After publishing my last post, I overanalyzed everything, like I always do. But then I stopped and just took action. If something is bothering me about someone I’m attempting to date, I need to talk to him, not bash them to the Internet in an anonymous blog and expect to see results.
My past experience with my ex-husband was, if I told him something was bothering me, he would turn it around and somehow make it my fault. He would never own that he hurt my feelings, even if it wasn’t the smallest little thing. He was a master manipulator. I didn’t realize that fun fact until it was too late – until I was nearly out of my mind crying everyday and heading down the fast lane to divorce. I had built up tolerance to this kind of manipulation, and learned techniques to avoid it. I developed a strong sense of what would trigger him, and would prepare myself for for his cool, calm, thoughtful response to me being a “crazy” person. Some call this “walking on eggshells”, but I just thought it was normal.
Fast forward to my new dating life. Now, when I need to confront a man about his behavior, I try to think of every angle why I may or may not be right or wrong before I push the issue. The only problem is I don’t know these men like I knew my ex-husband, so it’s harder to prepare for their reaction. If I have to put up a boundary, it doesn’t often end well. They typically get upset, even if they apologize quickly to save face, and the relationship doesn’t usually go much further after that. There’s something about putting up boundaries that pushes people away.
But then I realized, isn’t that the point? I’m always so careful about what I say and how I say it, all so I can continue to hold on to someone or some situation. But why?
This time I figured I’d rather be called crazy and quickly move on from this guy than disrupt the hard-earned peace I’ve been working on for all these years. I’m all about not wasting time, keeping it peaceful, and doing what’s best for me these days. Finally, after all of these years I just don’t give a damn.
So I let 3-Day Date Guy know I was very bothered by the context of his call on Sunday evening. I told him I was trying to dismiss it and make excuses for him, but it kept nagging at me two days later.
I braced for the blame. I was ready to retreat. I prepared for this to be the beginning of the end of yet another post-divorce relationship that barely got off the ground…
…but to my surprise, he didn’t hesitate to apologize, and he owned his actions.
He seemed genuinely sorry about making me uncomfortable, and asked if we could talk more about it that evening. He promptly called me that evening, apologized again, and we talked through it. He didn’t just apologize and move on, he actually dug into it, explained himself a little and owned it. Owned it.
I was pleasantly surprised. And I was relieved. And I was happy to be getting to know someone like him.
And then I was sad. I was sad for myself that I stressed about speaking up in the first place. And sad for my past self that I ever got to a place where I couldn’t be myself.
And then I was proud of myself for doing things differently this time. And finally seeing different results. You attract who you are. And I’m finally attracting a different type of person in my life to allow me to be who I am becoming.
We may become a couple, we may not. That remains to be seen. My goal these days is not to hang on to old ways that didn’t serve me, but to own and follow through with what’s best for me.
Stifle Me Not