After a sleepless night, I typed and sent her my response this afternoon.
Even after sleeping on it, I’m very much at a loss for words, so I’m not sure what or how much I can write. I feel like this is one of those things I need to digest, so I know exactly how I want to respond, but I don’t want a prolonged silence on my part to drive you mad. Even if I only took a couple of days to gather my thoughts and feelings, I worry that might feel like an eternity to you. All that aside, before I say anything else, I’m not angry or upset. Well, maybe saying I’m not upset is a little inaccurate, but please don’t infer any resentment in my response. Just like your email to me, I strive to be gentle and soft-spoken. I also respect you for being so courageous to send me that email. That could not have been easy.
I read your email a couple of times, and I tried to condense everything you said so as to facilitate my response. I apologize if I accidentally misrepresent anything you said or ignore something you feel I should have been addressed. I gather you feel like we’re not in a relationship because you don’t feel like I’m in love with you, a feeling based on my alleged lack of passion and pursuit. Contributing to this feeling is that we don’t really have anything to say to each other or seem excited to talk to one another. Furthermore, you feel that we don’t bring out the best in each other and that our relationship doesn’t point to Christ, which is a serious issue to you when considering a man as a marriage possibility.
I presumed everything was fine. Again, I’m not really sure how to respond to some of what you said. I summarized your email as I did because those are the points that seem most related to each other in terms of cause and effect. For example, you feel like we don’t have a relationship most likely because you don’t feel like I’m pursuing you and you perceive a lack of passion on my part. I thought I was doing really well in those regards. After all the physical affection we expressed for each other during my visit, my cooking for you during that time, and I thought I slam dunked with your Christmas present. I’m not sure how else I could convey passion or pursuit. Aside from sending you gifts, which you’ve said you don’t care about, there’s little else I can do from such a distance beyond talk and text, which brings me to my next point.
Our phone conversations didn’t suggest to me that anything was wrong. I mean, our last conversation went really well, right? We were playfully teasing each other about when to take down Christmas decorations. You were laughing and saying how much you wanted to hug me. I mean, our conversations tapering off in terms of duration and intensity was somewhat natural. When we first started talking, we didn’t know each other, but now our stories have been told we don’t have as much to discuss. I don’t know if the following was something that bothered you, but I acknowledge that our texting petered out as well. I kind of let that happen on my part for the aforementioned purpose. I mean, I wanted to know how your Stages audition went on Monday, but I wanted to save some material for our next phone call. That said, I still made it a point to ask about your day each evening in case there was something in particular you wanted to share. I figured our phone calls would naturally shift to the weekends. Doing so would give us more to talk about as we caught up on each other’s week, and that’s when my schedule was most accommodating. Perhaps I was being presumptuous, and I shouldn’t have assumed that what worked for me would also work for you. I’m sorry if that’s the case. However, even if we did have that much more material to discuss, talking every day would have been difficult for me. Now that my life has resumed its normal routine of work, exercise, and jiu jitsu, I don’t have as much time to talk on weeknights like I did last semester. I’d have to cut out exercise and/or jiu jitsu to make that work, and I couldn’t do so anymore than you could give up singing or playing piano for me.
You also said that you only want to marry someone if you each bring out the best of one another and your relationship points to Christ, which you don’t feel is the case with us. Again, I didn’t pick up that we had any problem in this regard. We pray for each other and validate each other’s spiritual beliefs. I know I prayed for you every day. We certainly weren’t fighting or tearing each other down. Did I ever make you feel that way? I apologize profusely if I did; it was never my intention. The only possible problem I pick up on is that you may feel convicted about how physically affectionate we were. If that’s an issue to you, it’s certainly a valid one (you shouldn’t ignore your convictions), but it puts me in a difficult situation with regards to your not feeling any passion from me. I mean, if you think I don’t have any passion for you after all the kissing and canoodling we lavished on each other, you’d most likely really feel inconsequential to me if we didn’t have any physical affection at all. My options become: make out with you and make you feel guilty or don’t and make you feel nothing. You’d either feel like I’m pulling you away from God or pushing you away from myself. This all leads me to my analysis of our situation.
Long distance relationships are tough. That “lack of a relationship” feeling you described is to be expected based upon my friends’ experiences. If the physical distance of a long distance relationship didn’t translate to feelings of emotional distance in its participants, they wouldn’t be so much more difficult than conventional, in-person romances. When we first started our relationship, we were both riding high on a wave of endorphins and the challenges of the distance felt negligible. Now that those feelings have cooled a bit, those drawbacks now feel much more daunting to you. I stand by my statement from previous discussions. I need to work where I am for a few years to garner the human capital to be considered as a viable job candidate for similar positions in St. Louis. I can wait. I’m supposed to, right? I mean, patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and God develops that fruit in us by forcing us to wait, yes? Please don’t take the previous two statements as an indictment on your spiritual condition. I don’t mean it like that at all. Romantic relationships aren’t normally meant to be cultivated over long distances, which is why so many LDRs fail. However, I do think it speaks of the mismatch between your being a feeler versus my being a thinker. You feel the void caused by the distance, then you feel it doubly so because I don’t feel it as acutely as you do, which makes you feel especially isolated in our relationship, which makes the relationship feel almost nonexistent.
Based upon what you told me, and my own interpretation of how you feel, I don’t think we should be an item anymore, either. You clearly have relational needs that can’t be satisfied over a long distance. You need someone who’s already present. That would relieve so much of what’s causing your distress. If I were already in St. Louis, even if we didn’t talk every day, just being able to see each other, even if only briefly every couple of days, would alleviate so much of isolation you feel. Unfortunately, such is not our condition right now, so we either have to keep waiting or part ways, and I think the latter option might be better for your emotional health. If we kept on as we are, this issue might end up recurring every couple of months. I don’t want to spend the next several years inadvertently torturing you when the distance makes itself felt. What really horrifies me is the thought that you might find another man already in St. Louis who meets all of your needs immediately, and you wouldn’t be available to him because you’d be with me. Then you might end up resenting me because I’d be standing in the way of your happiness and fulfillment. I don’t think I could stand your hating me.
I’m sorry if I hurt you or if you feel that our relationship stole something precious from you. For what it’s worth, I don’t regret it at all. I mean, you’ve helped and inspired me to be a better man, and I feel encouraged just knowing that God is cultivating other amazing people like yourself. Who knows? Maybe we will end up together. Perhaps in a couple of years, I’ll get the divine opportunity to move to St. Louis, and if you’re still available and willing we could try this again. It might be better that way because if I relocate just for you, my restructuring my life for you might make you feel pressured to reciprocate in some way you can’t, and that imbalance might lead to resentment & end things. If I relocate for a reason independent of you…well, you get the idea.
I don’t know what else to say. Thank you very much for letting me be with you, even if it was just for a very brief period of time. I’ll be forever flattered and honored. You’re more special than you could ever know.
With warm regards,
P.S. Would you be willing to send me copies of our Thanksgiving photos together? I’d like to have a token of our time together.