I've decided to chill.
Since Mr. Burns and I hit the one year mark back in February... and especially since he didn't accompany me home for my dad's big birthday party (in May), I've been a bit desperate for answers regarding just where this is going.
More to the point, I've been talking to way too many friends about it. And way too many of those friends have advised me to end it. They say he won't know just what he has until he's faced with being without me.
Well, I just can't. And I finally realized - here's the biggie - that I definitely can't end this relationship with the idea that he's going to beg me to come back. No. If I'm going to end it, it has to be because I'm ready for it to be over and I don't expect a reconciliation. It's just not in my nature to create a manipulation like that. Furthermore, I believe it would be toying with God's will if I pretended that was what I want.
Because here's the thing. It's not as if I'm in a bad relationship. We have a great relationship. I'm just in a relationship that doesn't know exactly what the next turn is going to be. And isn't that most relationships?
I've thought, several times, that if we were already married - this would be a phase of our relationship that we would have to work through. But because we're not married - I'm supposed to end the relationship? What sort of sense does that make?
One particular eye-opener came during a chat with the woman who cleans my condo building. (See, I told you I talk to way too many people about it! Even the cleaning lady.) She's such a sweet and tough little lady in her 50s who is also searching for love. When I told her that all of my friends - the ones who don't live near me and have never met Mr. Burns - tell me to get out. She asked what my other friends say.
"They all say that we're a great match."
So she asks, "Are the friends who tell you to leave married?"
"Yes." I responded with startled surprise. "You're right, they are all married!"
"Don't listen to them. They have distorted hindsight. They think their relationships are so perfect and they don't remember the struggles they had while they were dating their husbands. Marriage has wiped their memory clean." Then she continued, "I am so sick of my married friends doing the same thing to me!"
That really made me think... and it reinforced my idea that if I were already committed to this man with a ring and a house and a sacrament that I would work through it. Why does he deserve less commitment to our relationship because he hasn't popped the question yet? Don't I love him just the same? Wouldn't I expect it from him?
Then I decided - I just need to shut up. He's never going to feel inclined to sweep me off my feet if I'm constantly badgering him about what is coming next. That's no fun. He needs to see the woman he has fun with, who enjoys his company, who greets him sweetly and without expectation. The woman he can imagine spending his life with as a partner - not a nag.
I'm not talking about being a pushover. I'm talking about enjoying my relationship again.
And since I've started doing this - the smile on his face when he sees me is bigger and brighter. His eyes sparkle with joy and affection. His embrace is tighter and warmer. He won't even let go of my hand when he shifts gears while driving!
Suddenly I realize, this may not even be a change. He may have been looking at me this way all along but I couldn't see it because I was busy holding him against my checklist, my to-do list, and my calendar.
When I spent my time being frustrated, I was annoyed at his flirtatious smile because I took it as meaning he didn't feel the anxiety I was feeling.
He struggles with the same anxiety in his own way. Is he the man for me? Is he using up the last of my childbearing years if he determines we are not a forever match? That's a lot of pressure on him too.
I have prayed and prayed asking God to show me if I should leave... and the answer hasn't been clear. I'll just wait until it is. Perfectly.