My ex and I shared a bittersweet moment recently. He's coming around off his mini mid-life crisis, and we've talked about what our relationship is. A committed couple, yes, but with a strange sense of detachment just underneath the surface.
He's scared of his emotions, so he keeps them distant. Maybe that's why he can be so cruel and so cold at times. It's easier to push what frightens us away than to embrace the potential pain of feeling too much.
I'm at the opposite extreme. Love fully, love hard, and love for the moment. Who knows what might happen tomorrow? Why waste time waiting for things to resolve into something comfortable? Make that comfort happen with a leap of faith.
So when the sunshine lit up his green eyes the other day, I couldn't help the smile that crossed my face, and I opened up to the wash of affection I felt. I put my arms around him and kissed his mouth.
The response lacked... something. What else had I expected?
"Just give me time," he gave an apologetic smile. "I care about you. I have feelings for you. I just need... time."
Time for what? If there are feelings and caring, why can't he acknowledge them? Why can't he sit down and talk about them, and why can't he just accept them?
I know why. He's not a bad man, just a very screwed up one. He has issues with abandonment, issues with expressing emotion, issues with trust, and issues with defining our relationship.
"It's not you," he moved away carefully. "It's me."
Oh, such famous words. "I know," I replied, and drew on my mask of you-didn't-hurt-me that lies and shows the world everything is fine.