Letting go. It’s hard to do. How does one let go of the plane when they jump out? They have faith their parachute will open, that’s how.
Relationships, they don’t come with a parachute. I guess you could say that as the relationship builds, so does your relationship parachute. But it isn’t a “comes with purchase” type item.
I have a confession. I’ve been struggling in my current relationship. I didn’t want to write about it until I was on the other side. Since I think I’m there, I’m ready to try to put it into words.
I have a man in my life that makes me feel safe like I can’t remember feeling. Physical affection oozes from him. In his presence I feel so very loved. Sadly we don’t live close enough to see each other but once a week, rarely more. That started to take a toll on me. I don’t want to call myself high maintenance but I’ve learned that I need a certain amount of attention (in the form of words of affirmation) in between visits. I’m very open in communicating my feelings and needs. He’s, let’s just say, not so much.
The toll was in the form of the little hamsters (a concept I learned from Reid Mihalko) in my head getting the best of me. When I didn’t hear from him, the hamsters told me that he didn’t miss me. When he didn’t give me the words I wanted to hear, the hamsters told me that I didn’t matter. When he didn’t add little emoticons to our texts, the hamsters said that he was pulling away from me. When I asked for exactly what I needed from him and he didn’t give it to me the way I wanted it, the hamsters said I wasn’t good enough.<—-That one almost pushed me to walk away in an effort to save myself.
The hamsters were out to destroy me and this relationship. Little bastards!
I stepped back. I withdrew some of my attention. Ok, in my head it was a lot of my attention. I had a lot to think about. But during a conversation with a close girlfriend, I thought about how adorable we are together. That’s not just from my perspective, that’s the feedback I hear from my friends. It’s isn’t that we are an attractive couple, even though we are. It’s that we have a closeness that everyone around us gets to witness. They see it because we feel it. I knew at that very moment I wasn’t ready to give up on us. The hamsters weren’t going to win!
Over the next week we spent a little time together, not a lot. He sat through some uncomfortable conversations. I shared a lot of my feelings and my hamsters. He got irritated at times. Sometimes I had to choose to leave some concerns/conversations alone. Then we had a few more days apart. I let go a bit more. I still wasn’t too sure how he felt. I wasn’t so sure how I felt.
Last Wednesday I found myself fighting a little anxiety as I drove to meet him for the evening. I can’t even explain the anxiety because, honestly, he’s never been anything but happy to see me, warm and affectionate. But this is what the hamsters do! I had pulled back enough that a bit of the craziness in my head (hamsters) had stopped. I had a fear that I had pulled back enough that maybe I would be done loving him.
We had a great evening, sharing a few hours with our community of friends and peers. Sometimes I was wrapped in his arms. Other times we were holding conversations with people across the room from each other. But it never felt like we were really apart. In fact, I met a woman the other night that saw us at that event, not knowing either of us at the time, and she commented how there wasn’t a time he wasn’t touching me.
When I returned him to his car later that night, I was ok. I wasn’t sad to see him go. But I certainly wasn’t kicking him out of my car. I was content. I was grounded. I made the 45 minute drive home, thinking about our night.
I texted to let him know I was home safe. But the only thing I really wanted was to be crawling into bed next to him. He’s my home. He’s where I feel safe. He cares for me, despite what the hamsters are saying. I had to let go of the expectations. I had to let go of the fear. I had let go enough to let go of the hamsters.
**I sat on this post for a few days. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just “a good day”. This last weekend was a “kid weekend” so we wouldn’t be seeing each other, usually a hard time for me. To make it worse, there were events I wished I could have attended with him and he took another partner.
I can report I had a great weekend. The hamsters didn’t show up. I feel great about us from a really secure place. It feels like I’m back to my stable, level headed single self, but with the benefit of this supportive partner.