The Trouble with Love

For the best part of almost two years I have been a little lost in myself while loving someone else. What started as friendship soon turned into lust, like and then love. My boyfriend and I are coming up to our two year anniversary and for those that have been reading my blog for the last six years you’ll know that relationships aren’t really my strength.

I’ve struggled with letting people in in the past and have been called out on that more than a few times. This relationship is no different in some respects.

We got together during a group holiday with friends in New York City. We had been growing closer to each other for a few months before our trip, and it was during a hiking trip up Mount Snowdon where I realised I liked him.

When we went to New York I had said to friends beforehand that this trip would either bring us together or would be the end of the crush. We kissed on day two, after a very drunken night out in Greenwich Village.

We spent the rest of the trip hiding our togetherness from our friends, who later told us they already knew we would get together.

When we got back to London we established that we would see how it went with each other, and not put a label on it yet. A few months later we went to Rome for his birthday, where he told me he loves me, and I told him I did too.

Not long after that my Dad told us about his cancer returning.

My Dad battled his final cancer for four months, and then he passed. In that four months my boyfriend struggled with my evolving emotions as the realisation that I was going to lose my Dad began to hit me.

For my 30th birthday we booked a trip to Rhodes, after weeks of trying to figure out where to go and him saying no to my dream of spending my 30th in Los Angeles; partly because he hated LA, and partly because my birthday falls in the summer holidays where travel is at it’s most expensive. So LA was a no, and we argued over where to go for weeks before I had had enough and booked Rhodes.

It would have been a nice holiday if I hadn’t been stressed and deeply depressed about my Dad’s illness.

I had told my family that I would be putting my phone on airplane mode for the holiday, to get away from the stress at home and to have a break, but that if they needed to contact me they should contact my boyfriend and he would tell me what was happening.

My eldest sister was the gatekeeper for this, as she could see how fast I was deteriorating back into depression and wanted to help keep me afloat. My boyfriend tried his hardest to make me happy on the holiday but my stress and depression was too much for both of us and we fought a lot on the trip.

By the end of the holiday we had decided to take a break from each other.

When we landed back in London, we went to my boyfriends house before I left to go to mine when I got a call from my eldest sister. She told me that she hadn’t wanted to tell me on my birthday holiday as she wanted me to have a good time, but the nurses had told our Dad he only had a few months to live. If I had thought I was stressed before, it was nothing to getting that call.

A month later, less one day, my Dad passed away.

Throughout it all, my boyfriend and I fought. We would fight, break up, cry and get back together, promising each other to try harder.

I had told my boyfriend a lot about my Dad’s past and what life had been like growing up with him. I had done this in the hope that it would help him understand me better. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would make him hate my Dad as much as it did.

Trying to cope with losing my Dad was hard enough, but not feeling like I could lean on my boyfriend during this time because of his hatred for my Dad made life so much harder.

When I tried to talk about happy memories I was met with “but he did this/that/the other”; it didn’t help and made me sink further into myself while trying to grieve.

I had known my Dad wasn’t perfect, but he was and always will be my Dad. For all the bad memories I have great ones too, and I know that he was trying his hardest with the cards he was dealt at the time.

It’s now almost a year since my Dad passed, and in that year I have been battling my firsts of everything without him. Things hit me that I hadn’t been prepared for; like when I got a great review at work and immediately wanted to call him to tell him, knowing he would be so proud of me, or when I couldn’t remember the name of the pub we always had amazing Sunday lunches at in Doncaster and knew he’d know the name of it straight away so I picked up my phone to ring him before I realised what I was doing.

I have also been battling these firsts with further fights with my boyfriend. Me constantly telling him he doesn’t understand, and him constantly telling me he does. Back and forth in a full cycle of misunderstandings and misinterpretation.

We have never been great at communicating. Me obviously thinking he’s weird for not talking about his feelings as much as I do, and I don’t know, maybe he thinks I’m weird for talking about them so much; lack of communication and I actually don’t even know what he thinks other than the several harsh words he’s thrown at me in anger.

Right now, we are on a break. One of many we’ve had in our almost two year relationship.

We went to his friend’s wedding this weekend, one I hadn’t wanted to go to, and got into another fight. Out of nowhere, we were talking about student discounts while walking around Bristol, he told me that sex with me was boring, and to be honest I didn’t even want to share that as I’m completely embarrassed by it.

He tried to backtrack and told me he hadn’t meant it how it came out, but that only happened when I had told him that I was upset by it about half an hour later.

Was he honestly that clueless that he thought it was ok to say to me and I wouldn’t be hurt by that?! Do other people think that’s ok and I’m oversensitive?!

I told him, during our fight, that there were a million ways he could have been nicer about telling me this; like suggesting we spice up our love-making for one. But even this was too far down the line that I was already devastated.

This had happened before the wedding that I hadn’t wanted to go to in the first place, as this wedding was being attended by his ex-girlfriend, and I’d told him how uncomfortable this made me. He didn’t seem to care; no matter how I worded it, I had to go.

So I went. And I got told sex with me is boring. And I put on a fake smile, and my red dress, did my hair and makeup and went to the wedding of his friend while sitting next to his ex-girlfriend.

It got to the point where I went outside for a cigarette and came back to the dinner table with his ex-girlfriend asking him about the stag-do photo he had sent to her of the groom, their mutual friend from university.

I sat back in my seat while feeling like the biggest mug in England. I’m boring in bed, and he’s texting his ex. He hadn’t even shown me the photo he’d sent her.

He told me later that she was talking about a group chat they were in, but I’m not in any group chats with my exes so I couldn’t relate to this. I was done.

I kept up the fake smile for a few more hours, then faked an illness and went to bed.

The next day we had breakfast with the wedding party and my fake smile was in place, until his other friend had dropped us off at the bus stop and we got to talk in private. I told him I had entered the relationship with a lot more self-esteem than I have right now, and that we’re not helping each other so I wasn’t sure if we should be together anymore.

He cried and I cried, and we agreed to a break.

Today is day three of our break and over this bank holiday weekend I’ve done absolutely nothing but sit with my thoughts. I’m back at work tomorrow where another fake smile will be put in place while I pretend my life isn’t the complete opposite of how I had hoped it would be.

The feeling of being drained has been constant for the last few years, and my excitement for life has slowly dripped out of me. A few months of counselling at the beginning of the year had helped a little but they too became draining and I didn’t want to revisit everything again. Opening wounds for an hour a week to then have to put a plaster over them until the next week was too much.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I either continue in a relationship of fights and emotional stress while we try to fix what seems to be embedded in us, or I go back to being alone and either sink or swim.

Eternally searching for my happy love song.

xxHBxx

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