Have you ever felt like your relationship was rushing madly toward some important turning point or obstacle, and you screwed up your approach and wrecked the entire thing without meaning to?
I used to canoe a fair amount, and even when you could see, hear, and feel the rapids coming, that didn’t always mean your plans to navigate them safely were solid. I’ve dumped over MANY a time and been forced to drag myself dripping and gasping from the river…
Every relationship is going to hit those rapids at some point. And maybe YOU are creating the turbulence yourself… What do you do then? Is it too late for recovery?
Hang in there, this may be a wild ride…
“Hello Claire – I have been dating a man for about 5 months. He was preparing to go on an overseas vacation so a week before he was to leave we spoke on the phone, and at the end, he said, “Good night sweetheart, I love you” Then there was silence from both of us. I could hear the shaking in his breathing. I said his name twice, no response. Then I asked if he was ok..
He then began to tell me that he does not use those words, he had not used those words in years and promised himself he would never use those words. I told him it was ok. He said he needed to go. I understand he was emotionally overwhelmed – I asked him only to please communicate with me the next day and to not shut me out. He promised he would.
The next day I received a text message that said: “I am totally blown away by my actions. I know you understand what I’m feeling. My concern is for you and your feelings. I have no resolutions to my actions. Please be patient as we both work through what has happened!” I did respond back telling him I understood.
Before he was scheduled to leave I sent him a text asking him to please respect me enough to let me know if this was goodbye because I just do not want to leave things hanging. No response.
I didn’t sleep a wink. With him leaving early Saturday morning, I sent him a brief text: I just want to wish you a safe trip. I assure you will not hear from me again. I truly hope your dad enjoys the fulfillment of teaching again. l wish you great fishing and a fantastic time. It will be good for you. Just know that this was real for me, and I truly care for you. I thank you for all that you have brought forth in me. I still believe you are an incredible man. I am sorry you are afraid to let someone love you and allow yourself to as well. The heart knows things that the mind does not. Goodbye….my love to you….
I still have heard nothing from him. How could he cut off all contact like that? I miss him terribly. I miss his laughter. Please help me make sense of this Claire.” – Marianne
Hi, Marianne. I know this is tough for you, but I also think it’s 98% about him, not you. He slipped and passed some mysterious marker in his own head and heart by saying he loved you, and while I agree those are powerful words, they’re also… Just words.
And that takes months, years.
He’s got issues, and he told you he was going to work on them. Good for him.
Here’s where YOU could have handled this better
This is your 2%. You ready to hear it? I’ll totally understand if you flare off on me, but I promised I’d tell you the Gospel Girlfriend Truth, and I will.
He said he needed some time to figure this out. Why did you then press the issue – and even prophesy a negative future – by asking him (essentially) “Is this goodbye? Tell me if this is goodbye.”
I know those are my words, not yours exactly, but I guarantee you that’s what he heard.
And then you kinda made it worse, with your long goodbye letter. It was as if you thought, Well, if HE won’t say “goodbye” then I will.
Here’s the hope I see in this…and here’s what you should do
1. He doesn’t know what he wants yet
Here’s the BIGGEST good thing. He didn’t reply to your first “Is this goodbye?!” text, so I think that means he really, really didn’t want to call it “goodbye” – he just doesn’t know WHAT to call it. That will work in your favor.
2. Give him 2 weeks
He asked you for time. He can still have that, obviously. So your job now is to allow that. And I don’t mean for a day or so, I mean for a couple of weeks. If HE contacts you, answer simply. No lengthy monologues. No desperate pledges. No demands for commitments of any kind. Simple, warm, affectionate. If you have the opportunity, before the 2 weeks is up, do #3 below.
3. Initiate a gentle recovery
The two of you seemed to have something good going. After he has some time to think, he may want to taste that again and see if it was really just that awesome. 🙂 So YOUR job is to give him that opportunity.
After two weeks, text him back. Let him know you over-reacted earlier, and you’re sorry about that. Keep that simple. Don’t over-apologize. And invite him to join you in something really easy and low-profile. Coffee. Or a group outing of some kind.
The BEST possible resource for you now
Michael Fiore’s Text Your Ex Back practically works miracles in this area, so if you’re really serious and want to get this RIGHT, check out his program. You can get all you need out of it before it’s too late.
If you think you have a sense of the right direction already, go for it. All is not lost! He’s interested, you’re interested, and believe me, relationships GOTTA figure out how to get through major bumps like this if they’re going to survive for the long term.
Get back in the water, girlfriend!
Relationship RAPIDS come and go. But a good RELATIONSHIP goes the distance. Maybe your canoe gets a bit battered and you get dunked a time or two or ten.
But I hope you’ll get back in and keep working on this particular relationship. Don’t spend all your time looking back. Keep riding the river.
Keep learning, with each turbulent passage, how to do it better next time. Because there WILL be a next time. It’s the nature of the river! Maybe it won’t be with this particular guy (although don’t rule that out at all yet), but it will be with someone wonderful.
Someone worth getting dunked for over and over again. Someone to ride the rapids with. 🙂