"I feel like I'm diseased," he said. "If I let you too much in here," he touched his chest, "I'm going to infect you." I stared at him, not knowing what to say, but understanding. "I'm so angry to be at this point in my life ..." He stared off into space.
"... to have it all unraveling," I finished for him.
[The relationship didn't end because there was something wrong with it. We both acknowledged that the feelings are still there: the love, compassion, honesty, longing. His inability to be emotionally available to me is a result of all the other shit going on. His whole life is in flux right now. He could lose everything he's worked so hard for -- his home, his financial stability, his pride. He is frustrated by his directionless and disconnected son. He is frustrated by his aging mother -- another child, in a way, since she requires so much assistance with day-to-day things like paperwork. He is constantly stressed about his mentally unstable ex, who alternately threatens to ruin his life and kill everyone in the family.]
"I know the ship is sinking," I said. "but I wanted to be your life preserver. The thing you clung to to keep from going under." I looked at him and grinned. "But you shouted, 'Save yourself!' "