Monday, March 5, 2018

This Strong Willed Woman Had an Angel's Heart

My boyfriend and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary in April. However, we've been dating for about 4 years. The reason we are celebrating a 2 year anniversary is that in the beginning, from 2014-2016, we were very on and off (I also dating other people during that time). Our relationship was hard in the beginning because he was in a very different place. Because of this, he ghosted me 3-4 times during that 2 or so year period. It was painful and caused me a lot of distrust. My boyfriend has a lot of shame, a lot of anxiety. Because of this he isolates, is scared of everything, and he'd rather lie and tell me he did something than tell me he didn't and risk upsetting me.

A lot of our relationship, in the beginning, was uncertainty. We were only officially boyfriend and girlfriend for about 10 months, and really it was because I kept begging. Yes, I admit I pushed him into it. Despite the isolation and ghosting, every time we got back together, it was romantic. We've never been platonic friends. Hell, we've never been friends who fuck. I knew that we were meant to be together, but he didn't and because of that I had to deal with a lot of painful waiting.

His opinion on us getting married someday remained consistent throughout or relationship. He just didn't see himself marrying me. When he first broke up with me he talked about this in his letter, telling me he couldn't see himself marrying a woman with my past. It was painful to read. Whenever we talked about the future of our relationship, he'd get upset. He couldn't see himself marrying me. I was putting myself in a relationship that had no future. Then, I chipped away at his layers (he tells me I've discovered layers about him even he didn't know were there), and learned that it wasn't so much me he couldn't see himself marrying, but he couldn't see himself marrying anyone. Not because he didn't want to, but because he felt he'd never be ready or okay enough. He had also been looking for this perfect woman. A Disney Princess if you will.

One thing my boyfriend is good at is telling you what you want to hear. Sometimes he believes what he says. Because of this we've had many heartbreaking moments. This past summer he waited until he was literally driving to pick me up to tell me he didn't want to go to New York. Mind you, this was maybe an hour after he said me a text saying he was on his way and looking forward to our trip. He called me having a complete breakdown. He doesn't do this because he's manipulative or a bad person. It's part of his "stuff." He'd also rather cut his arm off than hurt me.

When we got back together in April 2016, he still held onto the opinion that he couldn't see himself marrying me. Then the tides began to shift. He admitted he was in love with me. Something he had no for a while but was scared to admit to himself. He was the one who made the decision to be boyfriend/girlfriend again. Of course, it wasn't all picture perfection from that moment on. 

We've had many conversations about our relationship, and what I need from him. I've discussed how important it is that he always be honest with me. I've told him that I'd rather be upset about him missing an appointment than learn he's been lying for weeks. On the whole, he's improved a lot. He wants to, he's told me he wants to prove himself to me. It's still hard at times for me. He's a natural liar, and it's hard to tell when it's happening. Now, I want people to know when I say lying I don't mean about big stuff. He didn't cheat on me and lie about it. Nothing like that. I mean little things; not going to therapy, not paying a bill, lying about being excited about plans. Stuff that if he told the truth might upset me or make me disappointed in him. Obviously, the latter isn't true. What I'm disappointed in is when he feels he can't be honest with me. He has been honest, but part of me still has trouble believing certain things he says.

We've been talking about moving in together in July. As it gets closer, we've been having more serious conversations. Where are we going? What's our budget? How much do we need to save? We've talked about marriage. he tells me he fantasizes about marrying me, having a future with me. His mother says that if he's thinking about living with a girl it means he's thinking about marrying her. All of this makes me anxious. He used to say he couldn't see himself marrying me, now he can? I have a hard time seeing the gray. Recognizing that people change and change their minds. Even if I got past that, there's still the fact that he's really good at telling people what they want to hear. He's canceled on me last minute several times. The first time he broke up with me, he talked to me like everything was fine and even made plans for the following weekend. So then how do I know that he isn't going to do the same? Tell me in June he's not ready? On top of that, someone close to him said stuff to me that made me even worry more. It's them being overly worried, and I made rational conclusions about what she said, but of course, that anxiety seed was planted.

How do I trust him, then? Well, for one he has come a long way and changed a lot since we first met. His issues now aren't so much lying, but avoiding things. Two, not to brag, I've pushed him to do things no one else has. I helped him find his job, I helped him get back into therapy. Third, he hasn't lied to me about bigger stuff since New York. He's better about telling me up front if he doesn't want to do something. I am also better at helping him feel like he isn't obligated or that I'm not going to throw a hissy fit. Fourth, we've had a lot of conversations. I told him one of the ways he can build up trust his by communicating with me. Yesterday we discussed our plan for the upcoming months, I talked about how he needs to be sure because if he changes his mind last minute he's screwing me over. We talked about how it's okay for him to have doubts and feel scared. He told me he is scared because he wants everything to work out, and for us to be together.

One of the perks of loving someone is you get to know the deepest parts of them. While he is good at lying, I've gotten good at both knowing when he is and pulling the truth out of him. Still, I struggle. I struggle to believe he really wants to marry me someday, that we are actually going to move in together. I recognize, though, that a lot of this is my own anxiety. My nack for worst case scenario and catastrophizing. I realize I'm also generalizing, but at the same time, I feel it makes sense that I am. On top of all that, people around him have doubts; and even though they haven't talked about it as deeply as we have, the paranoia is still there.

I believe him. I know he's in love with me, and I believe I'm the one he wants to be with. The change is both big and subtle. I know he's not just telling me these things. It's hard to explain why. But the way he talks about me, dotes on me, adores me. The stuff I've done for him.Things have shifted. I just have to get better at trusting.

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