Tell me you love me.

Black as night, clear as day

I’m misunderstanding

in every way

what you don’t say; but do

I never hear

don’t have a clue

 — —

Sometimes people tell you that they love you, in a language you don’t understand.

You’re looking for the universe and missing the stars.

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Crowdsourced relationship perspectives (dotpdf)

I was inspired by the collection of experiences available in the very lengthy Emotional Labor Metafilter thread. I learnt a heap from it and decided that the conversations I’ve had with friends on facebook regarding relationships was just as fascinating to me.

Over a couple of years, I posed specific relationship questions to my online community and have (with their approval), collected their responses here for your perusal and pondering:

NFS – Crowdsourced relationship perspectives

Support.

She was always so stoic and still, sitting in her chair across from me. A piece of furniture with piercing eyes and listening ears. It seems odd to realise how little expression she had when I was telling her my most vulnerable feelings, and how safe I felt doing just that. Maybe the lack of expression allowed me to feel safe because I could not read on her face what she was thinking. She was excellent at her job.

She told me once that my Mother needed to be my Mother. That I was the child and I couldn’t support her in the way that she was asking. I felt sad about that even though I knew she was right. I wanted to rebel against that idea because I knew of – but could never understand – all the sacrifices my Mother had made to make me who I am. It seemed unfair to me that I could just say “no. I can’t help you” when she could never do that. Not to me; my siblings; my Father.

I can’t help but wonder who is there for the Mothers when they need that support. Do they just ask and ask and have everyone say “no. I can’t help you” every time they open their arms?

Megan: Love just needs a bit of business

My friend Megan is the most organised person I’ve ever met. When it comes to dealing with a long distance relationship, Megan and her partner got really organised and they made a sort of business plan for how to make it work while they were apart.

 

References discussed:

Long Distance Relationships: Communication strategies to facilitate success – Sylvia Fuerbringer

The Five Love Languages

24 Hours.

We kissed for the first time at a floating bar at midnight in a busy city neither of us lived in. She put her hand on the top part of my thigh, where my leg met my hip as I leaned in to press my lips against hers. I remember exactly what that hand felt like on my hip and how sweet and soft her mouth was. That gentle pressure; a confident possessive touch; that warm, enveloping kiss. I loved it.

There were 100s of people around but in that moment, I honestly understood what people meant when they said the object of their affection was the only person in the room. These people around us were furniture to me. She was radiant against the flickering lights on the water behind her. I drank in how she looked at that moment, tried to commit it to memory, attempted not to rush things even though I wanted to fall into her immediately, as completely as I could.

I wanted to stay there for hours even though it was freezing and I clearly had not dressed for the weather. I had hoped that she would be content spending the entire night with that hand on my hip and her face close to mine like I had dreamt about for months.

Instead we walked through the city, keeping warm with her arm around my shoulders and my hot breath on her neck. We kissed in the line at the cinema and I caressed her knee as she jumped during the scary part of the movie. We sat on the curb outside a bar after we decided it wasn’t worth the cover charge. I followed behind her, hand in hand through the casino trying to find somewhere to eat so late at night. Catching the early morning train home, we dozed on each other’s laps and held each other so fiercely you’d think it was the last chance we’d have to be together.

It turned out it was the last chance we’d have to be together.

In the morning, I attempted to show her just what she meant to me. I wanted my touch to show her just how beautiful I found her, inside and out. I hoped that my kisses would let her see how important she’d become to me. Maybe I succeeded in making her see how I felt about her — I’ll never know. I guess it doesn’t matter.

When I asked “are you ok?” she said no. Of course at that moment, I stopped what I was doing. When I asked “what’s going on?” she said I wasn’t her ex. Of course, in that moment, that broke my heart.

She left after kissing me hard on the cheek. No hand on hip, no warm, soft mouth on mine. I spent the next two days in that bed before flying home, crying the entire way.

I remember the rain came down hard on the windscreen on the drive from the airport to my house. I remember thinking of course. Of course she could not love me. Of course I was foolish to think she could. Of course the rain welcomes me now. 

It may have been just 24 hours that we spent together but it was the loveliest 24 hours. It may have been the most heartbreak I’ve ever felt, but it was the most joy I’ve felt before a fall.

I am still grateful.

Juxtaposition.

I took a picture of the floor of his room when I woke up. He didn’t hear, of course, health issues and all. The click was heard by me alone. My smile hidden from his sleepy eyes.

It was perfectly set there on the ground underneath his ironing board, upon which the towel I used to cover myself while I scurried like a mouse to the bathroom late at night.

The image: of workboots; covered in plaster and paint and the ugg boots; cosy and warm. Two sides of him that I’ve seen and have come to love on their own and as a package. Sitting side by side, I found them comforting and illuminating, like an early morning epiphany.

He worked hard and he was soft. I found this in the way he touched my body and kissed my lips. I found this in the way he listened to me speak about how I felt and what I thought and what I longed for. I found this in the way he turned towards the discomfort of talking of his feelings. I found this in his actions and I found this in his words.

I found this in myself. I’d always hoped to find it in someone else.