Paper Heart Deer ~
I had a conversation with my friend, earlier today, over one of my male friends. She was still in the throes of trying to get over the relationship which she had just broken out of-
Part of getting out of a past relationship, in most cases, is the reestablishing of oneself. Part of the reconstruction process is creating a new face. There are very few people who are able to come out a relationship without suffering some kind of an identity loss . . . very few people enter into relationships, for that matter, without wishing to gain something specific, to add to their identity package.
I was explaining to her the feeling of loss I had suffered, when one of my best male guy friends began dating someone. It had taken me a really long time to get past the matter, because I felt short-changed for quite a while. I felt as though he no longer appreciated my presence in his life, because there was someone else, someone new who was going to take the position I had filled . . . and, possibly fill it with wider shoes.
The myriad of feelings that overpowered me, in the initial aftermath of his revelation to me that he had started to date, are impossible to describe. And, although it may seem strange, even though we had never spoken about dating, I felt this incredible feeling of loss. I felt as though a cherished gift had been given to me and then taken away. It was as though in some sense, I had lost my best friend, even though such an intimate relationship between us was never hinted at.
The course of action which we opted for was strange, and- I daresay- a bit unusual, for this situation. As soon as he told me, I admitted to my deeper-level feelings which I had been harboring, but had not previously hinted at. He said that he was truly sorry for causing me any pain, and that he hated to cause pain to anyone (I think, at this point, he did still have some lingering feelings towards me, but I knew that he would never testify that claim, at least now-). He wrote me that I should let him know what the best course of action was to take, and that he would respect that-
This statement, really, was what set the tone.
I knew that, feeling the way I did towards him, I would never have been able to continue the relationship we had, if there was any superficiality from either of our parts. This statement, though, was probably the only one he could have made which would have allowed the relationship to continue, because it allowed me to see that he did care about, and respect my feelings- he was allowing me to make the decision as to whether I wanted to close the door on our relationship. Whatever his feelings towards me were, in that moment, he understood that anything which happened was at my expense-
Therefore, he left the keys with me. I decided to close it . . .
I feel as though he really did feel bad, at that time, about my decision. Whatever he may or may not have felt, though, he kept those thoughts to himself. He did not show me that he was feeling anything other than respect for myself and concern about my emotional situation. In addition, I do believe he held some admiration for me, in that moment, as he mentioned that he respected my ability to open up my heart, and that he was sincerely sorry that he had to close it down-
Why did he? Those, of course, were my first thoughts . . .
To me, the way he was treating me felt like a double-edged sword. He made my heart bleed, and admired my ability to show him my bleeding wound from a distance- knowing, all the while, that he couldn’t help, and yet admiring it all the time from an appropriate distance.
I knew that he still had some feelings for me. I disliked him, for what he was doing to me, hated him for hurting me, and loved him for the fact that he was doing everything possible to rectify everything. Yet, in spite of my confusion, during this time, he had set the tone/pace, rather, for the rest of our relationship. He had given me the choice, in whether or not I wanted to continue with it. And, maybe it was for this reason, that I actually found that I did want to continue with it . . .
The friendship had been just too good for me to forget that it ever happened. While a significant part of me was still aching for the fact that it felt betrayed, it was that good that I felt between us which I wanted to continue. I had helped to walk him through one of the toughest points in his life, after he had just been starting to recover from a break-up with another woman. He’d fondly referred to me as his ‘psychotherapist’ and he would talk to me the level at which one would only talk to someone else that was close, and they trusted-
There was one point, when I was talking to him by text, during which I’d flipped out my phone and read one of his text messages. I had been sure that he was talking to someone else, because he’d sent me a little picture of a deer hugging a fox. There was a large, paper-shape heart around the two of them, and the deer had small teardrops that were leaking from his eyes, like a drippy, leaky faucet. I’d loved it, but still suspected that it had not been meant for me at the time, because it was completely out of context in the conversation we’d been having. I’d answered him, and made a flipping joke, interconnecting the deer in some strange, abstract way, to their conversation- I was an expert, after all, by that time, in the art of creative genius.
The strange thing was, that, during the first few moments in which I had read over his text- and recognized that he had meant to send it to someone else- I had felt slightly sad that the message had been meant for someone else, and had not been meant, for me. I was sure that I had been talking to a close friend, and by the sound of it, that friend was female- I remembered thinking that the text had had a sense of intimacy to it which only close friends seemed to share. I couldn’t help feeling a little bit left out.
My thoughts were interrupted, however, after he’d responded to me. He’d first answered me statement which corresponded to the subject matter, and then thank me for the deer- ‘it made me laugh,’ he had said. I’d paused, befuddled.
‘Wait- ’ I had written, ‘you sent me that deer.’ He had responded again and couple of minutes later, telling her that he’d just realized that he’d sent a pocket-text. I answered and asked him what a pocket text was, and it sparked a very long conversation in which I’d played dumb to his professed disbelief over the possibility that she didn’t know what pocket text meant . . . the conversation went on long into the night, and I went to bed feeling quite happy.
I’d began to give him my trust in a way that I never would have given it to most men. Some of my first thoughts, therefore, after he had told me that he was dating someone else, naturally centered on the mental dilemma of whether or not he had broken that trust. Would moments like the one that I just detailed ever again happen between us? There was a potential, of course, but in all probability, that potential was low. It wasn’t low because we couldn’t recapture those moments, but because he probably wouldn’t want to. His heart was somewhere else. Such a distance was natural, in these cases.
It was a distance which made me want to bury myself in a cave, and not come back up again.
And yet, I did come crawling back into the surface, and when I reached the top, I was standing on all fours, once again. After the first week, after I’d told him that I was planning to back away quietly, I decided that I wanted to be a part of his life. I told him that I had re-analyzed myself, and my feelings towards him, and decided that the nature of those which had caused me to retreat from him I had found to be in error-
Thus, I wanted to re-open our line of communication. He was happy to have me back, and seemed genuinely glad that the relationship was going to continue. He didn’t know what I knew, then-
He didn’t know how the relationship was going to change, either. He didn’t know how I suffered, and how I’d put those feelings of painfulness aside, so that we could go on being friends. I’m still struggling to put love and respect at the core of our relationship, love, of whatever kind. I’m placing those feelings above the hurt that I have been feeling, and actively focusing on the good in what we do have, together. I try not to dwell on the times in which he takes an enormously long time to answer my texts, and what the long gaps in our communication could mean-
I’m doing my best to stay in the role of a good friend to him. In the end, I think that the attitude I am taking on is going to win over. The path to winning is unclear, but I am determined that, in being organic and in being the best person I can possibly be, success is imminent. I know intrinsically that success is going to be mine, eventually, because I know that I believe in myself.
I’m using that trust as my tier, and I will climb on top of it to take the high road, not letting myself get sucked into feelings of a baser nature, when I hear talk about the new girl he’s dating-
I know that he will probably never come across these letters, but if he does, I’d like him to know that I am going to be the winner . . .
And I wish him the best.