We got into a fight over a long weekend. By text. It was stupid.
But I have boundaries and was enjoying my time with my son that day so after a few snarky exchanges, I typed “I’m happy to talk when we can have a reasonable conversation.” And I put my phone on airplane mode.
The next morning, I turned on my phone to find 70-odd text messages, of which I assume about half were duplicates (you know, like when you turn on your phone after a flight). I took a screenshot and sent it to him in the afternoon, saying “Last night, I practiced self care by turning off my phone. You may want to consider whether this is a sign you need some self care too.”
He replied: “You don’t need to worry about it anymore.”
I left it alone. Later I went back and skimmed his messages. He was clearly flooded with lizard brain emotions, and I have some compassion for that. But there was a “you better reply” ultimatum and some very personal attacks — a line neither of us had crossed before, and one I could forgive but not forget. It’s not okay to listen to someone’s vulnerabilities only to weaponize them years later. Even if it struck me as out of character.
Here’s the thing: I’d been loving traveling to see him. Our visits were easy — show up, enjoy each other. No drama. I thought maybe he was past his pattern of occasionally blowing things up. There was no need to. We seemed comfortable and secure.
But, having been laid off, I’d been training in neuro linguistic programming, strategic intervention, intuition, reactivation (activation) — all modalities of coaching I was using to better myself and plan to use working with others. I was strengthening my internal resources and leveling up. He could be in lower energy often, and I wondered if he would accept some upgrades for himself…?
I got my answer.
And I’m more okay with it than I might have thought, given the time we’d spent together planning for our future. But more than half of our time together was long distance, which makes separation less intense than near-daily presence. Letting it go, knowing it’s better this way felt very zen… very witness mode… very above the matrix.
So I’ll date myself for awhile, rediscover what I like and what I want as I venture back into a post lockdown world. I’ve got one more year with a kid at home. The horizon looks different, open.