The last time I had a serious relationship (or actually any relationship at all really) one of the big, BIG mistakes that I made was not being me with him all the time. I became more and more bogged down in being what I thought HE wanted me to be, or wanted from a partner. While it sure seemed like a good idea at the time, especially because my self esteem was a little lacking at the time so being me seemed like a really BAD idea, in the end it was pure catastrophe. Because eventually “me” kept bleeding through, and every time it did it pissed HIM off. Hard to blame him, really, because it was me that kept changing the rules there. When all the chips had fallen, along with a great deal more tears than I’d have preferred, I promised myself that if I ever had another chance at trying love I would be very sure not to make that mistake again.
I’m proud to say I’ve stayed true to that promise so far (knock on wood). In fact, T.E. and I kind of fell into a rule early on that we are always honest with each other. Always. Even when the truth is harsh or sad or what have you, and it has been all of those things at one time or another.
But what I struggle with this time around is when I’m being me, but I don’t particularly like who “me” is in that moment. I have the harder time with our honesty rule, not because I don’t want to be honest but because there are times when the truth of the matter is one I’d rather not admit about myself. Case in point was tonight.
Managing our communication when we have an 8-hour time difference is not an easy task. More often than not it’s T.E. that ends up having to keep late hours to make it possible, and I appreciate his sacrifice always. For a while we honestly indulged too much, resulting in not a few days or even weeks where he was going to bed only a few hours before I was! While that was fun it was really hard on his life and finally saner heads prevailed. We set rules and boundaries on our time, saying that we’d only be able to connect for a couple of hours each weekday night. But we also made ourselves a bargain that the weekends we could go crazy. Stay up as late as we wanted. Who cares if we slept all funny? Who cares if the rest of the weekend we played catch-up? It was worth it to be able to put in some quality time together when we could.
One of the things that I’ve come to understand about myself is that I don’t respond well to surprises. I’m not a spontaneous gal. I like to know what’s coming, and especially true if what’s coming is disappointment. So tonight when he climbed into bed at our weeknight curfew of 2:30am (his time) I was a blue roo because I didn’t know it was coming. I felt like I’d been doused with ice water, and felt those stupid chin tremors starting to come up. And with them those feelings of “ok, now you’re just being stupid…”
T.E., as I’ve said before, gets me. He knows when my sentences have become clipped, or when I’m letting the silences last a little longer than normal. After a while he sensed something was up, and he checked on me. He asked how I was, and I said those 2 words that I always say when the real answer is “I’m shitty” but I don’t want that known: “I’m fine.” But I also know him, and I know that he’s on to me and my standard answer, so I quickly covered and changed it to “good. I’m good.” And then I wondered if I was breaking our honesty rule.
I wasn’t fine – I was blue, and kind of irked that I’d expected the reward after a long week and diligence on our curfew to be a nice, long evening together. But I didn’t like how I was reacting, and so didn’t want to share it. I didn’t want him to feel responsible for the pouting that I was just barely keeping at bay. It was my damage and I wanted to be damaged by myself, so to him I was “good”. Even when I wasn’t.
So now I’m trying to figure out if I broke our rule. If the rule is “honesty all the time” but the honesty feels like something private is it still wrong to keep it back? Sigh. This relationship stuff is hard. I think it would be much easier if I were only a little bit perfect. Maybe I’ll work on that next instead.