“Because you don’t require a commitment for you to be in their lives, they never had to make a decision with you. In your effort to avoid the pain of rejection you have this other painful feeling [of never having tried].”
Twice, less than a month apart actually, I learned two people I care for started relationships with someone else. These persons are about as diametrically opposed as two people can be. Two different races, jobs, and completely different personalities.
What do these two have in common? Towards the beginning of my interactions with them, they gave me almost identical statements: I am not in a position to have a relationship right now. I don’t want a relationship right now. I can offer you friendship.
In both instances I accepted their statements and tried to build some connection in the constraints given.
Yet, as I sit here on my bed, about an hour and a half before I jaunt off to work, I can’t help but note that the one thing they have in common is me not being in a relationship with either of them while they just started new ones with someone else.
I spoke to one friend about this situation; their conclusion was they both were full of shit and what they really should have said was, “I don’t want a relationship with you.” Obviously this hurt to hear, but since anger is an emotion I often quell, and I’m suppose to be allowing myself to feel and acknowledge my emotions, it rang true.
But when I spoke to another friend, they had a different, though similar, view.
Both of my friends pointed out that I settle. I know I settle. It is a bad habit that has plagued me far too long.
My second friend put it a different way. I don’t make others commit. I have a network of people I care for; from no one do I require an iota of title or formal negotiation. I allow a lot of people into my life without asking much, if anything.
So, sitting here, typing away on my netbook, this is when my footloose and fancy free nature gets me fucked. Because, if I am completely and totally honest with myself, I can say that I care deeply for both of these people who (cliche coming) dropped the bomb on me.
Of course I cannot blame either of them for the way I am feeling. I brought this all on myself.
I brought this all on myself.
I. Brought this. All. On. Myself.
I didn’t make them choose. I didn’t ask for a commitment. I didn’t ask for anything. They had me without ever having to choose, to commit, to make a decision. I am in their lives with little effort on their parts.
If I don’t ask for what I want, how am I ever suppose to get it?
Ah, but here is the real rub: I didn’t know what I wanted until I didn’t have it, until it was no longer a possibility.
During my last session with Doc, the subject of a person I will call Zed came up. When I was younger, Zed and I were friends, talking a lot on the phone, and spending lots of time together.
Because of life, I had to move away from Zed; our friendship waned. When I came back to visit, I learned Zed had started a new relationship. It took me a year to tell Zed how I felt that day.
I cried alone in the car with the window down and the rain pouring in as I sped, too fast, on the interstate. I sobbed, hard. I pulled away from Zed more. Still, even as I write this, my eyes water.
I didn’t know I was in love with Zed until I could no longer have Zed (they are not poly and I hadn’t even heard of the term at the time).
Today Zed is happy, and though their happiness comes from being with someone else, I am still very happy for them.
It is hard for me to articulate, or even realize, what I want until I can’t have it.
And that’s not to say I want a huge-monogamous-this-is-it commitment from either of those two; I’m fairly certain I don’t want that from anyone, in fact. But when you open with “I don’t want a relationship right now, nor am I looking for one,” yet somehow you find it with someone who isn’t me, I feel shitty.
I made an assumption. I didn’t take a leap. I accepted. I settled.
People don’t need to commit to me to be a part of my life. This gives me a lot of connections, but the ground under my feet never feels solid. I’m always afraid they will just stop being a part of my life.
I don’t ask for the commitment because I fear they will say no, and yet I still live in the constant fear that, instead of hearing “the no”, they will just stop being there.
In my avoidance of pain, I’ve woven a web of even more sorrow.
God, this emotional shit sucks. I need to stop doing that.
I need to stop settling.
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