My boyfriend and I have been together for 3.5 years. We are from the same city in the U.S. and about two years ago, he moved to Nigeria for a work assignment. We made it work because he visited four or five times a year. Last summer, it was my turn to go abroad. I was offered a unique experience to do humanitarian work in East Africa. It was only a temporary contract, but I went because of the rich experience I would surely gain. I took a risk to come, quitting my job, leaving friends and a place I called home for so long. My boyfriend was supportive of this endeavor. He said many times he was proud of me. We continued to talk every day, and he was extra attentive because he was in my shoes of moving halfway around the world not too long ago.
So, we were finally on the same continent again. In February, we finally met in South Africa. It was our first time seeing each other since I had left the U.S. in July. The catch was that it was only for two days. We both had busy schedules and decided to give it a try anyway and meet up even for a few hours. The first day was very nice. It's always nice when you reunite. We went to the spa together and had lunch and dinner together while walking around Johannesburg. We had nice moments. At the dawn of the second day, I could already feel the pressure mounting, the feeling that time was not on our side. On the contrary, my boyfriend has always been the type of person who believes they have all the time in the world.
So, he woke up early and left me for a few hours to play golf. That was ok with me. I had supported his love of the game and had also grown up on a golf course myself. I had learned upon his return that the subsequent plans of the day were to go shopping. I was to leave later that night. It was the fact that he didn't have anything special planned that bothered me. I grew upset. To me, he was throwing away a day, prioritizing everything else (his hobbies and chores) and not wanting to spend quality time with me.
To him, we were an old couple and he expected that we'd be doing more mundane things together. I got so angry to the point that I refused to shop with him, choosing to stay at the hotel, because after all I came to see him not to go shopping. We fought. He said nothing makes me happy. He suggested I needed to work on me for a while and not be so focused on our relationship, not be so obsessed with it. We both know we've worked hard especially with the distance to make things work. I cried. We didn't part angrily. We actually mended things, or so I thought. We kissed each other goodbye.
In the following few days, we exchanged the usual texts to see how each other's days were going, etc. I thought we dodged a bullet and avoided a break. On the fourth day, he just stopped communicating. I didn't know what was going on. At first I was calm about it, telling him that if this is a break we're taking, he can take the time he needs to clear his head. He never responded to any of my texts. There were many days where I felt so bogged down with sadness, but I didn't let it affect my work. I certainly had enough going on around me to be distracted. I don't feel I let my work suffer because of what was going on in my personal life. I was actually pretty good at keeping it private, but that came at the expense of suffering in silence and bottling up so that I spent many nights at home crying. I hadn't told anyone about what happened.
Days turned into weeks and into months. We had never gone this long without communicating. We had a brief break right before he moved to Nigeria since he was unsure of the long distance, and it lasted for a month. This time, it's been four months. Waaaay too long. Not a peep from him. The man who was my best friend and confidant was gone. Actually, I didn't know what happened to him. Were we officially broken up? I was in the the dark. If it was a breakup, there was no closure, no definite green light to go ahead with my life. What was worse was that it seemed he abandoned me. This has been the most trying time of my life... being thousands of miles away from home, living in incredibly frustrating circumstances, and having to face big challenges everyday... and he wasn't there.
I continued to text him even though I wouldn't get answers. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing he didn't block me. I made up excuses for him. Maybe he was giving us time to work on ourselves. He had a job search to think about with the upcoming return to the U.S. coming up in September and the whole idea of moving again. Maybe he was dealing with his kid's issues. He definitely was busy and didn't have time to deal with the standards I set for this relationship. At the three month mark, I started to become angrier. I went from thinking he just needed space to thinking he GHOSTED me. How could he leave without saying a word after almost four years together? More negative feelings began to take over. In my mind, he had already made up his and wasn't going to come back. Perhaps he had already moved on to the next woman, even with three months left in his assignment.
I sent him angry texts accusing him of abandonment and being callous. At the same time, I made pleas, saying what I wanted from him. I said I only wanted to be closer to him and be more of a priority. I have spent the last few days feeling empty, feeling like my life has no direction. The life I dreamt with him would be left unrealized. At the same time, I have been pushing my stubborn self to let go. If he doesn't have the decency to communicate and if he is aware of the suffering he's putting you through, why put up with it? Giving the benefit of the doubt is why I'm still here. I don't have closure. I don't really know what happened. My contract is also up in August. I am now navigating my next steps. It can be a scary experience, feeling like you're free-floating with no direction in life. It's incredibly lonely here at this post, far from home and from friends and family. His presence would make things a lot better, but I know the burden is on my shoulders and no one else's.