Anxiety and panic had knocked me to knees before, but I’m not sure that anything had prepared me for the emotional and psychological roller coaster that I would find myself on for the next couple months of my life. My fiance had just delivered a devastating, unexpected blow to our relationship. I can honestly say that I never saw it coming. As I mentioned in my previous post, there were some signs of separation, depression, etc but they never felt as serious as this. I always believed 100% in her and I – NEVER, not once did I allow myself to imagine that we weren’t perfect for each other. The events of the previous two and a half years had convinced me beyond all doubt that we were meant to be. And now she had decided to test fate.
My initial reaction was complete shock. I can’t fully explain the feelings that took over me that morning. I didn’t know how to begin to speak to her about it. It didn’t feel as though she was simply testing the waters, it appeared as though she had already come to grips with her new found priorities. I didn’t feel like I’d be able to reason with her or change her mind in that moment, so I left. I drove to my parents’ house and had a long conversation with them. I don’t really even recall what was said, I just know that everyone was completely taken by surprise. I sat outside their house with my Dad for a long time trying to figure out how I would deal with returning home and confronting the situation. I felt myself shaking from the inside out. I was hurt, very badly. How could this be happening?
I remember returning to our house that evening. My fiance was laying on the couch in the dark watching TV. I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her, so I walked right past the living room and headed upstairs without saying a word. I sat down in our one spare bedroom which for the time being had been converted into a den, and I covered my face and thought about my next conversation with her. After about five or ten minutes, my fiance appeared in the doorway. She asked me to give her a hug. And then she began crying hysterically. I remember her body shaking as I held her close, and she kept repeating one thing…”I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking!”. She kissed me all over my neck, head, and face and reassured me that she had just been speaking foolishly and that she loved me very much and didn’t ever want to lose me.
This was the realest, truest emotion that I had ever seen out of her in the entire time that I knew her. She had been a pretty reserved person from that standpoint in our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, she could be very sweet and caring, but addressing her innermost feelings hadn’t ever been her strong suit. I always felt like she bottled a lot of it up inside. And now she was showing me a completely vulnerable side of her that I had never reached. It was real…it was beautiful. How could I not forgive her? There was no doubting her sincerity in that moment. I could feel the love pouring out of her heart. Later that evening as we made up, she made a comment to me that haunts me to this day…she said “let’s have a baby, it will fix things…” I remember telling her in that moment that we had a lot of other things to work on before we could consider bringing a baby into our world. I felt so confused…how could she want to leave me that morning, and then have a baby with me that night? She was probably just overwhelmed with emotion. I decided not to read too far into it and instead just simply enjoy the comfort and security of our closeness that night.
The next day I came home from work and as I pulled into the driveway, I noticed something at my car that I wanted to take a closer look at. I sat outside doing a couple of things for about ten minutes or so before entering the house. My fiance was already inside, and she must not have realized that I had pulled in or walked through the door. She was upstairs having a conversation with one of her hometown friends on the phone. I quickly realized that she was discussing me and our situation from the previous night, and she wasn’t relaying the details in the apologetic manner which she had to me when I had returned that emotional evening. No, this was a far different person. I stood at the edge of the stairs and listened quietly for a minute or two…”he didn’t even say hi when he came in last night”….”well I’d have to at least put in my two weeks”….”I can’t just leave”.
I was shocked and more hurt than I had been the day before. Who was this person posing as the love of my life? How could she lure me in to accepting her apology the previous night and then viciously bash me and plan her escape the very next day? I walked up the stairs to confront her and completely startled her. I quietly whispered to her to please hang up the phone. We needed to talk. Of course, she lied to me and denied that she had said anything in the manner in which I had heard it. I was “crazy”. And why was I listening to her conversation anyway!? She instantly flipped the situation around and made me the bad guy. I couldn’t help but begin questioning everything. It seemed so real less than 24 hours earlier…how could I have imagined that? I had felt it in my heart.
During that Spring, my fiance’s father was scheduled to have a supposed major surgery on his back. He was divorced from her mother and lived alone in Florida and really didn’t have anyone to look after him during his recovery. So my fiance mentioned to me that she might want to use her Family Medical Leave to go down and spend time with him for about six weeks until he was back on his feet. She asked if I would support her taking time away…and although it was a very difficult time for her to be gone with the current state of our relationship, I of course said “yes” that I would. So it was settled, in early July she would leave for Florida.
In the weeks prior to her departure things continued to be completely puzzling and unpredictable for me. For several days our relationship would feel great and back to normal, and then she’d seemingly make a conscious effort to disengage. She’d begin hiding out and avoiding emotional attachment. And then it would cycle back through again.
I remember one Saturday afternoon she mentioned to me that she was going to stop at Barnes and Noble and just spend some time by herself reading and relaxing. And when she arrived back at home that day, she couldn’t wait to sit me down and talk to me. It was as though she had just stumbled upon the meaning of life. She proceeded to hand me several pages of a rant about our relationship and her new priorities in life. She mentioned several times in it that I was great guy and that I deserved better. Every sentence contradicted the previous. It was completely incoherent. It frightened me, and it angered and upset me as well. And she seemed so sure of it – as if it was all completely logical. She could not for one second begin to understand my reaction. Again at a loss for words, I walked upstairs, put on some shorts, and proceeded to take a long jog across town. When I arrived back at the house, I laid down on my back in the grass in the front yard. About five minutes later, she appeared at the edge of the garage. She came over and picked me up and we went inside and talked through it, and within a day or two we appeared to be back on the right track.
Summer was in full swing. My fiance would be leaving for Florida on July 7th, so the weekend of the 4th was going to be our last opportunity to spend time with each other for about six weeks. My friend and coworker was having a picnic, and he invited us to attend. I was excited for it, and she made a great dish to take with and share with everyone. It felt like we were getting back to normal, just in time for her departure. During the early part of that day, I remember thinking that she seemed uncharacteristically quiet with everyone, but as the afternoon turned into evening, she became the girl that I had fallen in love with…she was sweet, conversational, and more than anything a lot of fun to be around. We had a blast that night. And she made a real connection with my co-worker’s wife. I was excited about having the opportunity to spend more time with them in the future. We left their house at about 1:00 AM. And when we returned home, her mood immediately changed. She ran to bed before I had the opportunity to even change, and pulled the covers over her face, exclaiming that she was just exhausted. It felt to me as if she was doing her best to surrender the positive feelings that had come over her that night. Watching her forfeit happiness was both sad and disappointing.
As we drove to the Philadelphia airport, I still felt quite a bit of uncertainty about our relationship, but overall I had concluded that things had been moving in the right direction. We had been making a lot of progress, and I was just wishing that we didn’t now need to say goodbye for six weeks. I wanted to ensure that we continued to build off the momentum that we had been developing in recent days. But I told myself that I’d have her back before I knew it, and that perhaps the time apart would be good for both of us. The last few months had been extremely draining emotionally…this would give us a chance to recharge the batteries.
I remember standing with her outside of the security gate that day. I hugged her for a long time and I told her that I’d miss her while she was gone. Then I kissed her and said goodbye. I watched her walk towards the terminal with my engagement ring glistening on her finger…
I never would have imagined that day being the last opportunity that I’d ever have to hold her in my arms…