The following was written by my beautiful, amazing girlfriend. Posted here with her permission – Alli.
Fuck this was quite right.
Living in a long distance relationship is so very hard. I knew it would be, but when you love someone so strongly you try to be strong for them when you know they need it.
We used to sit together easily and stare at stars. Lay in companionable silence or be able to talk for hours but over the past year all he had wanted to do is go to bed early every night. Conversation increasingly strained and superficial.
At first I noticed it when he was home alone and I attributed it to the distance. Everyone warned me we would break up but I was determined to not be victim to that statistic; stay strong I’d say to myself regularly. But over the past six months it was even when we were together.
I knew he wasn’t happy in his current situation. His work, living so far from me, and his ex who has always had this impressive ability to ramp up her psycho at the absolute worst times. And teenage daughters; enough said really. And then the unthinkable, his mother passing away right after Christmas last year. He had every reason to be depressed.
A number of times I felt him look at me and I could tell there was something he wanted to say. I thought he wanted to break up. Sick of the time, money, and effort it was costing him and the returns on his investment weren’t worth it. This is how guys think after all. A few times I pushed him a little bit but his response was always I’m okay, it’s fine, don’t worry about it, and he’d divert his eyes. I’d swallow my words to not be that nagging girlfriend.
And then during his last few visits he barely looked at me. He would divert his eyes when I was undressed. I’ve never been a skinny girl and I’d been struggling with my own depression and anxiety related to life-in-general as a single mom with a long distance relationship. As our distance grew so did the number on the scale. I was 40 lbs heavier than I was when we met. He was unable to look at me. His sex-drive was non-existent and his inability to maintain an erection was blamed on his antidepressants but I could tell. He didn’t want me; the connection was lost. I was losing the man I loved.
Christmas came and went. I was determined to make this our trip where we re-kindled. It was a total disappointment to be blunt. He was sad but I was determined to keep the mood light. We were away after all; together. We had out own freaking private hot-tub. He still proclaimed his love constantly but when I did catch his eyes there was nothing there anymore. We scuba dived but I didn’t enjoy it. I was miserable; I wanted to go home. I tried to initiate sexually a number of times. I could feel he responded out of obligation. I felt rejected and sick inside.
There was one moment in that whole weekend. We were eating at an ocean-side restaurant on a cold and stormy west coast night and I looked up from my amazing seafood Thai curry and I caught him staring at me. His eyes were full of love and I felt there were words on the tip of his tongue. I don’t remember what I said but he looked away and began massaging his upper left bicep with his right hand which is his I don’t want to talk anymore sign language. When I dropped him off at the airport I’m not even sure if we kissed goodbye. If we did it was an obligatory peck.
2020 started off with a bang. When I dropped the man I loved off at the airport I just knew I was never going to see him again. I felt like a failure and I was so angry I hadn’t had the strength to confront him and demand the answers I wanted. I had tears in my eyes as I drove away. Then everything that could go wrong did. I tried to be supportive when he texted me but I knew my texts were becoming as superficial as his. My exhaustion with everything personal catching up to me. Our texts becoming a monotonous revolving door of talking about how awful he felt, me offering some kind of advice related to having to work on himself, and him saying he was going to lay down, and us not actually communicating.
He needed to book my plane ticket and hadn’t. I’d really put a lot of effort into making time to come up even though I wasn’t really feeling it. I didn’t know if I could handle another failure. There was 8 days until I was meant to leave and I had gently tried to find out if he wanted me to come up but I was getting nowhere. On the one hand he said he needed me so much but on the other he was distant and hesitant. It was a Wednesday and I honestly don’t remember why but something in me broke that day and I bluntly asked if he wanted me to come up. Finally I had an honest answer. I dunno. And it broke me.
I had tears in my eyes that night as I fell asleep. I alternated between sadness so deep I wanted to vomit and anger. The next morning I woke to a simple text. We should break up. I crumpled but I knew the charade had to end. He was lonely. I was angry. I was convinced he had found someone else. A few times now I had seen him staring at his phone and smiling and then when I pulled him back to reality his smile fell away.
I lashed out. I didn’t call him any horrible names because that’s not my style but god damn it he was going to give me answers. He stopped replying. I emailed him in the middle of the night angry, awake, with all my personal coping mechanisms crumbling. His reply didn’t help.
Thursday morning and my phone pinged to a text I was never expecting to receive ever again. From him. Telling me to check my email and to please not reply. He was dying inside and couldn’t cope with my response but I deserved to know.
I read it through twice before I understood what it said. Blinking, I sat perched on the edge of my coffee table. Afraid to stand up in case my legs gave out. Our whole relationship swirled around in my head. What the actual fuck? He was one of the most masculine men I knew. This was a joke. An attempt to ease my pain, I did know he cared deep down inside so that made sense. I started typing my response via text. This is a joke right? If you ever really want to talk send me a real message. My finger hovered over the send button.
It felt wrong. There was no way he would say this to me unless he meant it and I couldn’t hit send. I typed about 15 messages over the next 60 minutes. Each time I couldn’t hit send. I said all the wrong things each time. Are you sure? Is there a chance this is a major grief response? Or a nervous breakdown? Then I channeled my nurse and I analyzed it all as critically as I could. Which made me smirk because he’d recently thrown I don’t need a nurse at me. Well who’s it working out for now? I thought snidely. Then it hit me. The moodiness, the depression, the inability to be intimate, the distraction, the inability to make eye contact and holy fuck I realized I was right. When I dropped my boyfriend off at the airport that day I had this feeling I was never going to see him again and I was right.
But I was still angry. But every time I thought of the hell he must have been living in it helped to ease my anger for me. Every time I told him how sexy a man he was I was literally punching him in the heart. All of the pain I’d inflicted not knowing. I felt sick. He didn’t deserve any more and I was still staring at my phone. I’d made him wait an hour already. If I knew her at all she was staring into the abyss awaiting the text with the worst case scenario in mind and every second I left it was dragging out the torture.
But what to actually say? I kept it simple and honest. I used what the hell instead of what the fuck. I admitted I didn’t know how to be perfect but I still loved her and I was going to use incorrect gender pronouns and fuck things up BUT if she wanted my support and love I wanted to give it. The level of shock in the reply broke my heart.
I realized quickly we needed to see each other. This just wasn’t a text or phone conversation. We booked the flight for the next night and she overnight expressed a book to me. I sobbed reading it on the plane. Seeing all my fears in print. What was I doing? Going 2500 km to be with someone who just broke up with me and is a woman and I’m not a lesbian and and and… Every possible fear and confused thought that could go through my head did. I got off the plane and my heart was in my throat. I thought I might vomit. Do I kiss her with my almost vomit breath? Should I? Should I want to? When I was packing I had the thought I should pack pajamas.
The familiar black Jeep pulled up to the curb and I steadied myself. She looked shy and timid and there was fear and uncertainty in her eyes. It was just impossible not to reach out and embrace and kiss. I instantly felt connected and she relaxed. She had always been inside and this person was not a stranger. That night we didn’t talk much. Every time I tried to open my mouth I just couldn’t get started. It was late and we were both tired. We slipped into bed. I had no idea what to expect but the intimacy I’d missed so much was rekindled immediately. Looking into her eyes as we were intimate I could see these disbelieving eyes staring back at me
The next morning the real talking began . The more I asked the easier it got. we both had so many fears. The beautiful thing about hard conversations is that once you’ve been forced to live those they can either make or break a relationship. I was feeling closer and connected but she still looked (mostly) like him. Definitely more feminine.
My fears, my endless questions she answered. We talked about the HRT and her breasts being tender. When I asked for a name she froze and shyly answered Allison. People online call me Alli. I liked it. Did she want me to call her that now? I could tell she was worried with all this info. When would it be too much? That night we fell into bed again together.
But this time it felt different. I’d been speaking to Allison all day. This was her in bed with me. When I looked in her eyes I felt nothing but love. But could I be with her differently? I had to know but I had no idea what I was doing. I followed my instincts and I did what felt natural. How a woman would be with a woman but I had no reference.
It was freeing. It was amazing. Our intimacy was better (was that even possible?). I tried to treat her as her as much as possible. She was shy, sweet and tender and when she realized I was enjoying myself with her I swear her body came alive and so did her smile.
There’s still so many unknowns but for now I’m focusing on what I do know. I have a girlfriend called Allison. She loves me…and the rest we will figure out.
Leaving always sucks . This time it was worse. Our level of intimacy and love at an all time high. Leaving felt wrong. We kissed and I just wanted to stay in her arms.
On the plane I wanted to send her a reaffirmation. I typed in Allison where his name used to be. She was over the moon. Her smile lit up my whole world this weekend. I love her. The rest? Time will tell us what our path is…