relationship | a backstory…eddie

(( this is a long one, so prepare yourself))

…it’s weird for me to write our story because i feel like it’s still so new.
it’s almost like i’m afraid of jinxing something – you know like you write about it and then it ends 😉
but it’s also not this picture-perfect thing.
something that just clicked and was immediately magic. it still isn’t always magic.
it’s hard.
it’s so dang challenging.
i over-think every. single. thing. and my heart has been tossed around and stomped on and bruised so many times that i’m doubtful and hesitant and not trusting.
but he fought.
boy did eddie fight.

(( 2014-this is the most awful picture – we felt so awkward at this event at my home with all the people around watching us, it was just…weird. )) 

so, the start of us i suppose starts back in 2014.
i had recently ended something as had eddie and we found ourselves on christian mingle.
it’s hard to meet single christian men. they are all either married, too immature, focused on other things, or hiding. i felt like i had exhausted all of my friend’s connections, i had been at my current church for a while (not that i believe you go to church to find a man, but hey, if you’re growing in Jesus and men just happen to be there…), i don’t think i would find the kind of guy for me in a bar, and there just aren’t that many options to go meet solid christian men out and about, and thankfully this was before tinder…so christian mingle it was.

i can’t remember who reached out first.
eddie has a fantastic memory so from what he says i viewed his page, carried on, and then he sent me either a smile or a message. we started messaging back and forth for a while – and then we skyped – which was hilarious because his laptop is from the dark ages and made this HIDEOUS loud sound the whole time. when we finally decided to meet we grabbed coffee at my favorite spot and started walking and talking. three hours later my feet were a little numb and my voice a little scratchy – but it was a great first get-to-know-you meeting.

we spent the next 4ish months lounging, chatting, watching tv, and going on one “official date” to a comedy mystery theater. we didn’t do too many things “out” and instead spent a lot of time just chatting and getting to know each other – i think this was really beneficial, but it also set a tone of a lack-luster pursuit – and if i’m honest it kind of made it feel like all the other relationships before him. we were never official and we hit this weird patch where we needed to “make a decision”.
i remember so much of that night.
we sat on opposite ends of my couch and i just let him talk.
it boiled down to him not really “feeling us” in a romantic way and just wanted to stay friends.
i remember telling him that i didn’t think that was the right decision but i would respect it.
that night did feel like a weight was lifted – we had been dancing around this awkward tension for a while and just to have an answer on where we stood, even if i didn’t agree with it, felt oddly comforting.
i remember i cried after he left.
my roommate and a few friends brought me sweet “break-up” type treats.
and we didn’t chat for a while.
we slowly started communicating again and built our friendship back.
we mostly texted and rarely saw each other, but there was definitely a bond between us.

he started dating someone.
she seemed really sweet and had a genuine heart.
every time he would talk about her i felt this odd pang of something i wouldn’t necessarily call it jealousy, but it was definitely something along those lines. he started falling for her and i think even used the “L-Word” towards her ;). i was totally expecting them to get married. there were a few flags on their relationship that seemed a little off to me, but i didn’t think i knew everything so, why get super invested.
all of a sudden they broke up.
i don’t remember the whole reasoning behind it – but i knew he was a little crushed.

the next few months are a blur.
we started chatting more, he started his profile back up on christian mingle, i helped him pick out new shirts for a date here and there with other people, we went and saw fast and furious 7, and started hanging out more. i remember towards the end of last summer he started acting weird.
i would catch him staring at me longer than he used to. his touches and hugs would linger, and he was intentional when he spent time with me.
then he was gone for a month or so because of his promotion within the navy and all of the training that came along with it.
for the most part of last year i was also in this weird place with someone else.
i was constantly trying to figure out how i felt towards them and them towards me, and it was just hard. (to put it into context)

when his chief season was over we were hanging out what seemed like all the time.
when there was spare time – we were spending it together.
eddie even started helping me out with some house projects i had been putting off.
i went up to see the guy i had been figuring things out with and we were going to “be exclusive”.
i went to the chief navy ball with eddie.
the guy backed out of the “being exclusive” like a day later.
i was very sad. and eddie was there for me (he tells me now how frustrated he was during this time).
around my birthday month he kept acting like we needed to talk about something – and i just a.v.o.i.d.e.d because let’s keep it real – i didn’t want to have that conversation.
and then we finally did.
he told me he started having feelings for me again – and that they were out of the blue and he didn’t know what to do. i remember sitting there, attempting to keep my breathing normal and internally freaking out. somehow the words fell out of my mouth “well, i’m not going to entertain the idea until you figure out what it is you want, and when you figure that out i’ll start seeing how i feel about it.” – harsh right? geeze…i just really didn’t want to think about any of it, i think i was afraid of it all to be honest.

so we just continued on.
he helped me with projects.
we got closer.
we held hands here and there, and even kissed (yes, gah, blurred the lines).
eddie then got orders to leave for Maine in january instead of fall/winter of 2016 like he was originally told and this sent him into a tail-spin; he suddenly had to face his feelings for me because he was leaving. we were working on some sandwich board signs one night when he said “remember our conversation about how i was feeling about us?” and my stomach dropped “yes” i replied.
he went on to tell me that he didn’t want to put me through trying to figure things out with him leaving so soon. so we could just see where we stood when he got back in two years – if we were both still single” so that’s what we were going to do.
so on we went.
during this time eddie started having panic attacks.
he would get so anxious and freak out and he told me some of it – but never fully admitted they were about me until i confronted him about it. he was battling with telling me how he really felt towards me vs not saying anything at all. and one night he just laid it all out there. he told me how much he liked me, how it came so unexpectedly and how he had been praying about it and felt like we were to give it a shot. how he knew it was from the Lord because he wasn’t looking for anything between us, and had truly seen me as only a friend.

there was this internal battle with me.
i still had feelings for this other person (who i was still talking to), and i didn’t know how to even begin to think about my feelings for eddie. there were many, and i do mean many, nights where we just kind of cried together. i was so torn (and have never, ever been in this position) and i had no idea what to do. and what did eddie do? he pursued me so hard. he brought me books, movies, candles, etc. i remember one night i came home to a load of firewood and hot tea sitting on my front porch for me to enjoy a fire on a cold night. he would drive 30 miles to my house and 30 miles back to his to bring me movies and things when i was sick, he showed up on my lunch breaks to walk and talk with me. he texted me reminders and funny gifs. he poured his heart into me while i ran.

there was a time we were working on re-doing the back hallway and things just go so tense.
he was holding all of this stuff in while i was trying to figure out how i felt towards the other guy and towards eddie and he just broke. he said he needed to go for a walk and pray, he was gone for over an hour; i just cried and painted the trim while he was gone. it was really, really hard. and maybe it isn’t coming across that way through the computer screen, but i remember many nights laying in bed with tears in my eyes because i just couldn’t see the next step. i didn’t know WHAT the next step was and i was so conflicted in my feelings with two different people. Eddie’s feelings towards me came out of the blue for him – but they also hit me like a baseball bat between the eyes. we had been friends for so long that the idea of something else (especially after he previously shut it down) took a long time to begin to sink in.

i finally planned a trip to go see the other guy.
i needed to know how i felt towards him and where we actually stood with each other.
i needed to stop playing on this weird field of “i have feelings for you, but i may have feelings for this other person too.”
a few nights (or it could have been the night) before i left was a comedic horror film.
eddie came over and changed my oil for the drive (yes, knowing where i was going, he still did it).
we ended up having to make 3 trips to walmart, and he changed my oil in the dark, and he was so beyond angry and frustrated.
i remember sitting in his truck sobbing to him.
telling him how sorry i was that i just didn’t know – that i just couldn’t figure it out.
deep within my heart i loved eddie, but i was so frustrated and confused and torn that i couldn’t sort it out. we cried together for a long time that night. i felt like i drug him through hell – and he will admit that i basically did.

after my trip to see the other person and put things into perspective (aka just staying friends) i had true closure and clarity for that situation. now i could actually address how i felt towards eddie.
i couldn’t open a new book before the old one was closed, and put away. the more i prayed (and had other people pray) about how i felt towards eddie the more i realized one thing: i was scared.
i was scared that he would leave.
that he was leaving (his orders to move to maine got moved back to may 1st).
that he would get sick of me.
that he would stop loving me.
that he would hate who i really was once he knew more about me.
i was scared of how i felt towards him.
did i like him like that – how could i? we had been friends for so long? how do you un-friendzone someone.
and what if i did like him… that would mean a long distance relationship…and did i want to do that again? was i ready for a real relationship – one with pursuit and feelings and compromise.
was singleness something i was ready to walk away from – no matter how badly i had wanted it, it was what i really knew for the last 7 years. i was comforted by it and understood it – i didn’t understand a relationship.
it was just all so much.

i can’t remember the exact day or hangout – but there was a moment where he was watching tv and i stared at him – and my heart ached at the thought of him leaving – it was then that i made a decision.
i told him i wanted to have the conversation.
he came over one night and i had hung up 3 postcards from the ceiling for him to see right when he walked in. each one explained how thankful i was for him and his pursuit and how i was still timid and scared and unsure. i held the last card that i handed him when he walked into the den, it said simply
“…but i’m willing to try”.

and so that is how we started over.
2/1/16 we began on this journey we are walking now.
and…it’s been wonderful.
beautiful, lots of laughter, him pursuing me, me encouraging him…
…but it’s also been hard. i come with a lot of baggage – a lot of unresolved stuff and he is loving me through it while i sort it out with God and make sense of it in counseling. and he is learning how to really communicate with me.
and now we’re in this long-distance scenario and learning how that works for each other.
what each other needs and how we need to work on certain things and how to challenge each other positively and with a spiritual grounding. helping each other grow in the Lord with over 1,000 miles between us is…hard. but it’s important so we are trying to be more intentional.

that first break with him tells me so much in hind-sight.
we had so much growing to do individually.
i needed to heal and face some long-rooted demons and struggles. i had a lot of bitterness and negative views towards relationships. i needed to really sort some stuff out with God and take more time to figure out who i was. eddie had a lot of growing to do as well in that in-between time. i’m a strong personality and i think we needed to learn how to appreciate the other type of person before being where we are today.

eddie’s pursuit of me was one of the most beautiful things for me to witness – but it also came with pain. it was one of “the hardest and darkest seasons of his life” (his words, not mine). i know it was the Lord pushing him forward to pursue me, otherwise i have no idea how he stuck with it. i’ve asked him if he had times where he just wanted to give up and he has told me he wanted to give up often but he prayed, fasted, etc and the Lord always told him to keep going.

our story, it isn’t one of those “we knew, and it just worked” stories.
it is messy and hard and full of hair-pin drops and turns.
but it’s working…and it’s soothing my heart and restoring so much that has been dead for so long.
i’m learning to embrace the sappy side of myself…and i am so incredibly thankful that eddie never gave up on me. that he followed where the Lord was leading and ran fast after me while i ran fast away 😉

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