So I am back home after over 12 weeks staying with Linda and her 3 children during the lockdown. The relationship might be over. How do I feel right now? I feel peace in my heart. I do not feel disappointed in myself on the contrary I feel proud of myself, I discovered in those 12 weeks that I still have a lot of love in me to give, I have kindness, compassion and think of others (first). I discovered more about myself and I also saw in me that I can still be a good man, a partner and a father figure. I feel I gave what I have to Linda and if she feels it is not enough then we part with my blessings and I pray that God will remain faithful to her, guide and provide to her and protect her children. I am back (home) alone in my small flat after all this time away and I was a bit worried that I may be hard on myself and get emotional but I feel ok (ish). I was slightly emotional when I was packing and her older son Daniel came to meet me and offered to help me pack and said he didn’t want me to leave and I should please come back and visit. That made me emotional and at the same time I was proud that in the time I was in her house I feel I have made an impact on her household – including all her children. There is a bit of hurt in the way she treated me in the end because I devoted my time and energy to her and I felt that should have counted for something but I have over the years learnt that as human beings we are all limited and flawed so I have come to expect people (including myself) to fall short sometimes. I also think deep down inside (of me) I have always felt that she was a bit of a maverick and somehow always left space in me to expect a drastic action from her so I guess I managed my expectations. I just cannot expose my heart again the way it was damaged during my divorce. Well, let me put it better, I will only allow the situation, love, care, future expectations etc. to dictate how I relinquish my heart over time. I do love Linda – I must do because it gave me pleasure to give her pleasure and make her happy and I was dedicated to this and I looked forward to the planned future we had. So yes, I do love her but love has to grow in the right atmosphere and conditions so may be some things were missing. I do still love her and respect her but not at the detriment of who I am and what I stand for. This is why I am at peace and I thank God for this.
Moving into her house with her 3 children was not easy for me. I had to navigate all the usual distrust from children and slowly win them over. I had to suppress my own way and habits of doing things around the house and even bear with things I do not like within the house as I am the intruder. It made me more mature and I felt I handled it reasonably well. It is about finding the balance. I had to find a way to progressively impact the household in a positive way such that my presence should be beneficial to the whole household (practically, financially and emotionally).
As a couple, over time you try and put structures in place that will help you grow together and we had 3 pillars. The first, she insisted that no matter what happens I should hold her in bed when we sleep overnight. In hindsight this is flawed because it puts a lot of impractical responsibilities on my shoulders but at the time I felt it was very good and I needed to do that to help me grow and not carry over any malice or grudges overnight. I feel it is flawed because some days I may just fall asleep or slump into bed or just simply want to just fall asleep without holding any one. The way I felt I countered that was if that happens, I always trust myself that I will wake up in the middle of the night and then I will hold her but what if for some reason I do not wake up in the middle of the night? Also I feel it is skewed against me. So no matter how I feel I have to hold her but she can always go to sleep without holding me especially if she doesn’t feel like doing that. In fact, I remember about 2 weeks ago we came back from a friend’s daughter’s party and I held her when we went to bed and she removed my hands because she was upset with me which eventually turned out not to be my fault. So if I am feeling the way she felt on that night I still have to find a way to hold her but she doesn’t have to attempt to hold me on the nights she is upset and in fact she has the additional rights to shrug me off. Having said that, I was happy to go along with this. In those 12 weeks may be about 1 to 3 nights I will say I did not hold her overnight before last week Thursday. So you would think this should be considered (more on this later). In all I think the initiative is a good thing and it did help us grow but some wisdom has to be applied on rear occasions when this does not happen, especially if it is rear. Also there should be some responsibilities on the other partner as well. Like not shrugging off the person that has to always initiate the holding and in some rear occasions especially when you feel the person is struggling to hold you (for whatever reason) you should take the initiative and hold the person. Even if this only happens once in a lifetime it gives the other person comfort and rejuvenates him/her that his/her partner is also showing commitment towards the relationship by doing something that can be difficult which he/she has to do regularly. This tells the partner that the other person recognizes and appreciates his/her effort. That’s simply what human beings want most times, recognition of their efforts.
The second pillar is that most nights we watch a movie (mainly series) together. This means that we can spend intimate time together most days and this allows love to grow. This means both partners have to understand and respect this. In some cases, it may not be practical that one partner has to wait for the other partner before he/she continues the series but the onus is on the partner that is watching the series alone to handle the situation properly because this may break the intimate time you spend together. There are many ways this can happen; one is that the partner that goes ahead to watch the series should be ready to watch it again when the other partner joins or inform the other partner that you want to continue to watch the series as you have nothing else to do or watch (recognition again). The other partner will almost certainly agree that he or she continues while he/she is not available because he/she was recognized. If this is not done and one partner just goes ahead and watches the series the other partner may feel the relationship is unbalanced especially if he or she knows he/she will not do that and in other cases he/she is being very considerate and thinking of the other partner. The actual series or movie is not important; it is how human beings feels they are being recognized especially if they believe they recognize the other partner in many other situations that arises in their everyday life.
The third pillar is that we exercise together most week days (apart from the days we are lazy 😊). This is quite good as both of them motivate each other to be healthy and they share a common goal. This helps the relationship to grow. Again there should be recognition. It is a joint effort, so if there is a reason preventing one partner from joining, the other partner must show recognition either by waiting until the partner can join or where not practical or does not make sense make the partner feel recognized by handling the situation well before continuing with the exercise.
Let me go into details of what happened that eventually ended up with me back at my flat. Sometime during last week I can’t remember which day it was, may be Tuesday or Wednesday I walked into the room and Linda was watching the series that we were both supposed to be watching at nighttime after our hard day working from home. Now, she had been unwell so she had taken time off work and was resting in bed. I felt she was wrong to just start watching the series without consideration or recognition as I explained above (she could easily had come to me/text me/call me) and say, she is in bed with nothing else to watch so she wants to continue watching the series. Frame it like a question not a statement. Get the other partner’s consent but she didn’t. When I walked into the room and I asked her why she was watching the series without me she answered and concluded by saying “she can’t be staring at the ceiling”. That statement to me told me a lot about the relationship. To start with, in isolation it is a rude response (I would never be rude to her like that) and it gives the impression she is not putting the same sacrificial efforts you are putting into the relationship. All the 3 pillars are linked, this happened when I was not doing our daily exercise because she was not feeling well. Moreover, how can you demand that irrespective of how I feel, when I come into bed I have to hold you yet you cannot be bothered to let me know that you want to continue watching the series and worse when I ask you, your response made a mockery of my considerations (at least that is how I felt). Also, we both have responsibilities, you should have recognized that going ahead to make the unilateral decision to watch the series could potentially damage or worse eliminate our daily intimate time together. That was how I felt and the consequence of that was I didn’t feel obliged to come to bed early to watch the series. On Thursday I wanted to have a bottle of wine after dinner, Linda was upstairs in bed (she was ill all week) so I called her to ask her if she wanted to share a bottle of wine with me but she declined (rightfully so) as she was not feeling well. After I finished my wine drinking I went to bed and I slept. When I woke up on Friday – as she was not feeling well, I didn’t get up to do our exercise (we are doing a 30-day challenge) but eventually got up to start my day (working from home). I can’t remember the specifics but I know I noticed she was in a negative mood and wasn’t responding to me as normal. I was not sure what was going on. I could only remember that in the middle of the night I felt a couple of hard kicks and duvet been yanked with force and I asked why she was pulling the duvet and got a remark “what the hell are you talking about!” I just felt ok, she is probably in one of those her moods she warned me about. I do not like negative energy so I just stayed in my own world on that Friday hoping that she will come out of the mood as she does if this is the case. When I came to bed on Friday I still could feel the negative vibes so I decided to just take my spot in bed (she was watching the series) and slept. Now on Thursday night I am sure I held her in the middle of the night but if I didn’t it wasn’t because of any malice, I probably just slept soundly after drinking a bottle of wine by myself 😊. If I had any ill feelings, I wouldn’t ask her to come and share a bottle of wine with me just before I came to bed. On Friday night, yes I felt the negative energy from her and like I said I just picked my spot in bed to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and this has happened to me on occasions when I have slept without holding her – I will force myself to hold her irrespective of how I felt when I went to bed. This was the night I felt she was dismantling the pillars we have built around the relationship. I woke up and I could see she had put a pillow between us. I am so sure that if that pillow was not there I would do what I do normally and force myself to hold her. I may have mixed up the days but I think this was Friday night. First of all, I felt she had dismantled the intimate time we spent every night and then this pillow saga. I tried to make excuses in my head – maybe she had her back problem. So on Saturday morning I woke up and got up from bed as I had many things to do that day – she had invited 3 of her friends over for BBQ (I thought it was just 1 friend). It was a very difficult shopping trip for me as I had to go to the supermarket, come to my flat to freeze the food, go to the shops to buy household items, go to the butchers then go back to the supermarket (as she sent me a text to buy additional stuff) before I then went to the post office (to enquiry about her letter I posted a few days ago that did not get to the destination) and the launderette to collect her bedsheets and curtains where I got a shocker that the curtains were dry cleaned as they couldn’t be washed. Then I had to go back to my flat, pack all the food before heading back. It was a very long and hard day but I made sure I ticked off all the items she requested from the supermarket, shops and butchers. When I got home I greeted her and I didn’t even hear I respond, it was that negative. I had to ask her that I said ‘hi’ and she said she responded. This was the point I just felt – hang on- I have just spent the best part of today shopping and making sure all was available for today and you are still carrying this negative energy – especially as I can’t even put a finger on what was going on. At this point I decided to myself that the onus was on her. You cannot carry negative energy for 2 days, if you feel I have done something tell me. If I felt, I had done something I will address it. The BBQ went well and I spent early part of the evening doing the bbq and the later part I joined the party. Apparently I had too much to drink (she said later 😊). That night I actually went to bed holding her (later she said it was because I was drunk). I felt that was demeaning. It showed my heart. Irrespective of what was going on I still had it in me to hold her but that did not fit her narrative so it must be because I was drunk. The next morning (a Sunday) it was my son’s 18th birthday and because I knew I had a zoom meeting at noon and that would probably take a good portion of the day I had to wake up to write a letter to my son as I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to say this to him when I go and see him. This took a while to write and when I finished I sent it to him, my mum and Linda. My mum responded saying the letter moved to tears and my son responded in a way I have not seen him open up like that before, Linda did not even acknowledge the letter. I finished my zoom meeting and there was just enough time to say good bye to her friend that stayed overnight. After her friend left I also left to go and see my son. When I got back – by this time I was avoiding her and also ignoring her (as she had been doing for the last few days). I went to sleep. Now this is what I mean by dismantling, if the night before I held you in the middle of the night but you attribute that to drunkenness why the next night you do not give the relationship a chance by giving allowance to see if I would hold you in the middle of the night. I woke up in the middle of the night to see that she had put a pillow between us. So this is a woman that is demanding that I hold her (according to her I didn’t hold her on the Thursday and Friday) why then not give me a chance on that Sunday night especially if I held you the night before. Instead you put a barrier between us. I actually asked her why the pillow was there when I woke up in the night (I think I asked if she had a bad back) she barely acknowledged me such that I couldn’t even make up her response. When I woke up on Monday (again consideration and recognition) despite all that was going on – I asked her if she was strong enough to exercise as we had missed quite a few days and I would like to go back today. She said she was not exercising so I got up to exercise. After all that had happened I just felt – it appears that I am fighting a tide I don’t understand here – so I just stayed in my own world. Monday night the pillow was there and to be honest at this time I had now retrieved into my own world. She then wakes me up in the middle of the night to say I should move back home as the lockdown is over and she cannot be uncomfortable in her own house. I will say a couple of things about that. First, she says she I make her uncomfortable in her own house but this is as a result of me deciding to join her in ignoring the other person. If you feel so strong enough about not wanting to be part of a relationship that the partners are ignoring themselves then you should work against that not promote or worse initiate it and when you create an atmosphere conducive for that situation to thrive you then pull the trigger on the relationship. The second point is that no matter how I felt, and in the last few days I felt very uncomfortable I would not leave her house and go back to mine. In my shoes I know she would have done that – which equivalently she did any way. When she woke me up – what I felt I deserved given how much of myself I have put into the relationship was for her to tell me what she was feeling in the last few days and the source of her behavior but instead she instructed and commanded me to leave her house later in the day.
So later on Tuesday just as I was about to come and tell her my plans she came to ask me about my plans and I told her I planned to use her daughter’s car to take my load and then when I got back I will take an uber. She said she was going to drop me but it appears I have it all worked out. I went back to my work and I felt she was right it was actually better for her to drop me. I didn’t think of that as in my usual self I was being considerate and would rather do the option that was easier for the other party than me. I felt this may be an opportunity to talk. At this time (based on what I thought she said the previous night) I felt even though I was moving back to my house we would still continue with the relationship. Such that when her son came to help me pack and was asking if I would come back I did genuinely say to him of course you will see me from time to time but I wouldn’t be staying overnight. That was my mindset at the time. In the car I asked her what she meant by ‘reset’ because I thought she said so the previous night, that is, I move back to my house and we reset the relationship. I wanted to get an understanding and align to her own way of where the relationship was – as I was of the opinion that we were continuing albeit not living together. She said she didn’t say anything about reset but I asked her what she said to try and get her to talk. This is when she mentioned that I deliberately did not hold her on Thursday night and there was something going on. I couldn’t believe it! I did not (do this) as I have mentioned above and so it seems somehow she worked out in her head that I didn’t hold her on Thursday night for a reason and then entered a strop (with all that comes with that) and then when I also then get submerged into the strop (and enter my own strop) you say you can’t have a relationship like this. Then we had the usual swearing and bad language from her in the car. When we got to my car pack – we were still having the argument and she told me to get out and go. So I did.
A relationship involves 2 people working hard to make it thrive. Sometimes one party needs help from the other party but ultimately both parties must show consideration and recognition.
A bit of a caveat here, clearly this is one person’s side of the story. There are always 2 sides to the story. Also there are many other areas or influences that I may have missed out as this is just to give an account of what happened with a brief enough background information. As an example I know she agitated about exposing her kids to this relationship when I moved in during and because of the lockdown (but I made sure it was what she wanted).