And in emails.

Me:
I don’t think I’m going to see you any time soon, so I guess we better talk now.

I try to be patient and understanding as much as I can, even when people are hurtful. But when I asked you what all the physical stuff we do meant to you, you quickly and with certainty said “Nothing.” Now I don’t remember the last time I was slapped in the face, but I vaguely remember it feeling that way. 

You managed to make me feel like I meant something to you, to making me feel cheap and used and disposable. For the first time since we started this, I’m thinking we’re not on the same page. Not just because being intimate means different things to us – that I can work with. But because I honestly don’t know what you think about us if the physical stuff has meant nothing to you. (And if that’s true, what’s going to happen when you’re 4 hours away and you really need to be with someone?)

I’m sorry I left abruptly. I waited until you fell asleep, but I had to get out of there.

Him:
I’m so sorry. That was a horrible thing to say, and not what I really meant. What I should have said was that the physical intimacy is special but that it isn’t what’s important to me. To me, physical acts can be performed by anyone and therefore overall/in general physicality isn’t an important or defining part of my relationships. What defines relationships to me is the bonds you share, the sacrifice you make for each other, how well you understand each other.

Physical intimacy can help convey or build those bonds, and I know that since you think about intimacy in a different way than me I’ve appreciated our intimacy. I haven’t always appreciated it enough, and last night was a stunning example of my incompetence to truly respect you like I should.

And I should have finished by saying I really wanted intimacy but that I was tired and in a bad mood. And when you asked me for a reason I was afraid of not having one so I made one up. I honestly am having trouble remembering the last things we said last night before falling asleep. Which means I should have listened to you (as usual) and gone to sleep.

The fact that the physical stuff isn’t as important to me is exactly why I think we could be ok. Because while i’d miss it, the most of important parts would still be in tact. Cuddling and spending time together would be sorely missed but we’d still have each other’s emotional support and shoulders to lean on

Me:
(After 15 minutes of silence)

Not really sure what to I can say anymore except that I just want to drive back to your house and fix this.

Maybe we were both just very tired last night and didn’t communicate very well. But I understand now. I’m sorry, too, that you’re dating a basket case.

Him:
I’d like that too, but I don’t think now is good time with your working tonight and my ading coming for career pep talk in an hour. But just being on that mindset is a big help from when I woke up and realized you were really gone Maybe we will be better off taking a break/calling it off until November. But we certainly can’t go out like this. Nah, I think you’re pretty sane.

Me:
Thank you for talking this out with me.

Him:
thanks for listening to me. And responding to make it a conversation. I think when something like this happens and someone wants to leave me, not talk, ect. What hurts even more is when I don’t get a chance to say i’m sorry

Me:
I’m sorry I bailed so quickly when I thought something was wrong. I don’t usually do that because I usually believe people (especially you) never mean to hurt me. But that just hurt so suddenly and quickly. And I guess I was tired too, because I was so quick to believe it despite the fact that I have reason to believe otherwise.

I don’t know, that feeling (cheap and disposable – that I now know was not at all what you meant) was so foreign to me that I didn’t really recognize it right away. And my first instinct was to get away from the cause of pain.

 Sorry.
 
Him:
That’s ok. But being THAT hurt I would have trouble sharing a bed too. I would have preferred you jarred me awake and asked me to explain myself or even “I hope you didn’t mean that, let’s talk in the morning we’re both tired”…but how many people in the world, in the heat of the moment, actually do that?
 
Me:

Ok, noted. Hopefully there won’t be a next time, but lesson learned. I will use my words. (And vice versa?)

Like I said, I was sure you didn’t mean to be hurtful so I tried to be understanding and even appreciative that you were honest. But after a few minutes, I just found myself crying when I couldn’t come up with an explanation for what you said.

It’s very hard for me to talk about stuff, especially on the spot. I’m learning a lot from you, but it’s still always a struggle. Every time we talk, all I want to do is.. not talk. I always have to force the words out and talk myself into saying how I feel and what I’m thinking. It’s a slow learning process. So I’m really sorry if that’s frustrating on your part. I’m trying, I swear.

Him:
We’re human, we’re learning.

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The thing about pain, is that it demands to be felt.

12 hours ago, I didn’t think you could ever hurt me, not on purpose at least. Well, to be fair, I guess this isn’t on purpose.

You were hesitant to pick things back up as we usually do before falling asleep, and I asked why. You said you didn’t feel right doing things with me when you had… ‘unanswered questions’. You were afraid that what we’re doing may incline certain expectations that you will not be able to meet. You were worried that because we view physical stuff to mean different things, it would mislead me. So I asked what all this meant for you. And too quickly you responded, “Nothing.”

I don’t recall the last time I was slapped in the face, but I vaguely remembering it feeling this way. 

A pain that’s sudden, forceful, lingering. The kind that knocks the breath out of you. I slowly retracted my hand from across your chest. I was silent. Or at least I think I was silent. I can’t remember what you said or what I said next. All I could think of was the tingling in my fingers, the sudden weight in the pit of my stomach. You swiftly but sincerely apologized for ruining the moment. (Although at that moment I was afraid it was more than the moment that was ruined.) And after a few minutes, you fell asleep.

I tossed and turned beside you, not only because I was restless, but also because I did not want a part of me touching you. Not even an inch. I had an unsettling feeling of urgency. All I wanted to do was to get out of there, to be so far away from you. I had no idea what time it was, but it was obviously dark. I left your house after gathering my things. I think you were awake. I was wondering if I woke you up with my shuffling in the dark. But worse, I didn’t even care if you were watching me pack up my stuff.

After a near magical weekend of talking to each other, being lost in each other, it had to end with this. 

I don’t think I have ever been that honest with anyone I’ve ever dated. It took me a while to be as good as you when it comes to communicating. Or I guess as willing as you are to communicate. I meant every word I said last night. They were hard to spit out, and it was a constant struggle every time I said something, but I knew you appreciated it. I knew that you had a right to know what I was thinking, how I was feeling. So I shared them, all of them. And maybe that’s what pushed you away? Or made you realize how much I wanted to make this work? Because for the first time ever, or at least in a really long time, we were not on the same page.

I don’t just do these things with anyone. I do them with you, for you, to you, because I care about you and because you matter to me. It didn’t seem like that was reciprocated. “Nothing,” you said. This all meant nothing to you. It definitely meant something more than ‘nothing’ to me. And you saying it meant nothing made me feel cheap and used. And I didn’t want to touch you or even look at you. 

How did all this change in less than 12 hours?