I have been telling myself some stories about myself and my relationship with Darrell:
We didn’t work out because I was scared of commitment. We had a wonderful relationship–mental, emotional, physical–and it didn’t work out because I was afraid of being vulnerable.
Maybe. But this narrative hurts. It presents as:
– I screwed up a wonderful thing.
– I lost.
– Someone else is with the person I am supposed to be with.
– I was too scared to move forward.
A better and more likely narrative is that I was ambivalent about Darrell because he was not the one for me. This is a great post from the Lovely Addict about ambivalence, and I believe it applies to my relationships with Darrell and Steve:
“I believed my lot in life was to overcome my fear of intimacy and so I tended to force myself to remain with someone longer than I normally would (hello marriage!) so that I could learn what intimacy was. But there was a much larger (and simpler) issue at play that caused my ambivalence, and it was something I remained in denial about for MANY YEARS (sadly, when we put ourselves into a box, we deny ourselves other possibilities): Shockingly, my ambivalence was caused by the simple fact that I just didn’t like the guy. Sure, I liked him in certain situations, in others I even loved him, but clearly I had an unnatural aversion to parts of him that I simply should not have overlooked, but did. Remember, to be in a healthy relationship you and your partner need to like the WHOLE PERSON.” – Lovely Addict
This is the story I have been telling myself–I am afraid of intimacy, so I just need to face that, then my relationship with ____ will work out.
Truth is, I know my mind and heart pretty well. My fear has kept from admitting what is in there. There are aspects of Darrell and Steve both that I love but also aspects that have made me seriously question whether I want to commit to them, marry them.
With Darrell, I loved his willingness to adventure with me, his physical skill, how he soothed me when I was distressed, and his lightheartedness. All good notes for my future. But I did not like:
– how he had zero boundaries and then had overly-rigid boundaries,
– how he could be base and cynical,
– how he was a follower more than a leader,
– how we was not as generous with friends as I thought he could be, and
– that our conversations could be uninteresting and shallow.
(With Steve, signs of my ambivalence include: dreaming about finding someone more passionate and sexy; and me becoming sexually anorexic after a time and/or avoiding sex with Steve.)
These characteristics kept me from wanting to commit to Darrell. Maybe these are qualities that could have changed, had I been less fearful and needy of love and had voiced my discontent, but I wasn’t there yet. This is another reason Darrell and I would not have worked out. (I am feeling better.)
I miss some parts of Darrell, e.g. sex and the comfort, the adoration, and I miss having a relationship with those qualities, but I miss more the idea and potential of what could have been not what was, which means I did not lose anything.
Lest I forget, I broke up with Darrell to return to Steve, because I missed the mental stimulation. And I started an affair with Darrell because I wasn’t getting my needs met with Steve. I have made so many mistakes, including ignoring that neither relationship met my needs then.
One outcome of all of this is that I have learned to talk about my needs to get them met, and if they can’t be met, I end relationships.
“I was too scared to be vulnerable to seize love with Darrell,” is not my narrative.
Neither relationship worked for me, and that’s why they ended.