Up until now I've referred to Daniel as "SG" (the initials of his two last names), but I know him and I know he'd be okay with me using his real name. I met Daniel when we were working together, and we soon developed a relationship. I'll skip all the details about our romance as they aren't super important. Here's what you need to know;
1. Daniel is a recovering alcoholic
2. He has severe anxiety
3. His defense when dealing with anxiety is to isolate,
4. He hates even the smallest confrontation. For example, he often leaves voicemails unchecked for months; and when he was applying for school he put off sending in important information because he had such high anxiety.
As you may imagine some of my BPD tendencies clashed with his anxiety and inability to deliver any sort of bad news to me (owing partly to his self-proclaimed cowardice and my not always taking it gracefully). Unfortunately for me Daniel's defense is often sudden and without warning. Because he has such deep shame and hates disappointing people he will often act as if everything is fine before isolating.
In October of 2014 Daniel and I had plans to go up north for Columbus Day weekend; he also had plans sometime that month to visit family in Utah. While I was at his house one day I saw his email was open, and there was an email with flight info from his day. Before we go any further, he knows I did this and we talked about it; and I know I was wrong. The email said that he was going to fly to Utah Columbus Day weekend. I didn't say anything about the email, and asked him when his trip was. He told me it was the weekend before Columbus. As the weekend approached I finally came clean about what I had done. I called him when he was supposed to be at the airport. He told me he was originally going Columbus Day weekend, but got his flight switched so he could spend that weekend with me. The weekend went by and I wasn't able to get in touch with him at all. When he came home he said it was because his phone had been out of service.
The following Thursday (the one before Columbus Day Weekend) we were hanging out at his house. He talked about how he wanted to spend more time with me, and we also discussed when we would be leaving for the weekend (Saturday morning he said). He also informed me that his sister was coming over that night as she had plans nearby the next day and he needed to drive her. Therefor, I was unable to stay over. I thought it was a bit strange, but didn't say anything. He had never given me a reason not to trust him.
The next day I went to work and did not hear from him at all. I was worried because usually he texted me at least once or twice during the day. By the end of the day I was starting to panic and feared the worse. At the time Daniel and I lived literally a 5 minute walk from each other, and I had to pass by his house to get to mine. On my way home I didn't see his car, and was worried since I knew he was usually home by that time. As I walked in the door at my apartment I received a Facebook message. Daniel had lied about what weekend he was going to Utah (he basically spent the weekend before holed up in his apartment and avoiding me), and he was indeed in Utah now. He spent the rest of the letter basically breaking up with me. He cited reasons that I would later learn were only excuses.
Obviously extremely distraught, I attempted to contact him several times over the weekend. I finally got in touch with him the following Monday and we spoke face to face a couple of days later. We agreed to take a break before we were able to be friends. Well, that didn't last long. The thing with Daniel and I is that our physical chemistry is off the charts (we had attempted to take a month break in March of 2014, but stopped 3 weeks in when neither of could handle not seeing the other). This time the break would last only a week before we rekindled a physical relationship. I don't know how it was from his end, but I know from mine my fear of being alone played a heavy role in my inability to let go. I wanted him close, even if it just meant for sex. I assured him there would be no romantic feelings involved, but you can probably figure out how that went.
In December of 2014 he moved back with his parents, and I made the trip (he now lived 2 hours away) to go see him for my birthday. We had a good time, and talked about stuff and he promised we would talk soon. After I got home I heard nothing from him for almost two weeks. At the time I had no idea what was going on, but would soon learn that this was a common defense mechanism for him. We spoke on New Years Eve and he apologized, and said he had just been depressed. He told me we'd talk the following week. I didn't hear from him for nearly 4 months.
By now you can probably see a pattern. He doesn't like upsetting people, he doesn't like confrontation (and not in the bad sense, he's too anxious to even tell me he can't talk. Which I get is partly because of my intensity and how I react sometimes). We talked a few times in March of 2015 and then radio silence once again. It wasn't until July of 2015 that I both spoke to and saw him again. It would be the first time since December of 2014 that I'd seen him face to face. I went to visit him for his birthday and after that we would talk regularly, and even saw each other a couple of more times over the summer. He came to visit me to play trivia and we got a hotel room and then in August I took him to a football game. It seemed like things were good and he promised he wouldn't ghost me again. Unfortunately old habits die hard.
It's a little bit of a chicken and egg question. Does he isolate and avoid because of my reactions or do I react because he avoids? I think it's a little bit of both (I know he has friends he hasn't spoken to in years because he's too anxious since it's been so long). There were a couple of times we made tentative plans and he didn't tell me until last minute that he couldn't follow through. One of those times literally left me on the side walk, bawling my eyes out and having a severe breakdown. Over the next few weeks his contact was scarce. He eventually told me that he needed some time (which was the first time he had ever done that). I don't do well with unknown amounts of time, so I asked when we could speak again. He told me the next month (this was in September so the next month would be October).
I did my best and didn't contact him at all. Not until the end of September. I knew he was having surgery and texted him to see how it went. We texted back and forth very briefly, agreeing to talk more in-depth that upcoming weekend (which was the first of October). I once again stuck to my word and didn't contact him over the next few days until Sunday (when he said we could talk). I heard nothing from him at all, and tried not to panic. I tried him over the next few days, and still nothing. Finally I decided he needed more space, so I didn't contact him for the rest of the month.
I tried calling him again in November and still nothing. I was furious! He told me he couldn't handle my intensity, and I was doing my best to alleviate that and he still didn't respond. One of the things about BPD is emotional amnesia. You will sometimes hear me say, "this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me," or something along those lines. It's because I will forget what the feeling was like the last time, I will forget events when disassociating. It's why I kept forgetting every time he told me that his avoiding me has nothing to do with me.
When I saw him in December of 2014 I learned he had made an OK Cupid page because he was lonely. This upset me because it made me feel like having a warm body next to him was more important than our friendship. Any time he avoided me after I found out I would imagine him going out and talking to different girls. I questioned why his profile was so in-depth if it was "just cause he was bored," and I was convinced he had a new girlfriend and was lying to me.
Of course none of it was true. After no contact for another 4 months, we finally spoke last Thursday (my birthday). Here's the important parts of the conversation.
- He had to drop out of school because of surgery complications.
- He's been extremely depressed.
- He hasn't met anyone or even gone anywhere except for into town.
- He laughed when he found out I thought he had a girlfriend. The OKCupid page is just so he can right or left swipe girls when he's lonely.
- He is worried about seeing me again. He wants to, but he wants me to get over him.
- He admits that the reason the same thing keeps happening is because of him. Because he doesn't put in the same effort as I do.
- He doesn't want me falling apart again because it affects him.
- When he isolates there is nothing I can say. I just have to trust he'll talk to me again.
- The worse he feels the less likely it is he'll call.
- I shouldn't trust him because he can't even trust himself.
- He thinks he's getting worse.
So now here is where we are at. He wants to see me, he's unsure, but he's already thinking about it. He said we will talk this week, but I am preparing myself because I know there's a good chance that's not going to happen. I know the pattern. Isolation is sudden and without warning. It like a snowstorm in California. Out of the blue and unexpected.
I'm going to admit right up front. I want to have sex with him again. I'm not looking to get back together with him, but I'd be lying if I said that I'd say no if the opportunity arose. Though, I know it won't. I already know that I still love him and I already know that I can't not be emotionally attached to him. I also know that it's difficult if he's not around. So now the big question was, how was I going to handle it this time? I told him that he just needed to have faith in me, and that I understood his concern.
He doesn't want to stop my life because I can't get over him. I decided, that for now, I am only seeking a non-monogamous relationship. I've always been non-mono and my mono relationships just sort of *happen*. When they do it's because I find someone that I connect with enough they are the only person I want to be with. This is big since often I am having trouble letting go of someone else. The much more important thing is, how was I going to deal if Daniel isolated again? Well, I haven't entirely figured that part out again and there's always the fear of emotional amnesia if it happens again.
Daniel once told me that he's my kryptonite. I dunno about that, but I do know that I love him. I always have. I also know that time apart does nothing. We have spent months not talking or seeing each other and all it does is make me sad. If I had a choice, I'd rather have him in my life. Even if it is difficult.
So, that's the story of Daniel and me. A lot of people ask why I keep forgiving him. It's because I know he's not a bad person. I know he does not do what he does to be malicious or hurtful on purpose. He does it because he has severe mental/emotional issues just as I do. I forgive him because I know what it's like to have people turn their back on me because I didn't have a control on my disorder. That's unfortunately something a lot of people don't understand. They do not understand why he lied about my past sex life being a reason to break up with me (he was too ashamed to tell me the real reasons). People just latch onto what they see at the surface, and that's the problem with these narratives.
I'm sure some of you will read this and say, "fuck that jerk!" But you don't know him like I do. He's never been abusive to me. He just has issues that clash with mine, and defense mechanisms that clash with my disorder. I know part of this is my inability to severe relationships. The ones I have had literally gotten to the point of abuse. Mostly everyone leaves me.
I don't know what comes next. I'm supposed to call him tomorrow. I know I should have a plan of action if he isolates again, I just don't know what that is yet. All I know is that if it happens again I need to remind myself of what he told me last Thursday. That he will talk to me again, and that trying to get him to call with either do nothing or make it less likely he'll call.
Again, emotional amnesia. Will I remember this in the moment?
When he called me on Thursday I had missed it as I was out celebrating my birthday. One of the people I was with was Green Lantern. I turned, looking nervous, and told him Daniel had called me.
"So call him back," GL replied. As if it were as simple as that.
I wish, man, I wish.