So, this was written to an unnamed ex a while ago. I ran across it the other day, and I might publish it in the collection I'm currently working on. To me, this is more than just a letter, it's a piece of prose. It's a pouring out of the soul in a way that few people take the time to do. Obviously written at a very rocky time in a previous relationship, I enjoy the clarity of thought that's displayed (not as an egotist, but as a stylist), and I enjoy the allusions and illustration. I'm proud of it, if not for the source or the outcome, then for the product of my turmoil. If I were to classify it? I'd label it, now, as a study of the mind. Enjoy it, and, as always, I welcome your comments and criticisms!
Before I say anything else, I want you to know that I love you deeply, and truly. I would give anything to make you happy, and I'd do anything you ever asked me to. I don't ever want to hurt you, and I don't ever want you to be unhappy.
But I am unhappy. I sleep next to a woman I can't touch until she won't notice, who won't - or can't, I still can't figure out which - show me the affection I crave; and when I try to explain to her the physical and mental stress this puts me through, she doesn't understand or doesn't care (still can't pin that one, either).
I once took a "Psychology of Affection" class. Evidently, the emotion we call "love" is a conglomeration of a number of different, smaller emotions. Chiefly among them are attention and affection. Attention was always defined by my professor as "the willingness of one to give their focus in degrees, and the blatantness with which they are willing to display that focus." He went on to explain that when one is willing to give their focus but not to display it, or willing to make a display but not to give it, then an imbalance is affected, and either one or both members of a relationship become unhappy. And degrees of happiness become apparent when degrees of willingness are shown.
In our case, I think, I am both willing to give you my attention, and unafraid to do it regardless of place or time; therefore, I think I give you a very high degree of attention. How do you think you score? How do you think I'd score you?
Affection works on the same principle: willingness to give, and the ability to do so in a way that is apparent to the other party. Along with these two, though, Affection has a third variable: frequency. The combination of these three and the balance that must be kept determines the amount of affection given, and received at an intellectual level.
I am entirely certain that I have been willing to show you ample affection in any venue, I am quite capable of showing you my affection in a plethora of ways, and I have done so (in innumerable combinations) with staggering frequency, despite the lack of reciprocation that should have left me hopeless.
Well, right about now, I'm starting to feel hopeless. Any relationship requires two very basic things, hon: cerebral and physical interaction. An intimate relationship, therefore, requires an amount of intimacy in both cerebral and physical interactions. In addition, any relationship, intimate or otherwise, requires equal participation in all areas to continue over any extended period of time.
I have been trying for God knows how long, to make this explicitly clear to you: I do not receive enough affection or attention from you for me to stay happy.
I've laid a foundation in a universal truth for you; you have the science of our interaction at your fingertips, now. You understand what I understand, so I'm going to be as forward as I can in addressing this situation.
In order for me to stay satisfied with our relationship, the amount of affection and attention I get HAS to change. I am, currently, both mentally and physically distressed, and I am at a breaking point. I have tried multiple times to get you to change: I've tried being subtle and hinting at things I like you to do - things I'd like to see more frequently from you; I've tried being abrasive, being a **** - telling you what I don't like, and why; I've tried being manipulative - guilt-tripping you into thinking or acting differently; I've tried (God, have I tried!) to be truthful and sweet and kind - to tell you, up front, what pleases me and what doesn't in the un-charged air of plain discussion. Any, and all (!), of these methods have been met with selfish stubbornness. I have tried, very hard, to convince myself that it's just been me. That it's something I have, or haven't, been doing. That me flipping out so often is just me freaking out. That none of my state of mind has anything to do with you. I dread putting any of the blame on you because...I worship you, I don't want your flawless image tainted by these things! But, at this point, I've done so much, and tried so hard to get you to change, to open up to me, to act (just act!) like you want me in your head and heart and *****. But you've been stubborn and you refuse to change...and it is driving me away.
I don't want you to drive me away. I know you love me; I'm convinced you think I improve your life. And I'm convinced you improve mine in so many ways. But there is an imbalance.... I've done as much as any man can be asked: I have been kind, gentle, sweet, gracious, caring, selfless, and loving; but I cannot be these things when you will neither receive them nor give them back. My emotion, my spirit, and my love are being swallowed up in a void, and I can feel the light in this relationship fading. I can't stay in this if I'm the only one showing how I feel. If you don't love me, anymore, tell me. But I can't stay here and not know. I can't give you so much of my heart, and not get anything in return. It's my turn to be selfish.
I am banking on the hope that you want this to work, honey. I am praying to God, Almighty that you would rather change how you act than give me up.
I have never given anyone I've been in a relationship with an ultimatum before. Maybe that's why I've been hurt so badly before. But I'm not going to sink this ship myself. I'm giving you an honest chance. I want this, more than anything. I want you more than anything! I don't care that we don't earn enough for food, yet. I don't care that you spend oodles of time with your friends; I don't care about anything you do with your life except this. This one thing will solve so many of our problems, you don't even realize!
My peace...my serenity with our relationship and with you as my partner in life, depends, solely, on how you behave towards me. There aren't enough Josephine Collective concerts or pills, or parties in all the world that will make me feel like you love me more than you showing me your **** self. I NEED this. It is essential to my functioning as your lover and your friend; I can't love a stone. And I can guarantee you, right now, that if you can put aside your insecurities, put aside your "awkwardness" argument, put aside your doubt that I would ever, EVER, turn you away or leave you alone, and just show me every minute of every day that you love me, I would never worry again. Reassure me with a kiss. Say "hello" with a kiss. Warm up by scooting closer. Cool down by throwing off a blanket - not pushing me away. Act like you can't keep your hands off me. There will be no nights where I ask you distressing questions; there won't be times when I'm offended by your going somewhere without me; I will not get upset when plans get upset. If I knew in my heart of hearts that you loved me and you'd make sure I knew it when you saw me, then there wouldn't be room for doubt.
But right now...I don't know whether you love me or whether you're just going through the motions. My thinking is "if she loved me, she'd show me." But you don't show me. You know this as well as I do! One passionate kiss every couple of weeks is not showing me. A wag of the hips a couple times a month doesn't show me. Part of the psychological validation for committing to a relationship is the fact that your partner's body is yours to use. And it should be a willing use! I am a male. Three-fourths of my interaction with society is conducted physically, or visually. I need to see and feel that you love me. And that's not very much to ask from you, is it? And it's not awkwardness. You've shown me plenty of times that you're not abnormally awkward. And it's not shyness; you've been perfectly happy to make a scene in front of others before. It's not ***, either. *** isn't what trips me up. I'm fine without *** as long as I know you'd give it if you could. If I was confident that you'd jump my bones before I ever suggested it, then it wouldn't be an issue. But I'm not confident. Hell, I could go another three months if I got a BJ now and then.... I'm tempted to say it's pure selfish stubbornness, but I know that's not true. I think you're afraid of something. Maybe of opening up - spilling your guts - for me. Maybe you've been hurt a lot worse than I realize? There are so many possibilities. But you're the only one that can let me in, baby.
I know it's not your way. That's evident enough from all my failures. But this is beyond "my way versus your way," now. This is essential to our being together. I love you, selflessly and shamelessly; but if I am going to be happy with you, I need to know you love me back. This isn't an option, anymore, dearest. You have to change. I need to know on a daily, hourly, moment-to-moment basis that you prefer me over anything else...period. My heart is breaking because I can't tell if you love me back. So, I'm going to make this easy on you. I've brought this up to you before - multiple times, actually. Each one just as memorable as the next. Each one serious enough to tell you that something has to change. But you don't seem to get it. You don't understand that this is paramount to my happiness...essential to my functioning; and you don't get that yet. You've asked me to do multiple things differently; I have changed how I act - who I am - to cater to your peace and happiness, and I am happy to do so. I have asked this one thing of you and you won't do it? I have asked this one thing because it is the one thing that I need to change. I've told you that. But the day after, and the week after, and the month after I bring this up, nothing changes. I can't handle that. I can't handle that I can be so willing to make you happy...to change my thoughts and actions through my own will to make your life simpler, less worrisome, happier and easier; yet you are so unwilling to grab your own mind and make it behave as you choose to ease my mind and my heart and give me that little validation I need from you so I can tell myself that I am your whole world the way you're mine!
I will always love you. Always.
But I can't be with someone who can't show me they love me.
This is your ultimatum: Change. Put me in your mind. Think about the things you do that make me happy, and do them. Physically connect with me. Touch me on a regular basis. Visually connect with me. Get my attention, and hold it every day. Act like you are my woman the way I try to be your man. And do it now. You do not get a week or a month or a year. I am out of time. I can't wait on this any longer. If you want me here, hold me here with your own two arms.
If you can't hold me, then I won't stay.