because it's how I felt and how I still feel. Every good memory we had made during his stay - wandering Montmartre, kissing in the metro station, him lifting me up in the kitchen and smiling warmly at me, every ounce of desire he had for me that I returned - all those good things made me overlook the bad. But everything changed after that day, after that sunny morning on the mattress of the borrowed room we were in, when I told him I loved him as my heart raced and I lay pressed against him. Whether all the changes were due to my words or simply happenstance, I don't know.

But I cried so much after he left, I felt as if he had died or left me. He had a new job back home that left him no time or energy to keep in touch with me, and I felt completely alone. I moved into a new place, since I had been kicked out of the old one during his stay, and although everything there was good, great even, I couldn't feel relieved. I felt empty without him, and emptier still after realizing that I'd spent an entire month neglecting my own well-being while I tried to keep the two of us afloat in a country where he didn't know the language and didn't have the financial resources to help me out when I was in need. The good memories helped me remember how much I cared for him, and I tried to keep him aware of my affection by sending emails and offline messages, because we talked so infrequently.

I even came back to America for a little while, and we were able to talk on the phone again. But he was never the one to call, he felt too stressed about my being upset and my wanting to talk about the relationship and the need I have for there to be an end date for the long-distance part of all this (which there still isn't). And in his indifference, his unwillingness to take five minutes to send me an email or call to say goodnight, I have gained perspective. All the hurtful things he said without thinking, all the discrepancies between our needs and personal interests... And then he managed to say the thing that has been stewing painfully in my heart for the past four days: the crushing confession that he might not ever be able to love me.

I blame his ex-girlfriend. I blame his upbringing. I blame so much, and I had resolved this year to eliminate blame from my life. But the way he is, is not good for me. It's maintaining an alarming unhappiness in me that I need to get away from to feel whole again. Ending this will break my heart, and his too if I'm to believe him. The fairytale was so promising, so beautiful, so achingly beautiful that I don't want to give it up. Neither of us realized in the beginning that we were fools to think this would work. We gave it up by starting it in the first place.



  1. Will it happen to me if I fly over?

    I've known mine for 3 years now.
    Been talking every single day for 8 months now.
    He told me he loved me on the phone on 1 Jan 2010.
    He makes compromises around his schedule to catch me on.
    Working over the weekends going back home from the college dorm to save up for when I go over.
    We talk hours on end, all through the day. Skyping, falling asleep talking
    Looking at each othe across the screen and tearing because we are a screen and 12,000 miles apart
    I'm staying with his mom dad and sis when I go over

    And yet somehow I can't be fully convinced.

    And yet he's patient and willing to wait for the time where I finally, even if it means never.

    He would set aside his computer games, friends and homework to talk to be about nothing.

    Advice anyone?

  2. I will wait for the day when someone puts that much time and effort to see me, and your lucky you got to experience something so beautiful even if it doesnt have a fairy-tale ending.

  3. I'm also having those crazy long distance relationship and I was thinking about it for the past few months and I decided that it's worth fighting for at least for 1 reason. The reason is, you live in fairy tale all that time. Isn't it wonderful? Isn't it what all other people want to have? To try to live in your own fairy tale.
    No one ever told the Snow White or Sleeping Beauty were happy during the whole story. Ending also not always is happily ever after.
    Stupid, maybe, but I believe it's worth trying. For adventure and for having something to tell people.

  4. I disagree with the comment above me. Sounds like you did try, and if he isnt willing to reciprocate the effort than there is somebody out there who will. Dont waste your time loving someone who wont love you back with everything they have.

  5. I agree with the previous commenter.
    I have had many long distant relationships and the last one ended 4 days ago and hurts the most. The reason why he could not say these words back was because he had a girlfriend, that I didn't know about. He hadn't told me the truth but I feel that I have lived in a lie for more than 6 months mainly because of my imagination and ignoring my intuition. I also based the whole fairytale story on some good memories and always found an explanation for why he didn't have time for me.
    Living in a made up world may be fun for a short period of time but sooner or later it tires you more and it can never satisfy you. So I don't recommend you to imagine out things that are not true and encourage you to make room for something real.

    Some smart phrases I read about:

    *Do not waste time with men who are not genuinely interested in you. Man should run after you and your boyfriend should love you as such, as you are.
    *You cannot change the person. You either accept who he is, or move on.
    *If you have more unhappy than happy mornings, you are wasting your time.
    *Being in love and missing somebody is not the same.

    Wish you all the best in getting over this!

  6. WOW! being in love and missing someone is not the same. That's so profound. In a way its something we all have to deal with.

  7. Well, I don't know exactly what you should do. But, I have a feeling that you should just wait it out a little. First of all, he did go all the way to see you and I don't think someone would do that unless they did actually care for you. The other thing is saying " I love you. " can be a big deal to some people. Others a perfectly comfortable sharing how they feel and others are not and it takes them a while to wrap their brain around it. What I would suggest is to stop initiating the contact. Let him make the first move - wait him out. Live your life, hang out with people, and enjoy yourself. Odds are that he will start to get curious and miss you and when he is more himself he will call you. I know that is hard and takes quite a lot of self control but it is probably the smartest way to make him come around. Women often want some kind of commitment/ attachment and men often hold back; But, I recently read that many men are standing in the train station but very few have left the building completely. Think about. Give him complete space. Live your life. If he comes around, congratualtions. If not you move on to better things and it was an important part of your life's journey. Remember that love always happens for a reason. :)

  8. I'm very glad you shared this. I don't have much advice or experience or insight, but mostly, I'm happy to hear that you've realized how to become whole. That's so important. Find a way to wake up feeling perfectly whole. :]

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  10. This touched me.
    I'm sorry - I'm so sorry.
    I am quite literally crying as I read your story.

    I am also proud. So proud that you made that choice.
    Because, it seems to be the right one and I wish I was had the courage to end a relationship that was doomed to fail rather than holding on.

    Stay strong. I am so, so proud of you.

  11. When your guy forget to do something for you now and then. Is it forgivable if it's a long run thing?


    Forget to text back
    Forget to check out this thing for you etc

    And he says he feels bad but can't change coz they are traits..

    What now? Not serious mistakes.

    Stay or go?

  12. The memories you made, the history you share, it can't be replicated with anyone else. That story was full of love, love from you to him, as well as him to you. Love is always worth fighting for - embarrassing yourself going after him even

  13. I guess we have all been unhappy at sometime, but its soemtimes the degrees of unhapppyness and how we deal with it. Don't ignore the blatent obvious and have good friend around to catch you... we all fall and we all need to know we can pick ourselves up again and carry on learning and catching others.

  14. your story really really touched me, because ive recently been through a similar experience.
    at the beginning of the relationship he was so dedicated - we spoke every day over the phone or over the internet. but i think the inability to see eachother got to him and he started to drift. ive been to visit him twice in the last year and on both occassions he's stood me up. both times we had arranged to meet over the phone the day before and then when the actual day came, i heard no word from him. on the latest occassion, it was only a matter of a few hours between the time that i heard his voice over the phone when we were arranging our meeting and the time i rang him, asking him where he was, to be left with no response.
    its really so trivial as to how he could've changed from being so excited to see me to not even bothering to make an excuse as to why he couldnt show so quickly.
    why dont men have as much faith and trust in budding relationships as women do?

  15. i guess for online relationships, its just easy to not commit. all you need to do is to turn off all electronic points of contact. sad to say, realistically, maybe you just served as good, fun, convenient entertainment to him. maybe at some point he did think he loved you, but from the facts as it is.. doesnt seem like it's enough.

    i think for online long distance stuff like this, the only good solution to avoiding such, unrequire love is have is to make him commit.Commit in words, through investing money and time and effort. to make it real for you. to make you feel loved.

    pretty much making you feel like you do have a boyfriend, just hes not there everyday.

    protect yourself and love yourself dear. you do sound like a wonderful being (: so are the rest of you girls out there. let him come for you. there are real guys out there who are willing to do that for you. just be patient (: dont jump into your emotions.

    think as girls we kinda fail to love ourselves sometimes. which brings us to so much hurt and stuff in the end. self preservation is important. both for you and the relationship with the guy you like.

  16. Sad, but well like I was commenting before and again I insist with the question, why woman always fall in love with guys like this ? I just had 2 relationships in my life and that's enough, no one will hurt me again, that's why I fell in love with my job because it never will make me unhappy ;D

  17. Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.


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