“Buon giorno amore mio!”
(“Good morning my love!”)
Mario’s face broke into a huge smile as the connection between our computers solidified and the video picture between clear. Throwing me a kiss, he started chattering away about everything that had happened since we had last spoken. After a few moments, the realization dawned that I wasn’t as actively engaged in the conversation. A look of concern passed over his face and shifting his computer so that he could better see my face he asked, “Cosa c’e’ amore?” (“What is it my love?”)
Giving him a small smile to try and ease the tension I told him quietly that I had something to tell him. Realizing that I had his full attention, I launched into my tale. As I started with how I had called Allen to tell him about the engagement I watched the smile leave his face. The tension continued to mount as the story shifted to what had happened tonight. Even as I tried to explain why I had felt that it was the right thing to do, I could see the thunderclouds growing behind his eyes.
I had been right. Mario was not happy. At all.
My voice drifted off as I finished my explanation. Silence. I could see Mario trying to control his temper, but this was testing his limits.
Finally the questions started. As Mario vented his frustrations about what had happened and the choices I had made – both the choice to reach out to Allen to tell him about the engagement and the choice to allow him to come over tonight – I could feel my hackles rising. While I could understand why Mario was upset I also stood by my decision. I loved Mario. I had no regrets about my choice to marry him. But with all my history with Allen I knew that he deserved the closure that he was so desperately seeking.
The fight continued. Our first one since he had left. As we both stubbornly held to our own positions, my misery increased. Despite my best efforts, in my desire to hurt neither of these men, I had ended up hurting both of them. A lot.
As Mario continued to talk, the conversation shifted, and suddenly the true problem was revealed. Yes, there was an element of jealousy. Mario had never liked Allen and didn’t approve of his continuous efforts to have a presence in my life. But it was more than simple jealousy.
Mario was scared.
Despite the promises we had made to each other, the ring that was on my finger and the plans that we were making, Mario worried. I was shocked. I had never seen Mario in this state. In fact, Mario had always been the more confident one in our relationship. Where was this nervousness coming from?
The insecurities started to pour out. The distance. The separation. The months before we would see each other again. Mario loved me. And he knew I loved him. But situation with Allen shone an uncomfortable spotlight on all the potential dangers inherent in a long distance relationship.
Mario and I talked long into the night (or for him, the day). Though Mario did not agree with – or understand – my actions he accepted the fact that I had felt it necessary and, more importantly, I had no intentions to hurt or betray him. As we had an open discussion about what it was going to take to get us through the months of separation with our relationship – and our sanity – in tack, I realized that the most important thing I could do for Mario over the next few months was to continuously assure him on my love and devotion. Though we didn’t know exactly what was in store for us, we knew that there would be numerous challenges, obstacles and hardships in the months ahead. We weren’t always going to agree. But the one thing that we could do was to make sure that there were never a reason for the other to doubt the love we felt for each other. That love, along with our commitment to always try and get to the bottom of any misunderstanding, would be the keys to our survival.