Get out of jail free

It’s not like monopoly. If or when I issue a get out of jail free card it typically has an expiration date and a pretty immediate one too. It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if you stay I accept the risk of the sacrifices I’ll have to make to carry on with our relationship knowing it will never quite be the same for me.

Yet on the other, you leave and I’m left to pick up the pieces. I only offer the ‘get out of jail free card’ because in that moment I know, the pain will be worse if we keep on pretending everything is Ok when it’s not, than if I were to lose her forever.

I can’t really win when things get to this point because what I’m really asking for is completely beyond my control, I’m really asking her to renew that promise. The one she made me when she let me trust her with my love. The ‘I would never do anything to hurt you’ one, but it was already too late. We should have both seen that in this moment.

Megan and I were visiting Somerset for the weekend to see our friends and family. It was also my brother’s birthday and my family would be having a BBQ as the weather was on our side. I’d been struggling with life increasingly over the recent weeks and I hadn’t even realised that I was getting ever so close to my breaking point. I’d become fixated on everything going wrong that I wasn’t paying attention to how close I was to the edge.

My family had begun to notice that all was not as it seemed between Megan and I. My mother in particular had noticed how Megan barely seemed to even acknowledge me when I was talking to her. Megan’s mood had even managed to register with my brother during the BBQ and no amount of joking and friendly banter seemed to shake her out of it. The longer this behaviour went on the more sour I felt, she was being flat-out rude. Not just to me, to my family too and when we were in Somerset she was a guest in my parents house.

Fuming, I encouraged her to spend time with her family. It wasn’t the first time we’d spent time apart during our fleeting visits home. This time however it bothered her, Megan told me that her parents had started to ask about why I wouldn’t come around with her when she visited them. They were beginning to suspect something was wrong between us. Of course, they were right.

What bothered me was that this was really the first time Megan seemed to care or worry about what was going wrong between us. It bothered me that it wasn’t because I was hurting or that she was hurting me, she was worried about what her parents thought, she wanted to keep up appearances. I was beginning to feel like a puppet in the Megan show. I guess that’s when I finally snapped.

So this Sunday morning, after what should have been a fun-filled weekend with friends and family I was once again left feeling flat and frustrated. I wanted something to change, I needed something to change between us.

It wasn’t enough for me anymore to simply write down how I was feeling when everything was too much. The little notes I had written just sat there on my iPad, unresolved. I quite possibly did the bravest and the dumbest thing I had managed to do since our relationship had started. I told Megan to read one of the notes, it was possibly days or weeks old yet I still felt the same way.

Her reaction infuriated me. Or I should say, her lack of any kind of reaction. I had poured my heart out into maybe three or four paragraphs about how I had been feeling totally isolated by the person I love. That I was worried things between us were growing more and more distant by the day. I wanted to deal with things in a calm and rational manner, I had tried very hard to do just that.

I mean first we talked, then I wrote, I encouraged Megan to share how she was feeling with me. It wasn’t enough. Nothing changed, we carried on in our dissatisfaction until one of us was bound to snap. It just turned out that I had the shorter fuse. I reached my breaking point one sunny morning after this disastrous weekend.

We were upstairs in my room at my parents house when I decided I didn’t want to live like this anymore. That is when I issued the get out of jail free card, and not very eloquently. I pretty much went off on a major rant about how Megan had been treating me, that I could only think of one reason for it and it wasn’t good news. I shouted all this at her, I didn’t even care if my parents could hear us.

I pretty much hurled accusations at her, telling her that she must not love me anymore and that she should just walk away before making things any worse between us, unless she could promise me in that moment that what we had could somehow miraculously be salvaged.

Still, there was no reaction. If she had screamed and shouted, stormed out of the room or even broken down in tears I think I might have coped better. But seeing first hand what you had long suspected, that even when you push things to their inevitable breaking point you still can’t get the woman who ‘loves’ you to care enough to say anything in defence of your relationship, I flipped.

Not at Megan, she was the collateral damage. I flipped out, knowing full well that even if Megan had stormed out and left me that I probably would have blown up still. I ranted some more, needling her and trying to get the reaction I so badly wanted, any semblance of passion, of a refusal to let go of what we had. It didn’t come, I punched the wardrobe door in my room out of pure frustration. I surprised myself, I scared her.

It was a very sobering moment. The moment I crossed that line we were in the eye of the storm. The problem was that we both thought the storm was over. Megan finally was provoked into talking, finally made all the promises that I wished she had made weeks before. She promised that she still loved me, promised that the problems between us were purely driven by her depression, she’d get help and we would be Ok again soon. I believed her.

When crunch-time came and Megan was issued with her get out of jail free card, she opted not to use it. I accepted that although things might never be the same, we still had hope. I convinced myself we could get back on track. I promised myself to be more positive.

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