And when I WhatsApped him a bit later to say that he was getting under my skin again, he came back full of bluster: 'We've been OVER this Trudy. We're JUST FRIENDS'. Sigh. So I allowed myself to be open again. Let the vulnerability be there, but not gushing it in any way. And. Well. This time it didn't work out for me so well. I feel sad. But not devastated - so I guess I'm protecting my heart as best I can. I'm a bit worried that I sometimes feel like that character in the "Orange is the New Black" series who invents a whole relationship in her head with a man that actually thinks she's stalking him! But it isn't that, I know.
I think something happens in him which has everything to do with how available to him I am - the closer I find myself coming to him, the more he pulls away. When I pull back, he starts moving towards me again. Both of us are fragmented souls. Both of us suffered the kind of childhood trauma that makes loving difficult. True intimacy is not easy for either of us. And I think it's much easier for him to blame me for his uncomfortable feelings that come up when it feels I'm getting too close to him. He probably feels some sort of fear of being engulfed, just as I fear being abandoned. And he's not really examining that kind of thing inside himself so he's not really aware. I think. I'm projecting because I don't really know for sure. And, of course, he's still addicted to his online chats - I think they're giving him short bursts of passion and attraction - very compelling, even though completely unreal. So even though I am standing in front of him. A living breathing woman who might love him so beautifully if he gave me a chance...he can't see that, or engage with it, because it's just too scary for him.
So I really do need to think about whether I really want to be expending this amount of energy with this man, who is clearly not capable of meeting me halfway on anything. He's relishing this 'friendship' that we have, declaring that I know things about him that he's never told anybody before. And he's so glad he has the preciousness of this friendship here for him. That's great and all. But I'm not actually in that same place. This relationship isn't a proper friendship to me. I want to pursue something deeper. Sexual. Loving. And part of me still thinks that he will get there with me eventually, when he manages to wade through all of his own shit about it. But do I really want that? To hang around for ages waiting for him to figure out that he actually wants me?
That feels exactly like how it went in the courting process with my Husband. I knew in about 5 minutes that I was going to marry him. And he figured it out about 2 years later. And I felt more and more wounded as we went along - why didn't he just love me?? Maybe I brow-beat him into loving me in those two years? I don't really know - did I just become the easiest choice for him because I was there? Because I was working so very hard to make him happy?
Someone said to me the other day that I would learn about ME a lot in my relationships with these men. That each of them will help me learn more about myself. I must say I feel that becoming true for me. Not only am I learning about me, but I even feel myself shifting in relationship - this time I handled Berlin better. Handled myself better. Am more healthy in the way I'm thinking through my options. I'm feeling my needy child wanting holding, but I'm not trying to make that anybody else's responsibility.
In my talking to Mark I'm also suddenly finding a healthier response coming from inside me. I feel a deep and loving affection for him and want the best for him. And if anything, THIS relationship feels like the best friends one that Berlin thinks he has with me. Maybe because actually, if Mark wasn't needing to go back into his marriage and repair it, then we would most definitely have had a deep and loving relationship. So this one - warm, kind, genuine and connected - feels safe. And rich and good.
When I travel to another country, I'm always struck by how different the air and the light feels as soon as I get off the plane. Somehow my life is starting to feel like that. Different. The air and the light really do make me feel like I'm living in another country. Inventing a new life, not just living out the predictable lines that seem to extend from the 'grown up' decisions I've made over the years. I have absolutely no idea about how this is going to turn out. And I'm so at peace with that.