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Communication has always been a huge issue for me and my s/o SAM (short for South African Man). He and I are about 8000 miles apart from each other, in Durban and New York City respectively, and when I can’t get in contact with him it drives me CRAZY! SAM and I had been working on our communication skills for a while but the whole thing came to head one faithful day in April.
At the time, a couple of weeks had gone by in which I felt that… SAM just didn’t feel the need to make time for me anymore. We had not been texting or calling (which are our primary ways of keeping in touch), and every time he or I tried to initiate conversation one of us was either busy or it just went nowhere.
In general, we were having “Hi and Bye” conversations, that ended as soon as they began. Some of you may be familiar with the “hi and bye” convo, and know it as a very frustrating form of expression. Try doing that with someone thousands of miles away
… pretty pointless right?
Naturally, I became very upset. The kind of upset that was maybe a little passive-aggressive, and I decided that in order to cope with my anger I should just stop caring about anything at all. This should have been my first red flag, because the solution to anger is never to just ignore, avoid, or disregard a situation (especially in a relationship). BUT! I am a veteran at doing things wrong so unfortunately, this is the stance that I took.
To make a long story shorter, one thing lead to another one day, and SAM suddenly brought up our communication issues. Oh! I was just itching to let him have it! I’d already made up my mind that I didn’t want to do this anymore. I had enough things to worry about in my life and I didn’t need another. I decided that I just didn’t care about this relationship, though I still cared about SAM, I just did not care for “us”.
My excuses just kept building from there, pouring out of me like a sudden gush from a rusty, broken pipe . For the first time in weeks, I felt empowered to take hold of a situation that was bothering me and change it (though possibly not for the better). Leaving me with a rant that ended with something along the lines of “there’s no solution for us”.
No solution? No chance, no hope.
What was SAM’s initial response? “Eish.”
I figured I had him where I wanted him. I’d done this times before so I knew he would just give up, say that I’m right, and we’d split up amicably (sort of). Though it hurt me to think that way, I was so overwhelmed by the chaos of this relationship as well as other things in my life, that I just needed or even craved to have one less problem. This approach seemed the quickest and easiest way out.
Well, following that “Eish”, came the real kicker. It was the text from SAM that said, “I understand what you’re feeling, I’m feeling it too but the difference between you and I is that, I’ll never stop caring and I’ll never stop loving you.”
And there it was. There must have been a brief squeal that escaped me as I felt my heart being crushed under the burden of reading those words. The incoming regret for my hastiness, the sudden realization of my ever-present tendency to abandon people out of selfishness and naivety. When someone is miles away from you, it seems that he or she should be the easiest thing to run from and yet… I found myself wondering why I couldn’t get passed “Go”.
SAM is like my yellow traffic light (car robot if you’re from ZA). When I’ve gone from 0 to 60, ready to hit the highway, no rearview mirrors, and no turning back! He just does something that says “slow down”. And as I’m still revving the engine at the light I realize…. I’ve got no tires, I’m running on E, and everything about this trip is completely irrational. I’m exhausted but…
I gave it one more shot, told him there was nothing we could do (I’m a gladiator in these sorts of battles), but he sent me a message that asked me to just try.
In the past I have always looked back on these moments and wondered why I didn’t try harder, could it be because no one ever asked me to? No one has ever expected me to care deeper than what I’ve exposed on the surface? If you love someone and they ask you to try, you do it. Even if it doesn’t work, even if you can’t follow all the way through, you just try. Because one day you’ll look back on the one bad moment out of all the good ones and wonder why you didn’t.
We haven’t actually resolved all the problems that drove us apart in the first place, some weekends are still a little worse than others but… hey he’s in South Africa for pete’s sake! I’ll work it out with him, because he doesn’t give up on me… and maybe… just maybe… every time I thought I was giving up on someone else, I was really just giving up on myself…
and with SAM’s help, maybe I can finally stop thinking that’s okay.
I’m a recent graduate and word enthusiast. I love to write and it has always been a great way for me to work through the most challenging moments in my life. I write out of love and passion and hope to inspire others to do the same!
You can find me and more of my thoughts at foolsfallin.blogspot.com