A few weeks ago, Eric told me that he had figured out a way download all the text messages we’ve ever sent each other. And today, he FINALLY gave me the PDF containing every.single.one. of our text messages. Well, almost every text. There’s about eight months missing between October 2009 and July 2010. Unfortunately that includes his text message where he thought he was accidentally telling me “I love you” for the first time. But in fact, he had told me two weeks earlier, over margaritas. The tequila just made him forget.
Regardless, I am so happy to have this piece of our history. Because we texted A LOT. Our relationship has been a roller coaster ride of high, highs, and low, lows.
Not only was reading back through the text messages from our relationship a nice distraction to the impending start to our hike, it also brought me right back to 2009. The emotions I felt back then all came rushing back. I remember the pain and uncertainty, the longing to be with Eric, all while wanting to run far away in the other direction.
One of the things that stood out the most with the text messages was how much I talked about running away. My text messages were overflowing with restlessness in those first few months.
I was 25. My wanderlust cut me to my core. I thought I need to run from something in order to find what I thought I was looking for. I didn’t run. I stayed in DC, but not for Eric. At the time, I didn’t think there was a place for an Eric in my life. I thought he was just a phase. But there was something that drew me to him, he affected me, and it scared the hell out of me. Those first eight months after meeting Eric were torturous. Every day I felt like my gut was being ripped apart with unknowingly. As much as I wanted to run, there was a huge part of me that wanted stay and experience everything with him.
Our history is complicated. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t. I find myself wondering where we would be if we had, had a “normal” start. But then I guess I we wouldn’t be us.
After re-reading some of the tougher text messages to get through – the ones where we are going back and forth about how we’ve wronged and hurt each other, I can feel myself letting go of some of the anger I’ve been carrying since then. It’s an interesting thing to be able to do – read your relationship’s history – the best of the best and the worst of the worst all in one sitting. We’ve evolved so much. He’s changed. I’ve changed. We’ve changed together, for the better. It’s all here in these 1,577 pages.
As Eric and I lay on the hotel bed, on our sides, facing each other, we had the first 100% honest conversation about some the transgressions of our relationship. We didn’t skirt around any of the issues like we usually do. We talked about how much he hurt me, he opened up to me about how broken he felt for the ways he hurt me, and that he never felt like he could tell me because it was unfair that he was hurting. Although the things we were discussing are far off in our past, it feels good to have this conversation. Looking at him, across from me, his head on the pillow, hair tussled, I know I love this man.
I tell him I’m glad we made it through everything, that I didn’t run from any of it. That in this moment, I love him more than I’ve ever loved him. He tells me I’m the most important thing in his life. I can see in his eyes how much he means it.
Life is so complicated. I used to think things were black and white. I thought there were things relationships could never recover from. Since we’ve been in premarital therapy for almost a year now, I now think relationships can overcome a lot, with work and dedication. There have been moments where I don’t know how Eric and I have survived all the things we have – there have been plenty of moments where one of us has almost let it all slip away.
Right before Lourdes died was one of those moments. We were on a one-way path to misery, each of us pushing the other one away. When she passed away, and we went home, I thought it would be a good idea for us to go to therapy together as a way to figure out how to navigate the loss of Eric’s Mom. Eric agreed. With our own relationship pain and suffering put on pause from the grief of losing Lourdes, we started intense premarital therapy, sometimes going twice a week. For the first time ever, we dealt with things. We laid it all out there, raw and open, and we start to heal as individuals and as a couple. I have no doubt that it saved our relationship. Sometimes, I can’t help but think in some way, Lourdes gave us a gift. It feels wrong to think that, because I wish she were still here. It’s hard to think about how two seemingly unrelated things could affect each other. I miss her. I wish that there was a way for her to still be here, and for Eric and I to be in the place we are with our relationship. But I realize that’s just something we can never know. So instead I think about how her death gave our relationship a re-birth. I think about how she is no longer suffering. And when I think about how much it sucks that she died, I also think about those two things, and I am grateful for them.
Life is a cycle. I wasn’t ready to live the life I so wanted to be living in 2009. I could’ve run, but I didn’t. In part because I was too scared. But because of that fear, I fell in love with Eric. And here we are doing the things we sent countless text messages to each other about. Except this time it doesn’t feel like running. It feels like living.
Distance: Forgot, again!
Location: Lourdes, France