AP sent me this song, a few weeks into our relationship. Such a beautiful song. Such a beautiful video. Such beautiful sentiment.
Dancing, like that. So tenderly. Dressed in your finest clothes. Just for each other’s pleasure. Having someone whisper such words in your ears. It’s the stuff I’d always hoped for and dreamed of.
I am a hopeless romantic. It’s a hangover from my love of classical literature in my youth… Shakespeare’s love sonnets, Bryon’s love poems, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen. I was blown away by the expressions of the depth of love humans could share.
Ex wasn’t a romantic. At all. I would send him love letters, poems, write tender sentiments in his cards. He never reciprocated. He rarely gave me a card, and if he did he’d sign from (his name)… no love from… no kisses.
AP was the complete opposite. He wrote me poems (and I sent him ones too). He drew me the most amazing picture, recording snippets from our first conversation. He made me paintings and a memory book. He sent tender texts, songs and quotes. We would spend evenings creating art together. We would talk for hours on the phone.
He blew me away.
He made me feel desired, cherished, and adored. He made me feel special. He made me feel validated. He made me feel I had been right to want more. That me yearning for romantic expressions was ok (ex made me feel I was unrealistic for craving such nonsense). He was doing absolutely everything I had hoped for, without any prompting. It was spontaneous. It was overwhelming, in the most blissful way possible.
He wooed me. I fell for him BIG time.
Ah, what a naive creature I am, even at my grand old age.
I naively judge people by my own standards. I believe it is important to be yourself. I was being myself. I thought AP was being himself. It hadn’t entered my head, as my friend S has recently suggested, that sometimes people show their best possible selves at the beginning of a relationship and can’t maintain the act.
Maybe AP was showing his best possible self? Or maybe his sentiments changed because of events?
I have had a tough start to the year and beginning counselling has stirred up emotions: I’ve tried to be honest and open with AP, but I acknowledge there have been times when I’ve worn my mask because I’ve not wanted to offload on him too much. He’s a sensitive soul and I know he’s picked up on these moments and they’ve impacted on him.
Whatever the reason, the expressions of love slowed around the new year. And have almost entirely stopped over the last couple of months.
Alongside this, the frequency of our interactions has radically changed. The long lovely chats stopped. As did the lunch time phone calls. And the tender texts.
I altered AP to how these shifts were making me feel… uneasy… insecure… concerned that his affections towards me were changing.
His response, relationships change.
Not entirely happy with this answer, I tried to rekindle things by sending him poems and tender texts, in the hope he’d reciprocate. Nothing.
I reached out to AP again. Sent him a long email, detailing my concerns. He said he’d send me a response, but he didn’t. We agreed to draw a line under things and try get back to ‘normal’. Nothing changed.
I spoke to AP about it again. He replied, is it ‘essential’ we speak/text daily. I read a lot into that word choice – essential. For me, it is telling, why would you classify checking in or catching up with the person you love in such a manner? I suppose daily contact isn’t necessary, but we had communicated that way for months. It was the change that made me worry.
Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations, but I didn’t anticipate such changes. Surely the foundational ways you communicate – the things that your relationship are grounded on – should remain constant (if not to the same level of intensity or frequency).
For me, these changes, combined with the disagreements we’ve had over parenting, sleeping, managing the practicalities of life outside our bubble weekends (when it’s just the two of us), plus a myriad of other things that have been said, rang alarm bells.
Over the last few weeks, we have enjoyed a couple of lovely evenings together, but nothing has changed in terms of communication when we are apart. In fact, if anything, it has deteriorated further. The alarm bells are turning into a death knell.
We had yet more talks. AP thinks I’m not ready for a relationship. That my heart wasn’t mine to give when we started dating. That me working through the issues counselling is raising means I am still in love with ex and not free to be with somebody else.
I disagree. I was ready. I am ready.
And I think it’s unfair of him to try make it all about me. He has changed, he is so very different now, from when we first started dating. Maybe it’s projection? Maybe he’s not ready? He hasn’t done a proper meaningful relationship for quite some time. Maybe he’s used to being alone? Maybe he likes the idea of being in a relationship but doesn’t really want it?
How long can you use memories of wonderful times together or the hope that you may have another great night as sticking plasters?
How many times do you flag something up, reach out, wait for things to change, before you realise you’re flogging a dead horse?
How do you say enough is enough when doing that means saying goodbye to a person who made your dreams come true?
Ah, now here lies the rub. The hopeless romantic in me is desperately holding on because AP’s words made my heart soar; I loved the way he made me feel and worry I will never find that again. But my head knows that whilst words are important, actions speak louder. And there’s a massive incongruity between the words and actions.
My head has made its mind up. It knows what needs to be done. My heart needs to get with the programme.