6 years ago I started dating a guy named J.R. and we were together for about a year. For those of you who were around then (primarily Juli, Lauren, Justin and Stacy, perhaps) that relationship was equally as crazy. It ended during the summer with a phone call where we were fighting about something. And then him just saying, “I don’t want to fight anymore.” I spent a year trying to get over it and truly tested one of my best friends after having known her for less than a week when I saw J.R. and broke down inconsolably in front of my new co-workers (poor Laur, seems like she’s been holding me up from relationships for awhile now).
In light of a relationship ending recently too, I’ve started giving serious thought to my part and responsibility in these relationships and my seeming inability to cope when they end. Having had 3 serious relationships that all ended poorly, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was me. First, insecurity: was I pushing these guys away? Ignoring the bad parts to hang on for as long as possible just because I cared about the person? Expecting too much? Then, inadequacy: my high school boyfriend had cheated on me, Shea always talked about my “different” value system. Finally, just confusion and hurt. Was I going to be alone forever because I was a liberal, democratic feminist who liked to argue sometimes and who really wants adventure in her life?
So, last night I decided to find out, a la High Fidelity style. I contacted J.R. and Bobby to find out just what my problem was. Since Bobby and I have remained in fairly good contact since our break up, I pretty much just asked “What was my problem?” He told me that often I had high expectations of what a guy was supposed to be and rather than working for them, I just sat back and waited. I was kind of surprised—that is not my usual style at all (think: aggressive and assertively working towards something).
I called J.R. a bit later. I had intentions of asking him these questions but once we were on the phone, I just couldn’t. It’s odd to me how someone you were once intimately close to (close enough to swap spit anyway) can feel like such a stranger. We had a pretty wonderful conversation though and I’m always surprised by how much people can change. This guy who once swore the only thing in life that ever mattered was attaining a BMW and espresso machine was now living in New York and really starting to make friends. We even talked about me joining him on one of his trips to Colorado.
I didn’t learn a lot directly from that conversation, but what I did learn was some mistakes I am making. Like choosing guys who have issues and allowing myself to become the mother figure to fix their social stigmas. Or staying relationships because I’ve come to care for someone without really considering the state of the relationship itself. I tell you this not because I’m particularly wanting you to know this (it is never fun admitting flaws to ourselves, much less others) but to hopefully surround myself with an honest network who will let me know if I’m about to do it to myself again.
Gov. School started today. Some things don’t change, but luckily some do.