Friday, July 11, 2014

What Have I Learned?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about owning my part in the failure of my relationship with B. Now, in order to try to avoid the trap of characterizing the time I spent dating B as a waste, I'm jotting down some lessons learned that I don't want to forget. Maybe this will help re-characterize the experience as something positive.
  • Trust my intuition. 
  • Due diligence. Especially if he's been keeping you all to himself.
  • Do not be impressed by what he says, unless his actions follow suit.
  • Understand what I want and ask for it. In personal relationships, I confuse being nice with being deferential, and I have a tendency to stick my head in the sand if I know the answer will be "no". Better to confront the issue sooner rather than later.
  • Take initiative. This means taking an active hand in planning--from dates to initiating conversations and actions that will move the relationship forward--while paying close attention to whether he is acting on his supposed plans for the relationship's future.
  • Ask for help instead of withdrawing. When the situation in Tokyo started to seem hopeless, I should have asked B for his help. It would have been a good idea to make a plan together if he was willing. And if he wasn't, I would have gotten closer to learning the truth and would have saved myself some time.
  • Make sure there's always a light at the end of the tunnel and work towards it together. Don't let hope disappear. Don't get caught in a situation where I'm the only one working towards the end goal.
  • Say no to distance. Never again.
  • Cheating and lying are intentional, deliberate acts, not accidents.
  • Respect myself. There's a difference between being low maintenance and tolerating poor treatment.
  • Communicate clearly and end the relationship if he's not willing to do the same. 
  • If the relationship isn't progressing, break up rather than blame myself... and stand firm. I broke up with B for this reason at one point, but didn't stand my ground because I missed him.
  • I am in charge of managing the direction my personal life takes.
  • I can be upset about how a relationship ended, but allow myself to acknowledge the relationship's happy moments. My absolute favorite memories with B are from our trip to New England to visit Cambridge (for the HOCR), Yale, Mystic and Providence. Knowing what I know now doesn't make the happiness I felt on that trip disappear. It hurts me more than it helps to characterize the last nine years as a waste of time.I am fortunate to have some good memories.
  • No relationship lasts forever. Around the same time as the HOCR trip, B and I were in what I think of as the absolute best phase of our relationship. Maybe it's only possible to know where that sweet spot is in retrospect, but I hope I can live a little more in the moment in the future. I honestly (and naively) thought that B was the one and that we'd have a lifetime of memories together. That thinking is part of what led to my tunnel vision here in Tokyo. Even if my head is down and I'm rushing towards the light at the end of the tunnel as fast as I can, I don't want the people I care about to feel neglected.
  • Aspire to accept loss with more grace.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Checking In

At the end of the week, I'm headed back to the States for a bit. I planned this trip very shortly after I sent Ben packing. On hard days, I've been telling myself that if I can just get to the airport on Friday night, everything will be alright. Only three more days to go!

It's going to be wonderful to see some of my family and be with my little dogs. There are some doctors' appointments, a haircut, a pedicure and a few job related things on the calendar. Otherwise, I just want to relax, soak up the sun, enjoy the companionship of my family, and revel in the English speaking environment.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fourth of July in Tokyo

No fireworks. No BBQs. It's just like any other day except:
  • One of the other American secondees wore American flag socks to work.
  • We made a special effort to go to a burger place for lunch.
  • The firm planned a beach party for the summer associates, but it was cancelled due to rain.
Really, the American flag socks were the best part! I'm most homesick on American holidays like this one. There are so many pictures on Facebook and Instagram of my friends with their spouses and kids at the beach or pool or park or even just the backyard. It makes me happy to see everyone together. I just wish I could be a part of it!