Tag Archives: relationships

The Truth About Silence

Silence has always been an important part of my life. My parents used silence in different ways. My mother’s quiet silence was terrifying, and always signaled her displeasure at something I had done. My father’s silence was measured and his attention was always focused on work… so when he broke his silence to speak, his words were golden.

And, me, as a curious child I loved the silence of the library because I could sit quietly and discover a world outside of my own. Silence meant that I could escape into the pages of the books surrounding me… I loved silence because the truth always seemed apparent when it showed itself.

In high school, I learned quickly that words are not always the best way to demonstrate truth in an argument. Instead, steadfast silence in the face of irrational, angry, and nothing-to-lose arguments always won out. A teacher once asked me why I didn’t stand up for myself in a barrage of insults from a classmate, and I remember thinking with such clarity how foolish my teacher was to not understand that jumping into the jumble of angry words and fighting didn’t make me any more right. I calmly told her, “I don’t need to explain the truth. It is the truth.”

Over the years, I have felt silence around me, and understood that the discomfort that people feel with silence speaks to a deeper underlying discomfort with the thoughts in their minds. I, too, have felt discomfort in silence when my mind is busy with unhappy thoughts, so I understand the inability to sit in silence.

I’ve recently found that the same silence that I have embraced as a child and as a student, is the same silence that I despise in relationships. With all that happens in life, when seeking a partner in life, I have discovered that silence is something I dislike and makes me unhappy. I want there to be communication between us, verbal or otherwise.

I’m seeing someone who is silent on the topic of his emotions, his life, and anything outside of telling me how beautiful I am to him. It’s been silence from him over the last few days, and I realized something in this silence.

I care for him deeply, and I love him for a lot of reasons. But, I don’t love him enough. There is something to be said about love that overcomes the once insurmountable, and I don’t have that for him. When I see him, he needs someone that loves him for everything he is and will become. He needs someone to help him become the man he wants to be, and I know that I am not that person for him. I want to be that person, because he healed me when we met when I was broken and sad. I want to be that person for him, but I can’t because I feel pieces of myself erode trying to be that person.

With silence comes the truth – maybe that’s why we live in a constant barrage of sound and stimuli. We flood ourselves with music, color, and distraction so the truths that hurt us are drowned out. I think I tried to do the same with him… I tried so hard to chatter away the silence, and to be the person I wanted to be for him and that he needs in his life. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t have it in me, and I’m too selfish to give up so much of myself for him… because I just don’t love him enough.

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Having It All

A friend and I talked about “having it all” in a partner. You know… the idea that the person you decide to spend your life with can provide you with all of the emotional, intellectual, physical, sexual… and whatever else you need.

We differed in opinion… I genuinely believe that you can’t have it all in a single person and a single relationship. Humans a social creatures, and we need a variety of different relationships with differing people and with different opinions to feel fulfilled. From my own personal experience, I know this to be true.

I had a relationship a while ago, and the man I was dating felt that he and he alone should be the only person I ever needed to interact with. He was insanely jealous of any other relationship I had… whether I was continuing a friendship with my group of girl friends or with colleagues. So I asked him… and he told me that for him, I was all he ever needed. For a while I was flattered, and curious as to how one single person could fulfill his every need. Turns out, he lied. It wasn’t long before I found out about all of the other women that he closeted away with trying to find another person to fulfill other needs in his life. I don’t blame him at all… we all need more than one relationship to be happy. It’s just a matter of being a mature and honest person about your needs.

I have a close friend. He’s very happily married. He and I speak 2 or 3 times a week… and I am his first call when he needs to talk something through. He once told me his wife teased him about needing to talk to me about his work related problems… but the fact of the matter is, he would rather talk to me about work than his wife. Why? Because for him, he only wants to focus on the life he has built with his wife, and not dirty the conversation with inane work problems. Our friendship is based on our mutual need to vent about work. In fact, we barely talk about anything other than work. And, again, the most important part? He’s honest about his need to talk about work with someone other than his wife. She and I know each other, and know our friendship is only about work.

It’s an interesting dynamic, and I’ve had other friends comment on it. They ask if I ever feel uncomfortable about having such a close relationship with a married man, and I have to say I do think about it for the sake of propriety but it’s a mature friendship that is based on supporting each other in the professional world. Something that we both need, and don’t want from our partners in life.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

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Knowing.

I was talking to a good friend, and he asked me if I had ever been in love. I didn’t have an answer. Then he asked if I had ever felt like “one had gotten away.” And to this… I did.

A long time ago, I dated a good friend of mine. A and I were good friends first, and eventually dated. He lived far away, so eventually things faded away with the distance and time. Because things just faded, there was never that jarring “end” to our story… and so I always wondered.

With all of the other men I had dated, I always said there is a reason they are an ex, and I always had that reason right off the top of my head. But with A, I never had that reason… it was shitty timing and distance but never anything about him that was the reason for the “ex.”

For a very long time after we stopped seeing each other, I compared every other man to him. Over time I realized the reason that A understood me so perfectly is because we were friends first, and he understood what made me happy as a person, and not as a girlfriend. And I held out hope, that maybe we would reunite and it would be as magical and wonderful as it had been before. Just a small flicker of hope, because my rational head knew that my heart could be playing tricks on me.

Two years ago, I still felt the flutter and the spark when we saw each other, but I hesitated. I’ve always been a person that follows my gut, and that hesitation made me think again about rekindling our relationship. Then a few weeks ago, he was in town on business, so I went to see him for dinner. I knew I had to see him and finally close the book on whether or not A and I were a thing. It’s been years and years of back and forth… and I deserve to move on and be happy. So when he was in town, I went to see him for dinner.

 

We had a great time, and as I get older I realize how important good friends are… which is what he is. A good friend. I finally know with absolute clarity… he is not the love of my life, he is not the one that got away. He is everything I remember – but simply not mine. I don’t know how I know, but I know this time.

It’s a little sad, but it’s also so liberating that I can finally close that chapter of my life and my heart. So. Here is to the next step. I’m not sure what, but I feel like there is a clean piece of paper in front of me now.

 

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Making It Work

I was always taught that if I wanted something that I had to make it work. If I wanted it, I would MAKE it work. I have been known to be willful and refuse to give up when I want something… and I have been known to go out of my way to make something work the way I want. To a certain extent, this quality has been an asset, but sometimes I think it isn’t.

I think in all kinds of relationships you need to put a certain amount of effort into developing and fostering the relationship, but there comes a point to when “making it work” is simply moot. I wonder a lot about this these days. I have been running into little scraps with friends and the guy I’m currently dating… and sometimes I wonder if putting the effort in to making these relationships work is worth it.

For someone like myself, who is notoriously happy with being alone, it seems burdensome to put so much effort into fostering relationships that seem to only irritate me.

On that note, I hope you all have a wonderful New Years!

 

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To Be Wanted

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the idea of being “wanted” by the person you are with.

One of my good friends is dating someone that I know with certainty does not “want” her. In fact, he’s repeatedly cheated on her… but I guess she “wants” him so she’s willing to stay next to someone that doesn’t give her an inch. She wants him more than her dignity, but he wants all of the other girls plus her.

I’ve been seeing someone for the last couple months, and I’ve been thinking a lot about him too… I wonder if he “wants” me the way that I want to be wanted. I want someone who actively chooses and wants to be with me above all else. I want someone who wants all of the good and the bad. I want that.

I don’t think that love is enough to be married, but that each person has to “want” to be married and to be in love with each other.

I’m still not sure on this “want” thing… but these are the things kicking around in my head.

 

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Define This “THING”

My friend, Jana, once pulled me aside at a bar and told me I needed to have the DTR with Jason, the guy I was dating at the time. I laughed, told her she was too intense, and walked off. I was a little perturbed by her insistence that I needed to “DTR” or “Define The Relationship” when I thought it was pretty obvious. We were together… pretty clear, no? But, I guess Jana was right, because just as a year crept upon Jason and I, I realized he didn’t think of me as his girlfriend. The “break up” was downright ugly, but I was glad when it was over. Turns out, I needed to have told Jason what page we were on, because he was on an entirely different one.

Regrets abound with that, but I realized after that relationship (if you could even call it that) that people need to talk and be on the same page. I have long assumed that my actions speak loudly enough for people to understand me. I tend to be pretty closed-mouthed about feelings and the like, but I had always believed my actions were enough. Apparently not.

Shortly after, I met Chris, and he insisted on talking about everything… literally EVERYTHING. He told me about all his feelings and how he felt about things, always. The relationship didn’t work out for a lot of reasons, but I did get a sense of what defining a relationship meant… because Chris wanted desperately for me to define our relationship.

Anyway, relationships have come and gone since, and with each I understand a little bit more about what I want, and what I care about. I’ve learned that I’m not really big into having these intense conversations about defining the relationship. I like to see where things go, and let it organically happen, as opposed to a forced and uncomfortable conversation that I am loathe to bring up.

My friends tell me that I am good at embracing “gray” areas in relationships, but I think that I am good at just waiting to see.

What about you? What is your idea of defining a relationship?

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Being the “Other” One

Cate recently discovered that her current prince charming is not so charming after all. Charming is apparently a bit of a snake and Cate is his girlfriend on the side. In fact, Charming has 2 children and has been happily married for 14 years. He’ll celebrate his 15 year wedding anniversary with his wife the weekend before Charming and Cate celebrate their 2 year long term relationship.

Understandably Cate is pretty pissed off, but she is still planning on celebrating their 2 year anniversary.

I wonder about Cate. This is not her first married man, and I imagine not her last. A couple years ago she was involved with yet another married man who had 3 kids and had been happily (well… kinda) married for 15 years. She told me that before that she was involved with a man who was engaged to someone else.

Let me be clear… I am not passing judgment at all. I just wonder. I’ve been hit on by my fair share of married or otherwise attached men… but their unavailability makes them unattractive to me. I simply don’t find them the least bit attractive because of that overriding factor of being married. However, I’m told that some people don’t consider this an issue.

How? Why? What?

Explain this to me!

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On Finding True Love

My long time friend, Corinne and I have recently been talking a lot about finding true love. She told me about her long time loves, and the people she has fallen in love with… which got me thinking about the concept of love. I don’t know if I have ever been “in” love with anyone.

I have never willing said the words “I love you” to a boyfriend… and yes, you read that correctly “willingly.” I once conceded to saying “I love you” because I didn’t want to argue. Isn’t that horrible? But after refusing to meet Chris’ parents, move in with him, have sex with him, meet his colleagues, act like his wife, marry him and the whole other litany of bullshit – I conceded on those silly little words.

For him “I love you” involved following my every move and never leaving my side. He was obsessed. He would appear at parties I attended and get into violent arguments with any man that looked my direction. He would insist that I was the “love of his life” and the only “true love.” He insisted so vehemently that it was “love” that he felt. So I said it back, because I wasn’t sure about my feelings yet but I was certain that he would be irrational if I refused to say it.

Eventually I was sure of my feelings, and so during an argument when he asked “did you ever love me?” I couldn’t lie. Because, I finally knew that I didn’t not feel love, and that his version of love was not the same as mine. He married quickly thereafter, finding someone whose idea of love was the same as his.

I was angry and confused for a long time after because it seemed so strange that someone could be in love with someone and then another so quickly.  It was strange to me that I had such a negative reaction to Chris’ falling in love and marrying someone else so quickly, especially since I never did nor never would reciprocate his feelings for me. It made me question whether love is forever, because at the time the only thing I believed about love was that it was forever.

My idea of love is constantly evolving with the years that pass, the relationships I weather, and the people I meet. I’m not sure what true love is exactly, but I do know one thing. Love is a lot of work.

I know this, because a long while ago I felt what could have been true love. A close friend and I became romantically involved, and I kept it quiet for a long time. At the time, I felt like I was experiencing something so beautiful and wonderful that I didn’t want to share it with anyone, lest they ruin it. Unfortunately, he misunderstood and thought I did not care for him in the same way he cared for me. It hurt him deeply, and by the time I realized… the damage was done. We reconnected again, but the timing was off and the relationship was too much work for either of us to fathom. We became lazy, and the less work we put into being together, the tinier the beautiful feelings became.

For a long time I believed that he was my true love, but I think now, he is simply my lost love. I don’t write too much about him because he holds a special place in my heart, and he changed my view on love immensely.

I have no answer to how to find true love. I’m not even sure if I know what true love is, but I know that love is a different story for every person. I understand that love is never the same. I understand that love changes. Most of all I understand that I will find someone that understands what I think love is, and when I do, that will be my true love.

 

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A Special Kind of Broken Heart

A few weeks ago, a Jon told me that he had a girlfriend. I almost dropped the phone.

I asked a bit more about his relationship and continued our normal peppy conversation before we hung up. I didn’t want to pick a fight, so I just pretended like everything was normal. But, the truth? I was shellshocked… and my heart broke a little.

I know the friendship between a man and a woman is always complicated… doubly so when they have been romantically involved in the past. But, I always believed that my friendship with Jon was special. We dated way back when, but when it came down to it, we were simply better friends.

The truth is that I do love him. I love him for no reason at all, but simply because I do. But, maybe it is because I love Jon that I was so disappointed when he told me about his girlfriend of two years. Maybe it is because I thought I knew him so well that I felt so deceived and hurt when I realized that he did not value my friendship the same way that I valued his.

I tried to characterize my feelings to one of our mutual friends… but he didn’t understand. He asked me “Are you jealous because you are in love with Jon?”

I can honestly say that I am not IN love with Jon, I simply love him as a person. And, if I was in love with him, he would be mine and not anyone else’s.

But, for a friend of nearly a decade to hear about a serious girlfriend of TWO years was a shock. And I would be lying if I said it didn’t break my heart. I truly want Jon to be happy. I want him to get everything he wants in life. I want him to find his person and be happy. I don’t want anything to hurt him.

We talk at least once a month, if not more frequently. He’s visited me several times in the last two years… and yet never a peep about the girlfriend. Never a word otherwise. Over the last decade, I have seen and heard most of Jon’s most embarrassing stories and listened to his heartbreaks. And he has heard mine. We have been fast friends… or at least I believed it was so.

So, when I learned of something as important as his girlfriend, two years after the fact… I felt deceived, lied to, and all around hurt. It was as if our friendship meant nothing to Jon. It was as if Jon didn’t care at all.

One of my friends suggested that perhaps he didn’t tell me because he was hoping that I would come back to him, that maybe I still loved him like I did when we dated. That he still held a candle for me and that was why he didn’t tell me about the girlfriend.  Another friend suggested that maybe it just slipped his mind.

Whatever the reason, whatever the premeditation for not bringing up once in the last two years of talking, visiting, and being friends… I’m hurt. It’s a different kind of hurt. It’s a special kind of broken heart that comes with the realization that maybe you’ve misjudged someone and maybe you’ve given your love to someone that never deserved it in the first place.

I  feel deflated because I’ve wasted a piece of my heart on someone that never valued it anyway and I question whether I should ever value that friendship again.

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Business Trips+++

I want to talk about the men that I know who travel for work… and this crazy idea that they have. I have quite a few friends that travel for a living, and some of these men I had dated and some I have not. But, there is this phenomenon that happens when you talk to businessmen that travel a lot that just seems to happen more often than not.

The phenomenon of “I’m going to be in San Jose for a week on business, why don’t I fly you out?” or whatever derivative of that statement. During grad school, I used to tally these little “fly you out” statements, and occasionally I would indulge the man and fly out… especially if it was somewhere tropical during the winter. Because, what girl wouldn’t want to go to white sand beaches and unlimited mimosas for a week?

Anyway. My friend, who I did date once upon a long-ass time ago, recently called and told me to meet him in California. He gave me very precise dates and times, and then told me to book my flight immediately, without so much as a “do you want to?” Now, I just have a few questions…

  1. What… what on earth do you think I will be doing ALL day while you are at work? Should I be lounging in lingerie and pining over your return?
  2. Do you expect me to sit around at the hotel waiting for you to come back? Am I supposed to watch TV?
  3. If I’m being asked to go to a boring city or one that is literally devoid of fun (ahem… Akron?!), how are you going to entertain me?
  4. Is there anything to do during the day while you’re off earning your keep? Is there a museum? A movie theatre? A car for me to drive? Taxis? What is there for ME to do?
  5. What about lunch? Am I supposed to eat alone? Or will you come to whisk me off for lunch? Because I know how conferences work, and that sounds like I’ll be eating ALONE, by MYSELF.
  6. What about dinner? Are you going out with your buddies and smoking cigars, hitting up titty bars and leaving me on my own?
  7. Are you going to come back late, drunk and stupid?
  8. Also… if you aren’t taking me to dinner, who is paying for MINE? Because you did fly me out, and you can’t really expect me to foot the bill for stupid shit I don’t want to do by myself.
  9. If I decide to take time out of my schedule… what am I getting? Is this going to be fun for me? Will it be vacation? Or me just burning time until you come back to hang out with me?
  10. Is this actually going to be fun for ME?
  11. Do you think I find it flattering that you are flying me anywhere? Because I find it WAY more flattering if YOU flew to ME, not the reverse.
  12. Is this your way of “treating” me to a hotel that your company picks the tab up on? Because, that’s kinda unethical and kinda cheap of you.

Now, I know a lot of my questions seem to revolve around “who pays”  and “are you going to play with me?” but it’s a real question… because when I think of flying to see someone, I assume they will spend their time with ME, and not juggling work and me. Because as a career woman myself, I wouldn’t let someone distract me from my career, let along an important business trip.

So. Those are my concerns, questions, and serious comments to those men who think flying someone out to them for a business trip is fun. Because… in my experience it is less than fun and I mostly never want to speak to them again. So… I have a policy. No Business Trips+++.

What are your thoughts?

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