Come Together

How I almost lost my love due to a misunderstanding.

a year ago   •   8 min read

By Vladimír Záhradník
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

In January I unexpectedly broke up with my girlfriend. I wrote about what I was going through at the time in my post Come Closer. But our story is far from over there. Want to know what happened next? Get your coffee or tea ready, get comfortable, we’re about to begin…

After we broke up, we agreed to remain close friends. Nely was worth it to me, and I was worth it to her. Although at first our communication kind of reserved, it didn’t take long and we were texting each other as if nothing had happened between us. But nothing lasts forever. I was watching a movie one Friday night, and we had a lively discussion. We started to talk about our emotions, and again we clashed violently.

Jinxed communication

After this, I told myself that I would not step into the same river a third time. I was no longer interested in investing my energy in Nely.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

However, she wrote back to me again and kept saying she wanted to be friends with me. Her door is open anytime, she said. In the end, she made it clear that she was still in love with me. It drove me crazy. “Is she hinting at something? Is she hoping I’ll forget all about it now and start fighting over her? Is this some kind of test?”

Consumed by anger, I wrote her another message, which I regret today: “You don’t love me, do you? No, you only love some idealized idea of me. You subconsciously long for me to go to church with you regularly, to raise your children, and to be quiet when our ideas diverge. I hope you will have to face reality someday and find someone with whom you can build a relationship on a solid foundation.”

Time heals

Since then, I’ve cut off almost all communication with Nely. After about two days, I finally became less agitated and was able to let up. I didn’t think about her as often anymore. I was able to focus on work again and function almost normally. I realized, however, that she was giving me valuable feedback. I told myself that it would be a shame to cut myself off completely.

I wrote to her: “Hi Nely, my anger has subdued. If you want, we can start talking again.” The smiley emoji in her reply made me happy, I reckoned we could still work things out somehow.

Still, I felt that her communication with me was stand-offish. She was communicating in an unusually brisk manner and writing sparingly. I think she was keeping me at her arm’s length.

Once, amid one of our talks, I wrote to her casually: “This misunderstanding of ours has resolved itself. I don’t do those things we talked about then anymore. I’ve read the book you had given to me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to pick my battles. See? The result is the same, only I figured it out on my own. It wasn’t like when YOU tried to change me.”

Nely wrote back that my words warmed her heart. She was pleased that she hadn’t been disappointed in me. “I didn’t want to change you! I just wanted our communication to be different.”

Those few sentences made an awful lot of sense to me. I thought all along that she was slowly trying to reshape me into her image. Little by little. She, however, felt that I didn’t want to solve problems.

Since we cleared that up, things started to pick up speed. We communicated again as very close friends and talked about everything. We even had a video call together on more than one occasion that stretched to an hour and a half.

We got back to a state where we were building our trust in each other. We are both now locked up in other cities during the lockdown. It’s a strange time, and one that simply is not in our favour. But…

Visit from Brno

Last Tuesday my cousin Danek from Brno came to visit us. He brought a car that we had lent him for as a long-term solution until he could get his own.

Ford Ka, a.k.a "Ketchup" Image by Daniel Černý (Hrbolka)

He was to go back by train and I was to take him to Košice. I told myself that I would surprise Nely.

When I dropped my cousin off at the train station in Košice, I called her in the parking lot: “Hi Nely, I’m in Košice, if you want, we can meet.” Nely agreed. A quarter of an hour later I rang her doorbell and after a while I was sitting in her living room and we were both grinning from ear to ear. Apparently I surprised her pleasantly. Just yesterday she mentioned to me that she wanted to see me in person and suddenly I was actually there. We debated for about an hour and a half and it felt like we hadn’t even parted.

The next day, on Ash Wednesday, we called each other again. Even before that, I was still thinking about everything. Nely made it clear she didn’t want to try anything in the relationship anymore. She didn’t like verb ′try′ at all. That day I told her: “Let’s do this fully, lock, stock and barrel.”

Things have happened very quickly since then, but they’ve actually been very speedy since I’ve been dating her. I can’t even believe we started dating in late November and are already starting to think about marriage. It’s almost unbelievable how we found each other.

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

It may seem that we are different: we watch different movies, we listen to completely different music, I hardly ever set foot in a church, she goes to mass every day… But in the essentials we find almost complete agreement. It surprises us both.

For about a week now, we have been reading long-distance from the book „Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.“

Gary Chapman: Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married. Image by Nely Hudáková

Every day we go through one or two chapters and talk about how we would handle that particular situation.

Our priorities in life seem to be exactly the same. It’s important for us to be together, even in humble circumstances. We also agree on finances. Neither she nor I want to buy things on credit, much less something we don’t actually need. Our outlook on life is also the same.

For a long time, I’ve tried not to have every day the same — I come to work, I work, I go home, dinner, TV, and I can go to bed. Quite the opposite. I’ve had my days very varied for a couple of years now. I never know exactly what I’m going to do, and I’ve drawn Nely into that world as well. That’s why we both feel like a whole year had passed, when in fact only two months have gone by. We both want to keep doing this. We are finding more and more of those covergences every day.

Building bridges

Yesterday Nely wrote to me: “Where do all those nice words come from inside of you? I’ll be glad to get to know you… I like you more every day… that mention of blue eyes (I thought you hadn’t had it in you).”

— “They’ve always been in me. I guess just by getting to know you better, I have no inhibitions anymore and I say whatever comes to my mind.”

We noticed one more thing yesterday. When we were in a relationship before, we lacked connection on an intellectual level. Now that we’re texting each other and are not together in person, that’s the part that has come to full fruition.

Lessons for the end

First of all, I can already tell you with certainty that a relationship for life can develop during a pandemic. Coronavirus pandemic gives us the space to stop and reflect on the kind of people we have around us.

We have seen that if we communicate through text messages, information can become distorted. We only perceive the text, but we miss out on facial expressions, tone of voice, and emotion and therefore may interpret the meaning of words differently than we should.

If we can no longer meet in person, it is still much better to communicate via video calls than just texting.

I have found a kindred spirit in Nely. We ride a rollercoaster all the time, but we know how to stand firmly on the ground now. We look forward to what the future holds.

Addendum, 08/04/2021

My relationship with Nely didn’t work out in the end. I had a period where I tried to rationalise what had happened and it helped me a lot. I believe that I got the most out of the relationship because of my analysis as well. My aunt told me that I was like my own psychologist.

Before my relationship with Nely, I didn’t know if I even wanted a relationship. Now I know I do. And I want to have a family and kids, too. With Nely, I’ve opened her closed door to happiness again. She probably didn’t even think about a relationship anymore. Now, thanks to me, she’s open to a new relationship again.

The reason for the breakup is more prosaic than it might seem. It wasn’t about different attitudes, but about quite ordinary things. I moved in with her and we found that we functioned quite differently. I like spontaneity and unplanned things, while Nely likes order and routine. It didn’t work out and I was choking.

That’s when I realized that a person’s happiness comes first and foremost from within. I don’t know what the future will look like, but I know for sure that a relationship with someone doesn’t automatically guarantee you happiness.

At this point I would like to enter into another relationship, but I perceive that getting to know someone is not that easy. My friend Havran says that I just don’t use the appropriate filter and that there are plenty of opportunities. Well, we shall see in time.

Nely and I had a period where our communication was deprived, but we got through it. Today we are good friends again and communicate as we used to, still openly.

This blog has caught an eye of many of you, I have been getting a lot of responses. Even ones that say that in it I fully show my immaturity in relationships and that one can feel that. One of my former colleagues supposedly said that “Vlado must have it really wired differently in his head.”

However, I decided to take his statement as a compliment. I guess I’m different than most people around here. But the majority never puts themselves in front of the others, right to the top. The majority just keeps their mouth shut and obediently does what they’re told.

Based on that feedback, I started to wonder if I had overdone it with the openness. But you know what? I’m glad I wrote this post. I’m not ashamed of the person I am, and I certainly don’t want to close myself off. So no, you don’t see my inexperience. I want to remain the way I am.

However, I have realized that my honesty and naivety can easily be taken advantage of by other people. I wondered what I was going to do about it and decided not to share blog posts like this one on social media. I only want them to reach those of you who show genuine interest. For example, by subscribing to my newsletter.

At the moment, I’m enjoying the present. I’m meeting up with friends; we hike together, we’re having passionate discussions. I know that these moments won’t last forever and that’s why they are precious to me. And I look forward to the future too, it will surely be interesting.

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