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Monday, February 14, 2005

Broken Heart

I'm really struggling. There's a huge part of me that loves Rick to pieces and loves having him as a life companion. Things together are comfortable and good. But sometimes he breaks my heart.

At Christmas he failed to get me anything. Around the Christmas tree, everyone had things to open from their loved ones, but there was a hole I didn't let anyone else see. I was trying to be okay with it, but I wasn't and I'm not. I talked it over with him and said that "even a box wrapped up with a handwritten scrap of paper saying "Money is tight, but know that I love you" would've been enough. But that wasn't there.

I thought maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe my history with my dad (who has always been really bad at the whole Christmas thing) is overcoloring my experience. Maybe I'm making too much of it. But as I mentioned it to others, their universal reaction was shock and horror, and usually informing their significant others that if they ever did that they'd be out on their ass. I listened to the wonderfully thoughtful gifts others received for Christmas this year and Christmases past, and it just breaks my heart all over again.

Still, I thought, deep breaths, we've discussed it. It won't happen again. He's heard it from me. He's heard it from others. He knows he blew it and there will be something to make up for it. After all, his primary excuse was that he preferred giving little gifts all through the year to saving them up for a specific holiday.

But no special present has ever materialized on my pillow. No card has turned up unexpectedly at work. I haven't come home to a surprise candlelight dinner. On none of the occasions where I've been asked "What are you up to on such and such a day?" has it turned out that the reason he asked was because he was planning a special romantic dinner or night at Watercourse or any other special treat.

And as Valentine's day approached, I felt the anticipation, and fought the hope, and feared the worst, and wanted desperately not to care about this "Hallmark Holiday" and all the while prayed not to be disappointed. In mid-January, I found a scarf for Rick, and tucked it away to save for Valentine's Day. A couple of weeks before Valentine's Day, it was especially cold and rainy, so I tucked the scarf under his pillow so that he found it as he crawled into bed. I mentioned then that I was planning to save it for Valentine's Day, but figured he'd appreciate it more right now with this wet weather. Two weeks ago, we sold the second washer/dryer set to a couple who were moving on the 15th. They asked to come pick it up on the night of the 14th. Sure, no problem. We don't have plans. In the week before, several folks asked about any plans. Jo-Ann, my roomie at work, asked for Rick's cell phone number so that she could ask what he was getting me for Valentine's Day. I told Rick that she'd made me laugh and why. On Thursday night, Rick mentioned that his work plans now included flying out on Monday and getting home Friday night. I said, "Oh." He asked why. I said, "Well, Monday is Valentine's Day, when Michelle was coming to pick up the washer/dryer. I guess I get to help them lift it and all by myself." He said, "Oh yeah. Sorry." Sunday, I went to the knitting class and Rick went home to do his homework and get packed for the trip. I thought maybe, just maybe I'd come home to a nice surprise. Maybe there would be flowers. Maybe there would be a plan. I called as I started toward home and asked if he'd gotten his homework done. He said he was working on it. I knew there was nothing on his radar. So I went and did a little shopping, stopping for some yarn to start my project and stopping at Lowe's for a laundry pan, a Hudson sprayer, and some Neem oil spray for the roses. I got home to find Rick working away on setting up computers. I talked him into helping me unload the car and make the bed. Then I scooped the cat litter, took a shower, and curled up on the sofa for a bit of knitting and TV. I went to bed around 11, but couldn't sleep. This morning I took Rick to the airport. I think he knew I was feeling sad, but I don't think he realizes why.

And dammit, I don't want to be melancholy about this. Valentine's Day is just a "Hallmark Holiday". It doesn't matter. But you know what – I got a box at noon today with a dozen chocolate strawberries from Sherri’s Berries. I opened it gingerly, hoping for the very very best, and was both shocked and crushed to find they were from my dad. My dad is being more thoughtful than my boyfriend on Valentine’s day. And I am melancholy about it. And I'm scared. I wanted to give Rick through my birthday to show me that he can be a thoughtful partner. I wanted to give him a chance to be on his feet. I wanted to trust that he really does value our relationship. When we were discussing the Christmas debacle, I said that it seemed that he no longer put in the effort that he used to. Where is the guy who would drive 400 miles just to spend one night with me? Or who would send giant hearts with arms through the mail for a hug when he couldn't be there in person. Or who would send flowers and cards anytime. He said that these special attentions fade over time in a relationship. But what I see in successful relationships around me is that they really don't. They keep doing special little things for each other all the time. I don't see that from him right now and I haven't seen it for a while.

Valentine's Day isn't a Hallmark Holiday. It's the relationship apocalypse.

5 Comments:

  • I think I want to kill him.

    I mean, Valentine's Day doesn't mean much to me. Okay, it means mostly nothing. But even my parents called me today to wish me a happy Vday. But forgetting (or just not doing) anything for Christmas, and then not doing anything for V day? How much effort does it take to write a card to his sweetie and leave it on her pillow? How much effort does it take to just leave a single flower by the bed? Picking wild flowers?

    Relationships go through lows. Maybe this will be the lowest point for this year. I certainly hope so.

    By Blogger tshuma, at 12:19 AM  

  • *hug* I'm so sorry Ammy... you deserve better. Far better.

    By Blogger Bill B, at 10:29 AM  

  • I'm sorry to hear that sweetie. I know that your boy does care for you, which makes it hard to hear that he's not showing it in the ways you've requested.

    By Blogger Zhaneel, at 11:10 AM  

  • Oh Ammy. *hug*

    By Blogger Eric, at 8:48 AM  

  • Oy. The boy needs some sense smacked into him. He has committed the sin of "taking things for granted." This particular sin has resulted in some real gut-aching times for Mark and I.

    I've heard the "special attentions fade over time" line before. The thing is, sure, some things do fade out, but the key is that they are *replaced* with other things.

    Ten years ago, spending hours obsessively putting together a mix tape for me was the height of romance. These days changing the handle bars on my bike will get me all aflutter. The thing about doing nice things is that they become a point of pleasure and bonding for both the giver and receiver. They keep the relationship warm and growing.

    Relationships take ongoing input and nurturing. Relationships should evolve over time, not become fossils.

    I know Rick is a sweet and wonderful man, but he's being an ass. He needs to be reminded that it is important to continue to share his love and affection and do kind things for you, and to otherwise articulate that he has an investment in the relationship. Either he's oblivious and needs to get a real kick in the head to point out how much he's hurt you and how much he needs to get his shit together, or there's something deeper that needs to be addressed and he needs to cough up what it is.

    In any case, I think this will be fodder for a very important conversation between you guys. I know I've gotten my feelings very hurt over things Mark has (or often HASN'T) done in the past and being honest about how I was feeling wound up really getting to the bottom of things, and allowing us to recommit to our relationship. Conversations like this are usually really hard and tear-filled, but in the end it's *SO* worth it.

    I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I completely empathize. Big hugs. Please keep me posted, and let me know if there's anything I can do.

    By Blogger BlackSheep, at 5:04 PM  

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