Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where is My Happy Ending?

Things change so fast, in the blink of an eye I went from feeling like I would never meet someone I would really click with, to being swept of my feet, and not it is a mess with a question mark that looks like it is sliding me right back to where I started - alone...and scared.

I realize the posts below mainly cover the disagreements over trust and the future, because, of course, that is what naturally occupies our minds. However, let me fill in the blanks. During the last month, he made me feel incredibly special. Swept me up faster and more completley than perhaps anyone else ever has. Told me endlessly how naturally beautiful that I am & that I don’t even see it (which I still don’t!). That I’m every guy’s dream. That he liked spending time with me, in my life, with my family. He talks about how kind and generous I am. He apologized for judging me, little by little he came to see me for who I am.  So although we had 3 heated discussions about trust and the future, we came back together all 3 times.  Even as we were having the discussions and even as it would seem the end was near, I knew in my heart it wasn’t. I could feel that there was more there, that neither of us could let go.

Originally, the plan going forward was that he was going to spend time locally with me for three months as part of his job. However, some things happened at his job and as a result he is considering taking a new position which would have him travel locally to where I am twice a year but only for brief periods.  I optimistically said we could find a way to extend those visits by adding on vacation, that I could visit him twice a year and he could even come here an additional two times on vacation. He said he feels this is not sustainable. And rather than trying for a bit to see how it goes, he is inclined to let go now, before we get more attached.

In my head, I was sure I would see him again. I didn't say "goodbye" when he left, I thought it was just "bye for now". I was planning to visit over New Years and one way or another he would travel back to my area for work, old job or new job.  It never occured to me that he would say let go now before we get any deeper in. I want to shout and scream that this isn’t fair. He continues to say how much he’d like to spend more time with me but between his trust issues and the pure logistics of dating long distance, he feels it doesn’t have a chance.  I, on the other hand, maintain my fairytale mindset that if you really want something, you find a way to make it happen. It isn’t ideal and it would take work, but nothing is impossible.  But the harsh reality is that he is saying he doesn’t want to try. He won’t work at it.

Nothing has been decided yet, but I am preparing myself.  As fast as he came into my life, he might be gone just as quickly.  It is weird thinking that he hasn’t always just been a part of my daily routine even though its been such a short amount of time. And it guts me to think he may no longer be a part of my daily routine.

Although I was sure during previous disagreements that we weren’t ready to let go, I am very scared that he is ready to let go this time. And maybe letting go is right - that scares me even more - unless this works out, either way I’m going to take a fall. So I can take the fall now or add three stories to it and take a much bigger fall later. Either way it will hurt. Why does it seem not possible that things can just work out? Where is my happy ending?

Monday, November 25, 2013

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” ~Jack Kornfield

I had planned to refrain from any action, as outlined in the previous blog post. I actually did this for a while. But as discussions about a potential future with “him” arose, I defaulted back into my same pattern of feeling like I’m not enough. As he was expressing his concerns about seeing things that made it appear I was hiding something, I was getting more and more defensive trying to prove I am good person, I am enough. And what do you think when someone defends themselves? That they are hiding something, so it played right back into his trust issues. Eventually this was talked out, and we both came away with a better understanding of where the other person was coming from. However, it was beyond upsetting to me that once again, I was back to the little kid inside, hurting so badly, believing she was unlovable. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t even go out of my way to prove that I’m unlovable just to see if someone will stick around.  And the fell into the same familiar cycle for beating myself up for being so weak. I can twist myself into pretzels understanding where someone else is coming from, but when it comes to me, I lack all compassion.

After that conversation, he stuck around. So did I.  Both tentative, as it was much to process and his time staying locally was drawing to a close. But we came back together….again.

Over the weekend he left, returned to his home. Though I always knew it was inevitable, I did a great job of blocking it out of my head until reality hit me over my head like a 3 ton slab of stone. Ouch!  It hurt to have him leave. An empty spot left where so many warm memories were made.

Now it is a big question mark. He lives far away.  Far, far away. And we each have our issues, so communication would be more important than ever.  Not to mention, I am still healing. (Though one thing distance is great for is time...built in time that I can use for myself!).

If you took away his trust issue, he is who I am looking for. I knew it pretty early on (obviously as this has intensified over only a month). That is hard not to fight for. That is hard to let go of. But I can’t convince him that this is worth a shot, as I know I would not be truly at peace in a relationship unless I am with someone who wants to try as much (or maybe more!) that I do.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Knotted Explanations and Learning to Refrain

As it so happens with Pema Chodron’s thoughts for the week being impeccably timed and applicable to what is unfolding in my life, so it happens at church as well. This week the Pastor spoke on fear, with the overarching message being that there is a ton of scary stuff out there but God is always there. (God, love, universal force, whatever you want to call it, I'm not trying to convert anyone).  As the Pastor was speaking, I thought about my default reaction to any situation that causes high anxiety: Panic and come up with a knotted explanation to explain exactly what is going on so I feel I have control over the unknown - except coming up with knotted explanations changes nothing, they just force and heighten the issue and resulting anxiety, as I’ve now taking an unknown and forced it into an explainable box.  The other option being waiting through the anxiety until the truth of the situation becomes known to me, and dealing with it then.  Each and every time the truth of the matter becomes known, it is always less painful to deal with than the knotted explanation that I’ve forced upon myself.

The point of sermon was that while I am busy panicking and controlling, all the while, God or Love, is there. Whatever is underlying issue is, it will come out, it will heal. The panic is unnecessary. But without that trust that Love is there (Love in yourself, for yourself, from a force, I'm not specifically assigning this externally to a deity with a white beard, I think the force of Love is in you and around you), I freak out and feel the need to control the situation by naming it and making it knowable -- except that doing that prematurely, when I really don’t know what it is yet, makes more knots instead of simplifying which was the intended goal.

In practical application:
Great weekend with "him" (from the Clandestine Affair). Now that I am clear on his issues, versus mine, the pressure is gone. His issues are a deal-breaker for me. Maybe they are for him too but it doesn't really matter, it isn't something that I choose to spend my energy on.  Definitely disappointing but when one doors closes, another always opens, this I KNOW to be true.

Even with a great weekend, I feel a lot of anxiety about him.  However, instead of sending a barrage of texts trying to explain things, to control the situation before it gets out of control, I decided to sit and wait. I don't need to explain what I'm thinking, because I don't owe an explanation to anyone. While I don't know exactly why my anxiety is so high when it comes to him, I am choosing to let the unknown anxiety flow until my truth is known. Here's what I know: I have anxiety about him. That is what it is. But I'm refraining from controlling it and giving into the fear of having the anxiety.

I hesitated when writing this blog post, as it may sound like complete nonsense. It is hard to articulate but I sense this is a major shift in paths - now thinking "hmm, there is some anxiety, time to do something for myself" instead of "there is anxiety!!!! time to take action and alleviate this feeling!!!!!!!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clandestine Affair Part 3

Everyone said he would hurt me. He hurt me. I am now hurt. I wondered if I have some type of self-destructive wish but the truth is the opposite, I wanted so badly for this to be real. For something good to drop out of the sky. And everyone says things do not drop out of the sky. Yet I keep wishing they do. So when something that appears good drops out of the sky, instead of being patient and waiting to see what is really there, I rush to unwrap it, sure that this is the gift that was meant for me. My reward for the hard work.

That's the flaw in the thinking though...maybe good things do drop out of the sky - but putting the expectation on them that they are the reward, that is wrong. I'm supposed to be the reward for my hard work. Whatever is in the box is ancillary. Except right now, I'm still hoping to open a box that validates that I'm enough. I haven't validated it for myself. I placed that expectation on him.

People keep saying slow down, don't get caught up in someone so fast, romance doesn't happen that way - but other people will tell you that is exactly what happened to this. But none of this has to do with that. It is placing my need for validation externally. And in doing so, I make myself vulnerable and can end up hurt (usually do).

His trust issues hurt me. But I played a part too, I put my need for validation on him. It in no way excuses how he acted, but that was not fair of me to expect someone else to validate that I’m enough and would not set a good foundation for the future.

I would still like an apology because he pushed his fears on to me and said things about me that were not true. I really would like an apology for that.  And then we can acknowledge this is not a fit. Maybe in another lifetime. But not right now.

Clandestine Affair Part 2

When we first me, I thought I had hit the jackpot. He treated me like I was worth a million dollars, the compliments were endless and the connection between us was strong.  When he came to visit locally, I opened my heart and my home to him. I knew that he had trust issues, but I naively thought that either I could live with them or he would let them go. To be really honest, we all think we are the one he will change for.  But we are not. He won’t change until he is ready to, or maybe never at all.

The first days were great. The connection was stronger than ever, it felt easy and natural to be together. And then his trust issues kicked in. He twisted things I said around to make it look like I was being less than honest or that I was capable of being devious. The more I would try to explain, the more he would twist it to support his story that I simply can not be trusted. It hurt. Actually, it gutted me. I wanted so desperately for him to see who I really am.  I thought if only he could see me, he would know that I have the strength of moral character that he is looking for and maybe we could make this work.

I didn’t realize it was not possible for him to see me. He said it himself, he sees me through a screen of mistrust. He assumes girls are not trustworthy. And when I tried to prove that I was, he twisted it around to support his story that I was not.  

I feel compassion for him. It would be awful to constantly think that no one can be trusted, to constantly question people's motives. And at a deeper level, not believe that someone could care for you enough that they would be faithful, true and loyal.  Living in constant fear of getting hurt would be exhausting.

I took a chance. I put my heart out there. And I got hurt. At least I lived.  I ended it. I told him that I can not spend time with someone who thinks less of me than who I am.

He still wants to talk, to explain how I got the bad side of his issues and how he doesn’t think I’m a bad person. I’m not sure what the point is. I can listen. I can empathize with what it is like to be scared. But I can’t validate that his fears have merit and I can’t condone pushing someone away before giving them a chance. So what is left to talk about?  I am hoping just a simple “I’m sorry” and then we will part ways.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Simple Lesson

Pema Chodron’s quote for the week comes right in the nick of time, as always. This week, Pema says:
This is an idea that seems difficult for Westerners to accept: when someone harms us, they create the cause of their own suffering. They do this by strengthening habits that imprison them in a cycle of pain and confusion. It’s not that we are responsible for what someone else does, and certainly not that we should feel guilty. But when they harm us, we unintentionally become the means of their undoing. Had they looked on us with loving-kindness, however, we’d be the cause of their gathering virtue.

What I find helpful in this teaching is that what’s true for them is also true for me. The way I regard those who hurt me today will affect how I experience the world in the future. In any encounter, we have a choice: we can strengthen our resentment or our understanding and empathy. We can widen the gap between ourselves and others or lessen it.

The lesson I learned this week is simple: If someone isn't going to believe who you are when you show yourself to them, then there is no way to win.

To Pema’s point about how we regard those who hurt us, I am trying to find compassion in the situation to understand each individual is unique, however the actions that they choose to take can be hurtful and are not acceptable in my orbit.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Clandestine Affair

I met someone. Because of the sensitive nature of how we met, I won’t publish the story right now but may want until after it plays out (no, he’s not married, there is nothing devious going on here...despite the name of the blog post which is more drama than reality).

Here is the scoop:  We met. There was an instantaneous, strong connection. It was a whirlwind.  While I was still floating on cloud 9, he informed me he has trust issues. The trust issues came out and he shut down. We both backed away. He came back and apologized. He owned his issues and didn’t try to put them on me nor wash them away. We continued to talk and the connection remained. I am going to see him again.

However, because he does not live locally, he has informed me that though at times he has considered that there is real, serious potential between us, he can not deal with the trust issues long distance. And that is enough to put a stop to this regardless of how our time together goes.

I decided I have nothing to lose. I’m not dating anyone and if anything, going through the emotional ringer with him just reinforces how much work I need to do on my own. So what is a couple of days of fun together? Seize the day, I said.

My stomach is in knots. I will see him tomorrow.  I am partly excited because the energy that runs between us is electric. I am partly sad because I know it is only energy to be enjoyed in the moment and once these moments slip away, this will be gone as well.

Part of me holds on to that stupid girl hope that I will be the one he changes for. I will be the one he decides is worth taking the risk. But it is only the tiniest sliver, and when I have that thought, I immediately remind myself - I don’t want to invest in someone who can’t see me. Really see me. And if he has trust issues and is “seeing through a screen”, then he isn’t seeing me.

So I’m going into the next few days with the door half opened and the door half closed. If I close the door the whole way, I am saying ‘if you can’t trust me enough to take a risk, then don’t waste my time now’. If I leave the door open a bit I am living...taking a risk...having some fun..and will likely have a bit of heartache in the end. But I will have a good story to tell because of it.

I haven’t blogged for the last 2 weeks because this was unfolding. I’ve been writing it down and will publish it all once the story concludes.