I’m a good guy, but I wasn’t a good boyfriend. Non-committal. No labels. Barely said a word about a relationship unless you asked. Try getting too close and I’d use anything as an excuse to run justifying it as she’s not the one for me, walk away unscathed. If you were dating a guy like me, I’d tell you to run, that you’re wasting your time. He’s not going to change unless he wants to and he probably doesn’t realize what he’s doing.
35 years, it’s taken me that long to really realize that I was the problem. Watching The Bachelorette’s season finale when Ben comes back to Tayshia and how he’s talking to her sounds familiar, like why would you want to be with him when you have someone like Zac, confident about what he wants how he feels that he’s not going to run at the first sign of problems. He’s in it. I get it. See I was waiting to feel something like that and my walls were so thick and reinforced around my heart, I could have held her in my arms for over a year and a half felt a love I’ve always wanted that could be effortless if I just let myself with a billboard that says, she’s the one, and even when I knew it was right, I would be going back and forth as to why I had to break up. I leaping in my heart was impossible to hear through the fortress around it.
My heart would say Gilbert, this is it, she’s the one. Look at the signs, “Beyond” by Leon Bridges played one of the first nights she stayed over and that scared you, you’ve considered it for a wedding that you’ve only seen once in a dream, and you got stranded at the alter.
“She makes me feel home, oh
Do you think I’m being foolish if I don’t rush in?
I’m scared to death that she might be it
That the love is real, that the shoe might fit
She might just be my everything and beyond (beyond)
Space and time in the afterlife
Will she have my kids? Will she be my wife?
She might just be my everything and beyond”
And that night with her felt right, it wasn’t so scary after all.
My head was searching for reasons, she doesn’t like music as much as you do, of course it won’t work. But, she’s gone to any show you’ve invited her to and you were so relieved you found someone to do that with. But my fortress was impenetrable. My limiting beliefs were so loud, that I trusted that over my gut. I didn’t know how to listen to my intuition.
When I resisted, she didn’t push, but she asked questions. I was emotionally stunted. Writing is one thing, I can feel emotion at the tips of my fingers, let them bleed in dots and lines and curves on a page between the lines until the ink runs dry, but talking about them. But talking, I couldn’t find the words, I’d need time, I’d need space. And she let me have space and then we’d talk. I love that about her. I was taking baby steps. She’d done the work already to discover her issues, she recognized my defense mechanisms that I interpreted as signs things weren’t right.
I called it off after and spending 40 days meditating and focusing on it, I realized I was holding me back from being happy and I missed her, she’s the first person I’ve missed in a long time and I could barely get myself to tell her, but it’s in my journal. I told her I wanted to be with her and I was so grateful she took me back. Lord knows I didn’t make it easy. Bad habits are hard to break.
A year and a half of her not even trying to convince me, but trying to help me listen to myself saying, you love me so much and can’t even admit it. I know it by how you are with me, how you touch me, how you care about me, you love me. And I felt it and knew it, but saying it, expressing it, came slowly. When I finally told her I loved her, talk about liberation. That wasn’t so hard now was it Gilbert.
But bad habits are hard to break when you don’t understand yourself or what you’re doing. She gave me space when I was experiencing emotions, I cried for the first time since writing about my grandpa’s passing in her arms. She was there for me and growth came slowly.
It’s like seeing the words on the screen but not comprehending what they say. I was still oblivious to being blocked. I was so scared of letting her in further of hurting her of hurting myself. I pushed back. She getting fatigued. I believe she deserves better. I feel like I can’t be myself, all the while, the me I want to be is breaking through because of her. She tells me she wants me to be myself and to be honest with her, honesty is the most important to her, she’s the most honest person I know. And speaking up has always been challenging to me, ask me what I want and I have no idea, I’ll ask what you want, and say lets do that. I’d say what I thought she wanted to hear, I couldn’t help myself. It was like an outer body experience, just watching the wreck happen.
She fought for us and I just saw me bringing her down and that hurt. I saw how happy I could make her and I wanted her to be happy, I wanted that for me. And the doubt in my head rang so loud, get out, you don’t want to be with her that’s why you feel like this, you’d rather be single, you can’t get hurt if you’re single.
I broke up with her. I was the one crying. I was the one telling her I didn’t want to be with her. She held me. She was quiet. I didn’t even believe what I was saying. I just felt so stuck and unhappy and I was bringing her down. It wasn’t fair. I loved her too much I had to set her free from the weight of carrying me. She was exhausted by this point. All I could say was sorry.
Even though I broke up with her, I didn’t think it was the end. I needed to figure my shit out and put it on hold. I knew there was the possibility of losing her, but at that point, I had to get away from our situation to think clearly.
When I was figuring my stuff out we talked. She helped me navigate this program to get deeper. She told me she was dating. She wanted to be with someone and I couldn’t even tell her I wanted to be with her. And at the time, I wasn’t ready. I was missing her. I was unraveling my patterns and there it was, childhood, where I learned to put everyone else first and stopped listening to myself and what I wanted, where I built the wall from moving to Michigan and leaving my Grandparents, where I knew I was loved, but because I never spoke up or felt like I could be myself, I thought that in order to be loved, I had to be what people thought I should be.
Everything made sense for the first time. I saw my patterns and why I was how I was. I could finally address it. I was seeing clearly, it’s not that I didn’t want to be with her I was sabotaging the relationship to protect myself. I didn’t know how to let people in, I didn’t know how to accept the love I wanted, I didn’t realize how much I held myself back. Everything she was doing was everything I’d want in a partner, in a girlfriend, in a wife. I saw what was holding me back from being the man I believe I can be, the man she wanted me to be.
It was too late. I didn’t expect her to find someone so quick. I mean it took me over 10 years to find her, someone I even felt comfortable with exploring a relationship. She’s who I wanted to share life with. And losing her, hurt. A lot. After 20 years of thinking I just didn’t have strong emotions, they flood gates are open, it’s overwhelming. I’ve never felt loneliness like this, she’s missing. And it fucking hurts to know how much I pushed her, but I’m so grateful she stayed as long as she did. I wouldn’t have gotten here without her. And I wish I knew this sooner. I wish I knew better. I learned so much. And I wish I would have done this work together, instead of pushing her so far away, into the arms of someone else someone who knows what I was trying to understand.
I had a vision recently, after splashing my face with some water, like a baptism. There she was, back in my arms, glowing in white dress. My God she the most beautiful woman I’ve seen. She has biggest smile on her face, she’s proud of me. It takes my breath away when kiss. We dance to “Beyond” on our wedding day and it doesn’t scare me one bit.