Love and loss

The Rigger is a difficult man to figure out. That might be part of the reason that I love him.

As I’ve written prior to this, we were friends looooong before we were lovers and that has a huge bearing on our relationship. Yesterday he found out that a close friend of his chose to end her own life at some point on Monday. I was acquainted with this woman, and I’m saddened that she felt this was the only avenue left open to her, but my sense of loss is dwarfed by what he is feeling…and it’s causing me pain.

He’s struggling for several reasons. One of them I can understand, but not both, not completely. He has apparently not had much experience with death and grieving. In my 38 years, I’ve been to over a dozen funerals for both family and friends. I’ve had to deal with it quite a bit and know how to get through the pain of losing someone. Hell, one of those could have been stopped had I just pushed a little more and forced him to ride home with me. (That’s perhaps a story for another time.) The point is that I have learned how to get through this and he has not. It’s painful to witness.

The other reason is something that I can empathize with, but don’t fully understand. She was one of his models and he saw her as a little girl that needed to be protected and cared for. In other words, he saw himself as her father-figure. (He does that with almost every woman he knows.) Because of that, he’s seeing this as a failure on his part – he couldn’t save her from her demons even though he tried for years. He’s angry with the men that hurt her and let her down throughout her life, and he’s seeing himself as one of them. I can’t figure out how to get him to realize that her death is not his fault. I tried for hours tonight, and I don’t think it worked. I don’t know if his lack of exposure to death is what is causing the problem, or if it’s that he sees himself as a superhero when it comes to saving little girls.

At one point tonight, in between the two times he shed tears briefly, I asked him if he saw me as one of those girls he feels obligated to protect. Thankfully, he said no, and told me that it’s part of the reason he is with me. Again, we have a relationship that is not typical for him. It’s strange for him to be with a woman that doesn’t need him, just as it’s strange for me to be involved with a man that doesn’t need me. I can’t say that I enjoy it all the time, but there is something both refreshing and terrifying about knowing that I could tell him to leave me alone for a week and he would, without questioning why. And that is exactly why it’s so hard for me to really “get” him sometimes.

I have a small amount of very close friends that I would do anything for – no questions asked. There are less than ten. The Rigger is one of those, but he never asks for anything; not even emotional support, and that perplexes me to no end. The reason I have so few close friends is because I’m not comfortable needing people. I enjoy being self-reliant (sometimes to a fault), but on the rare occasions that I do need some additional support, I know I can turn to my close friends because I’m there for them in turn. This man would never dream of asking a friend for that, but will offer it to friends and strangers alike. It’s completely selfless and I can’t help but think it must be exhausting for him.

I’m hoping that one day, I’ll understand his lack of reliance on other people. In the meantime, I’ll just continue loving him and reminding him that, should he need me, I’m there.

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