OK, here goes, rant time. You've been warned.
All I want is to get off the emotional roller-coaster I've put myself on.
And maybe you'll tell me that it really is that simple. Just. Get. Off. Just stop doing whatever it is that's putting you in that situation. And, yes, maybe it is that simple. Maybe I'm not letting it be.
So, here's your chance. Your chance to give me your collective wisdom and advice, because if there's one thing I can't do? It's give myself advice. I never listen to me. Even if I suspect I'm right.
Let me lay it out for you.
I've avoided talking about what's gone on with Smith and I for a few reasons.
One being that it's a bit of a downer and I try to avoid talking about it here, but as it turns out, I'm not talking about it anywhere and am just telling people "it's tough, but I'm fine" when, really, I'm not fine. Unless fine stands for Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. Because, if that's the case? Then, hell yeah, I'm F.I.N.E. Damn straight.
Another reason is privacy. I got a carte blanche
from Smith to say whatever I wanted about him or us, but I've still tried to keep him and myself as anonymous as possible. Also, once I start talking about what it is he does, it opens up a whole new set of questions I'm not sure I have any answers to and I'm not sure I want to talk about. But, avoiding talking about what he does, when it's one of our major issues isn't helping.
Finally, I'm not sure I have any idea what I'm talking about here. I really feel like I'm free-falling and,damn, it's a sucky
feeling. Especially for someone like me whose life is built around the steady and predictable. I like control. I need it. I hate things that are out of my control. Um, hello, welcome to relationships. Especially this one. I know. I'm working on it, the control thing, but it's deeply rooted and it's not going to get fixed in an instant.
So. Let's back up a bit here.
About this time last year I told all my girlfriends I was ready to meet all their single men friends. Or, more realistically, I talked to my one girlfriend I knew actually knew single men in this coupl
town. C. told me about this cute guy who still had a girlfriend and another cute guy who was kind of overweight, and then she paused. "Oh!" She said, a glimmer in her eyes. "You should meet Smith."
Smith, it turned out, was one of her husband's best friends. In fact, they had all met on the same day. C. told me that Smith is totally hot and that if things didn't go well with her hubby she'd totally take Smith on as a second husband. "The only problem" she concluded "is that he lives in Montreal or something right now." So we put him on the back burner and went on with our lives.
It's now summer and C. calls and tells me I *have* to come over to a barbecue at her parents' place. She insists I go, not just to hang out, but because "that hot guy Smith is going to be there". I ask her what he does and she says "oh, he used to steer Navy boats, but now he wants to fly jet fighters or something. But," she says "he's got a Masters, that's how he knows hubby. They were Science geeks together."
"OK." I say, "You're telling me he's hot and he's my age and he's single? What's wrong with him?"
C. goes on to tell me that he married a crazy French chick and they've since split up. No kids. Just a not very nice divorce. (Are they ever?)
So I go to the barbecue and I meet this Smith character. He's cute, definitely and I made a point of sitting down with him. Sure enough, he tells me that he was a Naval reserve officer and that he wants to be a pilot and that he lives in the Maritimes
. I don't remember what else we talked about as I see people involved in the military as being "non-dateable
." Plus, I'd already told myself I'd never do long distance again
, and a two-hour drive this was not.
But he sticks in my head. Possibly something about him attracts me. Possibly C. not letting it drop. "He's coming to Victoria in December" she tells me "He told hubby to 'keep an eye on you' until he got back to town"
"Well, yeah," I said, "but isn't he in the Navy? I don't "do" Navy."
"Nope!" she says "He was just in the reserves. He's got his Masters, he's super smart! He's awesome. He's totally my back up husband. Plus," she giggles, "one of my friends *has* to sleep with Smith, just so I can find out what he's like in bed."
We laugh about it, but I do find myself thinking about this guy
. (Great guy, going to move back to town). C. tells me every so often over the next few months that Smith has asked how I'm doing. I keep asking her when he's moving back to Victoria and she keeps saying she doesn't know.
Eventually, he comes to town for a weekend and C. has me over for a couple of drinks in the evening. I get all nervous and dress up all pretty and nothing much happens. I flirt (to the best of my abilities) and go away thinking about him even more.
And then there's the dinner party
. Smith and I have been bugging C. and her hubby about each other, or so C. tells me. C. is determined that we meet up. And now her hubby's in on it too. He calls me telling me I HAVE to be at this dinner party. The dinner party that occurs the weekend after I've spent two days hanging out with the funniest co-worker ever. Co-worker with a girlfriend. Co-worker who makes me feel like maybe I'm not ready for a relationship after all. Co-worker I have to admit to myself that I'm interested
So, Smith and I have a non-eventful evening as two shy people trying to figure out how on earth to talk to each other. I leave that evening rolling my eyes at C. and telling her that guys are dumb and if they go out the next morning they should call my cell and I'd meet up with them.
C., matchmaker galore, gives my cell number to Smith and tells him that I want him to call me. He does. We go for a date. It lasts late into the evening. There is a connection. I find myself thinking "don't do it" and I ignore the thought. I let myself open up to the possibility of falling for this guy.
He leaves. For the other side of the country.
We start talking. Every day. We send emails to each other at work. All day. And then we talk all night.
I get confused
. I start to feel like I'm falling for this guy.
And I start to want to slam on the breaks. This guy is in the military. He's going to be in the Air Force. Wait, he IS in the Air Force? What am I doing? I do not want to be a military wife. Ever. Ever. Ever.
Not only do I have my own personal thoughts about the Forces (and no, don't get into it with me here please) but I do not want to live a life that involves moving. And a husband who may go off for months at a time and possibly get killed. And moving. Anywhere. Whenever they say. Not living in this beautiful town. This town that I've chosen to live in. This town that I fought tooth and nail to get my job in. This town where my heart settled. I don't want to leave. It's my home. Military families move.
This is a deal-breaker for me, the military thing. It always has been, like smoking. I would never date a guy who smokes
, and I would never be with a guy who was in the forces. The military. Whatever I'm supposed to call it. I just wouldn't.
Which begs the question; why do I even start?
I think can answer that for you.
C. didn't necessarily tell me he was a military guy. She told me he was a guy with his Masters who was just re-evaluating his life after an unhappy divorce. She told me he was coming back to Victoria. This is who I set him in my mind as.
When I first started getting to know Smith I avoided talking about what he actually did for the first little while. I told him very clearly that I could not date someone in the forces. He told me that he understood that and respected that.
And we just kept on going.
We kept on talking and romancing and I kept on feeling more and more panic settling quietly inside me. What was I doing? Why was I doing this? What the hell was I playing at?
But, damn it feels good when you're first connecting
with someone. The day we first went out on a date, he told me that he was going to have to come back out to see me. Soon.
And he did.
And it was glorious.
We tried to talk about "the big picture" and I tried to explain that I wasn't one to up and move, that I wasn't willing to give up my life here in this town for anything, especially not the military life. And somewhere in those first few weeks I heard whispers of "maybe". Maybe he could become a spy like me. Maybe he could get his PhD. Maybe, maybe it'd all be worth it. Maybe I'd mean that much to him. I clung to these whispers as if they were the gospel. I BELIEVED, I hoped, I hung everything on them. If, if, if. If I was the woman of his dreams (like he once believed his ex-wife was) of course he'd quit the military and come to be with me. It'd be amazing. Could you imagine someone loving you that much?
And we didn't talk about it. We talked about the distance and the difficulty I had with the four hour time difference and we talked about how hard it would be for one of us to move for the other but damn, didn't we want that to happen? Wouldn't it be marvelous when we lived in the same city?
And I knew I was rushing
. We talked early about big things. Marriage, future. And I told him I needed to back off, that we couldn't talk about these things, except maybe in whispers.
And we ignored the elephant in the room. Me not wanting to be a military wife. Him not wanting to give up his dream of being a military pilot.
His entire life, this is what he's wanted. And I care for him enough to tell him he has to go for it. That he must chase down this dream, knowing all the while that I'm shooting myself in the foot. Knowing that if I want this relationship, I need him out of the forces. I need him in this town.
Things start to get difficult. Stressful
. My life heads into an icky spell. Work is tough, love life is confusing. I'm not
Smith comes out to visit
We fight. A lot.
I don't know why. Is it because of that damn elephant? Is it because I'm stressed out and not sleeping? Is it because we're not a good match? Is it because he's in my space? Is it because for the first time in my life I have the guts to stand up for myself in a relationship? Is it because I'm not ready
for a "real" relationship? What is it? I NEED to know. I need to find out. I need answers. Clarity. Something.
By the time Smith's visit is up, the good
times have been outweighed by the bad. For me, it's glaring. Smith is more positive and feels that it's just bad timing and that I'm extra stressed out with work.
I see it as a sign. And I decide I can't take it anymore. I can't do miserable and fighting and I'm not happy.
I tell him I think I want to take a break, to sort through some things.
We finally talk about the elephant and it's made very clear for the first time. Maybe ever.
Smith is two weeks away from starting his training to be a Canadian Forces Pilot. Smith is hoping that if he gets some posting time near Victoria while he's on breaks from training we might grow into such a committed couple that I'll move with him. Be a military wife.
I am hoping that he will choose me over being a pilot. I'm hoping that he picks a career that plants him in Victoria permanently and we can see if we're a good couple when we live in the same damn town. I tell him that I can reconcile myself to marrying someone in the military if that person lives in Victoria with me. Forever. He tells me that he can not promise this. It's not a reality. I ask him to consider it. We start re-hashing old scenarios that I've clung to since the beginning. Could he not do something with the forces that are stationed here? Could he not train as a pilot and then join the Coast Guard, also stationed here? Could he not just be here. With me?
No. He can't promise that. It's not that simple. Plus, this is his dream. He wants to fly planes, not fighters, but planes that are not based in Victoria.
We leave it as "let's see."
And my heart breaks into a bunch of little pieces and I watch him trying to figure out how he's supposed to help me through this.
And he flies away back to the maritimes
, where he packs up his stuff and takes off to the training program in Manitoba.
Which is where we are now.
I can not, for the life of me, find any emotional stability. One minute I'm angry at him for wanting me to give up my life for him. The next minute I'm missing him terribly and just wanting him to be here to give me a hug. Before I know it I'm horrified that I ever considered marrying into the military lifestyle and the next minute he sends me the first email in the week since he got there and I'm high as a kite because I'm so happy to hear from him and isn't that a sign that we should be together?
It's awful. I can't be sad and move on because I'm not ready to give up. I can't be calm and in love because I don't want to end up moving out of my town and my comfort zone and my job. Smith is asking that I hold on 'til August. At that point there is a tiny possibility he won't have made it through his training selection at which point it's all off. I know in my heart he'll make it through, so that's not something I'm waiting for. He may also be able to get a posting out this way for a few months between training sessions. (Two years worth of training, by the way, to get your wings) In my mind, this would be the best option, he gets posted out here, we have a few months together to see if we're a good couple or if the fighting continues and we're not meant to be a long-term couple anyway.
But Smith's closed off. In some ways I can't expect any less, I pushed him away and told him I wanted to take a break. But in another way, he's told me he's doing it because he's determined to focus on his training and that's hard for me to hear.
We talked for the first time in a week tonight. I was so thrilled to hear from him, but I didn't know what to say. He's off in his own little world and I can hear it in his voice. He's not there for me and I can feel it. I don't know what to think. I've told him I want to wait til August to see what happens, but I don't know if I can do it if he's going to be so emotionally detached.
I asked him if he'd thought about things since he got there. We'd had a big talk before he left and I'd done nothing but think about things since then. He said "Honestly?" And I answered for him "You haven't."
Maybe that's my answer. He may have thought about me, but he didn't think about us. He says he can't. He says he has to be emotionally selfish and focus on his intense training.
Which leaves me wondering; how am I supposed to do this, long distance for two years, with this emotional distancing, this focus on training for two years, and knowing that at the end of it all I'm supposed to want to move across the country with him?
But, my counter-argument to everything is that nothing's
set in stone. Nothing is set. Maybe I'll decide I hate being a spy and want to become a gardener or librarian somewhere else in Canada. Maybe I'll decide that I'm up for an adventure. Maybe I'll decide I'm madly in love with the characters on Lost and I'm going to stalk them. Maybe he'll decide he doesn't want to be a pilot. Maybe he won't be selected past this round. Maybe he'll fall madly in love with me and move here. Who knows?
I sure don't.
But I need to be OK. I need to be doing better than just coping. I need to get off of this hideous mental and emotional roller coaster.
I'm not good at letting go. I'm not good at waiting and seeing. I'm not good at trusting and having faith. I want to know
. I wish I could just decide.
Just decide to either move on and forget about Smith or to wait and see what happens, being happy while I wait.
That's my key. I just want to be happy. Content. At peace.
I thought taking a break would make me happy, I thought it would be a relief. It hasn't been. I've just been sad and lonely. Miserable. I find myself staring at the fridge when I'm supposed to be looking for my toothpaste. I've talked to this guy every day for nearly four months. How else am I supposed to feel?
I can't seem to win. With him I'm anxious and frustrated and scared. Without him I'm sad and miserable and low. Which would you choose? Neither? Yeah, me too.
I've distracted myself plenty for the last couple of weeks. And I've been so up and down I'm surprised I'm still functioning some days.
So. Advise me. Help me. You don't really know it all, but you know the basics of who we are and where we're at. Show me any glaring holes in my logic and listen to me as I argue illogically back at you. Give me some of that objective advice. Tell me to walk away, tell me to stay and believe in love. Tell me to go, tell me to stop. Just tell me. I'm so over flying high one minute and crashing the next. I need some stability. Some consistency.
I just need to decide and stick with it.
In or out.
As my Dad said to me once; "Shit or get off the pot."
But I'm paralysed you see. Fear-filled either way. Being with him is scary as hell, means things may happen I do not want to happen. Being without him is scary too. Lonely. Means being without someone I've grown to care about and have grown close to and have shared a lot of myself with. It means maybe making a mistake. It means having to start again. I don't know if I can.
Fix it, my darlings.
I'm not listening to anyone else's advice. Maybe I'll listen to yours.