Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sorry if This is Boring - But You Asked!

And men, if you can bear to read it, you might learn something about relationships.

When I left work on Saturday afternoon, I had a message from Mr. Burns. Still wanting to talk.

He told me he was headed out to watch his college football game with a crowd of fellow alumni. By the time I got the message I was fairly certain he was already watching the game in a noisy bar - and that my call would go to Voicemail.

He answered.
I was cold. I didn't mean to be, but my responses were short and without emotion. He said he had just arrived at the bar for the game. I asked if it was a good time to talk. He wavered for a while, possibly torn. Ultimately, he said he'd call me back later.

I hung up and chuckled a little. Figures, I thought. Yet again something else comes before me.
I went out on my errands. More shopping. Had to pick up all my pre-sale items at Macy's!!

Twice in the noisy mall I didn't hear my cell ring. He had to call twice. I finally called him back Saturday evening. The conversation started easily. It was so good to hear his voice. He has a really nice voice. Coming from my career in television, that's a compliment.

I told him about my new job and he was genuinely happy for me. He noted that it took our relationship ending for me to be in the right place for the right job.

Then he wanted to know what I thought when he called. I told him that mainly I made note of how long it took to call. But also that I knew he would eventually.
He agreed. We were best friends after all. He can't imagine never talking to me again.

Then we moved on to how he feels now. He is still confused. He said that the fact that we are broken up and he still doesn't have a feeling of certainty about whether we belong together or not - tells him that his confusion is valid.

He said a part of him just wants to go ahead and bring me home for Thanksgiving. Go home with me for Christmas. (these are hurdles he was not willing to clear before. He had to know that we had a certain future before introducing me to his family - so what he is talking about is progress) But then, we're not together now, so he can't really bring me home. (besides, I have plans)

I told him that our time apart has given me clarity. That I can see clearly now, the many ways he doesn't love me. He wanted to know what they were.

  • Never making time to travel for the important events in MY life. Dad's birthday party, weddings, holidays.
  • Never being at my house with any frequency to be a staple there. He barely knows where to find silverware at my place.
  • That he was always expecting me to disappoint him. (he disputes this vehemently)
  • That despite his vow to never make assumptions about what others want/need - that's exactly what he did regarding me.
  • Simply not making time or an effort for me.
  • He's inflexible.
I told him that the most hurtful thing he ever did, was in front of his sister.
She was visiting from their home state. I discovered we had our interest in photography in common so I pulled up the web album of the shoot I did earlier that week, in my friends' home. They were maternity pictures, her belly exposed, husband and wife together anticipating this baby.
I showed his sister one shot in particular, the wife looking lovingly and laughingly into her husband's eyes... the quintessential pregnancy photo. Mr. Burns' sister loved the picture - saying I really captured the moment, that you could see the love between them.

Now this is a couple Mr. Burns knows... and we both respect their marriage. They are so obviously in love, it's a beautiful thing!
Then, Mr. Burns came to the computer, looked over our shoulders and pointed out what a great couple they are and how in love they are... and said to his sister while pointing to the screen, "That's what I want!"

I told Mr. Burns, "I was right there! You ripped my heart out with those words. We both want the same thing and you couldn't acknowledge that with me in your life, you were THIS close."

Another point I made was that he never once - in all of the last winter - asked me to go skiing with him. I was working only a handful of hours at the portrait studio and I had to work weekends. He said since he knew I was struggling financially, that he thought it would be inconsiderate to suggest that I drop a shift and give up the little income that I had coming in.

He emphasized that this was one of the ways that he was always considering my point of view. He thought making that suggestion would get him an earful - ie - "What do you mean, give up a shift? I'm struggling to pay my mortgage here and you want me to give up the few hours I have to make money?"
I interrupted, and said, "Why would you think that? When have I ever gone off and given you an earful about anything?! I don't do that."

He clarified, saying that he knows I wouldn't go off - but that - that's what he would think if he were in my shoes. He emphasized again that he was always ALWAYS, in all cases, putting himself in my position, thinking of my feelings. And he thinks I don't know that he was.

I finally got it.

I said, "I really appreciate that you tried to think of my perspective. But in doing that you forgot one very important thing. How I would feel. I just really needed to be asked. I needed to know that my boyfriend thought it would be really fun to spend the day skiing with me. We don't have the same feelings, B. We're two different people."

"Oh." He said, then with a hint of laughter in his voice, "If you put it that way.... "
He realized how flawed his thinking was in that case. Lightbulb went on!

We laughed together.
Then I explained that I didn't want him assuming or deciding for me. Or for us. That it would mean so much to know that was something he looked forward to. And that if he would have asked we would have discussed who would pay for lift tickets, if I could give up the measly $30 I would make in a Saturday afternoon. That we should decide TOGETHER. But to never discuss it - only left me hurt.

Anyway, he talked more of not knowing whether we belong together. That a big part of him thinks maybe we do.
I told him, if we ever got back together - He's got a lot of convincing to do. Because now I know what was wrong in our relationship and I what I won't accept.

He said that he knows I (trs) didn't do anything wrong. That I was nothing but supportive and always building the relationship. The fact that he doesn't know - is all on him. That I couldn't have been a better girlfriend.

I hate for him to take all the blame. I can't say he's wrong, but I still hate to hear it.
We did acknowledge that our communication problems were on both of us.

In all, we talked for an hour and a half. Reminiscing. Telling each other the little funny stories that we've been dying to share, knowing only the other would appreciate them!

I really don't know what to think about the fact that he still doesn't know how he feels. On one hand it seems like such a cop-out. On the other hand, the poor guy. Can you imagine being so confused about love? If he can't get past this, he really will end up alone.


k said...

although you didn't really talk about how this makes you feel - i feel like i am so right with you on the frustrations and helplessness.

i hope it all works out.

Andi said...

Sorry he's still confused but glad you guys got to talk. Thanks for updating us. Even though I don't know you, I've found myself checking your blog daily for the updates. Good luck in this!

Laura said...

I love that the two of you can talk and discuss things without hurting each other. Ok, without *trying* to hurt each other. Because there's going to be hurt, but broken bones hurt when they heal, too... hurting isn't bad when it's accompanied by growth.

I'm in a position in my relationship where I want so badly to sit and frankly say, "this is where it all went off the tracks... this is what you did to hurt me, and this is how I childishly retaliated, making things worse."

But he won't do that. Our counselors have requested it, I've requested it, but he won't. And that hurts me! gee, go figure!

But I've learned this from you, today: I should sit down and dispassionately think about the relationship. Not coldly - I don't think (despite what you said) that you can be cold (although I've "known" you for what? two weeks?). But from the point of view of a scientist dissecting a problem. Here's the problem, from my view. Bullet points. So that if/when the time finally comes, I'm ready.

So thank you for that.

And I hope that, even if you two never get back together, that you stay together as the friends you so obviously are. Because sometimes a friend is more important to have than a spouse.

Laura said...

heh... I meant, "I hope that, even if you two never get back together *romantically*..."

That makes more sense, doesn't it?

Bobbi said...

That's so great that you two were able to talk and clear things up.

But, I have to say, if he's still not convinced that you're the one he wants, it's probably in your best interest to just walk away from him romantically now.

I've been in that position before, the guy not knowing if he wanted me or not and he eventually chose the not part. It tore me up inside with all the waiting and confusion.

But, with that said, it's your life and your decision and I hope you, and he, make the right decision.

auntie said...

I've been checking every day to see if there was an update about The Phone Call! I'm so impressed that you were able to tell him what didn't work for you in your relationship, and what you wouldn't accept any longer. That's so difficult to do. Good job!!

Song Lee said...

I think you are right about his confusion. I wonder if he has been in relationships where he was verbally assaulted for not "considering her feelings" and now he is trying to overcompensate. what i loved most about what you wrote is that you already have plans for the holidays. Women tend to think they should drop everything to go back to the boyfriend. Of course, you are not the 22 year old single, so your maturity is showing.

But it's good to hear you were able to talk as friends.

Blue Castle said...

I'm so glad you finally got to talk. It's good that you are in a place where you could tell him what disappointed you in your relationship. If he wants you back, he will have to work for it and that will make the relationship (if he chooses) more valuable to him.

God bless you. :)