There are moments in life where asking a question can be the dumbest act you can do but somehow end up being the best thing you needed.
A.’s parents are in town today and there have been conversations between her and I that have been friendly, supportive and joking proving that she and I can be friends. Naturally I have to find a question to ruin that attitude, because I’m stupid.
A little background as I explain the situation further. Last year when A. and I were seeing each other and her parents paid her a visit for a week. During this time, she distanced herself from me and most other people due to the discomfort regarding her family. The reasons for that are hers and I won’t begin to analyze that situation. With this being brought into play along with other issues that were secretly eroding what little of a relationship we were forming, it made things even more volatile and would eventually cause a meltdown stemming from so many different avenues of insecurities from both of us to lead us to where we are now. I had already began to react badly to smaller issues, such as being in a “dating” relationship and hiding ourselves from her children and some of her friends, our level of intimacy that we began last winter that added to the equation and made an already bad situation far worse. I didn’t like being a secret. I didn’t like the feeling that I was not good enough to discuss with others or to not be introduced to loved ones. I had a history of being a secret with others for much more valid reasons than the reasons she had brought to my attention, Her explanation, though it made sense, made me feel lower than I had ever felt before with her.
Returning back to the present, I asked the dumbest question I could have ever asked her. Has her new guy friend, the one she spends most of her time with today, met her parents? I knew it was a mistake the second I asked and I dreaded the answer because I already knew it. She informed me that he has not met them but it was a possibility. And with that possibility, it solidified that feeling I had last year to a point where my state of mind is permanently changed.
This time I honestly don’t care of her reaction to what’s on my mind. We aren’t together, so vocalizing my issues no longer frightens me. I felt that in her eyes I was less than sewage. (That may be a bit overdramatic). I reminded her that I felt as if I was a big secret to her last year but now this friend has a better opportunity to meet them than I ever did when I was more than just a friend to her then. She reminded me that the chance he has to meet them is only slight, same as it was for me. But I don’t think she remembers the conversation we had last year before their visit. She had no intention of me meeting them. It was awkward to her and her mother. This was a big step for her to introduce me to her family as she was still going through a divorce with her husband. She stated in the end that she had no intention of hurting me because of these facts. I believe her.
But intention means little when you’re hurt regardless. Not to mention a phrase of hers I have begun to despise, “I’m not perfect, I mess up, I’m sorry I made you feel this way”. It’s the closest she has come to an apology with me recently.
This isn’t a deal-breaker and I don’t hate her because of this. I was clearly hurt and upset but I won’t lose myself in a fit of anger. Instead I went over to my new favorite diner to hang out with my friend I. who has a way to let me vent without letting the anger in me from blowing up. We’ve only been friends for a short time, but I am more comfortable with her than many other friends I have. We get each other and find our revelations about each of our lives amusing and helpful to each other.
I. is right, I am a caring person, which is a dramatic difference from the “Asshole” I tried so hard to be over my adult life to mask the pain I was going though and reflect it on others. I realized two things after I cleared my head.
1. Two things that are the core of a relationship are communication and self-esteem.
2. With that in mind, had my self-esteem been the way it is today and I voiced my issues to her, we’d be in a better place, no matter what the outcome was.
Today I realize that the person I am will not be a secret to someone I intend to have a relationship with. Secrets are for lovers having an illicit affair, not for a growing relationship. I will voice the problem early on to prevent the growing concerns I may have, from erupting into hurtful reactions stemmed from my beaten down self-esteem. I should have placed an ultimatum back then about being a secret about being titles at a level less than what I felt was right. Had I done that, no matter what the outcome, it would have ended better.
In one outcome, she could have made that move forward with us, placing us in a situation where we would have grown together instead of our first defining gestures of moving apart. We may have worked out and been in a strong trusting relationship that we both sought after.
In the other outcome, she could have kept her stance of not being ready for a relationship and we could have understood for certain that we had hit a point where our paths were no longer heading to the same destination. We would have ended before our attachment grew too strong for us to ignore, causing us so much pain as things went on and we may have become different people than we are now.
Sad thing is, the “what if’s” never happened. My self-esteem was already in the toilet from years of hurt and self destruction prevented me from making that choice. I would eventually find myself on the path of recovery, but it would be another year of pain, reflection and consequence before I would reach the point where I am today. The fact remains, each day it gets easier. Mistakes are still made between us and it becomes apparent through each of them that the hurt gets easier to deal with. I see things much different now. I am aware that even though the pain, the outcome is not a negative one. I still care, I always will and I don’t regret for a moment in having that quality.
A. is a huge part of why I am the way I am, through the good and the bad. I have grown so much recently and much faster since the break up. One day I will meet someone and it will all come together because of who I am becoming. My reactions are different and my standards are higher. My smiles are real and the negative in me no longer has the control it once did. I know I will have my bad days, I know there will be moments where I wish things could be different, but those moments will be less and less and I will simply see things as they are and not what they could have been.