”Can I ride with you? Alexa dropped me off this morning, but I can’t get a hold of her.”
”Strange… But yeah, no worries! Is she alright?
”She’s having a bad day, that’s all.”
Somehow I could see it coming. Probably she isn’t sleeping with a switched-off phone. Yeahnah. Knowing her, she did something radical after a sleepless night. My gut feeling turned out to be right once I got home. I faced her missing belongings in our bedroom. Pictures, clothes, personal gadgets. All – gone. I blinked and pinched my cheek. Then I paced back and forth in a blur. Shit… Now what? Should I laugh, cry, perhaps scream? On a whim, I called Aaron, who was my housemate as well as my landlord.
”Hey… you got a minute?
”I texted you last night that I’m going to review my relationship with Alexa, right? Well, she packed her shit and disappeared with the wind. I planned to carry on talking over the weekend. She obviously doesn’t feel like it.”
”Yeah, she left without saying anything and I’ve no clue where she is. Sorry, I didn’t want to distract or worry you.”
”All good. My problems ain’t yours.”
”Just come over here, mate. Drinks are on me.”
”You’re my hero.”
Somehow I didn’t want to bother him with my concerns at the local pub. Yet I couldn’t resist the urge since he’s both a good listener and known to Alexa and me. I became increasingly talkative once I downed several pints.
”I know that she doesn’t handle difficult conversations well. But this… I can’t wrap my head around it.”
”Give her some space and time. She’ll turn around. She’s all over you.”
”Who knows. She’s hard to figure out at times. I mean, she took all our communal stuff. A car that I contribute to. Even the bed sheets and our refrigerated food are gone. You should have seen the look on my face…”
I paused briefly
”These kinds of childish acts only reinforce my doubts. Of course, we had some disagreements or words from time to time. But apart from that, all went well. I love her so much. We’re a great fit in terms of personality, humor and traits. Yet deep down, I know our core values, lifestyles and goals are incompatible. I want to be ahead of such tension.”
”She sees it differently?”
”She can’t and won’t face this clash. Even if I word it differently or repeat things.”
”So cultural differences aren’t the biggest issue?”
”It goes surprisingly well, except for some moments of misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Not to stereotype, but she’s critical, opinionated, independent and adventurous by Chinese standards.”
”No wonder it clicks.”
”And that she’s so upset. She wants to stay here and build something. The suburban ‘dream’ and a fresh start abroad. I understand her perspective. But I can’t offer that. Not here or elsewhere, and not with her. The hard truth is that it won’t work in the long run. I’m throwing her little world upside down…. which feels terrible.”
”Sooner or later, she’ll understand why you’re doing this.”
”Hopefully. You know, this is also for her own good. I don’t want to give anyone false hope. You can hang on and leave it for years out of comfort and convenience. Clinging to the false security of the familiar against better judgment. Then what? Getting sucked in a meh-relationship? An okay-relationship? Fuck that. Then I’d rather have nothing than something.”
”The hardest choices are often the most important ones.”
I nodded, sighed and took another sip of Coopers.
My colleague came right after Aaron left. He was also Alexa’s co-worker since we were partners and colleagues (and too much on each other’s throats). Not much later, I got an unpleasant surprise.
”…Nick (our supervisor) walked in. He told us that you guys broke up and that Alexa ain’t coming back.”
”Oh. So Nick spreads half a truth without checking with me? And everyone acted as if they didn’t know… Fucking hell! I’m done with it all if it has to go this way. Time to quit my job and go to Fremantle. I don’t see any reason to stay any longer without her.”
”Let everything settle and then talk it through.”
”Talk? Like two adults about the differences in who they are? To talk without simplistic judgments, jealousy, unrealistic expectations, black-and-white thinking, escapism and other nonsense? Well, wish me luck. She said she doesn’t know how to make herself happy and can’t change herself. Such a hopeless mindset makes this a lost cause. The inability to have in-depth conversations, make compromises or reflect deeply is hard to handle. I won’t tolerate alienation or loneliness in what’s supposed to be the closest relationship,” I said somewhat salty.
”Anyway, you’re right. The world keeps spinning and life goes on. Right? Cheers!”
I wrote all sorts of stuff on the fly once I got home. Relationships… what are they? For me, a partner encourages, supports, complements, and grows along. It’s someone who provides balance but also enough contrast. Partners are two confident individuals who add scents and color to each other’s lives. You can talk about anything and be brutally honest with them. Be your true self in all your imperfections and vulnerabilities. To feel utterly understood, loved and whole. I completed my spontaneous list with many more witty bits. Then I underlined that a partner is an addition rather than a requirement of happiness. True love is also letting go and acceptance. I underlined that someone belongs to no one. That true strength comes from within, and that sunshine comes after rain, and…. yaaaaaawn. I tore my unreadable drivel into pieces and crashed on the stripped double mattress. Cry your heart out again tomorrow. Then be lovely and move on. Sooner or later, always and everywhere, with or without her. That’s the way it is.
Daring to choose in relationships is bliss, although it can be bloody challenging and confronting
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