Jun 022013
 

Since the very beginning of our relationship, I’ve always known J would leave.

The reality of his leaving has always been on our minds, sometimes more prominently and sometimes less. I’ve never been in denial, nor have I ever been anything but supportive. While I’ll be incredibly sad to see him go, I know that leaving is what’s best for him and I want him to be happy. To that end, I’ve helped him with his materials. I’ve digitized some of his works, and did some graphic design and desktop publishing magic on his portfolio. I helped him with his resume and did some research on a few of the more promising opportunities.

There have been a few opportunities, but none of them looked promising enough. There was always something that wasn’t quite right — something I suspected might throw a wrench in the gears. For that reason, I was able to help with his materials, be hopeful and encouraging, and be happy for him without ever really feeling the threat that he would leave.

Until now.

This most recent possibility feels different (for a number of reasons I won’t get into). For the first time, an opportunity (for him) feels like a threat (to me). This is the first time I’m starting to feel the impending loss.

While I’ve always been aware of the consequences of falling in love with a man who has one foot on another coast, being aware of the consequences and actually feeling them are two different things. Heck, I can’t say I’m really feeling any consequences because he hasn’t left yet, and we aren’t even sure he’s leaving. I guess I’m feeling pre-consequences?

I anticipated some of the emotions and impulses I’m experiencing, but some are new and unexpected.

(Reader beware… naval-gazing ahead…)

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Since getting the news about this most recent job opportunity, I’ve been vacillating between four feelings (attitudes? impulses?) about the possibility of J leaving.

relationship-dice1. Maintain the Status Quo

We aren’t yet sure if J is leaving soon or staying put, so part of me wants to continue with our relationship exactly as it is. We still have issues to work on, problems we should talk about, and a couple of things we want to improve in our relationship. If he ends up staying for a while, we should do those things. But, if he’s leaving in a couple of weeks, there’s no point in working on a relationship that’s about to end. If he’s leaving, our time together would be much better spent happily fucking until we’re both too exhausted to feel anything else.

I wrote about the potential costs and benefits of working on relationship issues a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t repeat myself here.

2. Sadness

I anticipated sadness (of course), and I’m self-aware enough to know my own potential for handling sadness badly. For that reason, I’ve been mindful of how I allow my attitude, words, and actions to reflect that feeling.

It’s probably a meaningless distinction to most people, but it’s important for me to separate ‘hurt’ (wronged by someone or some thing) from ‘sad’ (no one’s at fault; the situation just sucks). If I’m genuinely hurt by someone or some thing, anger follows, and a lot of time, that anger is justified and (somewhat) productive. But if I’m just sad, then anger isn’t warranted and doesn’t do any good. If I don’t separate the two — hurt and sadness — I end up angry at situations or people that don’t deserve it, and often, that anger is destructive — both to me and to those around me.

3. Fuck it

Is ‘fuck it’ an emotion? Is it an impulse? For the sake of my navel gazing, let’s assume it’s both. My ‘fuck it’ urge is to enjoy what I have while I have it… without ruining it with sadness (see #2, above). If I’ve got J for another day/week/month/?, I should enjoy him for the time I have him. Specifically, the ‘fuck it’ impulse drives me to think we should probably fuck a lot more… who knows if we’ll ever get the chance to fuck each other again, right? :)

‘Fuck it’ and accompanying urge to fuck (as much as possible, as many ways as possible, and to try new things with J while I still have the time) is pretty strong and I’m enjoying it as much as I can. It contributed to a very interesting weekend we had recently. :) I’m working on writing it up… so expect that sometime soon.

But, while the desperation to fuck (and say ‘fuck it!’) is great, it’s also fleeting. Unless J is actually here with me, the beautiful desperation and sex obsession is too easily replaced with sadness or with the urge to make some sort of preparations (see #4, below).

emotion-dice4. Preparations & (Contingency) Plans

This is the something I didn’t expect and never thought about. While I did anticipate the possibility we’d break up well before he left (and made ‘plans’ to help mediate that — the ‘breakup rules’), what I didn’t anticipate was what might happen if he leaves while we’re still happy and in love. I know the break will be permanent, but will it be immediate? Will there be some sort of transition time to help us both adjust? I know we both want to remain friends, but how do we do that? How do we move from D/s into a vanilla friendship? What might that friendship look like?

Recently, I’ve been struck with the impulse to figure out what our expectations are for the relationship (friendship) after he leaves. I’d like to think about what we can do to make the transition as smooth as possible and minimize the potential for hurting each others’ feelings after he’s gone.

I’m thinking about it now, and I’m sure I’ll write about it soon… just as soon as I figure it out.

 

  23 Responses to “(un)expected”

  1. All four of those impulses are completely valid, and I can understand why they would all be running through your mind at the same time. You have a potential life changing event looming on the (near?) horizon, and whether it happens or not, it is something you are dealing with right now.

    In such situations, for me, the dominant impulse would the first one. Perhaps it’s a form of denial, but I prefer to keep things as “normal” as possible, for as long as possible.

    Next would be number four, as a “just in case” if I couldn’t maintain the status quo.

    Of course, there would also be a smaller helping of number three, because, in the back of my mind, the knowledge of a possible ending might lower my inhibitions.

    All of the above, would be done to avoid the second one. Sure, sadness may come, but I’d do my damndest to hold it off as long as possible.

    However it works out in the end, I hope you can avoid, as much as possible, number two, and if you can’t, remember that we (your followers) are all out here and will help you deal with it.
    All the best!!!

    • Ha! Absolutely, to all of the above. I’m battling (myself) to keep things normal, but my brain is tossing around options for transition time. But in the material world, I’m all about the fucking (but to be fair, that isn’t out of the ordinary). :)

      I’ll avoid the sad as long as possible, but I’ll bounce back… one way or another. :)

  2. Side note: it’s a bit weird to comment knowing that J might read these, too.

    But I have to ask – if you are both in love, both enjoying the fuck out of a long distance relationship right now, and both gainfully employed (so as to afford frequent cross country travel) … is staying together on opposite coasts not an option?

    • Side note: it’s a bit weird to comment knowing that J might read these, too.

      Super side note: it’s a bit weird writing knowing that J reads… I’m still not 100% comfortable with that. :)

      But I have to ask – if you are both in love, both enjoying the fuck out of a long distance relationship right now, and both gainfully employed (so as to afford frequent cross country travel) … is staying together on opposite coasts not an option?

      Short answer: Yes, it’s an option, but not an option that seems viable or desirable.

      Long answer: I’ve always called it a “driving distance” relationship. Sometimes, we get to spend every weekend together for a month or more… but other times, I don’t see him for three weeks (or more). So, it is a distance relationship, but only sometimes. :)

      And sure, we could afford cross country travel, but it involves a lot of wasted time, not to mention the cost. Flying coast to coast takes five hours (assuming a nonstop flight), and weekends are only so long — too much of that time (time we could spend together) would be taken up with travel. It’s just not worth it. I realize that’s not romantic… but it’s the truth.

      I think trying to stay together while being so far apart would just mean more difficulty, disappointment, and heartbreak in the end. A relationship like that just isn’t sustainable.

      God dammit. I really hate even writing that. Fuck. I HATE reality.

      • It’s sometimes hard to separate realism from fatalism, but you have clearly really thought through what you need and want in a relationship.

        I am fascinated by your model of temporary love. One of the reasons I really struggle with starting – ‘risking’ – relationships is a fear that the love, even if it does materialize, will not be forever love … I am terrified of being trapped in a loveless relationship and fear that I won’t be brave enough to leave or withdraw from someone who has invested a lot in me. But keeping the focus on what BOTH people need from the relationship strikes me as very healthy. In your situation, J is not leaving the relationship; he is leaving the coast. You are together negotiating your individual and mutual needs and expectations. That is so awesome.

        • I am fascinated by your model of temporary love.

          It’s not for everyone, but it works for me. I find I’m far more willing to take the risks (for happiness!) knowing that I’m not interested in finding something that will last forever. It’s made me more willing to share, make mistakes, learn, and grow. I’m of the mind that love materializes often, but it’s rarely forever. I think it can be, but putting that sort of unnecessary pressure on it (on love, on him or her) messes things up before they even have a chance to begin.

          In your situation, J is not leaving the relationship; he is leaving the coast. You are together negotiating your individual and mutual needs and expectations.

          Exactly. :) We’ve always been of the same mind about the durability of relationships, and we’ve been practical in our approach to making things work in ways that meet our needs… whether we’re together or apart. It’s not a romantic approach, but I absolutely love it. I adore him for being my partner throughout the relationship, and I adore him for being my partner as we see it through to its dissolution (or transition, or whatever shape it ends up taking… even if that means none at all).

          That? That’s love. As temporary as it is, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. :)

  3. I feel for you because i know the situation kinda first hand, here is my opinion, what i did and what i felt afterwards. I say fuck it, enjoy him while you can and while you have him, do the same things you ever did but with a bit more of trying everything you ever wanted to. After all, you do mention he has always been leaving, so this is nothing new and thats the way you should see it. You have issues, ok if something is imminent then fix it, if not, dont worry about it till you know if this opportunity may work or not; if he leaves you will be glad you enjoyed it more, if he doesn’t you will also be glad and then you can fix your issues. If in fact he leaves don’t actively break up let it die, you both need to know if he leaves is over but that doesn’t mean you cant still talk to each other. If he leaves you will still talk and text and write to each other but he will be busier so it will be less, you will understand that or get mad at the fact, either way you will get use to being less in contact, with life kicking in eventually you will be those ppl that only talk on birthdays and special days, if so. As for meeting, you guys don’t meet as often so it wont hurt instantly, you will feel it though so you better find something to get you distracted. Find a way of stop thinking, thats a great advice, as hard as it is less thinking more doing, any time yo have free time to think, do something (let it be constructive)

    My story, i left my country once to live here in miami, at the time i was dating the first person i ever felt something more than lust for, she made me smile and happy and at that time that was a huge thing, anyway when we knew i was leaving we had to make a decision, we end it there at the moment or enjoy the moment. We decided to enjoy the moment till the last possible minute (literally) knowing that we were over when i got on that plane. After we ended we keep talking but a new life kicked in for me so i wrote her less and less, she hated that she wanted more but there was nothing i could do. Eventually we ever talked again, we both moved on with life. I went back home a few times but decided not to see her, i decided it was better to leave the wind healed.

    So in my experience i say enjoy it, dont over think it, just enjoy it. Life will happen and you cant change the future of he leaving or not, may as well enjoy the life you have now than to think what ifs. If you have time to think what ifs then start thinking of every single little thing you will do to him. I hope the best for you both. Best wishes

    • Hi Tito,

      Thanks for the comment and for sharing your experience. :)

      If he leaves you will still talk and text and write to each other but he will be busier so it will be less, you will understand that or get mad at the fact, either way you will get use to being less in contact, with life kicking in eventually you will be those ppl that only talk on birthdays and special days, if so

      I imagine this will be the case, but it’s something we need to talk through. With any set of friends, particularly friends who were romantic partners, it’s important to know each others expectations for the relationship — otherwise, there’s the risk of hurting feelings and having the relationship fall apart.

      As you mentioned in recounting your experience,

      After we ended we keep talking but a new life kicked in for me so i wrote her less and less, she hated that she wanted more but there was nothing i could do. Eventually we ever talked again, we both moved on with life. I went back home a few times but decided not to see her, i decided it was better to leave the wind healed.

      When one person in a relationship leaves the other, especially when the relationship ends on good terms (as in both of our situations where one party moves away), if you don’t have some plan for what might happen, if people have different expectations, someone will end up having their feelings hurt… as in the case of your ex-girlfriend.

      I’m sure she would have been hurt regardless of the terms of your relationship after the move, perhaps she could have been spared additional hurt feelings if you two had talked about what your relationship might look like after you left.

      What I want is to minimize the possibility that either J or I ends up being in the same position as your girlfriend — with hurt feelings.

      i say enjoy it, dont over think it, just enjoy it. Life will happen and you cant change the future of he leaving or not,

      Well, I can’t promise I won’t overthink — it’s my nature. :) And yes, he’s leaving and that can’t be changed. But, what happens to us after he leaves can be planned for and discussed… and we’ll do that too (I can’t help it… it’s my nature!)

      Thanks for the well wishes, Tito! :) Same to you!

      • i can relate to your nature because i am the same, i over think things to and at times it overwhelms me to the point i cant sleep for days. So i just at times tried to stop thinking and start doing (and if it gets too bad there is weed, but i dont recommend it lol). Sometimes not everything cant be prepared or accounted for.

        I did talked things out with my ex, she did know things would slow down, she knew things would end that way and she still wanted more, thats my point. Even if you talk to him and tell yourself how things may happen, even if you know he may be busier or that things are to die, you will still want more of him, you will want him to talk to you more. Wether you say it or think it, it will be the case and you cant prepare for that, it doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself thats the way things are now, how much you accept the situation you will still want more of him. Thats what i was trying to get at. Is true that some type of preparation and talk b4 hand may smooth the process, but doesn’t matter how thin, sandpaper is still rough. Again best of wishes.

        • Even if you talk to him and tell yourself how things may happen, even if you know he may be busier or that things are to die, you will still want more of him, you will want him to talk to you more. Wether you say it or think it, it will be the case and you cant prepare for that, it doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself thats the way things are now, how much you accept the situation you will still want more of him.

          I get what you’re saying — that we can’t plan for everything because we don’t know how we’ll respond after it happens. I understand your point, and I agree. :)

          But, I think presuming that he will be too busy and I’ll want more of him than I can have is a little presumptuous (understandably, based on your own experiences, and perhaps maybe a little based on stereotypical gender behaviors). But, based on my previous responses to such things, I’ll either want to maintain the same sort of contact for a while, or I won’t want to communicate with him at all… I’ll shut down completely. There’s as much of a possibility that I’ll want distance as there is that I’ll want some attention.

          And, my consideration of the future and various possibilities isn’t just about me. I don’t know how he will react either. He may want distance, but he’s also just as likely to want lots of contact and communication as we transition. I want to make sure his needs are met too.

          For the record, I don’t mean to ‘tell myself’ anything — I just want to consider the possibilities, figure out what our expectations are, and do whatever we can to maintain our friendship and minimize the inevitable hurt. I know the hurt is coming, and you’re right about the sandpaper. Sandpaper is rough — that’s it’s nature. All I’m looking to do is find a finer grit. :)

          Thanks for your thoughts — I’m happy to have another overthinker around! :)

  4. *hugs* … from reading your blog, you already have the second hardest part accepted: knowing he’s leaving and he won’t be permanent in your life. you’ve accepted it for a variety if reasons you’ve already talked about… but the hugs are because of the hardest part… harder than knowing he’s leaving, is not knowing when. and you seem like a person who likes to know about big things like this, and its tough not having control over it.

    so i doubt i’m gonna have any words of wisdom… especially since i cannot empathize – my situation is vastly different (and has a lot of complicated ~feelings).

    so you get *hugs* and extra-chippy chocoloate chip cookies… and maybe some band-aids. enjoy him wile you have him in your space, and when he leaves, you’ll have good times to think back on. and maybe, as you enjoy him now, if this opportunity doesn’t pan out and he stays a bit longer, some of those other kinks (no pun intended, unless it would work and in that case, totally intended, lol) will work themselves out.

    • harder than knowing he’s leaving, is not knowing when. and you seem like a person who likes to know about big things like this, and its tough not having control over it.

      Yes, this!

      And I’ll gladly accept the hugs and extra chippy chocolate chip cookies. :) Do you know if those go well with vodka? Don’t worry about it… I’ll do some taste testing and report back. :)

  5. You mention that you handle sadness badly however it seems that you’re handling as best you can. I went through the same feelings you listed and I think I too over analyze and over think situations. I don’t know if an easy transition exists but if you find one works best for you please keep us posted!

    • I don’t know if an easy transition exists but if you find one works best for you please keep us posted!

      I will keep everyone posted… unless of course I become so depressed that I decide to shut down the blog, sell my house, and move to Alaska to commune with nature… ha! That will never happen… I don’t like nature. :)

      As for an ‘easy’ transition, I’m not sure there is one. But, I do think we can talk about our expectations for communication, sharing personal life details, etc. that might make it a little easier, and certainly a lot more clear.

      Thanks for the comment, Eden. :)

  6. {{{HUGS}}}

    It’s never easy, no matter which side of the coin you’re on.. so if it helps, I’m happy to share my experiences and take from it what you will.

    For me, it’s happened 3 times in my life (twice I was the one leaving). The first time, we tried to maintain the relationship… but what I found was it made me feel like I was stuck in two different worlds and trying to balance them both became a nightmare till I finally just ended it. Even well laid out “expectations” had ramifications and the more I had to alter those expectations to fit my new life, the more he felt like I was cutting him out.

    The second time (a bit older and wiser), I cut it all off. We tried to stay friends, but found that while my “new life” was full of exciting adventures.. he was stuck in a rut since I had left and would get depressed over hearing how I was enjoying myself. Basically he had nothing to help him through the sadness, so the happier I was, the more depressed it made him. After a few months, I honestly began avoiding most of his calls because it wasn’t good for either of us. Eventually, he started finding a life without me and the calls just faded away.

    Third time, I threw caution to the wind and agreed to marriage to prevent the military from relocating him. I was pretty upfront that if he left… we were done (since it never went well for me) and he was so set on finding a way to make it work that he proposed. We spent nearly 3 weeks in deep, heartfelt conversations as this just went against everything I believe in for reasons to get married and I strugled to wrap my head around it. But throughout, my gut (heart) screamed leap… so I did. Lead to a wonderful 13 yr marriage and even though it did eventually end, we are still very good friends to this day.

    “if you don’t have some plan for what might happen, if people have different expectations, someone will end up having their feelings hurt”

    I think one issue with this thought is that J will have no real idea of what life on the west coast will entail for him until he gets there and lives it for awhile. Setting expectations on what he “thinks” he can handle may actually set him up for failure. I know that’s exactly what bit me in the butt both times. The first wanted a level of contact (pre-internet and cell phones) that just became impossible for me to meet. The second just had such a hard time dealing with the fact I had a life separate from him that began to make it so uncomfortable to talk with him, even though we had agreed to just be friends.

    So personally, I think where I’d start first would be with how are YOU going to deal with this. Without trying to be negative, the realization is you will be the one left behind. He’ll have a new job, new opportunities and new friends that will help distract him from the pain and loss. But before any expectations can be set… ask yourself how will YOU handle him having a new life, new opportunities, new friends, etc. What will YOU need to get through the sadness, loneliness and most of all the envy. What can YOU do to fill the void.

    I often wish with the second that I had place a 2-3 month, no contact rule. Enough time to let him grieve and find his own life before trying to create a friendship. He was an amazing man and over the years I’ve had a number of experiences I know he would have been able to appreciate.

    Though with him… I’d say enjoy yourself for now. Nothing is set in stone yet, so spend this time preparing YOU when he isn’t around and when he is… make some memorable moments.

    • So personally, I think where I’d start first would be with how are YOU going to deal with this. Without trying to be negative, the realization is you will be the one left behind. He’ll have a new job, new opportunities and new friends that will help distract him from the pain and loss. But before any expectations can be set… ask yourself how will YOU handle him having a new life

      Yes! This is where I’m starting. Most of my thinking on this comes from trying to figure out what will help me transition. When we talk, I’m going to tell him what I think I’ll need (in the short term) to make changes slowly… in a way that’s more manageable for me.

      I think one issue with this thought is that J will have no real idea of what life on the west coast will entail for him until he gets there and lives it for awhile. Setting expectations on what he “thinks” he can handle may actually set him up for failure.

      I certainly don’t want to set either one of us up to hurt the others feelings, which is why I’m thinking about communication and transition in the short term — perhaps, over the first month that he’s there. If it’s what I think I need, I’m sure he can agree to call every couple of days. Again, I’m thinking the “rules type” stuff is short term. After I get past the initial shell shock, we can move into a more natural, friendly relationship. That might mean staying in touch, and that might mean letting the friendship fade gracefully. I’m not sure, but I am sure that I don’t want to cut all ties the moment he splits — I do know I’ll need a couple of weeks to get back on my feet, and I’m fairly sure he’ll be gracious about giving me that.

      Of course, all of the same applies to him, but as you mentioned (and as I’ve already realized), he’ll have more to occupy his mind than I will.

      Though with him… I’d say enjoy yourself for now. Nothing is set in stone yet, so spend this time preparing YOU when he isn’t around and when he is… make some memorable moments.

      ^ That is definitely part of the plan! :) :)

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Maggie. :)

  7. I think that you should expect to be sad, expect to miss him, and prepare to let him go if and when it occurs. In the meantime, don’t put off doing all those things you meant to do together some day. Do them now. And make sure that when he gets on that plane and flies away that he will always remember how much he was loved and that when he thinks of you, it will be a warm and happy thought. Do not fall into to the impulse to distance yourself or push him away in order to prevent a broken heart. (Take it from a veteran Navy wife!) Hold him close to you so that you can enjoy the warmth now that will hold you over when he is gone.

    Good luck, my dear.

    • I think that you should expect to be sad, expect to miss him, and prepare to let him go if and when it occurs.

      Yes, kinda. At some point, he won’t be my boy anymore. I’m prepared to let that part go, but I don’t want to give up our friendship. Of course, if being friends is too painful or we just grow apart, that’s fine and I’ll accept that. But… I’d like to try to maintain a relationship, even if that means we don’t talk, but always know the other is there if needed.

      don’t put off doing all those things you meant to do together some day. Do them now. And make sure that when he gets on that plane and flies away that he will always remember how much he was loved and that when he thinks of you

      Trust me, we’re doing them. :) And, I have no doubt he’ll always know how much he’s loved. As much as I’ve loved him, and as hard as I’ve loved him, I can’t imagine it could be forgotten.

      Do not fall into to the impulse to distance yourself or push him away in order to prevent a broken heart. (Take it from a veteran Navy wife!) Hold him close to you so that you can enjoy the warmth now that will hold you over when he is gone.

      I’m very lucky that pushing him away hasn’t been an impulse. I’ve had some strange impulses, and some expected ones too, but pushing him away or feeling cold towards him hasn’t been one of them. I’m very grateful for that. I know the broken heart is coming… I’ve always known, and yet I went ‘all in’ anyway… I’m not going to run away now. :)

      Thanks for the kind words, Naydi. :)

  8. Really thought-provoking. It sounds like such a difficult thing to navigate, especially with added uncertainty. My thoughts are with you, and I hope – however things work out – that you’ll be able to find your path without too much difficulty.

    • Thanks, Harper. I’m working on it. :) If nothing else, it makes me feel proactive, as if I have some control in the matter. :)

  9. I so admire and feel for you, DD. I know how hard it is to stay present when the unknown looms large. You’re doing a fine job! Brilliant display, lady. Really.

    I have never seen this kind of situation to the end (I’m still in mine). I’m interested in seeing how this goes for you. I’m sorry you might end up being the first of the two of us. xx Hy

    • Thanks, Hy. Of course, all of this stuff is easier said (and considered) than done (or put into action). But, I have high hopes!

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