Thursday, July 10, 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.
  • Aspire to accept loss with more grace.


CP said...

I am totally impressed by your maturity. After a breakup, I've always just wallowed in emotions and never once thought to sit down and make a list of things to grow/learn from. Seriously, impressed!

Paragon2Pieces said...

Thanks CP! I fear you give me too much credit. There has been a lot of wallowing in emotion and ugly cry going on behind the screen for the last month or so. I have never felt so overwhelmed by emotion and it's been a bit... scary. I hope my next relationship will be better and part of making that a reality is channeling my energy in a more positive and constructive direction. I hope it works!

TP said...

It will be better. Relationship quality is IMO a strong function of the participants' willingness to self-observe, learn, and adapt.

I really do believe that life itself is a struggle between order and entropy (at many levels--physical, but psychological also). Maintaining order in the face of entropy requires energy and adaptation. Life itself is learning--and conversely, if we stop learning, we start dying.

You are, I think, not just learning but truly evolving here. Sending warm thoughts.