Lately, J hasn’t been paying me as much attention as I’d like. He said as much without my prompting, so it’s not like he’s unaware.
It’s not uncommon for one of us to feel disconnected from the other. It’s the nature of a distance relationship (or perhaps, the nature of our distance relationship). Disconnect is just one of those cyclical issues that needs attending to, and for a number of reasons, I haven’t done due diligence in attending to it. In part, it’s because I’m stubborn and prideful, and in part, it’s because I’m not sure what to do.
This go around, I’ve felt the disconnect more than J — he’s been preoccupied with work. I’ve been busy too, but for whatever reason, it’s bothered me more than usual.
I understand I can’t always be his top priority. That’s part of our reality — we live separate lives at a considerable distance. But still, it hurts sometimes.
To keep my heart safe and to lessen the chance I’ll forget about reality long enough to let it sneak up and bite me in the ass, periodically I have to remind myself that J isn’t my top priority either. It’s not a tit for tat thing. It’s reality and self-preservation. Reminding myself he’s not my top priority means I’ll be less hurt when I can’t be his.
It stings a little, but I deal with it.
Early this past week, after being less than attentive, J asked if he could see me on the weekend.
I thought about it for a little while. I would have liked to reconnect, but I felt neglected and he felt farther away than usual. For those reasons, I wasn’t as eager to see him as I usually am. Besides that, I had work I wanted to get done over the weekend.
I said “no.”
I told him I wouldn’t see him and I explained my reasons.
After the conversation ended, I felt good about my decision and the way I handled it. I made a rational decision in my best interest and I gave my reasons without being dramatic, passive aggressive, or angry.
It felt pretty good.
As the weekend approached, he upped the sweetness and the attention and asked to see me again. I wavered… briefly. I thought about inviting him over, but then I remembered my reasons. Agreeing to see him would mean putting off my work, going back on my previous decision, and ignoring his prior inattentiveness.
I held firm.
While I was proud of myself for sticking to my decision, saying “no” didn’t feel as good the second time around. I explained my reasons again — not just for him, but for both of us. My decision wasn’t a punishment, it’s just that I wasn’t dying to see him. When he’s not as attentive, I don’t want him as much. When I don’t want him as much, I’m more willing to let an opportunity pass.
He understood and handled it well.
The weekend came.
And then it felt like a punishment… and it felt like I was the one being punished.
Sure, J was sad that he didn’t get to see me, but I imagine his sadness was tempered by my level-headed justifications and my assertions of logic and reality… those assertions I’m fantastic at making, but shit at believing. I felt no such comfort. All I had was sadness with an added layer of “kick myself” because all of it was my decision. Being sad was my own fault.
J makes me happy. Seeing him makes me happy. I refused to see him, and so, I missed an opportunity to be happy. That’s my fault.
I never intended for any of this to teach J a lesson, but I certainly didn’t expect to learn one of my own.
I know letting things slide won’t make for long term happiness. I get that. But I’m not interested in long term happiness — I’m interested in being happy now. Right now, dammit. And this? This didn’t make me happy.
I learned my lesson.
I won’t make the same mistake again.