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Was i going through narcissistic abuse?

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Was i going through narcissistic abuse?

Postby survivingabuse » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:07 pm

Part 1: Recovery from my previous ex. And how we met.

Being single for a year and recovering from a relationship with a sociopath, I had done a great deal of soul-searching. Throughout my journey into healing, I experienced a horrendous event that hindered the process. I had been sexually assaulted in my own home. Following that event, I had decided to eliminate casual sex from my life entirely, I wasn’t even tempted to venture out on dates or seek affection from anyone. I was completely closed off and turned off by the idea of human touch.

I had remained active and present on dating apps, with no intention other than to make acquaintances in the queer community. Upon opening one of the apps, I had received a message from a man, his profile indicated that he was in an open relationship and was looking for friends in the city - him and his partner had just moved here from New Zealand. So I engaged in conversation, and was actually comforted by how casual and amicable everything went. Him and his partner added me on Instagram later that evening. And I eventually forgot about the two to be quite frank.

After coming back to Vancouver from a visit home, his partner, who eventually became mine for a while, began messaging me on Instagram and wanted to meet me in person. I wasn’t opposed to it. I was planning to move to London for my Masters and knew that I wouldn’t be able to sustain anything other than a friendship, so I agreed to meet. I asked how his partner was doing and he abruptly mentioned that they broke up right after they moved here, and that his ex decided to move to the UK. It seemed a little odd as to how indifferent he was about it - but I figured, since they were in an open relationship, perhaps it made things easier when they split?

So we met up on a Tuesday by the beach ~ he brought snacks.

Upon meeting, he seemed to have a strong presence. He was reserved yet inviting, quiet at moments, but shared so many stories of his travels. I was getting mixed signals ~ and to be quite frank, I was attracted to him. We decided to walk back to my place, it was getting dark. We had some tea, I taught him how to tattoo, and we sat in bed and shared some music. I wanted to hold his hand, I even felt a strong urge to kiss him, but I held back as much as I could.

We eventually kissed, and I felt this intense warmth throughout my whole body. I felt high. But I also felt a strange fear ~ a fear that I could fall for this person. We called it a night, and I walked him to his bike. I didn’t want things to escalate, sex on the first date never worked out well for me - especially since the sexual assault.

He messaged me that evening, thanking me for such a magical moment. I replied in the same manner, it did indeed feel magical - this strong immediate connection left me baffled, so I had decided to calm myself down and tried not to think of it too much ~ after all, I was moving to London.

Part 2: the idealization phase.

He messaged me all day and all night, always letting me know when he was heading to bed, always waking up to a good morning text. I was confused, why is this guy giving me so much attention - he must be infatuated by me, I thought. A night after we met, I had a kidney stone. I rushed to the hospital and got back home at around 6am. He messaged me that morning, asking me what I did last night. I told him that I was in the hospital dealing with a kidney stone (I’ve had around 3, so it was no big deal - I was used to it). He immediately showed a serious concern. He told me that he wanted to know if that ever happened again, and that he would come and see me at the hospital. I was thrown off by that, we had only met once - but I thought, he’s caring and sweet, moving on.

Days went by and he had asked me out on another date. Upon arriving back to my place, he tried to have sex with me. I decided to be honest about how I felt, and how I was put off by sex because of my most recent experience with the sexual assault. I was nervous talking about it, but he seemed to comfort me in the kindest way ~ saying that he won’t hurt me or push any boundaries. But he was so persuasive and eventually, we did have sex.

I also decided to be honest with him about my past, the abuse I had experienced when I was younger, the abusive relationships I’ve been in. I just wanted him to know where my mind was at and how it’s taken me so long to come to terms with the abuse, and how I’m still coming to terms with it. He eventually talked about his past, how he was raised by emotionally unavailable parents who were busy working all day and never gave him the attention he needed, how he had also been cheated on, how his most recent ex left him and planned to leave the country to hit-up a pride event in the UK. I felt so connected to him, I felt like I had found someone who “understands my abuse”, because they’ve apparently gone through something similar. I cried heavily when exposing my wounds, and I even cried when he exposed his, I was so upset at how he had been treated, how unfair it could have felt. He told me, “don’t worry, with time all this pain will disappear, during my 20s, I recall feeling nothing, no emotions whatsoever, but all that changed now”. He was eight years older than me, and in that moment, I looked up to his optimism and found his ability to ‘overcome’ so inspiring – I realized I could learn a lot from him just by him being himself. He asked me, “do you ever feel like you’re ever like your father”, I was a little star struck by that question and immediately responded; “I reject the way my dad treated me, I was so hurt by it, I choose to look up to my mom who is the most compassionate and loving person I’ve ever met in my life”. Why would he ask me that though? I spoke about my PTSD, and how through therapy, I’ve come to identify my specific triggers – I even shared my triggers with him; the scent of garlic (I know, weird, right?), a specific shade of orange/red and an immediate and sudden withdraw of affection from someone close to me. I realize now that I had literally given him every single tool to use against me. We spoke about trust, and how it’s very hard for me to openly trust anyone because of what I had experienced before. But he reassured me, time and time again, that he would never cause me any pain, and that he would never hurt me ~ I naively believed him, and venture on a journey of unconditional trust for him – he said the perfect things, the most reassuring words that screamed “you’ve found an honest man”. We sat in a forest once and he told me “what I like about us is that we can be ourselves, and that our differences would just be accepted – we give each other the opportunity to be free with our identity”; I loved that, I agreed with him, I knew I had my quirks and my flaws, I was open about it all the time, he seemed to be okay with them – I felt like I’d known his too, I was under the impression that he desired closeness, honesty, communication, vulnerability.

We spent almost every day with each other, he would go to work in the morning, I would get some projects done at home, and we would always be with each other in the evenings. We both seemed keen to be hanging out often. He would say things like “I’m counting the hours to see you”, or “is it weird that I only want you to feel comfortable sleeping when I’m around”. So I genuinely felt like he was extremely interested in me and felt the strong connection I did – That hanging out with him often didn’t seem to bother him, the same way it didn’t bother me. I don’t get bored of people easily, I’m down to hang out with my partner or friend even if I’m having a bad day – being around those I love makes me happier. I don’t seek out help (verbal validation) from others when I’m feeling down, but just being around someone helps. There are moment where I need to talk about what’s bothering me, I don’t really seek advice, but just getting things off my chest does wonders for me – an ear is enough for a short moment. I realize that I do have poor boundaries and tend to feel dependent on the presence of others to make myself feel better, I live alone and don’t really have many friends in the city, I’m not a very ‘out-going’ person – I’m no good at small talk, I’m no good at losing myself at parties, I’m more interested in connecting and conversing with others.

One evening we were hanging out on his bed – out of nowhere he brought up a story of a friend of his who met a guy online and within three weeks of knowing each other, they got married. How they spent every single day with each other, how they’re the happiest together and how they do everything together. He expressed how beautiful that was, and that it’s so rare to experience something like that. He stared into my eyes the whole time he said that— and for a moment, I was actually worried that he would propose to me.

Throughout the weeks, I was having doubts about moving to London. I was going to struggle with my dad about it (who promised and later ‘un-promised’ to financially support me through the Masters)~ we were already arguing about it actually. I was going to leave my band behind, and things were going great with this guy! So I decided to stay & do my Masters online.

Upon letting him know I was staying, he was excited ~ a little less excited than I expected him to be - but he had a long day at work, and so I figured that was the reason. He had also told me right after that he scored the new job he wanted. So we were jumping up and down on his bed and needed to celebrate ~ so we went out for drinks.

Things went very well from then on, we seemed to have a stable routine, a very stable way of communicating. His ways became extremely predictable – the emojis after every text, the snapchats of him working out with arrows pointing at his body with “yours” written all over the screen, a snapchat with him holding the teddy bear I got him every time he went to bed, our cuddling methods, the compliments he would give me. It was almost as if he was ‘training’ me to expect things at very specific moments – like his consistent routine meant everything was ‘okay’ between us. Enthralled by his consistency, I became much like him – singing him to bed every SINGLE evening (I did forget sometimes, especially when I was sleepy, but always apologized for it and tried to make it up to him the next day by singing two lullabies), whenever I left his place in the mornings, I would always make his bed and tidy his room so he wouldn’t have to deal with coming home to a mess, etc. I was so happy doing those things, like clouds in my tummy for making this guy’s day just a fraction better. I complimented him day and night, and never really expected him to reciprocate anything. As time went by, whenever I complimented him, he would mirror it back to me – “you’re so beautiful”, he would abruptly respond with “no, no, that’s all you”. He would get shy sometimes, and say “no, I’m not that beautiful, you’re just saying that”.

Part 3: The Devaluation phase.

Everything was going great, but on an evening of romantic ecstasy, I gazed into his eyes and expressed the words that bombarded my heart. He told me “you compliment me too much, and it makes me uncomfortable, but I know that’s who you are and I don’t want to change you, and I know that this might fade with time”. and it could have stabilized with time, we all know how heated and passionate the first stages of love can be. But I immediately felt a sense of self-questioning. Was I being too much? Was I infatuated? So, I took it very seriously, because I allowed myself to trust, to become vulnerable at the face of his ‘honest criticism’ – I was walking on eggshells, I was always worried to say something nice to him, because I never wanted him to feel uncomfortable. I realized now that I felt that way because it almost seemed like he was saying “your words are ineffective, they hold no value, you can’t heal me with your words and certainly can’t express your love for me through them either”. So I wanted to show him how much I appreciated him in different ways.

Earlier on, he had mentioned (in a random context), that two of his friends that we usually hangout with tried to get with him, and that he had told them that he wasn’t into them and wasn’t looking for a relationship at the time either. Since I trusted him, I didn’t think twice about it – he was clear that he had no intentions to get with either of them, and that it was a one-sided thing. We would hang out with these people often, and to be quite frank, they were very problematic. One of them is married, an alcoholic (actually, all his friend were), and would cheat on his husband all the time, and even told my partner about it. They would text all the time, his phone would buzz every five minutes from 6am to 1am – but I still never felt the need to investigate further, I trusted the guy.

I never felt welcomed when I was around his friends, they were much older than me and I got the impression that no one really took me seriously – I never felt like I could have a ‘non-small-talk’ conversation with any of them (I tried to do so, though). But they were so problematic all the time, one of them said something that set me on fire, but remained contained as I didn’t want to interfere; “my young cousins (17 and 19) were visiting us and staying over, and I wish I could just put a camera in the house and watch them be naked all day” – see what I mean? I never really understood why he decided to surround himself with these people, he ‘seemed’ so different from them, and actually acted very different around them. As soon as we were in the presence of other people – my friends, his friends, his roommate – he would become the quietest person in the room, observing and texting constantly. At first, I wondered if he could just be someone introverted, but I soon came to realize that he was intimidated by them in one way or another – but why would he force himself to be in those situations, and why would he feel intimidated around my own friends? This eventually made me feel less inclined to hang out with my own friends, as I would be too concerned about how my partner felt, that I couldn’t really be comfortable enough to just ‘let go’. I even asked him once – “are you uncomfortable? You seem a little anxious”, and he responded by saying “nope, all good, are you?”.

We went out once, and one of the guys grabbed his butt, he immediately came up to me and said “did you see that? He grabbed my ass and I told him to never do it again” – I didn’t know what to think of that, but I gave him a hug and said that I’m happy he set boundaries, and didn’t think about it further. That same evening, we were walking around a few pubs and I noticed that both of my (abusive) exes were at the same club – I noticed them from the windows outside – drunk and jokingly, I said “we should go in!”. He eagerly agreed with me and went in for a dance. Upon arriving home, he said that we needed to talk. He told me that he thought I wasn’t over my exes and that he was watching me be paranoid around them the whole night. I explained to him that I was over them (I really am), but I was still recovering from the abuse they inflicted upon me, and that seeing them in real life reminds me of the pain I had been through – I don’t miss them. I was in love with him, and had been feeling it for weeks, so I decided to tell him then and there “I love you, and I want you to know that”. I didn’t expect him to say it back, to be fair, we had only been seeing each other for around a month. But unhesitatingly, he looks at me and says “I trust you, I feel safe with you, I am fascinated by you, and I think that’s love, I love you too”. I turned to him and said “please don’t say so if you don’t mean it” (It felt so ingenuine, I’m not sure how to describe it), but he reassured me that it was and so I trusted his word and felt so content that we felt the same about each other.

I took him out to dinner after his first day at his new job, I made reservations at a fancy restaurant, and wanted to celebrate. I picked him up and we walked towards the restaurant. I was having a really bad day, exhausted from emotionally abusive conversations with my father on the phone, but still wanted to hangout. We chatted about his day and how the new workplace felt like – At a certain point, I decided to bring up how I was feeling about my day, that I was very sad and tired about having to talk to my dad all day (I was a few drinks in). For the first time ever, he was almost ignoring me. Staring across the room, like a wall. I was worried that I had annoyed him, and that I had said something stupid. So I asked him “did I say anything to make you feel uncomfortable? You seemed a little disinterested in what I had to say”. He immediately shifted the conversation – “it also drove my ex crazy when he thought I was disinterested in what he had to say, probably the reason why we broke up, sometimes I just want to exist in quietness, and not be expected to engage in conversation”. I heard him, so I let him know that I understood how he felt, and that from now on, if I noticed him being “disinterested”, that I would just assume he wanted to exist in “silence”, and to not take it personally. I was concerned that he brought up his ex, but he always ensured me that he was over him (although they had only been broken up for two months) – I trusted him, so whatever.

He had been planning to take me on a ‘surprise’ adventure for quite some time – “it needs to be sunny for us to do this thing”, he would say. On a weekend where it could work out, he hyped me up, talked about how much I would love the experience, and that he wanted me to know how much he loved me by taking me on this trip – I was flattered beyond measure. He sent me a to-do list, organized everything meticulously – he was taking me camping. The night before our trip, we were going out to meet his friends. He came up to me before we headed out and said; “a guy I’ve hooked up with is going to be there tonight, is that okay with you”? At first, I was okay with it, I trusted him and didn’t need to worry about it. But as we walked towards their place, I began feeling very unsettled, reminiscing about my exes, the cheating and the lying. He noticed my discomfort and we decided to speak about it. “I’m actually feeling uncomfortable, I trust you and it has nothing to do with you, I’ve just been reminded of my exes for some reason and I’ll just get over it because I trust you and I shouldn’t be worried”. He replied, “my ex also used to get upset when we met people I had hooked up with, it would drive him mad”. I was confused as to why he needed to bring that up, so I nicely asked, “please don’t compare me to your ex, I’m nothing like him, I’m my own person”. He told me that I also bring up my exes and that It’s hypocritical for me to say that. He was right, I did bring up my exes, but never in comparison to him. I would say things like “you’re being sketchy with your phone, and I get weary of these things because in previous relationships, my ex was actually messaging a guy he wanted to hook up with when he used his phone that way – if there’s nothing to worry about, tell me, and I’ll let it go with no second thought”. And that’s all it was, I was learning to re-condition myself through the trust I had for him (codependency much?), and If I ever felt weary of something I would always let him know and be super transparent about the source of it – we all appreciate hearing out reasons for feeling a certain way.

We had conversations about his ex frequently. He said that his ex was always jealous of him, always noticing these ‘patterns’ about him, and that it always put him on edge. He described his partner to be paranoid. He even told me about a time where his ex asked him what his fantasy was while they were having sex – he said “I want to watch you get ###$ by another guy”. His ex got furious and cried for days – he stated that he was unsure why his ex would respond that way, and that it was an ‘overreaction’. Coupled with that, he would always say his ex was so romantic, kind, everyone loved him, but then painted him out to be a crazy psychotic needy person. I had my doubts about it, I’m sure there was more to the story, but didn’t really want to ask or investigate further – maybe I should have?

The camping trip was immaculate - i cried for most of it (happy tears, of-course) I had never been treated with such thoughtfulness before. We returned a day after and things started to change.

A few days later, after being showered with the ‘love’ following the trip, he sent me a text; “should we take the night to ourselves? Don’t get me wrong, I want to spend 24/7 with you, but I think it’s healthy in the long run to have time for ourselves and our friends”. This conversation had actually come up with my previous exes too, around the same time, and I was always scared of it. I mean, with my exes, I had every reason to – they were lying and cheating on me all the time, and my codependent symptoms kept me hanging on to them in hopes that things would get better with time if I learnt how to ‘be chill’. I was fairly concerned, and gave him a call – “I’m most definitely open to spending time on our own, but I don’t see why it would be necessary to make a statement out of it – if you ever feel like you need some time for yourself, just let me know in that moment, and I’ll just get it”. I felt very pressured in that instant, worrying that I had done something wrong for him to request space so formally. I went out with my friends that evening, and let him know about my moves. He was quite passive aggressive about it – “the first time I don’t hang out with you, and your friends actually decided to come out, interesting”. I was really confused with that response, my friends are quite flakey (Vancouver culture, what can I say?), and things just worked out that time. I let him know that there will be more nights like this with him involved obviously. I called him before he went to bed (I was still out), sung him to sleep on the phone and wished him the sweetest dreams, and that I was excited to see him tomorrow. The night ended late, and I woke up in the morning with no “good morning” text. That was the first time I had ever woken up without it, it felt a little strange, and so I decided to send him one instead. His replies throughout the day were cold, and it left me wondering what I had done wrong to elicit such a reaction. I went to his house that evening and asked him if he was okay, and that I could feel he was being distant. He told me “you didn’t text me last night when you went to bed (I never did that to begin with, I sleep quite late), so I didn’t think you deserved a good morning text or any attention from me”. I felt so guilty, went up to him, gave him a hug and promised him that no matter where I am, from now on, he will always get a text from me before I slumber. He told me “no it’s okay, I’ve been disappointed with this before, so I don’t expect it anyways” (but he did). So from then on, I kept my promise every single day.

He was texting me even less frequently and replying to texts very late (he even had his read-receipts on, and would see my text and not reply for hours), using less of his infamous emojis, he would post more photos on his Instagram and was using his phone more and more when we were hanging out. I was able to notice the subtleties in his changed behaviors, I mean, he was extremely consistent about everything – how could one not notice. I decided to give him more space, but remained to shower him with the affection that I always gave– I would organize more frequent band rehearsals, spend more time with my family, etc.

One evening, upon pouring some drinks for the two of us at his place, he mentioned that he was getting furious from one of his friends (One of the guys who was/is into him who texts him all the time). He was upset that this guy would always complain about his own life and not ask him about his or even ask about his new job – he even mentioned that he had pissed him off by saying “you don’t really have friends in this city other than me haha”. He told me that he was ignoring him and that he wanted to talk to him about his attitude – I encouraged him to do so, but I also let him know that I thought this guy had no empathy (a narcissist basically, a really overt one too, you should meet him). He told me that he understands him because he used to ‘be that way’, and that he was so good to him when he arrived to the city and that he’s just going through some stuff. I appreciated the way he defended his friend, and it just ended there. That evening, we met up with his friends and decided to go out for a few drinks (so many drinks with these people). Upon relocating, he whispers to me “I want to just disappear, can we just go”. Knowing what social anxiety feels like, I held his hand and walked home with him. He told me “sometimes I want to just disappear from everything and everyone”, I was a little worried – why does he feel that way? Was it because he was upset with the guy? Upon arriving to his place, he told me “I need some time by my own for a while, and I really need you to work harder on giving me less compliments and saying I love you less”. That was a truck in my face. I had thought that I was doing a good job with those ‘requests’, I mean, I was already walking on eggshells. So I started to cry, and let him know the way I go about things is very natural, I don’t keep a spreadsheet in my head as to how many times I compliment someone, or say I love you to someone, or hangout with someone. He immediately got furious and said “are you implying that I think that way” – I reassured him that I wasn’t trying to do that, and that I was just trying to explain my own way of being, not targeting how he does things. We went to bed that night, and the next morning felt like hell, full of guilt, I decided to apologize for crying and making it “about me”, and that I wanted to be there for him, and that I understood what he needed. I asked him to clarify what he meant by this supposed ‘culture shock’ he was experiencing. He told me that he’s having a hard time integrating here, that his work is not really social, that his contract is only 6 months long, that his friends are talking to him less since we’ve been together. So I took a step back, and decided to just do what he asked me for. In the back of my mind, I thought, what do any of those things have to do with me though, and why do I have to change how I am for him to feel better about things?

Throughout the following week, my confidence was close to inexistent – it had manifested and rooted itself in different ways. My body image was completely skewed, I would stutter when I spoke, and woke up with a puddle of sweat around me. Friday came along, and we had been planning to head out with his friends (again). Upon arriving to their place, one of his mates (who grabbed his ass at the club the last time), started massaging his back, moved away quickly – “that’s all you get. The anxiety just came up again and again. We went out, and this dude kept trying to dance with him – so I decided to just retreat and chill in the corner on my phone. He noticed the distance I was exhibiting and so he began to be distant to. The alcohol-induced-confidence kicked in, and so I decided to speak to him about everything, I was going to explode. I took him to an alleyway and started to cry; “things have changed drastically since we’ve first met, and I’m worried that I might have done something to push you away, I want to be close to you again, what should I do”? Tears fell down his face, but his expressions stood alarmingly still; “you see, you always make things about you, just like last time”! I had already apologized for that experience, and explained to him that I still don’t understand why what we had talked about needed to involve the way he treated me. I brought up his friends, I asked him if he felt like his friends might be pulling away because he’s obviously not ‘available’, and since they’ve expressed their attractions for him, perhaps they’re just backing off. He looked at me with the scariest eyes and said “you’re manipulating me”. Every single inch of ‘chill’ I could muster was gone – I cried nonstop – “you’re misunderstanding my intention”, I said, “I’m just trying to make sense of this and get closer to you – I’m willing to do whatever it takes – just tell me what you need”. We walked away from the scene and he had built up a wall so high, that I was starting to get triggered (he knew how I felt about being closed off – he knew it was one of my triggers). We sat down on a curb and I tried to hug him – he pushed me away and said that he needed to go home and for me to leave. My tears stopped all of a sudden, and my face went blank. He look at me and said “that’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen – you went from crying to looking normal in a split second, that’s not normal, you’re not normal”. Seconds after that, I had one the biggest panic/ptsd episodes. I went back to his place to get my keys and asked him if would give me a few minutes to go through my panic before hopping on a bus. He looked at me with his ‘charming’ eyes; “don’t go, I love you, I’ll be devastated if you go”. I was even more shocked, and I panicked even more – that switch was so scary. I told him I was uncomfortable and didn’t feel like I belonged but he insisted I stayed and held me hard so I just fall asleep. The next day, I woke up early and headed to a coffee shop to write down what I intended to speak about last night – I felt so misunderstood, as though he thought that my intentions were to hurt him? I came back and read what I had wrote – his wall became even higher, and everything I said was deflected back onto me, he felt like I was attacking him no matter how many times I would explain that “THIS IS ONLY HOW I FEEL”. It got to a point where I was trying to explain to him that I don’t care to be ‘right’, and that I’m just looking for a solution – that I was willing to hear him out and find a compromise on my end that could help him compromise on his end. ‘help me to help you’ as people say. It got so bad that my body began to shake, I was afraid to say a single word, I was afraid to talk to him. So I left and we decided to meet up that evening.

He came over that evening and drew me a picture (like an actual drawing) – he took out two sheets and said “this is your world, only 1% of the world thinks this way”. He explained how I shove all my dark past and the people who hurt me into a different realm, a ‘dark’ place, and that sometimes, It can come back to haunt me. He expressed how my ‘happy’ place is full of roses and poems, music and art. He described his world as all being in one (99% of the world do this apparently), he had his job, his friends, his family and his need to adventure. He described that he wanted to keep his enemies close. He told me that when we first met, he gave me a lot of affection, because his world was full of it. All of a sudden, a ‘tornado’ took away everything he had to offer, and now he is sending me smaller amounts of affection. He said that when I keep sending him large amount of unconditional affection, it makes him sad that he can’t reciprocate, and so he sends even less affection. And that if I ask him why he would send me less amounts of affection, he would stop sending affection all together (how weird is this?). I know this sounds primitive, I felt like I was being talked down to with the language he was using – like I was some sort of illiterate child that needed someone to ‘spell things out for me’. Naïve me looked at him with a smile; “I understand now, I won’t take this personally anymore, thanks for letting me know”. He followed the conversation by saying “I don’t think I can make you happy” – great, something else to worry about now.

Part 4: The Discard phase

The anxiety I was feeling ruined my sleep, I was eating less than a meal a day – staring at the ceiling, I never got anything done. I couldn’t help but feel this insane abandonment that was going to come up – it’s like I knew it was coming. I contacted him on Monday to speak about a few things, I told him that I wasn’t feeling my best and needed some clarity – he sounded so cold, but agreed to meet. Upon meeting up, it felt like he had fumes coming out of his ears. I asked him very gently, “are you okay”? he replied with a simple “yes”. I sat down with him and asked him about this ‘tornado’ he was talking about. He opened up to me, for the first time, about everything that he had been stressed about. He sounded so robotic about everything, like he had rehearsed this before. “my parents are guilt tripping me to go home and I don’t want to, I can’t be social at work, I’m not sure if Vancouver is for me, I’m 31 and all my friends are way ahead of me in life”. I held his hand, I was so happy that he let things off his chest – I asked him if he felt better letting things out, he said “no, not really, maybe idk”. I told him that it makes me happy to hear his concerns of life, and that I’m here for him. If he ever needed to talk, or not talk, or go on a hike, or binge-eat or binge-watch the night away. I wanted him to know that I’m not bothered by someone else’s burdens, if anything, it makes me feel closer to him and understand him better. I asked him to give me a chance to stand by him during this ‘hard time’, to allow me a presence in his life while he went through this ‘tornado’. He said he didn’t think we were right for each other.

He asked to see me the following night. I went over to his place and he had told me that he still feels like “we aren’t right for each other”. I tried really hard to explain to him that I understood where he was coming from and that I was willing to go through it with him without taking it personally. He said that he didn’t see me the same after our big ‘fight’, and that it proved how incompatible we were. I stated that we were both drunk, and that I found it unfair that he was basing our compatibility on a drunken fight – he didn’t seem to care about my input. I was starting to feel like I was ‘begging’, and I promised myself that I would never do that again. So I looked at him and told him that I was going to love him enough to let him go. He grabbed my arms tight and said; “since you’ve been BENDING your values and making so many compromises, I don’t see why I shouldn’t give this another try”.

The next day, I extremely unsettled, I felt like he was staying with me out of pity. So I called him and expressed how I felt, and said that I couldn’t feel comfortable in this kind of uncertainty – he stayed silent, “I don’t know what to say, I don’t think I can say anything to make you feel better”. I asked him if I could head to his place and grab my stuff, and that we should end it. He decided to come over instead to talk – I told him how much I loved him, that he was one of the reasons why I chose to stay here (codependency at its finest), and that I am really willing to work hard to keep this relationship going. He looked at me with a giggle, “no, I don’t think we’re right for each other”. So I looked at him and agreed. He hugged me and we both cried. He told me that he thought I was the best partner in the world, and that I had the most beautiful mind in the world and that he loves me so much– why was he leaving me then? He asked if we could be friends and I let him know that it would be hard for me – it’s hard to flip a switch like that.

I was devastated for the following days, and decided to meetup with him a week later. I wrote him a letter that I read to him – about how I felt like I lost myself by trying to change the way I love, and how it shattered my identity and confidence. He reacted with a cold detachment; “yes, I agree, that’s what happened”, he said. He described what we had as a carousel, spinning and spinning, and all he needed was ‘space’. He said that it felt like home, and that it was a beautiful relationship. I was left confused – again, mixed signals. I handed him his last piece of clothing that I had forgotten to give him. He told me that he forgot to get me two of my things (I highly doubt that, he was always so meticulous about things – he was never forgetful). He proceeded to talk about mundane things that happened in his life; “I bought a new jacket, it comes tomorrow! My roommate started drinking again! I bought my tickets to Germany for Christmas!”. And then something really strange happened – he started talking to me about what a friend of his was going through; “my friends dad died in Fiji, and now they have to pay 40,000$ to get his body back to New Zealand, how inconsiderate of him”. I was baffled by the lack of empathy, and finally started to understand what kind of a person he was from that simple statement. He made a condescending comment by the end of the evening; “it’s getting late, I think I should go home, I know you want to stay here forever though” – great. We had decided to stay friends, something I’d never done before.

I went out that weekend with a friend, I was really drunk and wanted to find a cab to take me home. As I walked down the street, I saw him walking back home with a pizza box. I ran towards him and hugged him; “can I walk you home”?, he agreed. I told him I missed him and responded with a sluggish “don’t”. He made subtle cues for me to leave, but I wanted to stick around, I wanted to talk to him and ask him if he still felt comfortable being friends – he attitude was so unnerving and to be quite honest, void of any emotion. I asked him if he was willing to talk, and he said “no, I’m gonna go upstairs” with the most dismissive attitude – this triggered me, and I even ‘chased’ him to his elevator. “we were together for a while, and won’t give me three minutes of your time?” I stormed out and send him a text apologizing for my actions and that I was drunk – I apologized for making him feel uncomfortable. He never responded, and I never heard from him since.
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