A Not-So-Bad Weekend

Looking at the number of comments, I wonder if people are getting sick of reading about my relationship analysis.  I don't blame those of you that feel that way.  It has been a lot.  But it helps me to understand.  I've always been that way.  Maybe because my dad was so internal and uncommunicative, and I never knew what was going on with him.  Or maybe it's just my personality (ha! there I go analyzing again).  And I do like to have a record of the process to look back on.

After the email exchange in the last post, I texted S to ask if he was attending a party I knew we were likely both invited to this weekend.  He wrote back no, and we ended up texting/emailing a bit over the weekend.  It's helping me a lot to know he cares and feels pain, as well, and to know more about where he's at right now.  Clearly, from his communication, he's avoiding really facing his feelings.  I can't force him to do so or to talk to me in person.  I know we will talk eventually, though, and that helps to let it go for now.

Believe me, I still have a lot of anger about the choices he made, but it is tempered somewhat by remembering my own feelings and choices and how they affected him throughout the relationship.

I went out with a friend yesterday afternoon to an art party.  It fed my need for beauty.  The artist (someone I know from my community work) does amazing drawings, and works with Batik in deep, vibrant colors.  I bought a small batik picture of a bridge, waterfall, and forest in an area of Washington called, "Five Step."  Growing up in Oregon and living in Seattle for so many years, I still feel a deep connection to the Northwest, and this picture brings that alive.  I can't wait to hang it up.

Afterwards, I went to a healing and expressive arts gathering.  When I walked in, they were doing a blessing of different directions.  I've done this before, but walking into it not knowing anyone, I felt awkward.  From then on, however, the meeting was fabulous.  We did some EFT and Franklin Method activities, and I led an Image Theatre visioning exercise for the group (picture below).  We will be meeting monthly, and I'm optimistic about where this group might lead for me personally and professionally.

All in all, a not-so-bad weekend.  Hope you had a good one, too!

P.S. I realize I never concluded the Cop saga:  as you might have guessed, it's over-and-done-thank-God.  A bit more texting silliness and word from him that he was once again immersed in drama with his ex, and that was the final straw I needed to say, "bye-bye."  Safe to say, I think that whole situation may have been a bit of a rebound thing. . .


Another Round of Fun

It's been a while, but I recently had another cry about my break-up with S.  The wave of sadness came on unexpectedly, as they often do; this one while re-reading our most recent email exchange.  

We had not communicated since I had emailed him post-Christmas, after receiving his email confirming he had spent the holiday with his ex and that his romantic feelings for us had been fading - according to him, of their own accord, not due to anyone else taking that focus.  I said that I doubted his ability to be truthful and did not want to be friends at this point, but may want to talk in the future.  

Then, a couple weeks ago I felt strong enough to talk further about our relationship and insights I had discovered.  So, I wrote him an email explaining the emotional pain in which I wrote the last email, but that I was now feeling the need for more closure and understanding.  I asked if he was willing to have a conversation, and this is the core of the reply I received:

"We did have something special. I'm left confused by our breakup. However, I feel deeply convinced that it's the right thing for me. 

I'm not up to, nor up for, discussing it with anyone yet, and probably least of all with you. I think I did a few things that would have been very hard on any relationship, and I think some of your ways of reacting and interacting were particularly hard on me (vs. some imaginary "average" man who's a bit less sensitive, especially to particular constructions of words). 

I have a lot to unpick on my side before I'll be more emotionally resilient, and ready to not require of a partner that they be extraordinarily resilient, just to withstand my being what seems like myself. I do still think this will need expert help. 

As we saw, the hard way, I also have strong connections to two of my exes, and I have to figure out just what I'm willing to give and take on those before I try a relationship again."

Is it just me, or is his tone excessively formal?  Actually, knowing him, I can say that he tends to write on the formal side but this is extremely formal, even for him.

He also said he's not ready to talk about our relationship as a whole and asked for space.  No specific timeframe but indicated several months.  Btw, he didn't say anything I hadn't already heard, content-wise, in the email.  Some of the things he says point out our differences in preference for direct and indirect communication.  I thought the way he framed the situation with his exes was particularly gentle on himself, to put it mildly.

After reading this email from him, I felt disappointed, angry, and hurt (also some yuckiness).  Because of the formality and refusal to engage with me, I guess.  Is his response fair?  What is going on with him?  Feeling guilty?  Or just emotionally overwhelmed and unable to deal with talking to me?  

It feels like he's holding onto control and not considering my feelings in the equation, which is resonant with how he's behaved as a whole during our breakup.  

I did write back an immediate response, which I don't regret, and which says some of the things I've wanted to say.  But it's far from comprehensive.  Here is an excerpt:

"I have a couple initial thoughts I'd like to share.  I want to be clear I was in not asking you to get back together.  I was asking for what I consider an extremely reasonable thing: to have a conversation about our relationship post-breakup.  That you will not have this with me is deeply confusing and hurtful to me.  Do you not feel some sense of responsibility, or, if not that, caring for my needs around this?  I don't understand what is so scary or threatening about talking to me.  Part of what I wanted to share with you has to do with my own revelations about myself and some of the choices I made; stuff I imagine you would want to hear."

I then expressed some strongly-worded feelings about how his choices at the end of our relationship sucked and diminished my view of us and our relationship. . .

". . .That said, I recognize my own role in our issues, including checking out sometimes and not being present to what was actually happening, taking you and your communication for granted at times (or not respecting and caring for your feelings at times around communication).  And there was lots of stuff with our chemistry, on both sides.  I just wanted it to get better but was not admitting that it was not getting better and was in fact getting worse.  I don't completely understand, because the emotional/mental is so interconnected with the physical, but there were problems and I don't think I faced them directly at the end."

Ah breakups, how fun you are.  Not.

I'm really doing okay overall and healing well.  But we shared so much, and he and our relationship meant a lot to me.  I want to understand as much as I can about what happened.  And I do want more closure.  I suppose I may have to find more closure for myself at this time, as so many people have had to do before me when their partner refused to process with them.  

Admittedly, when I transport myself back through the reality of our relationship, I remember how so many times I did not want to get close to him in circumstances that I think in a "healthy enough" relationship you should want to get close to someone.  As I said to him, I don't fully understand how the emotional/mental connects to the physical.  On some level, did I sense that he was not being completely transparent with me about his exes and therefore feel unsafe and less attracted/sexual with him?  I don't know.  He had lapses in his feelings of hotness for me too that may have fed into my feelings.  

Overall though, I don't think the hotness factor was high enough for what I want and need in a long-term relationship.  SO many wonderful companion qualities were present.  And at the beginning, he was so into me that it fueled my passion for him.  Does anyone else experience this phenomenon of feeling more attracted to someone if they are totally into you?  Anyway, this pattern seemed to subside far too quickly, within a couple months of us committing to each other.  

Another factor that fueled our attraction/connection was trying to get pregnant.  Something both of us really wanted.  And it was exciting that we both were so fully on board with this goal and working toward it together, going through the process each month as a team.  I can tell you, after trying for many cycles over the years as a single woman, it was really nice to have someone else next to me on the roller coaster sharing mutual support.  But month after month of failure. . . and then we took a month off from trying. . . and our already deflating passion seemed to deflate further.  

Thanks for listening to my ongoing analysis.  Your support and comments through this breakup has really meant a lot to me and helped me through the dark times.  

Part of me would like to write a second email to him saying, "F you," to take some control (and if I'm honest, hurt him like he hurt me).  But that would be shooting myself in the foot considering we are part of the same community and will have to deal with each other in the future.  

Also, emotionally, I would like to end on a healthy note, ideally even a loving note, but time will tell if that is possible.  For now, I will just keep healing my own heart and writing my feelings, as needed, on my own.  And if I get to the place where I want to send him a more comprehensive final letter, I can do that too.


Update: Jobs and Cops

So glad I'm not working right now.  And yet. . . I'm ready and wanting to find another income stream, especially considering my supervisor will be hiring another teacher soon and my hours will go back down. 

Any ideas for me in terms of job search strategies or possible employers?  I think I've shared a lot about my work background but to revisit: I have a Masters in Psychology and lots of experience with career counseling, interactive theatre (especially using it for self and career development and community building), as well as communication and curriculum development.  Work environments have more recently included Non-Profits, Private Non-Profits, and community colleges, but in the past, businesses as well. 

Ideally, I would find something part-time, since I'm already working 15-20 well-paid hours through my current grant.  I really wish I could find paid work for the Transition Town movement.  Maybe I should at least ask Transition U.S. if I could submit my resume, though I know they are a pretty lean organization.

I found a few possibilities on job sites and am applying for them today.  And there may be some extra hours I could get from other grants at the community college where I work.  My supervisor gave the green light to talk to the head of our department about it.  Wish me luck!

In the oh-so-fun dating arena, the situation with the COP has had a couple more ups and downs.

On the second and most recent date on Monday, we walked around a local reservoir.  The chemistry was definitely still there, but I think our ongoing drama has created reticence in both of us.  It was a beautiful walk.  We stopped and walked out onto a secluded dock at one point and made out a little.  :-)

Continuing on, he talked a lot about the stress he was under in his job, the traumatic domestic and violent situations he's dealt with, how humor was such a huge coping mechanism, but he knows what he went through has affected him and created a lot of repressed emotion (my wording).  He said if he ever got counseling, he would need to talk to someone who had been a cop and could understand his reality.

This may sound callous, but I was empathizing and really with him up to a point, but then I wanted him to ask about me and give me some air time.  He basically talked most of the time and was very absorbed in his own feelings.  At the end he asked me what was going on.  I said I knew I couldn't really understand what he'd been through, but I needed to say that I did think it would be good if talked to someone - that he would have access to more of himself - and he agreed.

I also said I was needing to know he was interested in me and requested that he ask me a question (yes, I am that direct sometimes).  Well, he got all defensive.  We got past it and ended up being kind of romantic at the end, but my heart wasn't totally in it.  I'm just really wanting more consciousness in my relationships now, and the ability to communicate and hear one another at deeper levels.  Anyway, we have decided to take a break for a few days and check back in this weekend.

In this break, he is supposedly deciding if he wants to work on himself and try and be more open to communicating and hearing feelings.  So far, when I express vulnerable feelings, it makes him uncomfortable and he deflects with jokes or defensiveness.

Believe me, I know that I have issues, and I certainly don't expect him or anyone I date not to have them, as well.  But more self-awareness = more ability to take responsibility for our own actions and reactions; to acknowledge when we have treated the other person unfairly from a place of being "triggered" into some old pattern.

In addition to the date described above, and as I shared about in the previous post, he has really put me through the wringer with his unconscious communication.  It's been intolerable.  I told him I don't have the emotional fortitude to withstand it.  Basically, he communicates a bare minimum through texts and leaves me hanging for periods of time.  He rarely initiates phone calls and doesn't follow through on making plans to meet.  He'll seem interested in getting together, and then something "comes up," like needing to help his roommate, and he says he can't.  But in our conversations, he's often intensely romantic and plaintively says he misses me and wishes I was there with him.  When I've confronted him on his crazy-making behavior, he's admitted to feeling a lot of fear because I can "get inside his head."  I'm sure his recent divorce also plays a role.

We've met two times, and it's like we've had an entire relationship, complete with several break-ups.  Too much drama!  I knew it was not conscious or healthy enough for me pretty early in, but the energy and chemistry we had was really seductive.  I haven't had that strong of connection with anyone for a long, long time.  And he made me laugh, and who can resist a man who makes you laugh?

But the drama has dampened all that.  If he decides he really wanted to work on himself, then I will consider trying, but otherwise, I'm done.


The Cop

It's been a busy week.  The cop and I have continued to talk and text and actually did manage to meet up.  It was a really good meeting and the chemistry was not overestimated. :)  I really want to give him a chance, even though he's shown me in several ways that he has less self-awareness than I would like and also has a lot of fear that is holding him back from making plans.

Or at least I think it's fear; fear is what he's shared with me.  But maybe partly it's just who he is.  Basically he hasn't asked me out to do anything with more than a few hours notice and he decides he really wants to see me once it gets to be about nine or 10 'o clock at night, when it's not reasonable that I drive out to see him or vice versa.

From all the talking we've done, it feels almost like we're in a relationship, but when I consider we've only met once in person, I don't necessarily consider that a good thing.  I'm resentful that he's causing me anxiety around the simple commitment of meeting and getting to know one another face to face.

There was a word for this, I think from the Artist's W.ay:  Crazy Making.  He's practicing crazy making, and I'm not enjoying the ride.  The flip side is  that he has consistently been in communication in other ways, by text and by phone, and he has responded to my feelings by stopping certain behaviors like dropping communication (deciding we were done communicating for the moment, then starting another activity and not responding to my texts/calls).

He's expressed that he likes me.  But he's also expressed that he's never met anyone like me and that it really scares him that I could "get inside his head," as few people have.  Did I mention he worked as a hostage negotiator?  He's told me about his early life, as well, which I won't go into here, but it makes me feel a lot of compassion for him.  And I certainly understand being gunshy after ending a 17-year marriage only last year.

But I know I'm not willing to go crazy or sacrifice my peace of mind over someone.  I need there to be mutual consideration and respect, regardless of how much fear either one of us may be feeling.

So last night I told him I'd been thinking and that I'm needing more consideration in making plans together. . . and then didn't hear from him again all night until exchanging a brief goodnight text.  Sad but I know it was the right thing.  If we can't move into "normal" dating and hanging out, then I know I don't want to continue.  It's just too much anxiety, and I don't possess the emotional fortitude. . . despite the sizzling chemistry.

* Update: he texted a "hi" this morning and again later in the day, but we still haven't talked.  I'm not sure what's going to happen.


Strange Days

Strange days, folks, strange days.

It feels like more time has passed than actually has since Christmas.  Still a little freaky that S and I actually broke up.  I did not see that coming (before finding out about the ex living with him for a month, that is).

Never expected to be back on the ridiculous site known as matc.h.c.om.  Ridiculous, yet so enticing for us introverts.  You mean I don't have to go out and actually meet and make small talk with people?  Awesome.  Of course, eventually you do need to meet the person and take things offline.

Which is precisely where I am with the former officer of the law: just prior to meeting.  Honestly, I'm not sure I really should.  We are sooo different, and he's way less open and self-aware at this point.  He says he wants to grow and learn in that area.  On the other hand, he is quite spiritual and analytical: I think I mentioned he was a hostage negotiator and also led a youth mentoring program for quite a while.

So he's got some depth but he's also a pretty well-constructed external shell, as you might imagine he would, thinking of a stereotypical person in law enforcement.  Also, though he's been broken up with his ex-wife for a year, their final papers are just now going through and he's still feeling some pain.

One more facet of our connection: we've had these crazy "energetic exchanges," I guess you would call them, where we're on the phone not talking but feeling as though we are physically connected in a yummy cuddly type way.  It feels really amazing and kinda trips me out. . . We're supposed to get together Sunday, so we'll see.

On other fronts, teaching the little hellions two days a week is okay so far, knock on wood.  My supervisor is interviewing and should hire someone soon.  I'm planning to ask the head of our department if there are any other grants on which I might assist, in addition to this one.  Funding is always uncertain but they have a big variety of grants, and I understand they may need some help.

And then I have my Transition Heart and Soul meeting tomorrow night.  A group called "Green Sangha" will be coming to lead meditation and discuss consciousness / meditation / sustainability / green principles.  Fun stuff!

Saturday, I'm planning to attend the opening of a local Peace and Justice Center here in Oak.land and a Non-Violent Communication Workshop on navigating interpersonal conflict in the afternoon.  I see on Fac.ebook that S is signed up to attend the opening, as well.  It may be our first community "run in," which is a bit scary.

I actually wrote him an email yesterday asking if he would be willing to have a more closure-type relationship talk, now that some time has passed.

Waves of sadness and missing him come and go now, but they're smaller and a lot farther between (I can't say the cop hasn't been a distraction).  Anger still colors my view of our demise.  I'm not sure how I'll feel if I run into him at this event.  Imagining it will be awkward.


Finally, a Good Mood

I've been in a good mood today, believe it or not.  The first true good mood in several weeks, if not longer, it seems.

Possible reasons include cutting back on the supplement DHEA, which I think may be helping.  In addition, I'm on what I call my "hormonal upswing," a few days into my cycle, and I had a really big, ugly cry on Monday (and a smaller one yesterday), which released some grief.

During my Monday cry, I became clear that I'm aching to fully love someone - that I hadn't been able to do that with S and felt deeply sorry about that fact.  It sounds fairly simple but felt like a significant insight and shift from feeling despairing and wounded.  I still have sadness and am constantly getting triggered by memories and seeing emails or event announcements for things we did together in the past.  I looked at his Facebook page today.  So, clearly I'm still thinking about him, but the feelings don't seem as raw.

As a result of talking about my insight with my housemate, he ended up loaning me a copy of the book he's working through with his (sort of) girlfriend, called Undefended Love.  It's about the balance between the polarity of deeply connecting with yourself and deeply connecting with another person.  And about true intimacy coming from directly facing your fears/vulnerability and being present with whatever is happening, versus automatically reverting to old, well-worn defenses that feel safe and familiar.  I guess there are some exercises further along in the book.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Did I mention I rejoined Mat.ch.c.om?  Initially, it was a move to soothe my ego and gain some equilibrium in the situation with S.  Maybe some of that is still true, but I'm also feeling like it's a healthy thing for me to be "out there" interacting with people.  I've only been on the one date so far before Christmas, which didn't have much chemistry. . .  and I was still pretty deep in the grief at that point too.

In the last few days, I've been emailing with a recently retired (he retired early to receive his full pension or something; he's only a few years older than me) cop from a nearby town.  I like him a lot and he's funny, but he still seems to have some grief going on of his own from his divorce.  Maybe we're perfect for each other right now!  lol

Finally, school started back up this week.  I'm teaching two days a week, covering my co-teacher's (who quit) days, as well as my own.  This is supposed to be the "worst" school, but I'm generally liking it so far, knock on wood.  The teacher is very supportive of our program and involved with activities, so that's making a huge difference.  There's the one rowdy period, of course, who get on my last nerve, but it's not intolerable so far.  We're not sure if we have a school lined up after this one, so my fingers are crossed.  I'm skating on financial fumes after the holidays and cannot wait until payday on Tuesday!

I have been reading other blogs and appreciating hearing others' feelings and experiences as the year turns.  It makes me feel less alone.  I truly wish that you all receive the dreams of your heart (and more) in 2012!