I have to keep reminding myself that things are different this time.
That I am pregnant and subject to big mood swings that I don’t recognize as mood swings until later, sometimes days later.
That Brad has never said an unkind word to or about me.
That Brad doesn’t play head games to get what he wants.
That everything Brad says and does is intentional and uplifting.
That any frustration I feel about things Brad does or doesn’t do is a byproduct of my divorce from Jake, not Brad purposefully pissing me off.
That Brad is not Jake
Somehow in the process of “growing up” I picked up a horrible habit of equating love with physical touch. “He hasn’t kissed me in (insert stupidly small amount of time here), I must have done something wrong/he doesn’t love me anymore.” And I learned how to play head games with myself, psyching myself out about something because he crossed an invisible line I’d drawn. “If he doesn’t do this, then I won’t do that. If he can’t figure out that something is wrong (or WHAT is wrong), then I’m not going to cheat and TELL him what it is.”
I don’t want to be that person. I don’t remember when I started thinking that way, but it’s likely it started after I separated from Jake and finally got that helpful yet annoying hindsight. Little signs and clues as to what might have caused the end of my marriage have seeped into my subconscious and now I’m looking for them in Brad. If Brad does something that isn’t what I had in mind (or doesn’t do something I wanted to have happen) I start to freak out and look into the past to see if Jake did (or didn’t do) that to me, trying to figure out Brad’s “motive.” Eventually I realize that the only thing Brad and Jake have in common is a Y chromosome. It’s not fair to Brad to keep comparing him to Jake, even if the comparison only ever happens in my head.
It’s keeping me from letting go, relaxing around Brad and allowing our relationship to go where it’s supposed to. It’s holding me back in this infantile stage where it’s all about us being us when we’re together. For the day or two that I get to see Brad each week, in my head it’s “all Brad, all the time” and I try to cram as much “us” time in as possible. I get upset when we don’t have a lot of time for just the two of us. I get upset if I start to think I’m not enough to hold his attention, that it’s only been a few hours and he’s already tired of me.
We’re still so new in our relationship that other than holding hands, any other physical touch is a cue that something more is to come. There aren’t random kisses “just because.” There aren’t back or neck rubs or cuddling just because. These last three months, cuddles and touch have always led to something more, so I freak out when we don’t touch because I know that nothing will be happening and then I wonder why nothing will be happening. Jake withheld affection as a way of getting what he wanted. Since I don’t get any physical affection during the week while Brad and I are in our separate worlds, in my head I try to make up for the lack when we are together; when nothing happens, I immediately wonder what I did wrong. When it gets really bad in my head, I swear I can tell that he’s re-thinking “us” and trying to figure out how to tell me. Because, in my head, I was the reason Jake didn’t tell me he wanted a divorce until we’d moved out of state, because something is wrong with me that makes it difficult for men to tell me the truth. Sometimes that’s the “logic” in my head, and if that’s how it was with Jake, that must be how Brad’s doing it. Illogical and stupid. I know. But that’s my brain. Or, at least, that’s my brain now.
God, how did I allow myself to get so messed up by Jake??!!??
The strong single mom I show to the world is constantly second guessing herself when it comes to love. Because I can’t rely on what I feel. What I feel is only half of the relationship. I’m always second guessing Brad’s love and affection for me, not because he says or does something wrong, but because I just know that one day he’ll decide he’s done with me and it’ll just take him a while to tell me. So when I’m doubting things, when I’m scared that this is it, I wonder how long he’s been trying to let me down gently and I try to find the clues and signs I didn’t see before with Jake.
I didn’t cry when Jake told me he wanted a divorce. Not right away. I couldn’t; I had to plan how I was going to get home. Aside from the tears of frustration that came with realizing that I was going to be a single parent, I don’t remember crying over the end of my marriage. I was angry, sure, but I knew Jake enough to know that he meant it, that he wasn’t just manipulating me to get something. I didn’t cry over the loss of Jake. I cried over the loss of my life as I knew it and I cried in the shadow of the giant mountain that loomed ahead that I’d be forever climbing. Alone.
Whenever I think of losing Brad, whether by his choice or by chance, I am instantly in tears. My heart breaks at the thought of not having him in my life anymore, and yet I can “see” it happening. It wouldn’t happen in at his house because then I’d have to drive home in a bad state of mind; he’s too considerate to let that happen. It wouldn’t happen in my house because who wants to drive that far just to break up with someone? It wouldn’t be in a public setting because I’ll cry; not to make a scene but because I’m a crier. I’m crying right now and I’m dealing in irrational hypotheticals. It would likely happen over the internet, just like the rest of our relationship has. It doesn’t take 140 characters to break up with someone. And really, it’d be easy for him. He could unfriend me on Facebook, block me on Twitter and other than a few friends at my church we have in common, he could easily never have a reason to come down here and we’d never see each other again. And he knows that I can’t just drop everything to drive up to see him and persuade him to change his mind. It’d be so easy.
This is my brain. I just spent 195 words and two Kleenex tissues on a breakup that hasn’t happened, and that likely won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t creep into my head at least once a week.
I am insecure.
I am fragile.
I am in love and I am scared