Leif dated many women that he liked but did not fall in love with, but when the chemistry clicked, he fell in love fast. He wanted love more than anything else and looked for it with passion and zeal.
The relationship with L. apparently didn't develop and he had a period when he wasn't involved with anyone other than casual dating from late 2002 until August 2003. In May 2003 he graduated from Kansas State University and in August he started working at the Sykes call center in town. There he spotted J, a 5' 7" redhead, the perfect height and hair color for him, and she looked quite a bit like Gillian Anderson (Scully on the X Files), a actress he was crazy about. She was separating from her husband and had a two-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. She was having a hard time making ends meet with a child to support and a low wage job, and Leif's protective instincts came to the fore. Again he wanted to rescue the damsel in distress. He feel deeply in love with J and moved her and her daughter into the house at 710 N. 9th Street. I think the months he had J in his life, from August 2003 to March 2004 were some of the happiest of his life. He glowed and beamed.
I came across an email I wrote to him about living with a two-year-old and how to handle it, in response to something he asked me. He was trying to learn how to be a parent, and he cared a lot for that little girl, too.
J professed to love him deeply, and said so in person and in emails. He bought her a beautiful ring and proposed to her on February 27, 2004. She said yes. Then, a week later, she got cold feet and left him, going back east to her family. At first he insisted she would be back, that they would get back together. Then they were going to meet in another city. Then finally she didn't answer his calls or email. She had left with a phone on his account and ran up bills he couldn't pay, and she didn't send him money for them, saying she didn't have it. I'm sure that was true, but it was another hurt on top of losing her.
Leif was in a deep depression a second time. We were very worried about him. It was one of the reasons we started making trips to Florida and trying to find a place to live here. We had planned to do that anyway, but we did it sooner than we had anticipated partly to get Leif out of Kansas and give him a new start, hoping to counteract his depression.
For a time, it worked.
It would probably have been better for Leif if he hadn't had any further contact from J in email, IM, on MySpace or by phone. He hadn't had any nearly a year, and then, in May 2005, almost three months after he moved to Florida, she contacted him. They had several emails stretched out over a month before she disappeared for another three months. She contacted him again in October 2005 and they talked on the phone, Then she disappeared again and didn't answer brief emails from him asking if she were still "there" in November 2005, January 2006, June 2006 and July 2007. I think the last time she sent an email to him was in October 2005 and the last time he tried to contact her was in July 2007. I know they had a few conversations during those years. However, he never stopped loving her or thinking about her, though he realized they would never get back together and indeed, he didn't trust her at that point.
Leif was very open with the women he was involved with after J, and told them about her. They could see he still cared deeply for her, loved her, and found that a threat. Leif told them repeatedly it was over, which was true, and that they were not getting back together, which was also true. He told them that he didn't trust her, which was true . . . but it was also true that he still loved her, and they felt that.
Leif wrote a lengthy email to her on May 26, 2005, after she had contacted him, explaining how her leaving had affected him. Some of what he says was modified later, in the last three years of his life, but he never stopped loving her.
Leif not only forgave the women who hurt him, he continued to be in contact with them, or tried to reestablish it. He needed their friendship, their love, and their affection. He reached out, but knew he could not trust, knew he would never have the relationship he really wanted.
Here is what he wrote to her (edited):
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2005, 2:34 PM
Hey Jessie, It's late. Been a very long day. I am a bit drunk and have had a bit of fun playing Planetside. Game is losing it appeal as the short hours of sleep and long ours of work catch up so I thought, what better time to write you? They say a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts. So this must be the real skinny.
So what has happened since you left? I assume you might want to know. At least I hope you would want to. I am curious what happened to you myself.
After you left I was crushed. I am sure you remember the phone calls, the break downs and the heartache, and a fight or two. The last one was the last I ever heard from you.
There are some things I want you to know. Some things you need to know if you are to understand what transpired after your departure.
The first thing you need to know is that you were and likely still are the only woman I have ever really been in love with, at least that returned or professed to return that love. You need to know that I was sincere in my intentions to marry you and I honestly loved you so much that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Regardless of any hardship or difficulty, I still recall the months from August 2003 to March of 2004 as the very happiest of my entire life. I try to remember that and the joy I felt rather than the pain that came after its loss. As much as I sometimes want to hate you for hurting me, I can also thank you for giving me hope that such a feeling is possible, even if I couldn't find it with you.
After you left and cut off communication I became very depressed. My parents were rather worried about me and were concerned I might sink into suicidal depression, as I had once experienced when stranded in the army in NY after Nikko left me. I was really bummed, but not that bad off. In my typical fashion I managed to hide the pain from all but the most intuitive and closed myself off from others.
As a distraction I finally picked up that online game, Planetside, and got addicted. I did little else but work, sleep and play for a long, long long time. That game is now both my salvation and my curse, as I am still very addicted to it.
For the next 6 months after you left I was so hurt I could not even think of dating. Any woman I met got compared to you. Frankly, they still are compared to you and few measure up in the ways that matter, at least that matter to my heart. Many have had fine qualities that make them good people but I have not felt any affection for them.
Bottom line is, for 6 months after you left I couldn't even think about dating anyone. You took a piece of my heart with you and until it grew back I couldn't imagine giving any of it to anyone else.
After that I realized that I was terribly lonely. I missed you terribly and had no real friends left in Kansas. I went out now and then but either was terribly disappointed by the uninteresting Kansas women, or if one was interesting, losing you had so destroyed my confidence in myself that I hadn't the balls to approach a woman to ask her out.
So, for the next 3 months or so I was just a pathetic lonely wuss that spent his life playing video games and drinking a lot because they were the only things that I could enjoy.
After that my parents found this house down here and decided to buy it. That is a whole nother story, but bottom line is, it got me to Florida. At that point I decided I did not want to date anyone because I might get attached to them and then decide not to move.
So, I basically spent the last year of my 20's alone and miserable. I did not want any attachments that might make me hesitate about moving to Florida.
Since then I have arrived. I have gotten a good job and the new bike and am doing pretty well. I started dating again. Dating is weird and a pain in the ass.
I must say that I have a rather different outlook now. I am much happier overall here in Florida and have much less need of a woman to fulfill me. At this point having a woman in my life is kind of gravy and the few I have dated seemed to like me and I am now rather selective. I date when I have time and nothing I would rather be doing, and have someone I like enough to go out with. For a while I was juggling like 3 girls, none of which really interested me, so I decided it wasn't worth the trouble and stopped seeing 2 of them.
Later on I will be going out with the one that remains. Her name is R. She is 25, professional, divorced, has a baby girl, is tiny, at like 5'2", but with big D cups. Fun, chic, good taste in stuff. I like her a lot but I doubt I will ever be in love with her. That is the sad truth. There are lots of women out there with great qualities and personalities but I have never felt such attraction to them like I did to you.
So this leaves me with rather conflicted feeling towards you. On one hand I have never found anyone I was so compatible with sexually. Every woman I have been with since felt a bit awkward and unfulfilling. I know how to push their buttons but few know how to push mine. I so miss the sex we had as it was magical. My mind tells me I am better of without you as I don't think I can rely on you and that you have some growing up to do yet. And my heart is torn both ways.
They say the opposite of love isn't hate, it is indifference. I know this to be true. I loved you deeply and you made me happier than I had ever been. When you took that away from me I hated you intensely.
I eventually had to forgive you. I know that what you did you didn't do out of malice. I know you didn't want to hurt me, that you weren't trying to be mean. I know that it was your own weakness, not maliciousness that made you do what you did. You disappointed me greatly and while that is very disappointing it is much easier to forgive someone for weakness than it is for just being mean.
So, while you don't want to spend the rest of your life knowing that people you loved hate you, likewise I don't want to spend my life hating the person I loved most. So while I want you to know exactly what you did to me, I also want you to know that I forgive you. You don't have to be afraid of talking to me. I will not try to punish you or make you feel bad any more than you will likely do to yourself after reading this.
I must admit that I still love you. I am sure that part of me always will and unless I find what we had with another, part of me will always want you back. I just don't know if I could ever trust you again.
Well, that is all I have to say for now and until you respond. Other than I could still gripe about the phone bill you left me which from the sound of things you won't be paying me back for anytime soon.
So there you go Jessie. Ball's in your court. You decided what happens next.
I am gonna ride the bike up to Tampa and get an estimate to fix it, then go get some Japanese food with R. Maybe see a movie.
Take Care of yourself
This photo of Leif is a self-portrait he took on June 22, 2004 in the bedroom he couldn't stand to sleep in for months after J left. He looks so sad and serious.