Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Half Way Mark

Today is my and Matthew's six month anniversary. We decided to try dating and see if we could evolve our friendship into something more back in January of this year, but it was on March 22nd that we officially decided to become a 'couple'.

I know normally anniversaries are counted in years rather than months, but as someone who's only had one previous boyfriend in her life, each month of being in a new loving committed relationship is a milestone. I told Matthew that we'd honor the day we became a couple each month until the 6th month, then we could move to yearly celebrations.

In light of my recent
conundrum, the half-way mark has dual meanings. It marks six months into a loving healthy relationship, which is a first for me. It's also half way through the year I said I'd give us, give myself to figure out if being with Matthew is really what is right for us, for me.

When Matthew and I first met and started talking as friends, he was really good at giving me an unbiased outside view on my life. If I was stressed out about something he would give me his take on the situation and it usually helped me see things in a way I'd not previously been seeing, and it almost always helped me work through whatever issue I was dealing with. On the way home from Mississippi Saturday night I asked him if he thought he could possibly separate himself from our situation and be able to give me that same insight he did when we first met.

After taking a moment to think about he said yes, that he thought he could. So I asked him why he thought I was having such a hard time with deciding if we should be together or not, if we were together because what we had was 'right' rather than just comfortable.

In typical fashion before letting him answer I butted in and went on to tell him that I was afraid. What if I decided to stay together and spent the next 30 or 40 years loving him but always wishing things were a little bit more?. He is totally happy being together and my feeling that way would be completely unfair to both of us. What if I decided we should just be friends and then later realized that what we had was really what I'd wanted all along and it was too late to go back?

I'd talked to my mom the day before about how I was feeling and she asked me if other than the worrying about if he was 'the right one' or not was I happy, and if so then maybe I should just stop worrying about what I should or shouldn't do and just be happy now. I also shared this with Matthew.

He smiled and said "I think you just answered your own question. If you'd stop for a minute to think before asking, you'd realize that you usually already know the answer" What he asked me next took me aback a little. "Mollie, how much of your life has been happy?"

I just kind of snorted and cocked my eyebrow at him. My life didn't suck, but it hasn't really been that fantastic either. Looking back there are honestly very very few moments in my life that I can truly say were happy. I was a troubled child who hid feeling like an outsider by focusing on school and sports. I never had a close relationship with either of my parents and although we got along well, there was a large enough age gap between my siblings and I that we were never really on the same level. My brother and sister are 3 years apart and were always very close. They still are. I'm 7 years older than my sister and 10 yrs older than my brother so growing up I was more the baby sitter than best friend. I had a few friends in school, but always felt more the confidante than confider.

Matthew then went on to say that it could quite possibly be that worrying about him being the one or not isn't the problem at all, that the idea of being happy is what I'm having so much trouble with. As much as I want to be happy, being unhappy is where my comfort level is, it's what I'm used to, what I've always known. I've never really been truly happy and the idea that actually feeling like my life is finally OK, that I'm OK is out of the realm of possibility.

As with the article in my previous post that made the point that you can either have comfort or blazing passion, but very very rarely does anyone find both, I'd love to say his point made a light bulb of realization go off in my head, but all I feel is more confusion.

I'll fully admit that his theory has merit and is quite possibly part of the problem, just as I'll admit that my unwillingness to believe you have to concede passion for comfort is also a part, but even with those things being realized as issues there is still something else. Something I can't quite grasp hold of. Something that is stopping me from either letting myself go and enjoying what we have, or letting him go and us both move on.

Some people have told me - listen to your gut, it's always right. Some have said listen to your brain - it's more rational. Some have said - listen to your heart - it knows what you truly want. The problem is they all tell me something different.

My heart says - he loves me, and I love him. He treats me well and makes me happy. He makes me laugh and never fails to tell me how wonderful he thinks I am. It says you have passionate moments here and there, even if they're not quite what you'd like them to be. It says maybe those things can truly be enough, that being in love will come... eventually.

My head says - he's a good guy, he's got a steady job, he loves you for who you are. It says you got a good one, now stop being stupid and leave well enough alone. It says you were single for 24 years and spent 3 years being in love with an unstable ass and look what it got you. Then you were alone for 5 years before you finally got the balls to try and date. Do you really want to go through all that again? What if you screw this up and never find anyone who will love you the way he does, who will put up with your OCD issues and control freak crap?

My gut says - something isn't right.

So who do I listen to? Or do I listen to any of them at all?

I wish I knew, but I don't. What I do know is that I cry over this almost daily and something has got to give, and soon.

5 People who coughed on a furball:

Anonymous said...

One of the problems is YOU are trying to decide. Have you tried putting it in God's hands and asking him for guidance?

Mollie said...

I have..and do.. daily.

Momma Sunshine said...

Hi Mollie:

I guess the question that comes to mind for me is - Why do you have to make a decision about this right now? Is there anything wrong with just being happy with what you have right now and seeing where it takes you?

I dunno. It's a tough situation. I ended up leaving my marriage in large part because I wasn't "in love" with my husband anymore. There were other factors involved, too, but for me that was a big one. I knew that I wanted "more".

But...(and this is a very big but) we all have to decide what it is that we want in life. I'm certainly not advocating what I did. I definitely have a relationship now that is full of passion and love and is everything that I've ever wanted, but it has come with a price - the biggest one being comfort. We're comfortable with each other in our relationship, but being in an LDR is decidedly UNcomfortable. On top of that, the difficulties I've encountered with co-parenting and being a single mom have also been extremely uncomfortable as well.

I dunno. Maybe my ramblings have only made things worse. I guess my feelings on your situation is that there's no reason to jump to any decisions. Also - I think that passion is something that can be found, if you both work to look for it. Just a thought.

Christine Staley said...

Mollie -

Happy relationships don't make you cry daily. I think what you're struggling with is that your gut, your inner-self, knows that the relationship you have isn't everything you want it to be, even though the logical sides (head and heart) are trying to tell you to shut up and be happy with what you have...

trouble is, you're not happy, not truly. And it's hard to feel unhappy especially when you're with someone who is a really great guy.

All that may very well be true, but it could be maybe he's just not the best guy for you?

I think for me, I would look at it this way - you've learned a tremendous amount in your time with matthew - most importantly, that you not only WANT to be, but CAN be in a healthy relationship. He's helped you discover things about yourself that otherwise may have remained undiscovered, and there's value in that.

Personally, I'm an advocate for going with the gut. My heart and head have led me astray but my gut? never wrong, not once.

Jane Wonder said...

I know I said your gut and I stand behind it. But in the same breath I told you to stop beating up on yourself for a while and give yourself permission to take time here.

My dear, we are both a bit type A. And you just gave yourself a deadline and you're freaking out about meeting it. I think your deadline just changed... projects are like that. You can remove the deadline and make this decision when you're ready.

Give yourself permission to find the voice you need to listen to. Give yourself time to let your gut consider everything and see where it comes out. And know that as other have already said, time with Matthew is not wasted. For either of you.

You can do this (whatever "this" may be) when you're ready. You'll know when you are.