I feel unmoored

Since I’m by the ocean, the boat analogies seem appropriate. I feel like I’ve lost my anchor and am adrift in my thoughts. I have no bearings to keep me on my mental course.
Liam and I are vacationing with 16 family friends, including 6 other children between 5 and 12. It’s great to have some surrogate dads and lots of children for Liam to play with. These are fun people, we are by an amazing beach with hot sunny days and warm nights. The stars twinkle across the visible night sky, and we’ve watched each night at the moon got closer to being full.
I have read one of my aunt’s old books, “Peyton Place”, have swum in the ocean, drank cocktails at 10am, gone snorkelling, and played catch on the beach with my kid. I am trying hard to keep my thoughts at bay because I don’t like where they take me when they are allowed to roam free.

There is the worry of my job. Yes, I’ve been given an opportunity for a “soft landing”, as they say, with 6 months at my current company to find something else. But given the reductions being done across the executive ranks, it may not be possible.
Worse are the thoughts about Tony. I really have no idea what to do. I’m in a place without reliable wifi or cellular service and as such I’ve received only a couple text messages from him since I left, and nothing in the last 5 days. I realized how much I count on a regular check-in to keep the negativity at bay. I find it ironic that I’ve heard more from Jason this past week. HE sends me “good morning, beautiful” text messages, and tells me he misses me.
Few men I’ve dated were really good at consistently expressing their affection for me in words – Johnny Id was the best, driven no doubt by actual love and also distance, which made in-person demonstrations impossible. While my love languages are predominantly Affection and Quality Time, with Tony, I’ve realized I can’t live without Words. Especially when I’m away for seven days and have no opportunity for anything else.
Thinking perhaps the text messaging wasn’t working, I sent Tony an email yesterday. It was very short and said I was pretty sure my texting wasn’t working, I hoped he was having a good week, and I was hoping to see him when I got back or the day after and to please let me know if that might work. Given my job was just eliminated I’m not all that busy on Tuesday.
There’s been no response. And I’ve subsequently received a text message from my friend Katharine and an email from my Mom… so I know things are working.
This makes me feel like crap. The hurt and worry is with me like an infection. I’m trying to use the sun and sand to cure it, but it hasn’t worked so far. I figure there’s a few possibilities:
1) He’s decided to break it off with me and so he’s being silent. When I call him on my way home tomorrow, IF he answers the phone, he’s going to tell me it’s over. Perhaps he’s getting back with his ex-wife, or he’s just decided I’m not the one for him right now. Either way, we are done and he didn’t want to tell me on my vacation.
2) He hasn’t received my texts (possible) and missed my email (unlikely) and has figured by not proactively texting or emailing he’s leaving me in peace to enjoy my vacation with Liam and my friends. He knows I only have wifi access on an intermittent basis. If, when I talk to him upon my return, I express any upset at his not contacting me, he will be surprised.
3) A slight alternate to #2 is he’s received my communications and has tried to respond by text to not avail, and figures this is not a big deal as he’s leaving me in peace and of course I know he wants to see me and that he cares for me. If, when I see him upon my return, I tell him his lack of communication concerned me, he will be befuddled.
Of course, I’ve become convinced it’s #1 that’s going to happen tomorrow.
Even if it’s not, I don’t like being in a vulnerable place where I doubt how someone feels about me. Where things seem tenuous. Where there is that dreadful pit-of-the-stomach feeling that something bad is going to happen.
How can I be with someone who doesn’t realize that a kind email or text message every couple of days is something I need, especially when it’s the week after I lost my job, and given I recently expressed concern about how he was feeling about me? If it was me, I would try to make sure I reinforced how I felt. I would think of the other person and what they wanted and needed.
Unless, of course, I knew they weren’t the right person for me, and I wasn’t willing to make any compromises for them. I’ve been in that place. I wonder if Tony is in that place right now.
I just read a quote attributed to Buddha: “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
I am fighting an internal battle and I have no idea how to resolve it. On the one hand, I tell myself to let Tony go. That he’s not in the right head space for a relationship and can’t give me what I need. That despite having a good time together and being potentially compatible, he’s unlikely to ever be there for me the way I need him to be. And it’s better to just end it now and avoid even more hurt. This opinion is about not settling and making sure I’m taking care of my needs. I also feel this way when some creeping doubts come in about his personality and our compatibility.
On the other hand, I tell myself I need to just enjoy the time we are spending together and stop worrying about what might happen in the future. That it’s perfectly fine for Tony to not be in the same place as me, and he may get there. I tell myself he obviously cares about me, as demonstrated through the time we spend together and how affectionate he is with me. This opinion is about recognizing that the things I think are must-haves may not be. That people show love in different ways and as a relationship grows, a partner that cares for me will adapt to what I need, as much as I will with them.

0 thoughts on “I feel unmoored

  1. There’s compromise and then there’s compromise.

    We all have “must haves” in all relationships. Communication is high on my list. I don’t think it’s asking to much that my partner keep in contact with me. Even if its kisses like I got this morning when Cern woke up and subsequently went back to sleep because the bitch ain’t answering…

    Honey there is no wrong or right. You need certain things to keep you balanced. He either meets those or he doesn’t. There are certain things that are negotiable. Those you have space to give for him and he you.

    Maybe this is just another conversation point of what you need if you ever go away again? He could be clueless about how badly is affecting you. I call it man moments. They sometimes just don’t think like we do. Until you point it out.

    Hugs. Xx

    • Thanks Sharn. He’s leaving tomorrow for a 10 day trip (I haven’t seen him since I’ve been back) and I’m sure it will be radio silence. I think I may be overcompensating for trying to be laid back and taking this slowly… as a result I’m not asking for what I need. And it’s making me feel very pessimistic about what will happen with him.

      • I think there’s needs that need to be addressed and others that don’t right away.

        I think it’s important you get what you need to keep you balanced with him and still be laid back about other things.


  2. Hugs, Ann. I know this struggle well and I hate it for you. I need communication…not all the time, not all day…but I need a check-in. I want a good night text, whether I go to bed first or he does, I want to know I’m on his mind before he retires for the night. I want to know I’m being thought of. I don’t think it is too much to ask to send a few texts or emails in the span of a week, particularly when you can be physically together, and your world is in upheaval. He needs to work harder at being what YOU need. Hugs some more.

    • Yes, and I’ve written about that book a few times. It was recommended to me when I was contemplating leaving my husband. I quite like the premise. And yes, I’d recommend it.

  3. It’s a good thing you’re going home soon. Being in your head without communication can drive you crazy. Vacation head is leaving and everyday head is coming back

  4. Oh, Ann. Hugs to you. I hope you are able to set these worries aside here and there and enjoy your time away. It’s so upsetting to think that your fun is being marred by so much uncertainty.

  5. Sorry to hear about this Ann. I hope you can enjoy your vacation anyway. It seems like a lot of anxiety and compromise at a stage in the relationship should still be in pink cloud zone.

  6. I start to despise texting. I think it ruins relationships. Have you considered just maybe giving him a quick call? After all the stuff you’ve done together, I think that’s perfectly reasonable. If you’re srill on holiday, enjoy the sun today!!

  7. I know these feelings of doubt all too well, which is why I’m here now at 3:30am. These feelings keep u awake at the oddest hours.
    I hope you are able to resolve thi, but in my heart, I feel that silence speaks volumes.

  8. I completely understand. Before he left on holiday, the Dancer told me that he would probably be able to get some connection and to please keep writing him emails.
    My understanding was that I may get a reply every 2 to 3 days at the most and I wasn’t sure how I would handle that. I too need communication. I need to know I’m in someone’s thoughts, and I need a lot of reassurance. This is due to the way I was raised as a child, feeling I was never enough, which was only reinforced throughout my marriage. Plus to the fact some of my BF simply vanished into thin air without giving any news.
    So every time I write or do something that I fear may scare him off, I am worried that he will just disappear.
    And if I don’t get reinforcement that I am a nice, good looking, desirable person often, my negative self-talk tends to take over and I start to feel insecure.
    Having realized I need frequent reassurance, I thought it would be easier for me to not write to him too often and told him so (not the reason behind it, but the fact I may not write very regularly). I didn’t want to get stressed about whether his silence was rejection or just a difficulty to get to wifi.

    It turns out, he managed to check his emails and write to me everyday so far, except for once. This is obviously a pleasant surprise for me. I had very low expectations (especially since he was very clear about the ‘no relationship’ thing from the beginning. I guess it is getting less and less clear what I really want, but that’s matter for a whole post!) and thus a very pleasant surprise.

    I’m sorry it was the other way round for you!

    • I think it’s a bit different when an expectation is set, even if it’s not the frequency you would like. But when unvoiced expectations don’t match what happens, that’s when all the doubts come to the surface. What I realized is they are obviously all there, I just manage to keep them at bay most of the time.

      • You are right. This is where communication is so important…
        I know I always have the negative self talk (he hates me, he doens’t want anything to do with me any more). Like you, I try to drown in under the voice of reason (I always try to find reasons why he couldn’t call/write/visit) but I realize that, deep down, I still feel, even expect, the rejection.

        • I wonder if I just expect it… or if I see it in places where it doesn’t really exist. Either way, it sucks. I’m sorry you go through it too. We seem quite familiar in many ways.

          • Yes, I know we are quite familiar in lots of ways. We may struggle at times, but we steadily move forward. That is all we can do really 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing your ALL of your personal thoughts on this post Ann. You have said pretty much everything that I wanted to say, because I am feeling the same way. We may not have the same lives, but feelings are the same, right?

    • You are most welcome. Sharing is what I do 🙂

      And yes, I think there are definitely some common emotions and fears… or else Shakespeare wouldn’t be so brilliant! Common human tragedies and comedies and all that 🙂

  10. I wish I knew how to spell the sound of a good shaking. I would spell it to you in ALL CAPS! Why do you insist on torturing yourself where Tony is involved? GAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! (That’s the sound I make when shaking you!) How can you have so much confidence everywhere but Tony? You are such a strong confident woman! I am much more flipped out by you losing your job, although I have no doubt you will not be unemployed for long, and most likely will come out above where you were.

    How about Tony? How about he is feeling tortured by you being so far away? How about he doesn’t want to bother you while you are on vacation? How about he is missing you like crazy and you don’t even know it? How about he knows you are with 16 family friends and he is letting you have that time with them, and you son even though he is missing you dearly he is not going to bother you? How bout he can’t wait till you are back in his arms?

    Try to enjoy your last day Ann. Hug Liam, and hugs from me to you.

    • Julie, this made me chuckle – thank you. I consider myself shaken. And you are right… there are a few things that just strip away all the confidence and strength.

  11. Its horrid to read of you dealing with such emotional uncertainties. Mot of us know what that is like, and that it cannot be lived with for very long. I really hope it sorts itself out, and that you make the best of the time with your friends and family.

    • Thank you so very much, Peter. Sorry to hear you can relate but I agree, most of us have been there at some point or another. I know it will sort itself out because I can’t live in this limbo for very long. I will force the issue if I have to. I just don’t want to.

  12. I’m quite angry with you. And I’m sorry in advance if this seems harsh, but you can’t put all this stuff out on a public forum an not expect some blow-back once in a while.

    Stop burdening your vacation with all this angst. Executives have a hard time disconnecting and decompressing. My father-in-law was an exec at a telecom giant. He took early retirement and is slowly going mad. It’s the downside of ambition.

    Women are verbal. Men are visual. It’s always going to be that way. This insistence that men rain words, words, words down on you will be met with disappointment. Why do women always want men to take on qualities that are contrary to their nature? To be more like women? I just had drinks with one of my closest friends. She signed her divorce papers and is wrecked. She said one of the devices she used to try to salvage her marriage and reconnect with her husband was to just sit and look into each others eyes and say what they feel. Are you kidding me?! I got very angry at her. Men don’t want to do that! It might make a woman feel more connected but I can tell you that it makes men bloody uncomfortable. Her post-marital goal is to find a romance that will never die. She wants no end to being wined and dined and being told over and over how beautiful she is. And she doesn’t want sex with her man to ever become mundane again. Good luck with that.

    Will you guys (meaning womanhood) stop doing that to us? Stop basing the depth of our commitment or feeling on the frequency of text messages. There was a long-running comedy here in NYC about relationships called “I Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change.” Ha ha, but not really.

    • It’s okay to be angry with me…I know it comes from a place of caring.

      I agree with you that your friend is setting herself up to be constantly disappointed. And I don’t think of things the same way. I’m well aware of what happens over time in a relationship and I don’t want a fairy tale.

      I also don’t believe in trying to make people be something they aren’t. I know that the right answer is that I need to accept someone (e.g, Tony) exactly as he is today – because expecting someone to change will cause a world of hurt and disappointment.

      Do you think expecting an email was too much? When I told him (via text and email) that I was having a rough time working through what was happening with my job? Oh, and two days before I left, expressing to him my angst about whether he was getting back with his ex? I don’t think that’s expecting him to be like a woman – just to take 5 minutes to do something that was considerate and caring, given there were no other ways for him to demonstrate he cared.

      I know he’s not a big “talk about our feelings” kind of guy, and I don’t think I’m trying to change that. But I guess I want just a modicum of effort in the way I need to hear and feel that he cares.

    • Oh, and had it not been for the fact that I lost my job three days before I left on vacation, I wouldn’t have had a problem at all decompressing. I had set everything up so that I could be totally disconnected. I may not be a typical exec that way and some of my vacations are different, granted… but this one was definitely going to be off the grid.

  13. Given the iffy wifi access wherever you are (were?), I can’t help but wonder if you’re reading too much into the lack of communication.

    But I can could be, and often am, wrong

    • It’s a fair point. I know he tried to imessage. But when I sent an email saying I knew his imessages weren’t being received, he had to send texts (which granted he didn’t know how to do) — but more importantly, I said I was having a rough time on vacation and was hoping I could see him when I was back and before he left, he didn’t bother to respond. And I would definitely have received that email.
      But I also know I could be overblowing the communication on vacation thing. However, it’s not the only thing that’s been bothering me with missing some things I sorely need.

  14. Ann, you are going through a rough time with the loss of your job and your uncertainty about Tony — but you are driving yourself crazy. Have you ever tried meditation? When I was going through so much emotional chaos when my husband left me, I signed up for a course in “Mindfulness Meditation”. Now, you need to know that I am SO not the meditation type – but I was rather desperate and knew I needed to try something new. I was having the same sort of problem with my mind racing, negative story-telling, and leaping to conclusions. When I wasn’t busy, I was forever thinking about my husband, dissecting our marriage and break up, agonizing over what had happened, why, what could have been different, my fears for the future, and on and on. It was exhausting and I was just a mess. Mindfulness Meditation really helped me to get into the moment – I would still have these types of thoughts for a moment while I was meditating, but I would just acknowledge it without judging and then return my focus to the meditation. It helped SO much! While my instructor was somewhat helpful, I know that I would have done just as well on my own (the book contained all of the information/instructions/worksheets and it came with a guided meditation DVD). I like that it’s also something I can do on the fly – if I’m driving and I find my thoughts racing towards negative outcomes, I just take a deep breath, acknowledge the feeling (sounds silly, but I actually say something like, “Hello fear, I feel you.”) and then I find something to be mindful about – like admiring the clouds in the sky, or the flowers in a yard, or my breathing – really anything that anchors me in the here and now. I hardly ever have those knots in my stomach anymore or wake up with racing thoughts and can’t go back to sleep. It was freeing.

    • Jana, that sounds really awful for you but I’m glad you found something that worked.

      I used to meditate when I was doing yoga on a regular basis – which I haven’t done in 5 years. I miss it, and I think that’s why…not only the physical benefits but the time to really clear my mind as well.

      I promised myself that before I go to bed Sunday night I would get back on my mat. And declaring it here means I have to, I suppose 🙂

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