Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Justice

You know, I was talking to a friend last night about all this mess I've been going through lately, particularly the threats Riin made recently (see Tactical Alert). I was ranting about how, in this day and age, even the best of men can't even try to patch things up in a damaged relationship anymore because, if the woman starts yelling "Stalker! Stalker!" he's labeled as one immediately whether he deserves the label or not. My friend's response made me pause:

As far as society is concerned, if a person feels harassed, they are. It doesn't matter if it's true or not. When it comes to stuff like this, you're guilty until proven innocent.

"Guilty until proven innocent." Hearing those words sent shivers up my spine, not only because they were so true, but because this is exactly the kind of crap that Riin usually rants about. She goes so far as to call our culture "Mentally Ill" and even has a section of her blog dedicated to rants about society's woes.

I can't believe she's actually using a flaw in our culture to get her way. Seems a bit hypocritical to me...

If Riin were here, at this juncture she'd undoubtedly point out, "Well, I grew up in this culture. It's hard not to be affected by it." She's said that to me before. OK... but that doesn't make it right.

"Guilty until proven innocent" is the motto under which the Salem witch trials were conducted. The Salem witch trials are considered one of the universal historical examples of what happens when people are falsely accused of crimes and are assumed guilty without giving their side a fair hearing. McCarthyism is another, more recent historical example of the same dangerous mindset.

Both McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials do have one thing in common. Both started as a result of problems in society which society in general was afraid of. As public fear of these problems continued to build, a mob mentality developed. Eventually, people got so scared of witches and communists that they wanted to get rid of them now, so they stopped taking the time to find out the truth...

In effect, society wanted to get rid of these problems so badly that swift punishment became more important than whether the party was guilty or not. In the process, many innocent people were swept away in the tide (like these victims of McCarthyism, for example).

How can I, or any man in my situation for that matter, ever hope to get a fair chance to express a viewpoint if it means being labelled the "bad guy" before word one?

Right now, it would seem that my options are extremely limited, as much by society as by her. I have no choice right now but to back off. I have not given up on Riin. I need to make that clear. I still think the Riin I fell in love with is inside that "swirling mass" in her head somewhere. I just need to reach her. At this moment in time, however, there is no way for me to do that. She, and society, have slammed her door with an adamant bang.

I guess I can only hope that either she eventually sees the truth on her own, or that someone she trusts can help her see it.

Either way, my door will remain (cautiously) open to her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tactical Alert!

Normally, I don't publish people's private correspondence without their permission. However, as this particular correspondence doesn't contain anything particularly private, I'll make an exception.

I just got the following E-mail from Riin when I got home from work tonight:

Subject: Re: Sorry
Date: March 20, 2007 10:52:04 AM ADT

On Mon, March 19, 2007 10:53 pm, John A. Ardelli wrote:

> I'm sorry if my comment to your blog offended you in some way. It
> wasn't meant to. I genuinely just want to let you know I'm here if you
> need me.
> I love you.

Look, you need to understand I don't need you. I don't love you anymore.
I told you to get out of my life. I don't want you to contact me anymore.
Don't call me. Don't email me. Don't put comments on my blog. If you
continue to do so even though I've told you not to, it's harassment. It's
classic stalker behavior. Stop it or I'll call the police.

I'm publishing this here because I am firm in my belief that I did not deserve it. Yes, of course I was trying hard to reach her, but I wasn't bombarding her with messages. According to my archives, I've only sent her five E-mails, including the two quoted here, since March 6. In none of those messages did I make any kind of threat against her. All I did was talk about how all this was making me feel and encourage her to contact me if she wanted. That's it.

Yes, I was leaving comments on her blog. Why not? Her blog is public space and, until tonight, she never told me not to. She removed two of them (where I actually told her I loved her), but other than that, she left them up. I had no way of knowing she didn't want me to comment at all.

Yes, I did E-mail several people she knew, trying to find help reaching her, but each person, unless they replied, was only E-mailed once. I wasn't bombarding people with E-mails, either.

I don't deny any of that. My point is, none of it, IMHO, justified threatening me with police action. None of my E-mails or postings to her blog were threatening in any way. I don't threaten people because I don't hurt people. I don't even have a criminal record of any kind, and that's why. Anyone who knows me knows it's not in my nature to hurt or threaten people. All I was trying to do is express how I was feeling, and we all have a right to do that.

I keep archives of all my correspondence. If anyone would like to see the E-mails themselves, I'll be happy to provide them and you can see for yourself. There's very little in them I haven't already said in the blog here, anyway.

It's important that all this be public record because there is a potential problem: before I got the above E-mail, I sent her a gift from Amazon. By the time I got this, it had already shipped. I just sent her this E-mail to explain:

Subject: FINAL E-mail... but URGENT
Date: March 20, 2007 7:46:38 PM ADT

I will abide by your wishes.

However, be advised, I ordered you a gift on Sunday BEFORE I got your E-mail. It's ALREADY SHIPPED. No FURTHER gifts will be sent, but THAT one I CANNOT stop (I tried).

Please acknowledge (given your threat, I need to make SURE you're aware of this).

John A. Ardelli

So, in case she calls the police when she gets that E-mail (or the package), I can just point them to this posting.

I'd like to say I still love her... but I don't know. I still love who I thought she was... but the woman I thought she was would never hurt me like this... maybe the woman I loved... never existed... :(

I guess only time will tell. If it turns out that the loving Riin Gill I fell in love with never existed, well... I guess I'll have to grieve the death of a dream and move on. If she does exist, and some day returns realizing she made a mistake, well... I'm still willing to talk this out but, after this experience, I'm going to polarize the hull plating first... my heart can't withstand another direct, undefended hit like that... :(

I only wish I could hold her in my arms, just one last time... :(

As Forrest Gump always says: "That's all I have to say about that."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Evolution of Understanding

Often, in any situation where things get really screwed up (like what's happening between Riin and I now), I often wonder what I'd do with a time machine. If I could go back in time to before this mess happened and give advice to Riin on how to handle or avoid it, what would I say?

The irony is, when I thought about it, it occurred to me... even if I had a time machine, if I ran into Riin in the past, I probably would tell her to do exactly what she's been doing.

Yes. That's right. I would have told her to put me through all this. Not that I would have advised her to leave me per se. What I would have advised her was to make me believe she was leaving me, even if she had to lie to do it. Why? Because breaking away from me completely was probably the only way I was ever going to gain enough distance to see what she was trying so hard to tell me.

I was looking through my postings over the last few days and realized that my feelings about, and understanding of, this situation has gone through quite an evolution.

First, I Think I'll Eat Some Cookies. This posting started life as a comment to Riin's original blog entry announcing our breakup. At that point, I was too consumed with the sense of unfairness of the situation and felt I had a right to voice my point of view. When Riin took the comment off her blog, I turned it into this blog entry. I was also desperately trying to reach her, E-mailing and talking to everyone I could think of I thought might be able to help me.

Because I was so caught up in how unjust I thought Riin was being, that posting basically just screamed, NO FAIR, NO FAIR, NO FAIR!!! The whole thing just kept chastising her because she wouldn't talk to me and she is giving up too soon. No wonder Riin didn't want to keep it on her blog. Who wants to be chastised in public on their own blog? :(

When I read the posting now, I can't help but feel bad about it. Not that it comes off as mean per se, but it doesn't say anything positive, either. It goes on and on and on about "I made this mistake and she made that one etc." I was so focussed on making my points that I didn't stop to think that shoving someone's mistakes in their face does not encourage constructive discussion. I know. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, collected the beenie baby...

In fairness to Riin, I wasn't thinking of her when I was thinking about all the times my mistakes were thrown in my face. I was thinking of experiences growing up. I love my uncle and my late grandmother, but they spent a lot more time telling me what was wrong with me than what was right. It got to the point where I eventually wouldn't show anything I did to Nana, particularly if I was proud of it, because I knew she'd just find fault with it...

So I can understand how she felt, and why she didn't want to keep my comments on her blog. In fact, if she was to tell me now that she wants me to take that blog posting down, I would do it without hesitation. In fact, the only reason I'm keeping it now is to keep the link to it in this posting live so people coming into this blog for the first time can see what I'm talking about. But if she asked me to take it down now, I would.

One interesting thing that appears in that entry, though. I said, "I don't think there's any hope of her moving here anymore." Even then, I think my mind was trying to tell me what the real problem was, but again I couldn't see it. I still thought that she didn't want to move to Canada because she was fighting with me. It never occurred to me that it might be the other way around... not at that point...

Anyway, the day after I wrote that posting, I saw Shut Up & Sing at the Cape Breton Island Film Series. It was all about the events that provided the genesis for Dixie Chicks' "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." I'd heard the song on many occasions and always loved the melody, but it wasn't until I heard it in the movie, when my attention was focused directly on the song and its lyrics, that I realized how much the lyrics reminded me of this situation with Riin...

That provided the inspiration for my next posting, "It's Like The Dixie Chicks Said." In a way, the song provides the transition from my first level of understanding to the next. The song starts out talking about being pissed off and not being able to see past ones anger to "make nice." Then, the song asks the question: "Why can't you just get over it?" Riin asked me virtually the same question, so that got me pondering that.

When I started exploring my feelings, I realized that the main reason I can't get over Riin is because of how much I've evolved and improved as a person since I've known her. That's the point when I realized that that was what I should have been focusing on from the beginning. No one wants to stay in a relationship that's full of nothing but mistakes, but if a relationship actually benefits you, that's worth staying in.

So I started thinking about all the things that Riin has improved about herself with my encouragement and guidance. The tone of this posting from that point on was like night and day compared to the last one. I'd gone from talking about what was wrong with the relationship and finally started to talk about what was right with it.

I came away from that feeling pretty good, relatively speaking. I was (and still am) still miserable without Riin, but at least now I feel like, if and when she talks to me again, there is a way forward that might actually put us on the road to healing. That was a good feeling.

Then came the night when I was browsing Riin's blog and decided on a whim to click on her "100 Things" list and I saw the statement she made about how she doesn't want to move to Canada because, however she felt about the United States, "after living [in Ann Arbor] for 19 years, it’s home."

That hit me like a ton of bricks. My mood immediately crashed. That's what she tried to tell me that night, and I was too consumed in a forest fire of panic to hear what she was saying.

Normally, when Riin and I have a conflict over something that's been bothering her for a long time, I generally say to her, "Well, why didn't you just tell me?" Well, I can't tell her that this time. She did tell me... and I didn't hear her. :(

That is why I wouldn't change anything, at least up to this point, if I had a time machine. I needed the shock of all this to see the truth. As I've said, when there is a problem, I tend to grab on like a dog on a bone and won't let go until it's solved. In the process, sometimes I get so close to a situation that I can no longer see the big picture.

If I had a time machine, what I would do is tell Riin to leave me for a while then, when I'm ready, give us a chance. I won't say "another" chance, because that implies restoring our relationship to the way it was, including her plans to move to Canada. No. I would suggest she give us a chance to build a new relationship which is meant to be long distance. No more plans to move. Just enjoy each other's love and, when we have the chance, our company.

Of course, if I had a time machine, maybe I'd go back in time and warn myself about all this before it happens in the first place. I'd say to myself:

"She's going to tell you she doesn't want to move to Canada. It's not because she doesn't love you. It's just that, after 19 years of living in Ann Arbor, it's home to her now. I know this hurts you because I know you've been looking forward to her moving here, but remember that you never expected her to move in the beginning. Just because she's not moving doesn't mean she loves you any less. She doesn't have to live with you to love you."

If I didn't listen to myself, then I'd go back to Riin and tell her to pretend to leave me, then come back when I finally figured out the truth on my own.

If only the breakup were only a lie to smarten me up. I usually hate it when someone lies to me, but since there was no other way to teach me, that's one lie I would forgive...

Unfortunately, I don't have a time machine. I can't warn myself, and Riin meant it when she left me.

I would give anything right now to talk to her. I think mostly she left me because she thought, if she stayed with me, it meant she'd have to leave Ann Arbor. I wish so much I could tell her now she doesn't. I'll love her, and will always love her, whether she lives 2500 meters away, or 2500 kilometers way.

I know we can't be together forever,
Our worlds forever apart,
But I'm willing to wait by the gate to her world
For the strength of love in my heart.

I'll always be near that gate, Riin, waiting for you to visit... or waiting for my chance to visit you. In the times in between, my love, that special place in my heart for you, will always be here.

You know, when I think back, I realize that most of the stress that was causing me to lash out at you was over your move to Canada. Now that I've accepted the fact that you will not be moving, I no longer feel that stress. All my anger is gone. All I have left now is the pain in my soul. A piece of my soul is missing. It's the piece you took with you when you left.

I know you have no reason to trust me right now, but I'm reaching out to you. Please, let me help you heal your pain, just like I did three years ago when we met, and fell in love for the first time. Now that I'm free of my resentment and anger, I'm free to be the man you fell in love with again.

I'm not asking you to give me another chance. I'm asking you to give us a chance at a whole new relationship. Somehow, our old relationship became all about the move. It should have never been about the move. It should have been, as all good relationships are, about the love.

You don't have to leave home, Riin. Ann Arbor is your home. But, your heart also has a home... here in my heart, with me.

Your body is home... and your heart's home is all warm and ready for you, when it's ready to return...

I love you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dawn Tomorrow

I'm not sure what it was, but something made me look at Riin's "100 things" list last night. I'm not sure why. I hardly ever look at it. I already know her so well that, when I do look at it, I just keep thinking, "I knew that... yeah, I knew that, too..." Since I had no reason to think she had changed anything in it, I'm not sure what made me go to it now. But I did.

As I skimmed to the bottom, I spotted these:

96 For years it has seemed to me that the US government has been trying to turn the US into a third world country. When the events of Abu Ghraib were made public, I felt I could no longer live in the US and started looking into how I could move to Canada.
97 After I finally saved almost enough money to apply for permanent residence, I realized I really didn’t want to leave Ann Arbor. After living here for 19 years, it’s home.

The latter one made me profoundly sad, but not because I was sorry Riin wasn't moving to Canada. It makes me sad because only now am I realizing she said that to me, almost word for word, that awful night she broke up with me... and I didn't hear her. Not at all. I was too consumed with my own pain to hear what she was trying so hard to tell me. :(

The thing was, for three years I'd been looking forward to the day she moved here to be with Lisa and I. It was just too much for me to take in all at once. I got overwhelmed and panicked. To make matters worse, Riin tried to tell me she was sorry, because she knew how much what she was saying was hurting me. Instead of accepting her apology, I lashed out at her. I accused her of throwing away our love.

But it wasn't about our love at all. It was about the prospect of having to abandon everything she knows.

I wish there was some way to tell her how sorry I really am for hurting her like I did... :(

While I was thinking about this at work today, I couldn't help feeling like I'd somehow spent all this time trying to stuff Riin into a jar or a cage...

The moment that thought occurred to me, an image of a beautiful elfin woman imprisoned in a cage suddenly came to me. As I mentioned in my previous post, Rage Against the Chains, a vivid image like that generally heralds a poem to come pouring out of me. Still sitting at my station on the dialing floor, I grabbed a pen and paper and started scribbling furiously. This is what ultimately came out:

Dawn Tomorrow

A Poem by John A. Ardelli

A piece of my heart is lost in her world,
And it brings me joy, not sorrow,
For the door to the world where my wood nymph lives
Opens at dawn tomorrow.

The beautiful nymph came to my world
And wanted to stay with me.
She wanted to be at one with my world
So our beautiful love could be.

But as she toiled to cast the spell to leave
Forever her beautiful land,
A pain in her heart began to grow.
A pain I could not understand.

Afraid that her love for me was dying,
I built a cage to keep her with me.
I kept her there, trapped behind bars,
Where her spirit could not roam free.

The longer I kept her away from her world,
The weaker her body became
Until the day I began to see that my nymph
Was simply no longer the same.

Her spirit had withered without the warmth
Of the golden sun of her home.
Weaker and weaker she soon became
As I denied nymph her right to roam.

In time, she became so weak and so frail
She no longer had strength to stand.
I reached into the cage to offer her love,
But she would no longer take my hand.

Finally, I knew what I should have known.
I should have seen it before.
She needs the golden sun of her home,
Or her heart will cease to beat more.

But before I could open the door
To her cage and set the nymph free,
She slipped through the bars, opened the gate to her world,
And ran away from me.

I looked at the cage where I had kept my nymph,
And I felt so profoundly sad.
My love, for her, was not enough.
I did not understand what I had.

The cage for my nymph is there no more.
I had it taken away.
A beautiful home now stands in its place
Where she is welcome to stay.

The door of the home has no lock.
When she wishes, she can always roam free.
Will she consider it a second home?
I can only wait and see.

If she does not come back, when the door to her world
Next opens, I'm packed to go there.
If she does not come, I need to know
If her heart has died of despair.

I cannot let my sweet wood nymph die.
Was it too late to set her free?
I must know if she is safe in her world.
She means everything to me.

I know we can't be together forever,
Our worlds forever apart,
But I'm willing to wait by the gate to her world
For the strength of love in my heart.

A piece of my heart is lost in her world,
And it brings me joy, not sorrow,
For the door to the world where my wood nymph lives
Opens at dawn tomorrow.

For Riin Gill
March 13, 2007

When I read it all the way through the first time, I burst into tears. It felt so right. Whether I meant to or not, that's what I've been doing to Riin all along: keeping her in a cage.

It was originally Riin's idea to move to Canada. When we first fell in love, I expected our relationship would always be long distance. The problem was, I was so delighted when Riin said she wanted to move to Canada that I ignored the warning bells that went off in the back of my mind. I think, even in those early days, I knew it wouldn't ultimately happen, but I wanted it to happen so much that I ignored the warnings and encouraged her to do it...

The problem is, after three years of planning for this to happen, I began to think of Riin's coming to Canada as a reflection of how much she loves me. So, when I began to see her resolve to move here start to dissolve, I thought it was her love for me that was dissolving. But it wasn't. Like the wood nymph in the poem, she loved me but she couldn't live a happy life if she left everything she knew behind...

I wrote her an E-mail about this last night. The problem is, I'm not even sure if she's even reading my E-mails right now. I've sent her two since the night she broke up with me, and she has yet to respond to either. For all I know, she may have deleted them without reading them at all. That's why I've been talking about us on the blog so often lately. At least this way, I can put messages out there where she can always come and look at them when she's ready.

Besides. When I state something here, I'm not just stating it to her. I'm stating it, in effect, to the whole world. When I was a child, I'd sometimes try to cover up my mistakes. I never wanted to admit I was wrong. When I make a mistake as an adult, however, I aspire to have enough maturity to be able to stand up and say to the whole world: "Hey. I screwed up. I admit it." That's probably the best reason of all to state my case here in my blog.
I made no mistake falling in love with Riin Gill. She's one of the most beautiful, wonderful people I've ever had the honor to know in my life. My mistake came when I lost sight of the fact that it was Riin Gill's love, not her physical presence, that was the most precious thing about her.

I fell in love with her when she was 2500 km away with no prospects of ever coming here for a visit, never mind move here... and I can still love her, even if she has to stay 2500 km away... because, as beautiful a woman as Riin is, it is her heart in which my love lies, not her body.

Ann Arbor is Riin's home. I accept that. All I really want is her love.

Now, if I ever do find it getting too hard to be so far away from her, I could always move to Windsor. It's right on the Michigan border. I wouldn't even have to deal with immigrating. So long as I had a passport, I could go over and visit her whenever I wanted. Lisa's always wanted to live in a bigger city, anyway. :)

I just want Riin's love back. I miss her. If I have to reconcile myself to the fact that she will always be far away, I'd rather that... than live life without her at all.

Riin, if you're reading this... I'm here whenever you're ready to talk.

I love you.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's Like The Dixie Chicks Said

You know, there's a song by The Dixie Chicks I've been listening to a lot lately: "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." The Chicks wrote it as an autobiographical song about all the trouble they've been in since they said they were ashamed that George Bush was from their home state of Texas. When I hear it, however, I could swear they were thinking of Riin and I.

This is pretty much what Riin tells me when I try to get her to talk to me:

I'm not ready to make nice

And this is pretty much how I feel when she refuses to talk this out with me:

I'm not ready to back down

They could be talking about either one of us here. We're both pretty angry and sick of rehashing it:

I'm still mad as hell
And I don't have time
To go round and round and round

This, in a nutshell, is pretty much exactly what Riin told me the night of that awful phone call:

It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is
You think I should

If Riin was here, this is what I'd say to her:

I know you said
Why can't you just get over it,
It turned my whole world around
and I kind of like it

Yes, Riin, you've turned my whole world around, and I do like it. I'm a radically different person from the one I was when you met me three years ago, and I like who I've become, and who I am becoming, because of you. You bring out the best in me.

I can almost hear your response to that: "But you bring out the worst in me."

Well, that's true. I can't deny it. Sometimes I do, and sometimes you bring out the worst in me, too. When two people are really passionate about each other, that's inevitable. It's Human nature. When we were together, though, I think we brought out the best in each other far more often, and in much more lasting ways, than we brought out the worst.

Look at all the wonderful things that have happened to you since we've been together:

You used to say, until you met me, you didn't believe that the feeling of love truly existed. Through us, you discovered it for the first time.

You took action to take control of your life, getting out of an unhealthy marriage and pursuing your own happiness for once.

You stopped just sitting around and waiting for things to happen, then doing whatever came along. You made plans. You set goals, and you worked towards those goals. Your life finally acquired direction.

As an offshoot of the new direction in your life, you discovered your true calling, Happy Fuzzy Yarn, and built it up from a struggling web page to a growing on-line business to be proud of (and I'm so proud of what you've done with it).

Those are just the big changes. There have been lots of little changes as well. You ended up getting a whole new bike as you learned the advantages of EZ-Fire shifters, suspension, high pressure tires and lightweight bikes. You've learned to remember your meals when you're at work. You've learned how to effectively manage an E-mail group, making the survival of Ken Kifer's Bicycling Advoacy possible.

You learned what it's like to be truly loved.

All of these things, big and small, are good things that our love has brought out in you.

Our three years together have changed the course of both our lives. I think what we have together is worth fighting for.

When you decided to end us, I made a mistake. I panicked and lashed out, criticizing you for all the mistakes you've made in our relationship, and tried to push you into talking to me about our issues. Now is not the time for issues. What I should have done was show you all the wonderful things you've done in our relationship, and the wonderful ways in which you've improved as a Human being, just as you have improved me.

The Dixie Chicks said "It's too late to make it right." That's the one thing I can't believe. Clearly, we have some obstacles to overcome... but I believe three years of love is worth overcoming them for.

However, The Dixie Chicks also said "Forgive, sounds good/Forget, I'm not sure I could." Riin, we must learn to forgive the mistakes we've made that hurt each other, but we must not forget. We need to remember. If we forget, we'll forget the lessons our mistakes taught us.

For now, though, let's just think about the good things our love has brought us, not the pain. We have a lifetime to work through the problems. For now, we need to remember we're Human. We're going to make mistakes. That's life... but life is too short to spend it rehashing mistakes and focusing on pain.

Let's remember, together, the love that brought us to where we are today.

I love you, Riin.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Think I'll Eat Some Cookies

So. Riin has decided to end our relationship. Here's the link to her blog entry on it:

I Think I'll Eat Some Cookies

I'm not one to air my dirty laundry in public, either, but I feel I need to respond here in some fashion. So I'll talk here more about my feelings than the specifics that led to this.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that we've been having problems, but I have been very willing to work on them. The problem is, this conflict only really got serious six weeks ago. There hasn't been enough time for us to really work things out, and now Riin says she's not interested in trying anymore.

She's convinced that, because we keep fighting, that there's nothing to save. Yet, we have been getting better. Yes, we fight, but the fights have been steadily getting less and less frequent as we've made progress. Problem is, Riin tends to focus on the negative and minimize the positive (she's said so herself), so she sees the fights, but not the progress made.

The problem is, when we do try to discuss problems, it feels really one-sided to me. The discussions make me feel like I am making all the mistakes. Like Riin, I don't want to go into details here, but she, too, has made mistakes. Even though she admits that, it feels like we always end up dicussing what's wrong with me.

Worse, though, is that we never discuss what's right with me... and I know there are things about me that are right. Riin did fall in love with me and stayed in love with me for three years. I can't be all bad.

Now that she's decided to end it, she refuses to talk to me because she knows that, if she tries to explain why she's doing this, she'll end up giving in and agreeing to stay in the relationship. Since she sees nothing but problems in the relationship, she doesn't see it as worth coming back to.

For all of the mistakes I've made, though, I honestly don't think I did anything so bad that justifies ending everything. Even Riin herself said, while we were reading a book she found for me on abusive relationships, that the book wasn't of much use to us because it was written about relationships "a lot more screwed up than ours." Those were her own words. If that's true, then our relationship hasn't sank yet. I think it's premature to abandon ship now.

If I ultimately lose the fight to win her back, I can accept that... but I'm not ready to accept now that the situation is hopeless. I once had a situation with a friend which was ten times worse than this (it was stirred up by rumors started by a bunch of her "friends" until it got way out of control). Today, that person is one of my closest friends in the world. It took us many months, but we finally managed to work it out after a few months apart and a lot of talking.

If that situation was salvageable (one of my friends at the time compared it to World War III :(), certainly this one is.

I've spoken about this to several friends (I wasn't seeking advice, but so many people noticed how down I was yesterday that I finally had to tell them something so they wouldn't worry). Interestingly, they all had virtually the same advice: leave her alone. Most were convinced that, once she calmed down, she'd realize how much she missed me and change her mind. Even those who weren't so sure about that basically said, if there is any hope, you're not going to help by continuing to persue her when she's asked you not to.

The problem is, that's one of my big character flaws. I never could leave a problem unsolved. Even when I know the wisest thing to do is to back off, some part of me just keeps screaming at me that there must be something I can do...

In fact, it's probably that character flaw, more than anything else, that led us to where we are now. I tend to pressure people without even meaning to. When she decided not to move to Canada, she was still in a relationship with me then and wasn't planning to leave. She just didn't want to move here. In my panic (I've been looking forward to "bringing her home" for three years), I lost sight of the fact that she doesn't necessarily have to live here for us to love each other. After all, it was her idea originally to move here, not mine. In the beginning, I was perfectly willing to keep our relationship long distance.

I don't think there's any hope of her moving here anymore. As for whether our relationship can be reestablished, most people seem to think it can. I'm not so sure... but I'm not going to give up. Not yet.

I'm going to take the advice my friends have given me. We'll see where this goes over the next while.

Riin, I can't call you, but you can always call me. If you want to talk about anything, just call. I'm here.

I love you.