Friday, June 4, 2010

On Knowing When To Say, "I Can't."

I'm one of those people who believes that, in general, there are very few things you can do which you will regret, and that the only things you will definitely regret are the things you don't do.
Sometimes, though, the thing you should do is quit, and the thing you don't do is to change the course you are already on.
About three months into my relationship with Ex-boyfriend #6, he decided he wanted to go to Germany for a year, during the following school year. Even though I really, really didn't like the idea, I did my best to try to be reasonable, and to find a way to make our relationship work, and to be understanding of his desires.  I was supportive, and encouraging, and suggested having an open relationship while he was away, and invested a year of my time in a relationship I wasn't sure would make it, and put up with all kinds of conversations about how desperately he wanted to leave his current place and circumstances. What I did not do was to think about whether any of those things were okay with me.
And the only thing I have ever really regretted in my life is not stopping and saying, "I can't do this.  I can't be supportive of you leaving me, I can't be in a relationship with someone who is nine thousand miles away without a more serious commitment than we have, and I can't figure out a way to make this work with what I want for myself."
And because I didn't admit to my reluctance and my pain, somehow our relationship dragged out for another year and a half, and it only ever got worse, and put the both of us through more pain than I think we would have had if we had ended it when he went away.
I swore I wouldn't ever do that again.

Right now I'm in the middle of a nasty situation with one of my best friends; the details aren't all that important, I don't think, and also I don't think I could relate them without a serious bias.  Suffice it to say that I am very sad, and that we have not spoken in nearly two months, and that the fault regarding our lack of communication is equally mine.
And I feel obligated to try to be the best person I can be, and to be reasonable, and understanding, and forgiving, and to put as much effort as I can into a friendship that meant so much to me.  I feel obligated to invite her to express her feelings, to ask her to criticize me and my behavior, to listen and refrain from judgment--
 but that feeling of obligation in a number of ways seems to be hurting me more than the situation itself.
So I would like to take this moment to say, very publicly, "I can't do this."
Maybe it's just that the other circumstances in my life are making this harder than it should be; maybe I'm a little too proud for my own good.  Maybe I am completely and totally wrong.  Maybe I need to let go of my sense of self, and some of my requirements when it comes to friendship.  Maybe I will regret not taking this step towards rebuilding a relationship.
But I can't.
It hurts, and I can't do it.  I am not forgiving enough, or understanding enough, for this particular challenge.  I can't put in effort when I don't know if it will be rewarded, and I can't be objective or reasonable.  I am too small for this.
I tried, and I can't.

God, that feels good.

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