For two years, I have had the privilege of dating a wonderful young man. He’s kind, thoughtful, sensitive, respectful, intelligent, loving, not to mention extremely handsome, with beautiful blue eyes and a heart-melting smile.
Last week, I ended that two-year relationship.
I know why I did it. Our relationship has been long-distance for a year. Balancing an “LDR” (as the kids call it…) while you have chronic pain which gravely punishes you for travelling is not easy. Indeed, it has proved to be impossible. He is so busy with his new job (for which I am immensely proud of him), and it got to the stage where even our phone conversations – the bread and butter of our relationship – became tense and terse, as his career-induced fatigue butted heads with my chronic frustration from having spent yet another day trapped under duvet, hurting too much to accomplish anything. Trying to carry on long-distance has sucked the remaining joy from our relationship.
The tragedy of it all is that I know that I could have dealt with it better if I wasn’t in so much pain, and if that wasn’t taking such a toll on my emotions. I found being in an LDR was like being stuck in a karmic cycle of grief. We would part, I would miss him terribly. After about a week, I would start to deal with the distance “better.” Two or three weeks would pass, and I would start to feel as if I was weaning away from him somehow, and that felt good because it didn’t feel awful. Then I would see him again, we would have a lovely day/week, yet it would be tinged by the nagging inevitability of our imminent separation. Then we would part, and the exhausting cycle would start again.
Chronic pain is not fair on a partner. Chronic pain in your vagina that runs your sex life like a malicious psychotic dictator is downright cruel on a partner. This kind and gentle boy put up with me through all that; even loved me in spite of it. He rarely complained (if ever). All he wanted to do was make me better. But he couldn’t. Because he was too far away. Because I needed him near. Because his hugs were my medicine. Because I have had this pain five years and still haven’t found a cure. Because my pain is getting worse. Because I am so full of pain, I don’t have room for any other problems. Because I’m spent, exhausted… empty.
He is very hurt. I have hurt him. He is one of the last people in the world I would ever want to be in pain, but I have reached the stage where I couldn’t press through any further. For months, I have done my best to put him first and keep trying to make the relationship work, and I have used all my energy. I so desperately want things to be easier, and better; for us to be nearer, closer, fine. But I suppose that’s one of the terrible truths of life. You can meet the right person at the wrong time. You can let down those you love. You can disappoint yourself. You can survive the keenest pain, but you can’t necessarily keep taking on more.
I hope I have explained myself well enough to him. It’s such a confusing state of affairs to convey. Fancy loving someone, but needing not to be with them, because it hurts too much and you know you cannot give each other the support you need! Retracting the little support you can offer – phone conversations, a timely YouTube clip – seems counterintuitive. But I suppose this is what it will take to heal. A large part of me hopes we might be able to return to this mutual love and affection at a later date, if the time and circumstance is right. But even if that does not transpire, I refuse to let him go. He makes my life so much better. The romantic pressure on us was simply making me too sad. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love him, or that I’m not incredibly grateful and blessed to have had his love and care. I want his friendship in my life, come what may. The alternative is torturous.
I know some people will think I am an idiot to throw away such an understanding love. After all, how many men will endure a woman with such a restrictive and gruelling condition? But that isn’t a good enough reason to stay unhappy. Above all else, he deserves better.
Oh my, does change hurt, even when you know it’s done with the best of intentions. But hey: I’m used to pain.