Everybody who interacted with them thought they had known each other for an eternity. They were made for each other. We hardly hear such words anymore. Finding a life partner has become like playing the Candy Crush stages, where you can’t win with your five lives, so you have to wait for hours for the lives. Even then, you have to repeat the cycle for several days before getting to the next stage. You could buy lives in the game or, if you’re really determined, alter the time on your phone to get more lives, but in love, you don’t get such cheat codes—at least not when you want a genuine connection. Jeff and Emma had what many dream of having.
They were compatible in so many ways. It wasn’t one of those relationships where you think one person is lucky to have the other one. No, they were fortunate to have each other. Their families approved of their relationship. Jeff was like the son Emma’s parents never had. Emma came from a family of three sisters. Jeff was great with Emma’s nephew. She couldn’t help but fantasize about how he would be when they finally had their own kids.
Everything was on track for a life together when things started going south. Out of the blues, Emma noticed she was struggling to get in the mood when it came to physical intimacy. It became frequent, and there were only so many excuses she could come up with before Jeff started being suspicious. She swore there was no one else but couldn’t explain the sudden change.
Within the same period, she was overly anxious and had outbursts of anger. They argued over everything. Half the time, Jeff couldn’t understand what they were fighting over. The rift between them widened. Emma became unpredictable. One minute, she was all over Jeff, but shortly after, she couldn’t stand him. Jeff tried to understand the different Emma he was dealing with, but it got more challenging with each passing day.
As they were struggling with their failing relationship, Emma started experiencing fatigue and hot flashes. She was also sweating a lot. They both suspected that she was pregnant. It also didn’t make sense since they were hardly getting physically intimate. Jeff had this bugging idea that maybe Emma had cheated. Anyway, he didn’t bring it up and waited for her to test.
The results were negative, but they decided she should visit a doctor. Emma declined Jeff’s request to accompany her to the doctor. At this point, Jeff was tired of arguing and settled for her relaying the doctor’s findings. That visit to the hospital was the first of many that Emma would have over the following months. After several visits to the doctor and seeking a second and third opinion, Emma finally had a conclusive diagnosis.
As the doctor relayed the information to her and explained what to expect, Emma had a ringing sound in her ears. Everything had changed. Her dreams and plans for the future had been taken away from her. The doctor talked about positivity, but Emma wasn’t there yet. She went back to her house and hid from the world for a week. She ensured she went online so people could see she was still alive, but she didn’t respond to any messages or calls. She mainly ignored Jeff’s communication attempts.
After days of crying, she finally responded to her sisters. One of the sisters convinced her to talk to Jeff, who was beside himself. He had called them daily when she stopped talking to him. She asked to meet him once she had come to terms with her situation.
The meeting was at her house because she didn’t know if she could have the conversation without breaking down. After the awkwardness, since they hadn’t talked in a while, it felt like old times when they could talk about anything. Jeff had come with her favourite fruits, macadamia nuts. They reminded her of her grandmother. Emma reminisced moments with her grandmother, who had passed away while she was still dating Jeff. He understood what she was feeling.
A trip down memory lane finally got her emotional enough, and she initiated their conversation.
“Jeff, despite the last few weeks or months being difficult, you know how much I love you,” said Emma.
“I love you with everything in me, Emma,” Jeff said as he held her hand.
“I know which is why it pains me to tell you we can’t be together anymore,” Emma replied.
“What? Is there someone else?” Jeff asked in pain and confusion.
“Please let me get through this without interrupting. This is the first time I am saying this out loud since I went to the doctor’s. Jeff, I have a condition that causes fertility issues. It’s highly unlikely that I will have biological children. I know the plans we had together of starting a family which is why I think it’s best to end this now.”
There was a moment of silence between them for a couple of minutes. Emma’s tears flowed, and Jeff took a minute to process the information. They held hands the entire time.
“Babe, I am so sorry to hear this. I cannot imagine how difficult this has been for you but I still want to be with you,” said Jeff.
“I know how badly you want to be a dad. I have seen how you are with children. I don’t want you to resent me years from now over something I have no control over. I couldn’t bear the thought of you hating me for taking away your dreams of fatherhood,” Emma responded as she pulled her hands from his.
They did a back-and-forth for months as Jeff tried to convince her that he would be okay with whatever their family would look like as long as they were together. Still, Emma was convinced that breaking up was the best option.
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