If you had to do it all again, would you do anything different?
No. I don’t believe in regretting things. Maybe life doesn’t always work out the way I want it to, heck, being the idealist I am, it doesn’t work out the way I want it to 90% of the time, and maybe sometimes I want to bite and scream and throw an all out tantrum because I really, really want what I want, but I also don’t always want things that are good for me. I do believe that if you allow it, life can teach you a great many things, things that will make you an interesting, intelligent person capable of amazing things.
I realize that's a challenging question, because...in the end, you ended up where you were working towards.
I walked away from P, a couple of months ago. It was time. I was ready for more than he could offer me, as much as I loved him. At that moment I didn’t regret the last two years. P was a choice I willing made, knowing full well what it would mean to be with him. It wasn’t always an easy or pleasant choice, but I didn’t choose to be with him because I wanted a boyfriend, I did it because he was someone I wanted to have in my life.
However, now that you have worked past and through so much...how would you sum it up?...just trying to figure out some of my own things and SO much of what you say seems the same...I agree with much of what you say about people, relationships and love...and just wonder...when you are the one who believes and knows and the other one is working on catching up...how much time do you give?
I don’t think it’s a matter of time. When I started talking to my therapist, I’d analyze every minute detail of my relationship with P. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure HOW to move our relationship forward, not realizing that what I was unconsciously looking for was a way to make him change. You really can’t make anyone change. I knew that, but it’s a hard thing to know.
I am also someone who whole heartedly trusts her instincts and my instincts have always told me that P loves me as much as I love him; there are a million little reasons why, most of which can’t be articulated. I could say because, in the two years that we dated the longest he’s ever gone without calling me is two days (baring the time I was out of the country and he couldn’t call me), and that was in the very beginning stages. He would call me as I was driving home from work and ask me about my day and we would chat about our lives.
I would say because he told me once, in the wee hours of the morning because he couldn’t sleep and decided to call me, how he had once known this girl who he knew, the moment he met her, how amazing and special she was and how they had this connection that was deeper and truer than anything he had ever felt before, so much so that he spent a summer wandering through Europe with her. He said this with sadness and regret, almost 7 years later, because he had been too scared and too young to deal with the depth of his feelings for her and let her drift away from him, when the summer was over. “I wasn’t ready for her,” he told me and I told him “Of course, I understood.” He was 19. “I haven’t felt like that since,” he said, “until I met you.”
I would say because, the first time I told him I loved him but that I didn’t think he had a place in my life, even though I was heartbroken and couldn’t imagine walking away from him, he cried.
“You’re the person I’m going to end up with,” he told me once, “but I’m not ready right now.”
I would say because he makes me laugh, harder than anyone has ever made me laugh. That he understands the worst of who I am and still tells me that I’m perfect, that in spite of all we’ve been through, I have rarely doubted the sincerity of his feelings for me. We are very good friends.
Sometimes, love isn’t enough; sometimes you have to lead by example. The best thing that I did, for both P and I, was to take my focus off him and our relationship. I’ve spent a good deal of the last 6 months getting to know myself better, finding things that make me happy, reconnecting with my friends and making new friends, building a life for myself that is mine and that I am happy with regardless of whether P is in it or not. I started talking to a therapist. I never realized, before, how much I hadn’t been ready for a healthy, mature relationship and the role I played in keeping our relationship in the grey area it had been in for the last two years. You can’t change another person; however, you can change yourself and I’ve changed a lot in the last few months. I finally reached the point where I knew that though I loved P, I could walk away from him if he couldn’t meet my needs. It is important, I think, that you are able and willing to walk away if your needs are not being met. People won’t give you what you need if you can’t ask for it and aren’t willing to leave if they can’t give it to you. It isn’t an easy place to get to, I know. I spent a good deal of time working on me to get to that place. I don’t think it’s a matter of how strong you are, or about giving ultimatums (it shouldn’t be that).
In the end it’s about knowing what it is you need and loving yourself enough to find it.
I am lucky that P decided that he would rather face his fears than risk losing me, something that he realized was an honest reality instead of an empty threat.
I would say, take as long as you need to take. You don’t have to make big decisions until you are ready; instead, start taking little steps to making your life what you want it to be.
And don't forget to have fun!