Stand up– fragile, loving, lonesome humans!Posted: November 13, 2012
We are such fragile beings, sometimes.
Witness: I broke up with a man who was Clearly not good for me. In fact, I broke up with him many times. But, every time that he wanted to get back together, every time he apologized and promised to do better or make amends, or to care, I relented. I went against my better judgement and gave us another chance. Or rather, another hundred chances. I so wanted it to work, and we had fun–when we were having fun. Unfortunately, he had addictions (at least three) of which I was initially unaware, and of which he is still apparently unaware.
Worse, his desires always superseded our relationship and certainly me. There was no We, only he. His needs, his wants.
At first I was so happy to be “loved” that I ignored the red flags, but I also had to deal with his conflicting signals. Since those were confusing, I have to be somewhat gentle with myself: what he said and what he did were so different. That is, his words of endearment were wonderful but his actions often contradicted them. He said he loved, but he didn’t show it nearly as well.
As an example–one I’ve mentioned here before– one week he asked me to do several things with him (dinner parties, family functions, watching a football game) and I agreed, yet when I asked him to do just one thing that we had talked of doing for two summers but had not gotten around to doing (I wonder why??) he replied with scorn and derision: how dare I ask something of him that would cause him to miss a couple of hours of one football game?
Wait–last season he had not watched every game, and when we first met he said he was a fan but not a sports fanatic, that he “wasn’t someone who had to watch every game.” Hmmm. Guess that changed.
My take on this, in retrospect, is that he wanted the power in the relationship; he wanted what he wanted. Of course, he forfeited me, which makes me feel horrible. I am worth less than one football game? Sheesh that stings. I had already gotten up to speed on his sports and his teams so that I could discuss them, though it is not my thing, at all. I had loved him, and I had shown that love.
Aren’t people more important than watching sports on television? He couldn’t miss even part of one game for someone he supposedly cared about? He could have listened to the game as we drove, or caught the second half of a late-afternoon game, but he wasn’t even willing to work it out.
And what about “Bye” weeks or weeks when the game is on a day other than Sunday? Even I know there are a couple of those and I am not all that up on football. In other words, had he cared to check or think about it for even a moment, he would’ve realized there’d be at least a couple of Sundays during the season when he wouldn’t even miss a game. Yes, if he cared. (You can see that I am still hurting and tending to the wounds here, can’t you?)
A friend of mine surmised that I might not be Asking for what I needed in the relationship, so maybe that is why I wasn’t getting it, or why things seemed so unbalanced. For instance, I was hurt that he didn’t offer to pick me up at the airport because it had seemed to me like the loving–or at least reciprocal–thing to do, since I always offered and gave him rides to and from the airport. Yet, I hadn’t specifically asked him for a ride. Maybe that’s why he so often seemed selfish, thought my friend. He couldn’t actually be that selfish, how could anyone be that selfish? “Guys need you to be direct,” she said. “Don’t make him guess.” So I was more direct. That elicited a complete change of tone from him: his voice became gruff and mean. Was not getting what he wanted threatening, so he was being threatening to me in return? I dunno.
In any case, this little football-first episode was the icing on a crumbling cake. That was that.
The really odd thing now is: I still cry over him. I cry when I miss his company, even though I have others to date. (But see, I don’t want to just date, I want love! I’m not someone who continues dating if I don’t see at least a little smidge of potential for love.) I cry when I wish there was something I could have done to salvage that relationship, and because he didn’t realize that I kept trying, kept going back, because I did love him. I did give us repeated chances even when he hurt me. I cry when I think of him talking of what a wonderful year of self-improvement he had while giving all the credit to others and ignoring the power of love: ours, mine. I cry because I was so darn hopeful and so loving, all for naught, and because we all want to be loved. Even when it is far from perfect (we are human, after all), a flawed even hurtful relationship can feel better than nothing, at least in retrospect.
Today when I went for a walk, I saw happy couples everywhere. It figures: the whole world seems to be in love and part of a couple, but not me! You know that feeling, if you are single. It is not pleasant. You think: what is wrong with me? Where is my ship and when will it come in, and more importantly, why isn’t my prince on any of the ships I do happen to see? I asked this of myself when I saw an elderly couple walking hand in hand (wouldn’t it be nice to be in love Forever?) and a middle-aged couple on a tandem bike (what a fun way to ride into the sunset). I saw two young women who looked like sisters with two cute guys and the four of them laughing and chatting merrily as they walked down the street. One more guy and I could’ve joined them, I imagined…
But I was happy for all of those people, too. I was happy to know that love is clearly out there.
When I get all wimpy and sad and sappy, I have to pick myself up and wring myself out. Good-bye tears, good-bye sadness. I tell myself: if you had kept hanging on, in that long up-and-down one-sided romance, if you kept on with someone who wanted to be a hedonistic ruler rather than part of a loving and giving couple, then you’d never give yourself a chance of finding true love.
Is a loving and giving relationship truly possible? My eyes say yes. My heart says yes, even though it is bruised. My mind debates with myself constantly but generally thinks all things are possible. My whole being wishes, hopes, and prays.
So we shall see!
Meanwhile, it’s up to me to keep my chin up and a smile in my heart. Someone’s going to like that smile, someday.