Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Well Played

Today something pretty amazing happened.

My day started with continuing to feel down and hurt by something that I learned yesterday about my recent break-up.  The rain, traffic and having to wait around for appointments in doctors offices weren't doing any favors for my mood either.  At times I was really angry at myself for ...well, being me, really.  I had grown to love the guy who'd dumped me, and I believe that I tend to develop feelings of romantic love faster than others do, on average. (But according to this very timely post from one of my favorite sexologists, Dr. Jess O'Rilley, perhaps not.)

I thought to myself that I wouldn't have been as hurt by the breakup if I hadn't allowed myself to feel love for him.  And that's what made me angry.  I thought further that by allowing myself to feel love for this guy and, even further than that, express those feelings to him, I might have prompted the break-up.  (It was pretty clear to me that he and I weren't quite on the same page in that respect.)  Perhaps I should do what most others seem to do -- that is, not reveal my feelings until I am certain they'll be requited.  But just the thought of doing that feels very unauthentic to me, so I choose to live honestly rather than conform to the status quo.  Maybe frightening lovers away is the price I will always pay for the comfort of knowing that I behave genuinely.

But this morning I certainly wasn't feeling self-satisfied about living honestly.  Like I said, I was angry, and I was being pretty mean to myself about having grown to love this guy.  But then another thought occurred to me.  This thought stemmed from a concept I came across on the SoloPoly blog I started reading recently.  That is, the concept of being your own primary partner.  The thought that occurred to me was that my primary wouldn't stand for me being abused this way.  That ended the negative self-talk in a blink.  I was surprised and very pleased.  I'm pretty sure the be-your-own-primary concept is gonna stick with me for quite a while.

I wish I could say that my day brightened instantly after that, but I still had plenty thoughts of self-pity and other such saddening and annoying thoughts.  I had feelings of longing, too.  I still wasn't over wanting to have a significant relationship with this guy.  He dumped me -- some even say he blindsided me with the way things ended -- and that hurt, but it seems that what lead him to make that decision could have been avoided.  So I still held hope for reconciliation.  Obviously not right away, but at some point in the future.

Last week I had many questions about why things unfolded as they did and he was gracious enough to accept and answer the questions.  Within his answers he assured me that his primary partner was always a proponent of our relationship, rather than the negative influence that I suspected she might have been -- based on the adversarial nature of her direct interactions with me.  I was very pleased to have the reassurance.  I believed it wholeheartedly and started to feel like a real ass for even suspecting that she might have been feeling threatened, territorial, angry, adversarial and ready to end the relationship for him if she had to.

His answers to some of my questions were less than direct and somewhat off-topic, but I really didn't mind that much, because these particular questions were really questions that were much more appropriate for her than him.  Because I never got an email address for her I wasn't able to send her the questions I had for her.  I sent them to him, but let him know that I was neither asking nor expecting him forward them on to her.  I'd agreed to not put him in the middle of any issue arising between she & me, and I intended to continue upholding that promise regardless of the breakup.

I assume that she may have never gotten the questions.  I know that if I were in his position I wouldn't just forward the questions on to her.  I'd let her know about them and let her ask for them of her own accord.  I also know that she keeps herself very busy with school, so she may not have even felt she had time to even read them, let alone respond to whatever they might be.  On top of that, it always seemed to me that it was she who was most adamant about issues being addressed directly between the parties whom are immediately involved in the issues.  So I also thought it quite possible that she was waiting for, and expecting, me to ask her directly for the answers to my questions.

Because it now seemed that I had a lot of egg to wipe off of my face for second-guessing her support of the relationship I shared with him, I turned to her and asked for her email address so that I could send her my questions.  The response that followed -- assuming that it was crafted solely and specifically for the purpose of encouraging me to heed the demands that were clearly stated in the first few sentences -- was simply and amazingly masterful.

The action she wanted from me was vividly clear, right from the start of this multi-part, book-length chain of SMS messages that didn't even all make it to my phone.  The gist of the messages can be summed up in two simple words: Go away.

Of course those two words wouldn't even fill up one message, let alone several.  Her response included many sentences expressing this basic theme, but also included many sentences where she spoke for him...as a part of the couple they form, that is.  (I'm not certain I've ever had any direct communication with her in which she's spoken of him as an individual.  Is it really any wonder why I pondered whether she treats him as an individual and allows him to act as such?) Also included in the chain of messages were nasty personal attacks and ugly, suggestive, baseless (and ridiculous) assumptions about me and my past.  It was perhaps the most rude and most intentionally hurtful string of text messages I've ever received -- which, considering that I've received messages from a cruelly manipulative and craftily intelligent narcissist, is really saying something.

But the strange thing is, even though I'd been feeling pretty down throughout the day, the messages didn't make me feel worse.  In fact, they made me feel so much better that I wound up sending her back a message expressing my gratitude.  Now I'm sure you may be wondering, WTF???  Just hear me out.

Her message content was so heinous to me, so obviously intentionally hateful, that I realized that even though I love him and probably always will (that's just the way love works for me -- yes, even when it comes to the guys I've dumped) there is no way that I could want a relationship of any significance with someone whose life is heavily enmeshed with someone who would spew vitriol such as this.  So just like that (cue finger snap), I was instantly released from my lingering desire for her fiancee.

Note that I write, "her fiancee", not "him".  I make this distinction because I imagine that I would very much want a relationship with him if he were not so tightly coupled with someone for whom I have such a strong and very reasonable distaste.  Though considering his promise to marry her, I don't expect that to ever be the case.

As I mentioned earlier, if the content of these messages was crafted specifically for the purpose of causing me to be repulsed by the idea of having a real relationship with her fiancee, then I say, bravo.  Well played.

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