It’s funny that the core issue of mine was always fear of abandonment.

By the time I met Michael I not only had worked really hard to be there for myself but was healed enough to pick someone who would not abandon me. It was something that I really couldn’t even imagine during all my failed relationships. I thought I would always need more than anyone could possibly give. I always thought I had some insatiable hole in me that could never be filled inside or out. But I did everything I could to fill myself up and, as is the paradox of having a good and healthy life that I talk about all the time on the gpyp blog, I met someone who gave to me rather than take from me.

Michael showed me who he was the first time I woke up in the middle of the night. He was up like a shot, asking me if I was okay. Most guys I’ve ever known hated being awakened during the night even if I was freaking out. They wanted to sleep and they wanted me to do the same. Even the most supportive eventually showed irritation or said go back to sleep long before I was ready to do that.

The first time it happened with Michael, I didn’t wake him up. Even the most patient of people don’t usually like to be awakened in the middle of the night and, over the years, I had learned that to insist that they did was unreasonable. Early in my relationship with Michael I was just uncomfortable and a experiencing a little bit of free-floating anxiety. I didn’t wake him but I was moving around a bit and wide awake. Michael sensed this and was up and asking if I was okay.

Wow. That was different. To wake up with free floating anxiety and not be alone. Not something I needed but I had to admit, some small abandoned part of me felt assured.

Because the relationship was so young, I wasn’t quite sure that this would continue, but I wasn’t afraid either. I had gotten to a point where it didn’t matter if someone was there in the middle of the night to hold my hand. And paradoxically, there was someone there in the middle of the night to hold my hand. Be it a passing “early relationship” type of thing or a lasting behavior, it was okay either way.

It never changed. I could wake Michael up at any time day or night and he would be there asking me, “Are you okay?” I never felt, at any time, that he wouldn’t spend as much as I needed. And as a result of that, I stopped waking up in the middle of the night. Before Michael I always slept with a light on. I stopped doing that shortly after we met and even when he wasn’t there, I didn’t feel the need for it. I knew that wherever he was, I could call him and he would be there like a shot if need be. It was the most comforting feeling in the world.

He was there to pick me up on time. Aways. He called me every day. Always.

On a day to day basis he didn’t abandon me. He didn’t turn into someone I disliked even if we were arguing. He never called me name, he never made me crazy or made me feel like he wasn’t listening to my point, even when he disagreed with me. I know he always heard me. He was not above, in the middle of a disagreement, saying, “Oh wait. You’re saying x? Oh I get it now. Okay.” and we would simply stop whatever we were disagreeing about and go back to being okay. Our disagreements never lasted long. He would say it was his ADHD that he couldn’t remember what was said 3 sentences before, but I think he just didn’t sweat the small stuff and to him, it was all small stuff.

Our biggest arguments were over his aggressive driving. I would tell him to slow down, stop tailgating, stop screaming at the other drivers because they couldn’t hear him and I could. Early on in our relationship I made him a mix tape. No one had ever done that for him and he made several copies of it and for a few years it was the only thing he listened to in the car. One of the songs was Katrina and the Waves “Walking on Sunshine.” When he played it in the car I would break into a little dance in the passenger seat and he would smile at me. I was looking very silly and didn’t normally loosen up like that but it was a “thing” with us and that song.

We could be driving along and he would be driving like a maniac and I would be really pissed. And I would say slow down, stop tailgating, let me out. And he would say don’t tell me how to drive and we would be going back and forth. Walking on Sunshine would come on and we would stop, angry faces would immediately soften, I would dance, he would smile and slow down and drive like a non-lunatic.

And so it went.

We never held onto anything. With Michael it was tough to stay angry. He just couldn’t ever do a marathon (longer than 10 minutes) argument. And he never did anything hurtful to me or anything I couldn’t let go. In over 12 years, he never made me cry and was unconditionally there for me. That doesn’t fall off trees.

And I never ever feared that he wouldn’t be there. My abandonment fears had been a thing of the past, between my work on myself and his solid commitment to me.

And the other night I was driving home…doing my normal crying in the car…sobbing the car, actually…and all I could think of was that the security of 12 years…the only security I’ve ever known…is slipping away…and I feel alone and abandoned. And it hurts to feel that feeling again. It was so very nice when I was on hiatus from feeling abandoned. It’s not something that stays with me, as it’s not a purposeful abandonment, but it’s there.

I stopped at a store that I don’t stop at a lot. Last November I stopped there on the way home from Michael’s radiation appointment and I ran in the store to get a card. I came out and he was shaken. He said, “I get anxious when I don’t see you….” I felt horrible that I had left him and that he felt so helpless but it was a brand new development and I wasn’t ready for it.

I had to work through feelings that I had abandoned him…I had to work through my sadness about him being anxious for one minute because I wasn’t there. And I did. I know he feels secure now at home and knows I’m there. Those feelings of guilt is what I struggle with…wanting to know that I’ve done my best. Most times I do.

And as for me, I know that he would never leave me on purpose. never.

I have done some adjusting to the fact that he’s not the person I call when I’m lost as I was the other day after getting on the wrong ferry. I had to figure it all out myself. I couldn’t call him and give him an address and ask him to come get me, which he would have without question or even a show of irritation. Unlike when he first got sick, I didn’t think of calling him first thing. I figured it out and it wasn’t until about an hour into my strange journey that I grew frustrated and thought “I wish I could call him to just come get me.” I had the thought, had a twinge of sadness, and then went back to figuring out what I needed to do.

So I am slowly letting go…after 12 years…of just assuming that someone will be there for me. He would be if he could be…but he can’t…and I’m just left being there for him…and I will be.

As long as I can.

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