Saturday, September 17, 2016

Changing my Mindset

I really missed him badly on Thursday. I had to take the day off from work to have a new furnace installed in my house, so I'm wasn't distracted by the busy-ness of teaching students all day. He's actually out of town, so the desire to ask him to lunch wouldn't have worked anyway. But I do miss my friend these days. I would love to call him up and invite him to a movie or just some down time together. There's a movie out now that I know we would both like to see. I just don't think these things are possible anymore. He says he wants to be friends no matter what happens, but being handed the friend card is a different kind of friendship than what we shared before.

What do I not yet know about myself or what have I not yet learned? I think I'm just going through the grief process, which would be normal, right? I still feel so undecided about what I would like to have happen.

On one hand, I totally get that if someone doesn't want to be with me, then I shouldn't want to be with that person either. I am sure in time, I could find someone with whom I might want to spend some time. I'm not sure that I feel willing at this point to ever put myself totally out there again, but maybe that part of me will heal eventually. I know he's busy with work and travel and taking care of his own children, but in the past we have always been able to come to some sort of a balance with all of these things. I shouldn't want to be with someone who really doesn't have the time or desire to make the time for me. I think it really comes down to I exhausted him to the point of overwhelming-ness. The writing has been on the wall. He has said, "I'm not that guy," and "You should find someone else." Clearly I should really move on, but I feel so stuck at wanting to at least try to make things be better.

But what if we tried to make things better? Would we eventually just fall into our same old behavior patterns? Are our personalities so unchangeable that change really cannot ever be possible? What if both people worked really hard to try to pave a new path? What if 70% happy is the best we can hope for? I still think it's not that horrible. I could live with the 70% I used to have: the familiarity, the comfortableness of knowing what he would most likely do or say. Even if I didn't always like everything, at least it was only 30% undesirable. I think knowing what I know now, I could do that. I might be willing to go back to our relationship before he asked me what I wanted, and I replied, and then it seemed to all fall apart.

But should I want someone who can't even commit to the small things I asked for? I didn't feel like it was that much, but there are times now when I wish I would have kept my thoughts to myself. Right now I miss my friend so much that I really would be willing to just go back to where we were in January and hit the reset button. I know I don't need a man to be complete or whole or anything like Jerry Maguire told us, but it's nice to have a person to turn to and share things with. It's nice to have a standing date to some things or to get to go to special places with the same person each time so that you are building that memory bank.

Again, we're not talking about the worst person in the world here. He's overall a very nice and decent human being. He's not a beater, a cheater, or a substance abuser. He tries to compliment me all the time. I'm the one who doesn't receive them well. What if it really is me? What if by saying what I wanted, I set some stupidly high expectation that he had no chance of ever meeting because it just wasn't in his realm of possibilities. At the end of the day, I can live with going back to a happier time and relaxing into what I know and enjoy. I don't have to be more connected to him or more a part of his life, and I certainly don't need a ring to enjoy his company or to enjoy spending time with him. I just want peace and to not feel so sad all the time.

My teaching teammate recently put up a bulletin board about changing your mindset. He had the first 9 up there on the window, but said he needed one more to fill the last spot because it looked empty. I thought of the "I'm Stuck" one. What I had in mind was a student who had emailed me about an assignment and said she was stuck on completing a map. My response to her was "What did you do to try to solve your own problem?" I mean, these kids have unlimited access to information all the time. It's not like when I was a kid, and we all shared the one set of encyclopedias that one neighbor had. Then I started thinking of my own situation of feeling stuck. When I went back into work on Friday, he had put up the last one and his version of the new mindset, "I can problem solve to overcome my challenges," was perfect. So what else can I try to overcome this challenge of not knowing what to do or to fix what has gone wrong, if that's even a possibility. In other words, is there something different I can do?

You know, so much of life is perception. I certainly have my perception of how things have gone, but he has his own perception, which I think is very different from mine. One friend said, "Maybe he will get his head out of his ass," and things will get back to where they used to be. But what if it's me who could get my head out of where it doesn't belong? Maybe to him this has just looked like a 3 to 5 month long panic attack where the harder I have tried to fix things, the more I have become obsessed with it. What if that obsessive anxiety-driven need to make it better has really made it worse? You know how when your children have a temper tantrum, the best thing to do is let them just have the tantrum while you ignore it because then it will just run its course, and you can talk later when you're both calmer? Maybe that's what I need to do. I've had my time to get out the crazy and now that we have both have had time to let things be calm and apart, we can try to figure out a new way to move forward??

All of this is just hypothetical at this point. I still really haven't spoken to him in a week or more. We had a brief email exchange about something business/teaching related, but I didn't mention anything personal. I am just trying to honor that space he has asked for. I know many of you are still going to say I shouldn't settle, and I completely love you for saying and thinking so. I am not thinking of it as settling though. I am thinking of working the problem. If after trying a new mindset, things are irretrievably broken, then we could move on. I get that the risk here is that there could be more pain later on, but maybe I would feel like there was some effort on my part. Again, he might have already completely kicked me to the curb, especially because I have made this public, so then you can all start setting me up with whomever you would think might be willing to put up with my brand of crazy because there is no way I trust me to choose for myself!

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