Open and Raw

This is likely to be one of the most open and transparent posts I’ve ever written.

I’ve received so many messages this week from friends and readers showing sympathy and offering support. I also received several messages from people trying to convince me to not give up my writing.

Writing and blogging has been an emotional outlet for me for the past 5 years. I’ve written about my frustrations with my ex-husband, I’ve written about my faith and I’ve written about my struggles and triumphs as a parent. I’ve never censored my thoughts; I’ve always been completely open and honest about my feelings and perceptions about the world around me. I have put my life on display for any and all to see, from break-ups to moving out on my own to my surrogacy journey.

And then I started dating Brad. I wrote about my nerves before our first date, I wrote about my feelings as our relationship blossomed in the summer, I wrote about my explorations into the reasons why I have trust issues in romantic relationships and I wrote about my fears and the frightening feelings I would get during my hormonal lows in the early stages of my surrogacy.

And then Brad and I had a fight while in Detroit at New Years. One of the things we argued about was my posts about our relationship, about how they were always negative and dramatic and doom-and-gloom. Brad was upset because his family and friends were reading them and asking him questions. I decided to stop posting about us in an attempt to keep our relationship more private. I’d “check us in” to places on Foursquare and post pictures on Instagram, but I never blogged about “us” again. But just because I didn’t blog about my feelings of despair about our relationship didn’t mean everything was sunshine and rainbows.

The last time I saw Brad was nearly two weeks ago when he left my house after spending the weekend down here like he frequently did. We’d gone to the OC Beer Fest Saturday, then church and our fairly typical Sunday afternoon routine. Then Monday happened. We argued and we got angry. We talked about the fact that nearly every week we have an argument or a disagreement or a misunderstanding. I threw hurtful words at him and he yelled back. We toyed with the idea of breaking up – because if we couldn’t remain happy for more than a couple of weeks at a time, we clearly had deeper issues than we’d ever acknowledged.

We finally broke out the big things that every couple should talk about way before we ever did: living situations, marriage and kids. We talked about a couple of other things, but I won’t discuss them here for the sake of the privacy Brad has requested of me. We might not be together anymore and I’m still hurting, but I’m not evil.

We had talked a bit about these issues before, but never in the depth that we should have. Brad wants kids of his own someday, but I’m not sure I want more kids. I have Em and I’ve been a single mom since I divorced her dad 8 years ago. I can’t take care of another child on my own. Sure, if I married I wouldn’t be alone in raising a child – but there’s no guarantee of that. I was married when I had Em and I’m not anymore. But that’s not the only reason I’m uncertain about having another kid. I’m 30. In theory I would want to be in a relationship with someone for at least a year before getting engaged, then another six months to a year before actually getting married. And then I’d want some time with my husband before getting pregnant. So that’s close to three years or more before having kids, if my husband wants them that soon. That puts me at 33 and Em at 12. I’m not sure I want to start over with a baby, a toddler, a child, a pre-teen, a teen and a college student. Sure, 33 sounds really young, but I had Em when I was 21. I’ve spent my young adulthood being a single parent. If Em is my only child, then in theory she won’t be as dependent on me by the time I’m in my mid 40s. It may sound selfish, but I’m looking forward to enjoying myself while I’m still young-ish (no offense to those who are older but still feel young; it’s just how I feel). But, as I told Brad, I’m not 100% certain I don’t want more kids; those have just been my feelings on it since I haven’t been in a long-term relationship in a long time. It’s been years since I’ve been in a serious relationship; it’s only natural that I come to the conclusion that there are no more kids in my future. I told Brad most of this, but some of it I didn’t get to tell him before we broke up this week. Not that it would likely change anything.

In all likelihood, if we’d stayed together, I’d actually still feel the same way because Brad’s idea of how long he wanted to be in a relationship before marriage greatly differed from mine. We’d been together for 10 months. To me, that was a long time. But to Brad, it was still very short. NOT that I was thinking of marriage anytime soon, but he had envisioned a long courtship and thought marriage would be several years away. That was another problem we couldn’t seem to get over.

We were supposed to take a trip up north over Memorial Day weekend to see some friends. But with our relationship on the rocks, Brad didn’t think it was a good idea. He needed time to cool off and to think about all we had discussed, to think about whether or not he wanted to stay in a relationship with me. So he drove up to his friends and I stayed relatively local, booking myself a hotel room in Buellton. We didn’t talk to each other until Tuesday. Well, he didn’t talk to me until then; I drunk-texted him Sunday night, apologizing, professing my love for him and begging him to talk to me. Until then, we hadn’t gone more than a day or so without talking and his silence felt like torture.

I had talked to a couple of friends and my mom about what was going on and came to the rational conclusion that Brad and I were just not a great match; we loved each other for sure, but we needed very different things out of the relationship. I sent him a message Tuesday morning with that basic statement: that I loved him dearly but we were hurting each other too much to stay together.

And then I waffled. My heart broke knowing that I was ending the best relationship I’d ever been in – and likely will ever have. Sure, we’ve had our arguments and difficulties, and I knew how hard we had both tried to overcome them even though we repeatedly failed. But still I wanted to stay with him and try to work things out. We both knew logically that we should end it, but our hearts couldn’t quite give up yet.

I need to back up a bit.

One week ago I wrote a blog post about us. I couldn’t take it anymore: my blogging has always been my therapy, helping me to formulate my thoughts. And blogging all these years has helped me bond with family and friends and created friendships with people I’d have never met otherwise. My public personal diary helped me and helped other parents, single or married. It had hurt me to refrain from writing about my feelings about Brad and my relationship with him. So, I started writing again.

And I made a stupid, selfish mistake: I changed the privacy settings on my Facebook posts so that Brad and his family and friends wouldn’t see what I said. I thought it would prevent Brad from feeling guilty about how I was feeling and help him to be able to think clearly about what he wanted without my influence. But all it did was hurt and anger him more. He felt I’d broken his trust in me, hiding my feelings and blogging about us.

When we talked on Tuesday, Brad told me how hurt he was by my secret Facebook posts and by my public blog posts. He was upset because family and friends had seen my blog posts and had asked him what was going on with us. He also told me that three days wasn’t long enough for him to come to a decision on what to do about us. I got upset and asked him how long I was supposed to wait: a week? A month? Longer?

Hurting, I got angry. I told him we were done and I threw more hateful words at him. I told him I’d mail his things to him. And then I broke down again, apologizing and pleading with him. When he didn’t respond, I told him I wouldn’t bother him again.

And I haven’t heard from him since.

And I’m still conflicted. I’m angry that he said he needed more time away from me, to think about us; to me, a man should not need large amounts of time away from his girlfriend. His family has said to give him some time, some space, to get through the other stressful things he has going on. A part of me knows that we have so many things we don’t agree on in the relationship and it’s just not enough to love each other. But my heart is aching and burning and shriveling knowing that I lost him. I’m prone to sudden crying spells which often turn into sobbing and screaming. I’m hurting.

I did mail him things he’d left at my place, but I mailed him other things as well. A picture of us that friends took as we headed to Club 33 for the first time. Mardi Gras beads from a dingey casino in old downtown Vegas. A dress I’d bought that I knew he’d like but never got to wear for him.

I know that breakups are painful. I know that often one feels like they made a mistake and want to get back together. I know that later on people realize how right it was to not stay together.

But my heart knows better than that. Brad is my soul mate. I can overlook all the hurt we’ve caused each other recently and in the past. This is the man I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with. I know that some compromise is expected and healthy in relationships, and that a person should never have to give up who they are in order to make their partner happy. But if I want to give up things, to give up a part of myself to be with him, is that so bad?

I love Brad. I want to be with him, I want to marry him someday, I want to travel with him and share with him the rest life has to offer me. I have never been happier with anyone than I am with him. As strong and independent as I’ve been, as I’ve had to be for Em, being with Brad makes me want to be taken care of, to be coddled, to be the “little woman.” Not because it would make him happy, but because it would make me happy.

I told Brad I wouldn’t bother him again, and I feel that if I said all of this to him he would become even angrier with me for breaking yet another promise.

I know that I wrote on Tuesday that I would stop blogging, but this is who I am. I am a writer to the core. I share my life, my ups and downs and my successes and mistakes with anyone who cares to read my long rambling posts. So I’ll keep writing.

I love Brad. It is killing me inside to know that I hurt him so deeply, to know that I can’t be with him during this stressful time in his life, to know that in a fit of pain and anger I threw away the best man I’ll ever have.

I’m so sorry, Brad. I love you more than any words can express. I miss you so much and hate myself for breaking us apart. I wish I could take back every mean thing I ever said. If there is anything I can do to prove to you that I need you in my life, I’ll do it.

I’ll wait however long you need me to, because you are the only man for me.

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