[Ed. Note: This was originally written in the summer of 2014 and languished in my drafts for a long time until I accidentally re-published it in February of 2016. I kept hidden some of the uglier misgivings I had about our relationship that final year.]
I don’t exactly have rave reviews for the beginnings of my relationship with The Neighbor; I’d rate it higher than mediocre, less than stellar. I felt jerked around, he felt pressured.
Even from that weak launch point, we’re still really good at being sensitive to each other and open, chemistry, sex, and enjoying and accepting one other. Where we’re weaker is is more complicated and harder to put my finger on.
First of all, I have roughly two years under my belt of never really knowing where I stood with him. I could see and feel things, but he never confirmed my suspicions that he loved me.
When that finally happened back in December it thrust us on the Relationship Train, but it’s often felt like I haven’t had a chance to pack for our trip. Or maybe unpack, as the case may be, because I boarded that train with a buttload of baggage. And that baggage happens to include mistrust.
He lied to me about his intentions with Vanilla Ice and 4 am girl (aka Pisspants) for reasons which seem to run the gamut of avoiding discomfort (with Vanilla Ice he preferred to fib to me rather than just be upfront despite my insistence at that time that I wanted honesty from him if he dated someone besides me) to a longstanding desire to date Pisspants (and he was rendered helpless to stop himself from giving it a go with her).
Those are obvious reasons to earn mistrust, but what’s along side each of those is the two years’ worth of actions that never matched up with his words. He insisted that he didn’t want to date someone like me, to commit to a mother, a divorcee, someone so much older than him. He felt as though Peyton was a liability at one time.
I can make a good argument in his favor that all of that was one long defensive move on his part to protect himself from doing something he thought he didn’t want to do, a rookie mistake, but it still hurt. I learned to trust his actions, but dismiss what he said to me, and now that both his words and his actions match up, I’m struggling to believe any of it. I don’t know how to be happy, after all.
Secondly, he feels stifled by me, watched and like he has to be overly careful with what he does for fear I’ll become upset.
Yesterday I stumbled on his AFF profile and I naively clicked on it (he was the first name in the chat feature when I opened it). It was old, I could tell, but what wasn’t old was his age. He’d gone into the body of his profile and updated it some time in the past 10 months — a period of time in which we had agreed to be faithful to one another. He also was looking for a partner “with the ability to be discreet.” Those things didn’t jibe for me.
If I felt like he wanted to be with me, really believed it in my bones, I might not bat an eye at this, but I don’t, so I did.
We hashed it out last night and he insisted it was anal-ness that caused him to update his age and he didn’t have anything to say about the discreet thing. Those details aren’t really the issue, anyway. What’s the issue is that when I noticed those things I became upset.
I’ve painted myself into a corner here. I wasn’t looking for it, but I found it and I clicked on it — I am so making a shirt that says DO NOT CLICK ON IT EVER. I pissed him off royally because he feels as though he has no internet privacy. He gives me total privacy with my blog, for instance, but he’s leery of being active on AFF or Fetlife for fear I’ll find out somehow. I don’t know what he’s afraid I’ll find, but that’s a whole other issue.
The bottom line is that I believe I’ve forced him to be in this committed place with me because I told him I loved him and he reciprocated. We’ve never talked about what we wanted and where we’re going and even though his actions continue to tell me he wants to be with me — and his words match — I struggle mightily to believe in the happiness that’s at my door.
And when I find shady shit it proves to me that I was right all along and he doesn’t truly want to be with me. He feels as though my actions may prove self-fulfilling as I drive him away with my paranoia.
Funny thing, that. I feel as though I’m being honest, not paranoid.
The fact that he’s out there online in an ambiguous way with old profiles which read as though he’s single doesn’t help. I’m not apologetic for that, though he thinks I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. His anger makes me more suspicious, quite honestly. Best defense is a good offense and all that.
But I can’t protect myself from being hurt. I just can’t. He could be the most faithful man on the planet — as was my exhusband — and he could still devastatingly injure me. Being suspicious and mistrusting is futile. Either I love and look forward or I fear and I stumble. I can’t do both.
So, I choose to love and look forward. Everything else be damned. I know this man loves me.
Trust is as blind as love, right?