I've said this before ---
I believe that in relationships, we all initially sign this "unwritten contract" of who we will be in relation to the other person.
Hence when the form of the relationship changes, i.e. divorce, break-up, sobriety, major life change, both parties in the relationship have to find new ground and create a new normal. Subsequently, there is a new contract or else the relationship ends.
I have, for the past month, been searching out the new ground with Soldier. Sometimes it is downright painful but bear with me, it is part of my temperament to have resolution.
I am friends with every man I've ever been with, with the exception of the first one, and only because I have lost contact with him. I know it is possible, with time, to create a new contract.
However, the challenge is that I am dealing with a man who is completely different depending on which way the wind is blowing that day.
During this past year, he was supportive, loving and very thoughtful. Then, over our weekend together during his leave, he was distant, cold, then panicked and ultimately, bid me a very bittersweet goodbye.
Since he's been back in Iraq, our communication has declined dramatically, as we'd discussed. Sometimes, he responds immediately and will write paragraphs. Other times, he may not respond for days and only sends one line responses.
But his tone in the emails I have been receiving are strikingly similar to the ones he sent prior to his leave. He's almost acting as if nothing has changed!
I'm having trouble creating this new normal because I can't figure him out.
Lately, I had finally come to the realization that the new form of our relationship is going to have to wait until he's back in the United States, healthy and happy again. Perhaps then, we can talk like we used to, laugh and enjoy each others' company again. As friends.
I'd also decided that I was being over-analytical about his emails because I'm trying to create this new contract. I'm trying too hard. I have to have space away from him.
So, when I received his latest few emails over the weekend, I didn't respond. He knows the dates when his troop replacements will be moving in and he's already sending items back home. I'm so very excited for him. He will be home sooner than I can even believe.
Today, I worked from home. I'm tired from the weekend and a surprise visit from my brother... who keeps me up all night with movies or playing cards or some silliness. Its below FREEZING outside and quite frankly, I get more done from home.
The postman rang my doorbell today. I was perplexed when he handed me a big box but I recognized the handwriting immediately.
Soldier had sent me a care package for my birthday.
I was a mess. I was literally crying so hard that I was getting sick.
What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!?!?
Every time I feel strong, every time I feel that I will let him go... he does something like this. I'm reminded of a scene from the Godfather...
He sent it early, probably assuming that it would take forever with the holidays. It was nothing much, what he sent (including more gifts for my girls), but the very fact that he thought of me, early enough to send me something for my birthday… and from Iraq…
THAT’S WHO HE IS. THAT IS THE GUY I KNOW!
And that’s why it makes me cry. Because I have deep faith that he’s still in there, buried deep beneath the hard exterior. But I’m tired of banging my head against the hard exterior. I need him to soften… more and MORE OFTEN… because I just don’t know how to be anything else but me and I can’t take the inconsistency.
I have to let go - for me and for him. For now.
I will give enough for him to know that I do not judge him, that I still care but that I will not stand to be treated as he treated me while he was here. I think he knows that. He’s actually sent more care packages in the past month than all of last year.
I am simply taking a stand. I will keep my arms open but my heart protected. I know that I am worth more than what he is offering me right now. Whether or not anything becomes of us, and I really don’t know what that means, he is still a beautiful spirit and I cherish his presence in my life.
Yes, I did email him after I calmed down. I said thank you and told him that he was a thoughtful (albeit sneaky) friend. And I left it at that.
Oh and on another note, check out the link in my sidebar for TreatsforTroops.com. You can foster a soldier and send a care package. Its easy! I fostered a soldier for Christmas from my home state!