Sunday, September 11, 2016

Questions That Might be Better Left Unanswered

The guy I've been dating for the past 6 years recently broke up with me. I know the tendency in a break up is to look at the other person and assign blame. While I don't think he's blameless, I can't say that I am either. Yes, he was the one that ended it, but I wasn't happy either. I wanted to be, but the problem is that I wanted things that he didn't seem to want as well. He had said he did, especially recently, and then it seemed like maybe those things were just never going to happen and eventually drove us apart. Now he says he doesn't want those things and can't be that person for me. They weren't horrible things; they weren't highly demanding things. I just wanted to be more connected and to maybe someday receive a material symbol of our commitment to each other. I didn't want to be married or move in together. I just wanted a ring as a symbol of our togetherness. It didn't even have to be expensive. At first the connectedness seemed to be possible, although the ring was not something he felt like he could do. For a time, I felt like we were moving towards being more connected. Especially from the end of last year until about early June, I felt crazy in love with him, more than in the previous years of dating. There seemed to be hope that we could at least build a life together more than him being just a person I dated. That life didn't have to be the traditional plan a wedding, get married, move in together, etc. I realized a long time ago that I am not really cut out for the traditional relationship plan. The whole old white men telling the woman what to do, doesn't sit well with me. That was the beauty of this relationship is that he didn't want the traditional path either. I had hope that we could build our own future together outside the constraints of what others said was the path we were supposed to take. However, hope can be as destructive an item as much as a constructive item.

I'm not writing this article to assign blame to the other person. I don't think he's a malicious person or a bad person; things just went terribly wrong in a relatively short period of time. I don't think there was cheating. He didn't tell me I was stupid or worthless. It actually seems like the more I tried to fix things or figure things out, the worse it became. I feel as if I was almost in self-destruction mode.The more questions I had and the more I tried to seek the answers to those questions, the more of a nuisance I became until he basically had enough. I would have liked answers to these questions, but it is unlikely that I will ever receive them. This is the place where I get to ask them and just know that they have been asked and then I can move on.

Honestly at this point, I am really questioning my ability to ever have any type of successful relationship. Am I not the common denominator in all these relationships that haven't worked out? I understand that relationships take work and that there is no perfect relationship. I have been looking at friends lately and asking questions and examining what might make a relationship work. I am supposed to meet with my guy after the 19th to either bring closure to our relationship and/or decide how we want to move forward. I don't think reconciliation is possible. Should I even want reconciliation? I know many of my friends would say, "No." They say I deserve better. I can find someone who would be willing to give me the things that I want. But what if I already had better? What if I won't ever be able to find a guy who would be willing to give me the things that I want? What if I need to let go of the things that I wanted? What if this is as good as it gets for me? Is settling really the worst thing in the world? Don't I teach my students about collaboration, conflict resolution, and consensus? Those things take compromise and each team member does not get everything they want. It's about learning to live with what can be acceptable for each person at least at the 70% level. So if each person can feel satisfied with the decisions being made 70% of the time, then the group should agree and move forward. One hundred percent is not the goal, nor should it be.

I know what I just wrote is going to cause an uproar amongst many of my friends. One friend would point out that she has thought for a long time that I should not be with my guy. But she is also cute and young and has no children.She has a sweet guy. I love her dearly, but life looks very different at 28 than at 46 with 2 children and a failed marriage and pretty much every other relationship that ends up having a shelf life after a certain point. Other friends say that he could treat me better. What if I could treat him better as well? Does he have shortcomings, yes. He can be fairly oblivious with both time and how what he says and does affects me. He is not a planner and I am. I do feel like sometimes he says one thing but his actions don't say the same things. But I am not perfect either. I can be very rigid; I'm a perfectionist. When I feel wronged or hurt, I can sometimes hold on to that for far too long. I think I come off as neurotic quite often. I have fairly severe OCD and struggle with massive amounts of anxiety. He has said that anxiety can be off-putting. I think a lot of what the problem is for right now, past the inability to give me the things that I want, that I cannot let go of the questions in my mind about some things that have occurred lately. Then he feels put on the defensive because I am constantly questioning what is happening. Yet, are any of these things deal breakers? Are any of these reasons for us to move on to other people? Do I want to even date someone else again? Won't I just choose the same person as my dad or ex-husband, who were most definitely not good? I'm pretty sure that if left to my own devices I'm going to choose someone who going to be a guy like that. I don't trust myself to choose the right person. My sister choose my guy this time around. I think that's why it lasted so long and was probably the healthiest relationship I've ever had. I don't think I have what it takes to choose a guy who would want to commit to me the way I might ever want. I don't know how people choose those right people. It is not something within my skill set.

As I've looked at other relationships and asked people questions, what I've discovered is that even the relationships that look rock solid have ups and downs. Two different couples I know who have been married at least 20 years have said, it really is just about both not giving up at the same time. I have heard that they have seen each other through some dark times and worked through the problems enough and that they made it through together. I have really struggled with the just giving up part of this whole thing. I have always been the person that wants to continue to fix it. But I also know that if only one person wants to make it work, that not enough in a relationship. If my guy and I were married, would we keep working to stay together? Would we be able to reach some kind of compromise or consensus? Should we work for these things? Is there really someone out there who would choose me? Is there someone who would still love me and want to be around me through my anxiety-ridden episodes where I question the whole world? Will I ever be worth the risk for someone? What if my story isn't a fully committed relationship? What if this is as good as it gets for me? Can I accept this person at least 70% of the time? I don't know. I seriously doubt that these things are for me. I think they are for other people, but not for me.

We have had some really good times together. We both love hiking and recently climbed a 14,000' mountain together, which was a monumental day. We used to do karate together and are both black belts, although he has said he is no longer interested in continuing with karate. We are both educators, so we speak a lot of the same language. We have a common band that we love and have attended many concerts to see them that have always been a highlight. We have traveled well together. There are more good memories than bad.

What if I took all of my wants off the table? What if we could forge a new future together? Would he even want to? I kind of don't think so, but I wish that he would be willing to at least entertain some of these ideas. I would love to have a conversation after the 19th that was calm and reasonable and could set a tone of where we maybe could go from here. I do really miss him, but when I recently sent him a text to tell him so, his answer wasn't reciprocal. I think I have exhausted him with my me-ness. I love him, but is it at the point where love and hope are just at the destructive stage?

I'm always nervous releasing these posts into the world, but they seem to be a way for me to reach resolution for myself. I obviously don't write that often. The last couple of posts are more from when I have hit a bottom, and I have no other outlet but to write it out. I know I could just not publish these posts, but that doesn't give me resolution. I'm nervous about what will happen in the release of this post. My guy is not a fan of social media and will not be pleased that I have disclosed any of these things, but I figure he's already gone and hasn't been willing to work these things out with me. I have resorted to what works for me. There is also the fear of vulnerability in releasing these most private of thoughts. I like to appear strong and put together, but I'm human like anyone else and writing and releasing these thoughts into the world is what gives me peace. Finally, I fear all the comments that people will be making. I'm such a people pleaser that I worry about who I may have offended by writing these words. I'm sorry if I have somehow offended you by writing what I have written. I'm not writing to be malicious or hurtful. It's my way of processing my world. Please be gentle with any comments you may have. Thank you for reading.


4 comments:

  1. I wish I could make all your hurt go away. Love you.

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  2. I think this is a a good way of coming to terms with what you really need. You are an adult. IMHO you do not need to please other people unless they are somehow paying your way in the world. Don't get stuck in the mantra of "I'm a people pleaser" or you will not grow. Until you are secure with just being you, and working on what YOU think needs work, you will attract the person you are meant to be with. Marriage is hard, no matter how you came into the relationship. Period. My advice is ; don't think you need to be coupled to be happy. Don't compare yourself to others, because they have struggles you do not see. I support you 100%. If, after 6 years there is still a sense of "iffy" move along. Life is too short. I think you know by now this is me being gentle. :) If you are really struggling, I highly suggest a counselor. It helped my anxiety immensely. Love you, cousin.

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  3. I will send you a link to what I felt with this summer. Not the same but a similar situation in a way.

    A thought: If your daughter was in the situation of settling or going out to find the one who makes her truly happy, would you be telling her it is ok to settle? If not, then why are you doing it?

    I may only be 28 ;) but I learned a long time ago when I was completely prepared to settle that it isn't worth it at all. There are so many other guys out there and I made so many upset when they found I had the attitude of "if you don't like me how I am or what I want, then someone else will." But eventually, after some detours, I have one now who I don't ever want to give up and not for a second makes me think I'm settling. It may take time. I don't think it would be easy with kids and all that, but I can tell you it is worth it to not settle. Keep up hope. You have changed so much since I met you and your confidence in yourself is so great since karate. Don't let someone make you feel like you have to be less you.

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  4. Patricia's last line is amazing! Love it! You are worth moving heaven and earth for, and if a guy isn't willing to do that after a much shorter amount of time than 6 years, I don't believe he deserves you.

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. And, I admire your willingness to be so vulnerable in a very public way! Hugs!

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