I mentioned in an earlier post that J and I have gone around in circles a bit lately.
He’s been inattentive. I’ve been distant. I’m not good at communicating my needs, and he hasn’t done much to figure it out on his own. I don’t like asking for help or demanding attention, and I don’t do either as often as I should. On a few occasions when I have asked something of him or tried to communicate my needs, he’s misunderstood, failed to make it a priority, or flat-out refused. (not every time, but more often than is acceptable)
Our wires get crossed, communication breaks down, and we end up feeling disconnected and apathetic.
I’m partly to blame, as I haven’t been diligent in identifying problems and taking steps to correct them. J isn’t a permanent addition to my life, so I’ve tolerated more in this relationship than I have in others. I want to enjoy our time while we have it, so I’ve chosen to focus on what makes me happy rather than on what doesn’t.
My failure to deal with things is part avoidance and part rational, conscious decision. Since we communicate best in person, dealing with relationship issues would take up what little time we have together (a weekend or two a month, maybe a day or two here and there). Dealing with unpleasant relationship issues isn’t fun.
I’ve thought about what might happen if I were more diligent in identifying issues and figuring out ways to improve them. I’ve considered several possibilities.
Possibility #1: We might try to work on our issues, but then realize they can’t be resolved. We might discover we’re not compatible enough to continue the relationship, and then we lose the opportunity to enjoy each others company while he’s here.
Possibility #2: We take the time, effort, and unpleasantness required to resolve our issues, but then soon after, he gets the call — he’ll leave for the west coast and be out of my life. We will have wasted the time we had time working to sustain a relationship that no longer exists.
Possibility #3: We figure everything out, things improve, and he’s around long enough for us to enjoy the fruits of our efforts.
In my mind, it’s a cost vs. benefits thing.
But, unfortunately, potential costs and potential benefits are both unknowns because of the unique characteristics of our relationship.
We’ve been together two years, but since we can’t see each other as often as a normal couple, we’re in a kind of stunted relationship growth. On one hand, it means there’s still some new relationship energy that makes things exciting and fun. On the other hand, it means we probably don’t know each other as well as we should after two years of dating.
Besides that, J and I aren’t a permanent arrangement. We know that at some point, he’s going to move across the country and I’m not going with him. What we don’t know is when that might happen. It could be next week or it could be next year.
I not sure what to do with all of that. It makes determining any course of action difficult — I can’t assess potential costs or benefits because of other variables in the equation.
Up until now, a combination of avoidance and logical decision-making has led me to inaction (which is, of course, a form of action), and that worked well for a while. I was able to focus on the happy stuff and let little things go, provided those things were relatively insignificant and didn’t recur.
But those little things have become recurring issues which are compounded by other little things… and then it all hit critical mass. Everything I set slide — things I tried to ignore — all came back a hundred times bigger than they were. Now we’re dealing with anger, sadness, resentment, and general butt hurt, not only because of the recent issue that sent us over the cliff, but also, of all the little issues that came before it.
Since my previous approach isn’t working anymore, I’m taking action.
I’m not yet sure what that means or what action will look like, but I’m working on it. I have no way of knowing potential costs or benefits, but we’re going to find out.