I started this story last week. And I tried to be very careful in what I said and how I said it. I will admit that in the moment, nearly three years ago, I did not handle it particularly well.
In fact, I handled it very not well. Being betrayed will do that sometimes I guess, when you trust the person to be honest and forthcoming. I’ll now try to explain why I reacted as I did, without giving too many details.
Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
Part 2 – Everything Goes To Shit
If you recall, when I left off last week I had conveyed that myself and this lovely lady had just had a wonderful experience together for a few weeks in July of ’16. But, unfortunately, we were not local to one another. 3000 miles is a lot of distance. Even without other complications. It’s a very difficult hurdle to clear when you’re talking about not just days or weeks or months, but years.
But we had talked about it and had agreed to try to make it work until we could actually be together. And that we both wanted that future together.
So for the rest of that summer, with her in California and me in North Carolina, we continued to talk daily. Emailed and msg’d constantly. At least at first.
She did go ahead and make the life choice I had encouraged her to take. It was to further her education and, as I said last week, I knew she wanted to do that. So in caring about this person, I sincerely wanted her to do it, even if it was going to keep us apart for a while.
Part of this decision involved her relocating and enrolling in school. Cool sounds great. You should definitely do that, I thought. And told her so. Doesn’t cost any more for me to fly to different cities on the West Coast.
Problem became that I didn’t know all the details of the situation before I encouraged it. Not that I wouldn’t have encouraged it anyway. But I’d have removed myself from the situation very early on if I’d fully known.
For the rest of that summer of ’16, we stayed in touch daily either by phone or email. Sometimes both. In spite of the fact that Balls will make fun of me for using this word…. It was nice.
Balls: Yeah, I’m DEFINITELY making fun of you for that. Let’s wait a bit, though.
tWBS: Yeah I know what’s coming. But seriously, by the end of that summer moving into fall, I began to notice some things. And now I have to back up in our story to fully tell it.
Gerald, Version 1.0
At some point during the latter part of that summer of ’16, sometime around when she was preparing to relocate, she told me that part of the reason she was heading north was that she was going to be moving in with a former boyfriend.
tWBS: Say what now? Can you please repeat that for me? Is this mic on?
tWBS: In her defense, these plans were made long before she and I became a “thing”. In addition to her enrolling in school, she had agreed to move in with him because, at least as I’d been told, he was having some fairly serious health issues and she felt the need to help him and…. well, help take care of him. It wasn’t a comfortable thing for me, but again, how could I at this point put up much of a fight and tell her no?
Balls: Easy. “I’M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH YOU MOVING IN WITH AN EX-BOYFRIEND!”
tWBS: Agreed. And we did have that conversation. She assured me that it was just a platonic thing. At this point he was only a friend, but she’d committed to do this and she can’t back out now without a lot of guilt.
Balls: What is she, fucking Catholic? Lemme tell you, I’m Catholic and nowhere is guilt used as an excuse to live with an ex-boyfriend.
tWBS: Funny you should say that. She is quite agnostic, like myself. But she had just spent the day in a Catholic service. I asked her why compromise your beliefs…or lack thereof…just because of….well just because.
But this guy, according to what I was being told, needed some assistance with healthcare. And as I already said, these plans were made before she and I became a thing.
Her: I don’t want him to die.
tWBS: OK. I don’t necessarily like that. But I can understand that. Go do it. And she did.
Balls: BULLSHIT! That’s not a thing to understand. It’s a thing to take a stand on. Either she finds other accommodations or she kisses you goodbye. End of fucking story.
tWBS: I understand what you’re saying. And hindsight is 20/20. At the time, I was walking into a situation. I didn’t know all the details. But I thought we had a future if we could get through it.
We continued talking daily. It wasn’t an issue at that point. Then this happened…
Once she got there and started school that fall, I began to notice that the only time she would talk to me was when she was alone and driving in her car. “Alone” being the keyword there, in case you missed it. Then a couple of times she told me that she was hiding in the bathroom in order to talk. So obviously, I now have some questions. But for the time being, I kept them to myself. But not for long.
Balls: Wait, she tells you she’s hiding in the bathroom to talk to you and you have questions? Isn’t it fucking clear what’s going on here?
tWBS: Yes. Deep down I knew I was being lied to about certain things. But I needed to know for sure.
Soon after that, she very casually told me that “I love you”, but I need to tell you that “we” (meaning she and him) were letting her “mother in law” move in with them. Read that sentence again if you need to. And btw, there are at least three lies in that sentence alone. And there were more to come. tWBS was not happy, but kept his mouth shut for the time being. I needed to ask the right questions and in the right order. I needed to know for sure and I didn’t want to rattle her just because I’m upset and then have her say something I might misunderstand and make it worse.
Balls: So you wanted her to explicitly tell you, “I’m back together with my ex?”
tWBS: Yup. I wanted the truth, out of her mouth. In fact, given everything, I think she owed me that truth. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. The one thing I told her very early on is “We can get through this and get through anything as long as you don’t lie to me”. Nobody ever listens to that, unfortunately.
So I needed to walk her into it. Into telling the truth with a line of questioning and cross examinations. And eventually, I did. Not that I am proud of that. And it certainly didn’t feel very good to have to do it that way. But it did give me a bit of satisfaction. Or closure. Or what the fuck ever.
I Should Have Just Stayed In Vegas
In the late fall of ’16 a bunch of us DFO’ers met up in Las Vegas. I arrived a few days early, rented a car and drove to her city. She knew I was coming, I didn’t just spring it on her. But I needed to see her eyes, her face, when I asked these questions. As I said, I needed to know for sure. So I got off the plane, got my rental car, and proceeded to drive.
When I arrived, I could see it immediately. She did not want me there. Was hoping more or less that I’d leave as quickly as possible and not cause her any problems in her “happy life”. She wanted me gone. But wouldn’t admit it.
So I started asking questions.
Balls: Jesus Christ, why?!? Isn’t it obvious at this point?
tWBS: It was. It was obvious. But I needed to know for sure. And I asked some very pointed questions. The answers I got were very telling. The ones I didn’t get were more telling.
And it’s not really my place to say here what the questions or the answers were specifically. But I did learn a lot. Learning can sometimes be painful.
But I saw. I knew then. So in the moment, I packed and left and drove back to Vegas. And then got drunk with Rikki-Tikki-Deadly and the Right Reverend Electric Mayhem.
And I won’t lie, this whole saga continued for a while longer as far as arguing, etc. In fact it devastated me for quite a while. At that point it was all by email and from a distance. I haven’t laid eyes on her since that day in December ’16. Nor do I ever expect to again. Which is probably for the best for both of us.
One of the last things she ever said to me….
The further away from me you are, the better I feel.
Early in the year this year, I made sure to send her birthday wishes. To try to be nice and reach out. Let her know I remembered her birthday and maybe try to make her a little happy. That’s been more than six months ago. To this day, she hasn’t even been bothered to acknowledge it, or let alone say thank you. I know she got the message. The interwebz are funny that way. But nope….nothing.
Balls: Again, WHY?!? Why fucking reach out to someone that doesn’t want you there? For the love of God, WHY?!?
tWBS: Because I still care about her. Trust me, I know that she would not shed a tear if I died today. But that doesn’t have to be me. Even if she, or others cannot, I can still show them I care, even if they do not. I can be a bigger person. A birthday greeting is not a big deal. But it is a bit telling that she wouldn’t at least acknowledge the thought. The fact that I remembered her birthday. But yes, I remembered your birthday, but you didn’t even have enough courtesy to say “thank you”. Yeah I get it. I don’t like that you didn’t have enough manners to say thank you. But I’ve come to learn I don’t have to like it. I can still be the bigger person. Or at least try to be most of the time.
I don’t even know where she is at this point. I’ve heard “rumors”. But don’t know for sure. And honestly I don’t need to know. So I suppose that’s improvement.
Balls: Kids, I hope you’re learning some lessons here. Namely, that I’m an asshole that would have bailed as soon as I learned that she was planning to move in with an ex. I would have given an ultimatum, him or me, and let her make the choice. Good luck to you if you chose poorly.
tWBS: Ultimatums never work. You know better. It’s about finding someone who will communicate and with whom you can find middle ground even when you don’t fully agree with one another, or when circumstances are…. Complicated. Compromise. That’s the only way it ever works. Unfortunately it seems difficult to find that these days.
Next week will be the last of this series….
The One That I Let Get Away
(which sadly actually means I pushed her away due to bad timing)