Shortly after I published my last post I got a new follower notification and a message in my Twitter DMs.
Like many other new readers, he told me how much he enjoyed my honest writing and could relate to my thoughts about the dire state of dating in this modern world. I thanked him for his message and engaged in a bit of small talk, as I have so many other times before.
These chats always go the same way; they say they enjoy my writing, its like we have had the same experiences, the sexy stuff is a turn on and they or may not have jerked off to a story or two. Regulars disappear and pop up again, and I am always nice and appreciative of their interest in the blog, and some have become quite good friends to have in my phone.
But very quickly this was different. We had an instant connection and the conversation flowed effortlessly for hours. He was an open book and told me about his life, family, relationships, divorce, interests, work and asked me pertinent questions about mine. His Twitter bio told me a lot about him including his real name and location and I was easily able to verify he was an actual person after some quick internet sleuthing.
After lengthy text conversations over a few days I crumbled and divulged my closely guarded identity and location to him.
There was the small problem of us being on opposite sides of the planet, but our connection was so strong it made those thousands of miles seem insignificant.
We became Facebook friends and moved our chats to Messenger, and soon we had a phone date. We spoke for four hours that first night and the time flew by. Soon we moved to video chats, smiling and blushing at each other like teenagers. We talked for hours, listened to music, singing along to our favourite songs, and even played arcade games on Messenger, laughing and having fun.
We felt the same about so many things and while we were wildly attracted to each other, it wasn’t merely about sex, but an explosive and unbelievable bolt of lightning that shook us both. We had both been so sceptical about relationships and suddenly we had found each other. It was magic and madness all together and when I spoke about it to friends they looked sideways at me like I had lost my mind. I knew how I sounded, and both of us reported that our friends all thought we were being catfished.
The time difference was frustrating but also helped keep our lives on track, because we were so distracted by each other it was hard to live in the real world. We lived in this bubble of budding love and excitement that kept smiles on our faces all day long.
I would wake up each morning to a video message of him going out his day and showing me the places he went, the food he ate and I felt like he was slowly bringing me into his world. I did the same for him, loving the thought that he was waking up to me smiling and blowing him kisses.
About a week in, I woke up to a video message of him standing by a lake in the sunshine.
“Hey Babe, hope you slept well. Just want you to know I’m sitting here thinking about you and hope you have a great day. I’m falling in love with you and I just wanted you to know how happy you’ve made me already.”
I was feeling the same and it only took a few days for me to tell him I loved him back. It was crazy, fast and intense and I was loving every moment. I joked to my friends that had we been in the same town we would probably have married within a week of knowing each other. But I wasn’t really joking. Suddenly I believed in soulmates for the very first time in my life.
We texted constantly, video chatted and made plans for trips to be together, for our future, where we would live, we looked for jobs for each other and check flight prices and visa requirements. He met my best friend during one video chat and she wholeheartedly approved of this mad adventure. When we succumbed to the temptation of phone sex it was electric. The thought of our first kiss made me feel faint. Nothing had ever felt more sure or more like destiny.
He was open, kind hearted, considerate, funny, so handsome and the right kind of quirky for me. Fun loving and youthful, he was reassuring and seemed emotionally intelligent, sure of his love for me and that geography was not going to impede our future together. He told me he had dreamt of how and where he would propose to me, and it had made him so happy.
Then one day, his texts were less light hearted and playful. Suddenly he was slow to return texts and when he did his replies were short and distant. It was strange and I knew something wasn’t right. After some gentle prodding, he told me one of his good friends had died suddenly and my heart swelled with love and sympathy for him. All I wanted was to be there, holding him as he grieved and the distance between us was infuriating. I offered him space to deal with his loss and he told me he still needed me and wanted me but was just having a hard time.
I wanted to video call him so bad, but I felt like he was avoiding that lest he fall apart while we talked. You know when you are struggling to keep a lid on your emotions, then someone who cares asks you how you are doing and that blows the lid off and the floodgates open? I thought maybe he feared his emotions would get the better of him if we spoke, so I let it go. I reassured him I would be here whenever he wanted to talk and tried not to bother him with incessant messages, even though he was my first, last and every thought every single day.
After a week or so he talked to me again on the phone and the call was exactly as I had hoped. He confided in me and I listened to him, offering comfort and love, even making him laugh a couple of times. It felt like the worst was over and we would be okay.
He messaged me the next night when he was out drinking with friends, and I was glad he was having some fun but a little concerned when he told me he was blind drunk but going to drive home. I worried for hours until I saw he finally read my last text. He didn’t reply but at least he was alive.
Over the next few days he became distant again and told me he had hurt his back at work. We had previously discussed his sporting injuries which resulted in back surgery a few years ago, and it seemed he had aggravated the old injury and may need another operation. I wanted to get on the next flight and look after him, and tried to encourage him to talk to me. I knew he was scared, feeling alone and sad, so I would send him a text or video message each morning letting him know I was thinking of him and here if he wanted to talk. I controlled my constant urges to call or message more. He is clearly an old school guy who retreats into himself to think things through and muster his strength. I have learned there is nothing to be gained from pushing a man in that state to talk, even though it never fails to ease their pain.
So I let him be.
Scrolling through Twitter and Facebook I could see he had been active, liking sports-related tweets and interacting with his friends. It bothered me a little that he was posting and commenting but not responding to my messages asking how he was feeling. Maybe he mistakenly thought if he responded it would instigate a four hour conversation that he didn’t have the energy for. I understood that. I have been in great pain in my life and it is easier to retreat. I got it, so I let him be.
Then I saw his comments on some Twitter posts from women who posted pictures of their cleavage and other body parts. Rather than being sleazy, his comments were intended to be funny, but it infuriated me. I’m sitting here working out how I can get a plane ticket and time off to go see and support him, giving him space and being understanding and he can’t send me a quick text to let me know how he is doing, say Hi to me or ask how I am.
I confronted him during a text exchange and told him I felt disrespected. We had clearly expressed our love, exclusivity and that we considered ourselves to be in a committed relationship. At first he pushed back but soon apologised and told me he was just trying to be lighthearted and it meant nothing.
We recovered from our disagreement and got back on track, a quality I have always sought in a partner and never found.
A day later he told me he had been to see his doctor who wanted to prescribe him antidepressants, which he refused. He didn’t believe depression was real and that he should shake it off. I talked to him about how I had been through depression and I had seen the signs in him over the last few weeks.
If he had to deal just with the loss of his friend he would have been okay.
If he had to only deal with his back pain, he would have coped.
But he had been so euphorically happy with me, then both terrible things happened simultaneously, and his brain chemicals flipped out completely. From deliriously happy to extreme depths of emotional sadness, fear and physical pain? Of course he was depressed. He was also on massive amounts of painkillers which are depressive and I was truly worried for him. We messaged a little and I felt he understood that I empathised, and that we would get though this.
He became distant again, but I persisted in being supportive, sending a message each day, telling him I loved him and was here for him anytime. He would read them but not respond. All the while his activity on Twitter continued popping up in my timeline and it was making me mad and confused so I unfollowed him.
Then on Sunday morning I woke up sick. I had a fever, a red hot rash on my arm and vomited the moment I woke up. Something was seriously wrong and I rushed to the emergency room. I was admitted right away, blood samples taken and I was hooked up to an IV of antibiotics and painkillers. The doctors and nurses fussed over me in such a way that I knew it was bad. My closest friends and family ditched work and came to see me, sitting for hours at a time by my bedside. I emailed work to let them know where I was and posted on Facebook and Twitter for others who didn’t know what was going on.
I didn’t message The Soulmate to tell him directly. I didn’t think he needed my problems added to his, but it was there on Facebook and Twitter for him to see and reach out if he wanted to.
The doctors diagnosed septicaemia, a life threatening blood poisoning which, had I left untreated, would have attacked my organs and killed me within days. It was shocking news and I sobbed uncontrollably when the doctors told me how lucky I was. Yet another near-death experience to add to my list along with depression and cancer.
After a few days in hospital and no word from The Soulmate, I sent him a message wishing him luck for his upcoming MRI appointment which would determine if he needed surgery or not. I cared and, despite the mess I was in, I wanted him to know I was still here for him.
He read it and did not reply.
I didn’t need any extra stress so I unfriended him from Facebook. My arms were killing me from leading this horse to water and trying to persuade him to drink. I had no strength left.
One of my friends was visiting me when I got a message from him in my Twitter DMs.
WTF? Isn’t Fugazi a band? What does this mean?
My friend checked Urban dictionary and told me fugazi means fake or bogus.
My darling, devoted readers. I can honestly tell you that every word of this blog is my true experience and the reason I protect my anonymity is so I can be completely honest as I process these experiences in written form.
I messaged back, asking why, after days of silence, me being consistently nice and supportive despite being in hospital, he would send me a mean message.
His response didn’t make much sense. He basically told me “whatever” and that he was going to have surgery and he had gone through it alone and would do it again and be fine. He didn’t need anyone.
He still didn’t ask me how I was, but rather sarcastically told me he would pray for me.
He was deep in his pit of despair where it is dark and hopeless and it is so much easier to push everyone away, and tell yourself you are better off alone. You reject everyone who cares to the point where they have no choice but to walk away, then you applaud yourself for “being right about them” and that they never cared about you.
That is proper depression that needs drugs to get you out of the pit and back into the light so you have the capacity to deal with the root causes of your problems.
But he chose to walk alone, with his heart closed to love. It takes courage to be vulnerable and ask for help, and he would not.
I couldn’t help but compare how my acceptance of offers of support from my friends meant I had visitors every day, while he shunned everyone and was reconciled to getting through this dark time alone.
I am grateful for all the people in my life who care and love me, and I’m not afraid to show it. After twelve days in hospital, I am finally home and grateful to be alive.
This situation has made me so sad. I try to look at the big picture and now am glad I was on lots of drugs and distracted by my own illness so I didn’t fall apart over what might have been with The Soulmate.
After two months of intense love, hope and excitement, he has blocked me from all avenues of contact.
But I still care and hope he finds peace. I know he has a good heart and he isn’t himself right now, for very good reasons. I sincerely love him and pray he gets through this, and can learn to be vulnerable and accept love and support.
He will always be my “what if” adventure.