An unfortunate consequence of falling sand is that it grows heavier as it piles up.
Every slight (both real and imagined) feels like a punch to the gut, and every little miscommunication feels like a blow to the heart. Each tiny grain of sand feels like a boulder atop an already-impending landslide that threatens to bury us both. It might. It might not. I’m not sure how much it matters — the end is coming either way.
J and I are preparing for the oncoming spring, both separately and together. Historically, it’s not been an easy time of year for me, and for him, it means tying up loose ends of his life here and making a new place for himself out west. We’re both feeling raw and exhausted from fighting the impulse to pull away, shut down, and wall ourselves off from the other to spare ourselves some measure of the pain we know is coming.
This past weekend, we were fortunate to spend time together, despite his error and despite my making it a million times worse.
My approach to what I’ve perceived as J’s infrequent moments of inconsideration has been to ignore them. What good is working on a relationship that’s about to end? I do very little to acknowledge the situation, and instead, wait quietly for the hurt to subside. If I allow some minor emotional bruise to take a place of prominence in my mind, it compounds and grows and will ultimately require so much more than quiet to get past.
So I pull back a little. It’s not in any dramatic way or for any significant length of time, it’s just my way of managing a small and temporary distance to keep minor instances of hurt feelings in perspective (in light of the daunting size of what’s to come).
On Friday, I didn’t realize how much he needed me at the exact moment I pulled back. He was vulnerable and emotional… and I had no idea. He tried to step back too, but was unable. When he vocalized his own hurt feelings, I was crushed. Of course, I don’t enjoy causing him pain (not the kind I don’t intend), but more than that, I was so fucking angry that he failed to spare me his feelings when I do so much to keep him safe from mine.
Of course, he didn’t know the degree to which my feelings were hurt because I do so much to hide them. That’s my own fault — it’s a consequence of the choices I’ve made in trying to navigate our twilight without mangling my heart, or his heart, or the time we have left.
In the wake of a small issue that grew into something else, J admitted he would have to work on being less vulnerable in order to keep his heart safe.
I understand it, but I can’t help but hate it.
Keeping his heart safe from vulnerability and pain means keeping his heart safe from me.
While I want so much more of him, and want so much more from him, I won’t destroy him to get it. I won’t push J to make himself vulnerable to me if it causes him a pain I cannot mediate. I love him too much for that. I love him more than I love myself.
What does it all mean moving forward? I don’t know.
We talked a little. I revealed a bit of what I’ve held back and accepted the fact he might have to hold back too. I understand why he might have to be less open and less vulnerable, both in general and to me. I understand it, but I don’t have to like it.
What it meant to the rest of our weekend isn’t clear to me, either.
After we talked, we had a lovely time together. I threw myself into all of it and enjoyed him thoroughly and completely… but not without tiny nagging questions in the back of my mind about how much he was holding back, about what parts of himself he was keeping safe (from me), and about what more it might have been if not for Friday’s friction.