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Facebook decided to remind me of a blog post I wrote five years ago about home. It was extremely appropriate for some of the things I’ve been feeling as our move gets closer. I think I might re-post it here since that blog’s been off-line for a while now. It kind of suckerpunched me, and I’m finding myself feeling pretty emotional after revisiting it.
Weird how your own writing can do that, yea?
Lately, my friendship with my ex has been bothering me. We keep oscillating between some tepid friendship and the in-between of flirting–though, in my mind, it’s been done and is done. And won’t be undone. He doesn’t seem to realize that. It was on my mind recently after I found out–via social media–that his aunt might have cancer. He posted it on Twitter. I don’t follow him on Twitter, but a mutual friend told me about it. (I’m not sure why our mutual friends always seem to get in our business like that). Yet–despite us talking multiple times since he posted it–both in text and on the phone–he hasn’t mentioned it or seemed at all bothered by anything. His grandfather is also in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, and he’s never said a word. I found out through a conversation with his mother the other day.
I was thinking about our conversations, and while he does talk often and can be a good conversationalist, I’m realizing–more and more–that there is absolutely no depth. If we talk tough subjects, it’s always in this detached, hypothetical way that frustrates me. I don’t talk about things in hypothetical terms. If I have opinions about things, it’s because I’ve lived through these issues. He doesn’t get why these things make me so “worked up.”
Similarly, I’ve never fully told him my mother’s story–despite knowing him for almost five years now. He knows bits and pieces and used to read my blog–but he’s never really asked about it. The parts I told him I shared because it bothered me that he didn’t know, and I sort of stopped telling him many parts of it because his lack of engagement made me feel like he didn’t really care.
My parents’ deaths are huge parts of me. With nearly every relationship I’ve been in, that’s been shared almost immediately. I want people to know that part of me because it’s a huge part of understanding me. When you do, I think my actions and thoughts make a lot more sense. And most of my past partners have been grateful that I shared it with them. To have someone who says he cares so much about me not really want to hear the whole story–well, that puzzles me and also makes me feel like all of it is false. How can you really love me if you have no idea who I am? I mean–we talk about tough things–or at least I do–but he buttons up immediately. He has no idea what I’ve been through or what my heart even looks like. So, it’s hard to really trust him or even love him like I want to.
Lately, it’s been a big problem because I feel like he thinks I’m one way when I’m really not. He thinks we’re much closer than we actually are. He thinks we’re getting back together eventually when I’ve decided it’s a never ever again kind of deal. And I don’t know how to set him straight without being blunt and possibly ending our friendship–which I don’t want to do.
It’s affecting the quality of our friendship, though. Like today, I tried to set a boundary. It started out over something really dumb. He uses emojis all the time to communicate with me, but I’ve asked him repeatedly to use them as garnishes rather than the meal of our conversation. Mostly because it’s hard to interpret emojis when having serious conversations. I value words a lot, and I try very hard to be clear in my communication. I struggle with communicating sometimes, which is why I told him to please not only text me in emoji. I asked again today after he did it all morning. Instead of even acknowledging it, he completely changed the subject to tell me about lunch. Again, using emojis. So, not only did he totally ignore it, he also disrespectful the request and ran right over my boundary. I don’t take this lightly. Boundaries are big for me, and it’s been so hard to get myself to enforce them. It makes me want to give up. Normally, I would literally just not talk to him–later forgiving him–and letting him get away with it.
Not this time. I told him that I had asked him specifically not to do what he just did and he completely ignored it. I told him, “You can either engage me with respect and vulnerability, or not at all.” But he still didn’t get it. He blamed not paying attention and then proceeded to tell me what the emoji meant in our last leg. I asked him if he understood what I had just texted him. He said he did. So then I asked, “Well, then why are you explaining emojis when this is not about emojis but about you disrespecting my boundaries and not listening to what matters to me?”
At the nursing home yesterday, I had a conversation with an 80 year old man about emotionally unavailable men. This man was so open about his everything. He was refreshing and exactly the kind of guy I’ve always respected. During that convo, I realized that most of my exes were emotionally unavailable to varying degrees, but that my most recent ex is off the charts on this scale.
Don’t get me wrong–I do it too. Hell, I probably attracted the people I did because of who I was. I’m moving away from those patterns, though, so it’s especially painful for me. All the advice I’ve read basically says to run. I think I’ve put up with it with this last ex because I just thought it was his introverted, analytical personality. When he opens up, however rarely, it is kind of beautiful and endearing. It’s what won me over this last time. But that open, honest guy disappeared two weeks later as soon as he was in Europe.
It’s probably the reason I really can’t be with him. Ever. And it’s probably the reason so much of who he is really feels off-putting. He just really lacks any kind of real empathy for people. He’s a good guy, but his level of caring is very superficial. I’ve worked so hard to be a vulnerable, open person that I feel like I kind of give up when I’m around him. It’s easier to just stay superficial with him and pretend it’s all just fine. I know he prefers that, and it deeply bothers me.
I care about him, and it makes me sad. I feel like he has so much more to share, and he’s cheating himself (and everyone else) of the sensitive man he really is. But do people like this ever really change? I don’t think so.
I kind of want to tell him all of this, but I don’t know how. It’s so frustrating.