Ashes

Apologies for my lack of post this Monday, and a lack of notice. But I’m here to tell you now, that…

I am exhausted.

My partner of four years took a radioactive dump on the relationship that we built, and brought it close to its end. He broke my trust, got the sharp end of the axe inches away from my heavily battered heart, and managed to take a shot at every single insecurity of mine, all within a couple of phone calls and a few hours.

I don’t care about what this means to you. This is my decision, and I’m sticking to it.

Thankfully (?), with some perspective from me, he changed his mind, took back his decision, and took the axe away from my heart. But the shots fired and the trust broken… That couldn’t be reversed.

Because it wasn’t about the decision that he made. The decision itself was inoffensive and not that big of a deal. But everything that led up to making that decision indicated a severe breach of trust, of respect and of basic understanding. The factors leading up to his decision indicated a lack of communication, an carelessness towards putting in the effort required to maintain a sustainable, long term relationship, and an inability to perceive the consequences of his inaction.

It meant that every time I warned him of what the consequences would be, he ignored me. It meant that every time I asked him how he was doing and he didn’t tell me, he failed to communicate. It meant that every conversation he failed to have damaged our relationship bit by bit, insidiously chipping away at the foundation of what we built over four years.

It meant that we didn’t see eye to eye on what was important, what had to be done. And every single ‘Trust me, I’ll handle this‘ that came out of his mouth could, in fact, not be trusted.

I wish I could forgive and forget. But I can’t. I could never forget and as it turns out, it’s a blessing in my line of work, and a curse everywhere else. I can’t forget. I can forgive, but only for the sake of my own sanity. I can’t forget, and unless I’m shown otherwise, I cannot trust.

If someone could do something to you once, they can do it again. That’s what I tell everyone else. And that’s what I’m telling myself now.

If I could be ignored, if my words could be disregarded, if my opinion could be dismissed, if my trust could be broken… It could be done again. And, as experience and history have shown, it has been done again and again, multiple times to the point where patience, in hindsight, has been transformed into stupidity.

But in being honest with myself, I have to say… This isn’t exactly like what I faced in the past. Sure, there are a few common elements – strong opposition, having to choose between me and a very strong force of love on the opposite side, stupid, selfish decisions made without thought, a sense of entitlement and do-no-wrong-ism – but that’s where it ends.

This was the most loving, understanding and gentle relationship I had been in my entire life and, up until now, was a very successful long distance relationship. My partner was my best friend, my confidante, the person I shared everything with, the first person I thought about whenever anything new happened in my life, because he was the first person I wanted to share everything with. I loved and trusted this beautiful person, inside and out, every funny, loving, understanding, caring and passionate part of him. I still love him, but trust…? I don’t think so.

And what good is any relationship without trust? No good at all, as I used to say. But having to swallow my own truth pills has turned out to be a lot harder, and taking a lot longer, than I took to dispense them.

But anger, pain and forgiveness aside… He didn’t make that stupid decision. He came really, really, really close to it, but, at the end of the day, he kept his word, and he did what he had promised to do. I swallowed my anger, swallowed the insane amount of hurt I was feeling, and helped him navigate through his own inner turmoil that brought him close to doing what he was doing. And having done that… Here I am. Dealing with my own shit the way I do most often. Alone.

I am hurt. It’s still fresh, and it’s taking a lot out of me to not just go on a rampage and hurt everyone the way I’m hurting. I’ve been on a rampage before, and I realised I’m not quite as good at hurting others as I am at hurting myself, and that uncontrolled anger usually damages the user rather than the receiver. My rage rampage days are (hopefully) behind me, and I no longer feel the need to scorch the earth around me.

But I do need to process this in a healthy way, without hurting people, without hurting myself. So there’s going to be a lot more of me dealing with pain, with anger, with patience and with stupidity, until the eventual conclusion of this relationship, either in its revival similar to a phoenix rising from the ashes, or in its final death. And given that I have played all the cards in my hand, and have to wait to see what the other party plays, it’s going to be as much a surprise for me as it will be for you.

Do I want this relationship to last? Yes, I do. Without falling into the sunken cost fallacy, I’d like to say that I underwent a significant amount of my self growth during this relationship, for myself and for this relationship. I nurtured this relationship the best I could, made as many compromises as I could, and sacrificed a lot more than I would care to get into. It sounds more and more like I’m leaning into the sunken cost fallacy, and I honestly hope I’m not. But I know that the minute I feel like I do, and I’m convinced of it, it would be the beginning of the end.

No relationship is easy, or perfect. Perfection is an abstract concept, a journey whose destination you can’t quite reach. So I expect my partner to be as flawed and as imperfect as me. Nature, however, is rooted in its ability to change, grow and evolve. And if this relationship can grow from this, if my partner and I, as individuals, can evolve from this, that would be… Well, perfect.

So, out of morbid curiosity and an insane mixture of dread and hope, I watch and wait to see whether the ashes give rise to a phoenix, or are eventually picked up by the wind and blown away, until it becomes a nostalgic, and painful, memory.

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