Friday, February 17, 2006

Silence Can Speak Volumes

Against my better judgment, I answered the phone today when my ex called. He's leaving for a month in the Caribbean. Apparently he's traveling to his parents' house first, though, as he said he'll be driving through the area tomorrow. And again, against my better judgment, it looks like I'll be meeting him for coffee or lunch.

I had been feeling a bit of guilt for not responding to his latest phone call and e-mail (over a month ago now.) I know he resents my silence; he ranted an earful about it to a mutual friend just last week. I hate not responding to people; it's rude. I've kept quiet for a reason. Sometimes people can learn more from silence than they can from words. Especially people who don't listen.

My ex can listen when he tries... But mostly it's to demonstrate that he is listening by responding specifically to what has been said. He never really listens. What I mean by this is he does not seem to take what is being said very seriously. I've told y'all this before, right? He has his own interpretation of things - we all do, don't we? - and that includes my own thoughts. I have told him at times that I felt a certain way about something (being vague here, not to be discreet but to generalize) and he has literally told me that I was wrong, and that I felt some different way, some way that was miles away from what I was feeling... And he would insist on it, which is absurd, I know, but the man has his own ideas about what is going on, and he will not stray from them. So even when he is listening, he is not listening but trying to fit the words he is hearing like puzzle pieces into his own version of the world. (We all do this, to some extent, by the way. This is just an odd and unproductive area to filter in this manner.)

The phone call and e-mail in question, which I did not respond to, are actually nice examples of this very issue. "All I need to do is leave you alone during the week. Maybe one 10-20 minute phone call on a Saturday or Sunday would be nice." -are you forgetting that this is now unnecessary?- "I truly believe that the solution is simple and that you make the problem bigger than it really is." I felt that he was belittling my feelings, or even pretending they don't exist.

I just want to be happy. And I want him to be happy. And being together WILL NOT maximize our happiness. If only he could feel my teeth clench as he is side-stepping his point to bring up something else that I already know, embellishing all the while with adjectives and descriptions... If only he could feel how BADLY I need him to get to the point, how much I want to wring his neck - or better! cut off his tongue - as he drones on and on and on.... This is not happiness. How could he want that?

He tried to make me feel guilty and defend himself simultaneously by telling me this "behavior" (this is just him, BTW. No need for excuses, I've known the man nearly eight years now and THIS IS WHO HE IS.) was due to a really tough couple of months he was going through. Believe me, I can handle tough. And life dishes out months sometimes which are FAR tougher than those in question, and I am a rock of emotional support in times of need. But it's really hard to play the loving, supportive role while someone is annoying the shit out of you. So even if this WAS all about having a rough time, I just can't deal.

I don't want to, I don't have to, and I won't. There are hundreds, if not thousands of women out there who can make my ex ten times happier than I can. Simply by not getting thoroughly irritated every time he opens his mouth is a great start. He just can't see this yet because he's so damn used to ME. Maybe if he had not been such a dink four or five years ago we would already be married and I would suffer and fight tooth and nail to make this work. But thank the flying spaghetti monster that we're not and I don't have to. Let's count our blessings and move on.

I don't mean to sound cold. As I have written before, I do love the man. I want what's best for him almost as much as what's best for myself. And despite what what he has written in stone in his head, what's best for him is NOT ME. Seriously, I think I could end up killing him, he frustrates me THAT MUCH. And nobody wants that. And this, in a way, is why I didn't write back. Or call. Or make a point to let him know I was in town last week. This is why I made a point to NOT be in that area THIS week, so as to not give him the wrong idea. (Not that he, in the entire seven years that I've known him, has given me even so much as a card for valentine's day.) This is why I shouldn't have answered the phone today. And why I shouldn't go and have lunch or coffee with him tomorrow. Because regardless of what I say to him, he's thinking "She's talking to me! I have a chance!" And he doesn't.

I'm never going back to him. I don't like to make declarative statements unless I am sure, and in this case I am. We are just not right for each other. I don't like it, but the only way I can get him to see this is silence. Every time I respond to him, I send him right back to square one. I don't want to toy with his feelings. I don't want to tease and keep him hanging on. I will try to be brutally honest tomorrow (I have a lot of trouble with the "brutal" part) but I know it would have been better to just not answer the phone.

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