Monday, October 31, 2005

Love is Not Enough

I broke up with my boyfriend this weekend.

He came down on Friday night to pick up his truck, which had been in the shop since the previous weekend. (The clutch had failed - for the second time - in 34,000 miles. And no, it's not the way he drives.) The whole situation sucked so much for him, and I hated to pile more on... I didn't see any sense in making his overnight stay uncomfortable, or (more likely) inspiring him to drive back in the middle of the night. So I decided the least I could do was wait until the morning and do it over coffee when he was leaving anyway.

But I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, and as I was starting to fall asleep (after I told him I didn't feel like having sex) he guessed at the situation. "Do you not want to do this anymore?"

We had been together since April, after two years apart. Before that we were together for four and a half years. I left him that time, too - packed my shit and moved two states away without even telling him. I'm terrible at initiating confrontation, and he's terrible at accepting ideas that are not his own. He had to call me up to discuss being broken up with last time, and this time he had to bring it up in the first place. But seriously, I would have done it- like I said, I had a reason for the timing.

So of course he couldn't accept it, even though I was saying some of the same things to him that he had said to me the previous weekend. He brought up all the ways that he had changed and how hard he was working to make me happy. He asked me why I wasn't willing to work that hard. He told me I was running away, again, and brought up other examples from my life when I had done the same thing. He's right about that; I've given up on a lot of things in my life - but I don't feel like that's the case here, at least not in a bad way. There's a difference between giving up on things because they are hard vs. because they are not right for you.

He said he didn't understand where this all came from, and told me I was unfair to not discuss things I was unhappy with until it was too late. It's true that I'm not the greatest at communicating the negative, but I've gotten a lot better than I used to be. I actually have discussed things I was unhappy with all the way along... He apparently did not take these things seriously because I did not indicate that these things could destroy our relationship. Well first of all, I don't make threats like that, nor do I think it's appropriate to do so. He stopped doing this to me at my request, so I'm not quite sure why he expected this behavior from me.

In my experience, it's not often one thing that destroys a relationship, but several, or even a long string of little things. I don't usually recognize that something will ruin the relationship at the time, so how could I possibly know to say so? And why does it take the threat of losing me to take me seriously, anyway? These things build up over time, and all the while they are merely irritating or hurtful... until suddenly they build up to the point where it's unbearable. It happens in an instant. I hit the wall. The other shoe drops. It's the straw that breaks the camel's back. Confusion becomes clarity, and the message is clear: Get the hell out; this man can never keep you happy in the long term.

While he was here he fought me on it. He tried to get me to change my mind, to keep trying to make this work. As he drove home he realized that I was right. This in itself is an example of why we struggled so much as a couple. Our communication styles are different, I guess, and he often does not give what I have to say a real chance. He reasons with my words until he seems to have proven I'm wrong with logic... in a way I can't refute, but still do not agree with. This whole process takes a while, and it's indescribably frustrating and infuriating. He talks... a lot. And he'll keep on arguing the issue until the fight is completely gone from me. At this point a good hour or two is down the tubes to a really unhappy time. Then he'll turn around the next day or the next week and change his mind to agree with me. Sometimes he'll say I didn't explain it well enough, and he misunderstood... but I suspect he either was not listening at the time, or his alpha-male ego prevents him from even considering the possibility that he may be wrong until later.

I'm totally trashing him here, and there's two sides to everything, so keep in mind that there are plenty of things that I do wrong, too. For example, my frustration during these "discussions" gets my tone pretty nasty at times. That's not exactly a plus for getting people to see your point of view.

The thing is, I love him very much. We just don't get along well enough to be together. Relationships are supposed to hard, yes, but not THAT hard. We both deserve something happier and more peaceful in our future, and I have a feeling the many things we've learned from each other over the years will help us acheive that.

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