15 June 2019
The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
All of my previous relationships were fast starts – actually they were immediate starts. A first date and then straight to the relationship. Fast forward a few weeks and I was regretting the fast start, regretting that I hadn’t taken the time to get to know her first before deciding if I really wanted to be in a relationship. At that moment I remember feeling trapped and thinking that maybe I should just make the best of it because staying was the easy choice and I wasn’t sure if I’d meet someone else who was able to handle me and my idiosyncrasies (which is a silly thought in hindsight). Looking back I’m not sure I actually even loved them, I think I just got used to them being in my personal space.
This time it’s a little different. It wasn’t immediate, but it did ramp up quickly into something that’s quite intense. Way more intense than past relationships. I honestly can’t tell if that’s a good or bad thing. Trying to gauge if this intensity is sustainable has been exhausting and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m focusing on the wrong thing. There is no doubt in my mind that I do love her, and that’s different from the past where I was unsure about my feelings. I also don’t feel trapped like I have in the past – we started slowly enough so I was able to get to know her (we were able to get to know each other) before this evolved into what it has become. And having her in my personal space has been very easy, much easier than in the past.
(I don’t need to overthink this – I think my energy is best spent focusing on being present in the moments we are together rather than just analyzing every little thing.)
Arrangement vs Relationship.
This evolved in such an unexpected way; I was expecting this to just be a few casual dates and then I would leave Toronto, never to return. But life happened while I was busy making plans. This grew way past our original intentions; it became something which is much more fulfilling and meaningful. To the point that when we refer to it as an arrangement it cheapens the experience and makes it less than what it’s become, and that makes me uncomfortable. It’s more than that now.
This past weekend something changed for me. The week we spent together made me realise that I have something to lose – someone that I cherish dearly. As a kid I learned how to detach myself emotionally from most people and places relatively easily so that I couldn’t get hurt, and that’s a self preservation technique I’ve used as an adult, but I’m realizing that I won’t be able to do that this time around. I no longer have access to the defense mechanism I’ve used in the past to protect myself and that’s left me feeling vulnerable, exposed.
This manifested itself in an anxiety attack on Tuesday evening, which lasted into Wednesday. I think there is another aspect to this which is making me uncomfortable, but I’m not sure what it is or how to articulate it. In the meantime, I want to share these feelings with her. I don’t want to suffer in silence because that will lead to resentment. I’m mildly concerned that I’ll come across as being needy or insecure, but we’ve shared so much with each other that I don’t feel the need to hold back with this. I also don’t completely understand it because she has always been very good at letting me know how she feels about me and about this, so why the anxiety?
I know the right approach here – admit that I’m feeling vulnerable and trust (trust her) that everything is going to be okay.
And I think that is the real issue here: trust. There is something which happens to a kid when a parent breaks that trust (bond) with a child which carries into adulthood. The kid learns that people are not to be trusted. This kind of behaviour – not trusting people as a way to protect myself – prevents me from letting people get close and will stand in the way of me having a healthy relationship. Logically I know this. Putting it into practice – learning to trust again and letting people get close to me – being self aware enough to know when I am doing it and to cultivate new behaviours is much more challenging.
( I need to dig out the notes from one of the sessions with my therapist, I know I’ve covered this before.)
That’s one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about journaling on this blog: it’s a place where I can be completely honest, a place to explore thoughts and feelings without judgement. She has always given that to me; she’s always allowed me to be fully honest and then accepted me unconditionally. She has given me something that I don’t get from this journal, and that’s unconditional acceptance.
Which brings me to the question: She accepts me unconditionally, but do I accept myself in the same way?