I Did It.

I broke things off with Bryan.

At least, I think I did.

I called him around 7:00 last night and left a short message saying that I’d just called to say hi and ask about his day. He didn’t call me back. So around 10:30, on my way to bed, I sent a quick text letting him know I was thinking about him and praying over his day tomorrow. He replied within seconds: “Thanks! I’m getting ready for bed… I may be in your area tomorrow after work if you are around?”

I replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes! I would love to see you 🙂 ”

…I got no reply back. No “Great, let’s meet at Stabucks at 6.” Or even an “I’m looking forward to it.”

And then he didn’t call until 5:45 this evening on his way out of the office. “Hey, I’m meeting some friends at a pub at 7, but I have some time to stop by if you’re around.”

He couldn’t have communicated those plans to me last night? And he was just squeezing me in between other commitments?

I sat anxiously for about 15 minutes. Then I got out my bible and read scripture after scripture. He didn’t show up until half an hour later. And he showed up with a Salata salad to go. For himself.

Instead of sitting snuggling on my couch like I had envisioned, we sat at my kitchen table, Bryan eating his salad and me with a yogurt. We made small talk. I asked about his weekend visiting his family. He asked about my week last week, since we hadn’t caught up in a while. I told him stories about the kids in the children’s ministry at church and about my night out swing dancing on Saturday.

As 7:00 approached, he glanced at his watch, leaned back in his chair, and said, “So there was something I wanted to discuss with you.”

“Oh dear,” I said out loud, an echo of my heart. I knew what he was about to say. I’d been dreading it ever since I hit the “send” button.

“No ‘oh dear’. I just want to understand something. My sister showed me some messages…” he began.

Yes. I sent his sister Facebook messages. Two, to be exact. On the evening Bryan untagged our sailing photo, his sister Haley was one of the first to “like” it before he untagged himself. I’d met Haley once. She seemed nice, although we didn’t talk long. The night of the Facebook fiasco, I was in the crazy place, frustrated and feeling insecure, and some warped part of my brain thought that maybe Haley and I could talk woman-to-woman, and she would help me understand the unusual dating approach taken by her brother.

I attempted to be light-hearted, writing, “Why does your brother untag himself in all of our photos together? Does he want me to be his ‘secret girlfriend’?!?! If you ever get this man figured out…. let me know…  😉 ”

As soon as I sent the message, I wished Facebook had a recall button. I called Bryan then, talking it out like I should have done in the first place, and I sent a follow-up to Haley telling her to disregard; Bryan and I had talked about it. But of course, she mentioned it to him during their weekend together just a few days ago. And apparently she was really weirded out and thinks I’m a crazy person.

“What were you thinking? What was the intention behind that?” Bryan asked me tonight.

I ducked my head. “I wasn’t thinking. I just reacted. I was feeling insecure in your affection, and somehow I thought Haley would help me understand why you operate the way you do in the dating realm. I have no further explanation. I have no excuse. I’m sorry,” I finished lamely.

He just stared at me, waiting. Expecting more.

“What else do you want me to say?” I asked.

“Is that really it? I thought there would be some kind of an explanation; a thought process behind why you would send those messages.”

I shook my head. “No.” I sighed. “There was no thought process. Not a logical one, anyway.”

He kept watching me. Observing.

I cleared my throat comically, trying to bring levity to the situation. “Well! Don’t you have a pub to get to?”

He glanced at his watch. “Yes.” But he continued to sit.

I cleared my place, putting the spoon from my yogurt into the dishwasher. I moved to my front entryway, waiting to escort him out. He didn’t move, so I said, “You know, I’m feeling really vulnerable right now, and I would welcome any reassurance you care to give.”

He stood, moved to the doorway, and leaned against the door jam. Why is he such an attractive man? He was wearing a red button-down shirt and had recently trimmed his beard. He looked nice. “What kind of reassurance?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe something reassuring me of your affection for me?”

“What can I say? I try not to just react to things. I’m still processing what you’ve shared with me by way of an explanation.”

Bryan stayed leaned against the door jam, watching me, puzzling over me, trying to figure out why such a normally sane, rational, logical person would behave in the way that I had.

Clearly he wasn’t leaving until I said more, so I admitted, “I really regret sending those messages. I am ashamed of myself. Embarrassed.”

Finally he spoke. “There’s no reason to feel those things. I’m just trying to understand your thought process.”

“I was feeling insecure. I was hoping Haley could help me understand why you make such little effort to make the woman you’re dating feel cherished or valued.”

“And you based that on one short meeting with her?”

“Yes.” Man, but he was kicking a dead horse. “I already acknowledged to you that it was foolish, irrational, and I regret it. So I guess you think I’m a crazy person then, huh?”

“No, I don’t think you’re crazy, but my sister might. I am a very private person. I try to keep things to myself. I don’t talk to my sister about my relationships because, in case things work out, I don’t want to risk tainting her opinion of the girl early in the process. And if they don’t, well,” he shrugged, “Then it wasn’t worth burdening her with anyway.”

“I know you’re a private person,” I told him. “But I wish you would open up more. I think it would be so good for you. Do you know how to be emotionally intimate?”

“Yes,” he said evenly. “I am emotionally intimate with people when they prove themselves trustworthy and I know sharing with them isn’t going to backfire.” He looked pointedly at me.

“So… that’s it then? No reassurance? We’re just going to leave it at that? I don’t know where I stand with you. Are we breaking up?”

“I think you know me better than you let on, so – as I’ve stated – I’m still processing everything, but I think you know where I stand. I don’t want to risk you making any assumptions, but I also don’t want to have to restate the obvious.”

The “obvious” wasn’t obvious to me. I had asked for reassurance of his affection, but he wasn’t giving it. I’d been considering breaking up with him for weeks. And now it looked like he might very well have a reason to end things with me. I can’t go through another rejection like that, so I took a deep breath and decided to beat him to the punch.

“Bryan, I need to be with somebody who’s more encouraging and affectionate. I guess there’s no reason to have a breakup conversation because there’s nothing to break up; we were never boyfriend and girlfriend. But I don’t do well with ambiguity. You know my history. I need to know where I stand. I’ve been patient as long as I can, but I can’t do this anymore. This isn’t healthy for me.”

He looked stunned. “I don’t want you to do anything that isn’t healthy for you, but do you want to take some time to think things over?”

“I have. I’ve been thinking about it for two weeks.”

Oh, said his face. He hadn’t realized.

“Well I’d like to take some time to process all of this,” he said.

I paused, trying to understand his request. “Are you asking… me… to revoke…” I wasn’t sure what to say.

“No, I’m not asking you to revoke anything. I just need to process what you’ve shared.”

“Which part of it?” I asked.

“All of it,” he said.

“Okay.” I felt oddly calm. I was glad I was the one to pull out the dagger and watch us bleed, rather than leaving the death blow to him.

He opened the door for himself but didn’t walk through. He stood in the slanting sunlight, looking at me. “May I bid you good day?” he asked, in his usual British fashion.

I didn’t know what he meant, but I said yes. He stepped in for a hug and held me closely for a long time. I thought he might kiss me, but after a moment, he let his arms fall and stepped through the door, walking backwards to watch me as he parted. He waved, eyes never leaving my face, as I shut the door.

Somehow I still don’t know what to expect.

Authentically Aurora

12 thoughts on “I Did It.

  1. I’m glad for your sake that you were able to have this conversation with him. You definitely deserve someone who is openly affectionate and encouraging. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ally. I kept hoping he would actually hear my feedback and act upon it. We had so much potential. If only he had learned to be openly affectionate and encouraging, everything could have been different. I’m at peace so far but appreciate the continued thoughts and prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aurora, my heart hurts for you. Even though there were so many things that he was that didn’t mesh with you, there were strong affections and feelings and when you spend 6 months investing in a relationship it’s always going to hurt. My prayers are with you and him as you both go through this. Just remember God Loves you So much. We’re here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ben, for your kindness, encouragement, and perpetual support. I am at peace with the decision so far but, even knowing it was the right thing to do, I am grieving the loss of the love that could have been.

      Thanks for your prayers – that means so much – and for the reminder that God loves me. In the past when I’ve struggled with rejection, I’ve said out loud to God, “You love me. You won’t reject me. You will never walk out on me.” Now I’m reminding myself, “You love me. You cherish me. You value me and deem me worth pursuing endlessly.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can feel the heaviness in that conversation: You, hoping one last time that he will come through for you, and him, distant and clinical. My heart hurts for you, but it sounds like you were able to articulate exactly what you’ve been feeling, which takes a lot of focus and courage. It also helps with closure, which is always a beast at the end of any relationship. I applaud you for keeping your cool too. I think my blood pressure would have set my head spinning with the dead horse-beating. He could have at least had the decency to show up looking bad 😐

    Liked by 1 person

    • This absolutely rings true: “I can feel the heaviness in that conversation: You, hoping one last time that he will come through for you, and him, distant and clinical.” Your wording is perfect. I hadn’t used that particular combination of words to describe us before, but they fit perfectly.

      I was sad last night. I know it was the right thing to do, but I miss him. And it hurts. And I need constant reminding that he wasn’t God’s best for me. It’s easy to remember the few sweet moments, dancing in the grocery store and laughing over spilled ice cream, but I need to remember that those moments were the exception, and on the whole, Bryan was distant and clinical.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It doesn’t seem fair that we have to give up the good things to say goodbye. But in some ways we get to hold on to them. We end up expecting those good things in our match, and if he’s the right one, he will be all those perfect moments and much much more.

        Liked by 1 person

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