Monday, February 18, 2013

An Attempt at Optimism

In sticking with my new attempt at optimism, I decided to make a list:

7 Reasons Why Breaking Up Doesn't Completely Suck

1) No more guilt over choosing to stay in instead of going out, e.g. to a party. This goes back to the whole I'm quiet, I'm an introvert thing. It's not bad to like to spend time alone. I'm not an outcast. Believe it or not, people like me. I just don't like going to parties or big social gatherings just to get out of the house. I like to know about things in advance. I have to feel up to going to a party. Sometimes, I have to mentally prepare myself for that kind of physical and mental stimulation, prepare myself to talk to people, set out guidelines for what I want to accomplish, or what I want to avoid, when I attend those kinds of gatherings. That's a concept that's very foreign to many non-introverts, but it makes a big difference as to whether I want to go out, and often, whether I can open up well enough to enjoy myself when I do go out.

2) No more techno. It may seem like a minor win, but techno kind of gives me a headache. It's just noise. Even worse than the heavy metal screaming kind of noise. The only thing worse than techno is country, and I would never go out with someone who was a wannabe cowboy/country music guy, so for me, techno is basically the bottom of the barrel.

3) No more unanswered/unreturned calls. That was a big frustration. And for 7 years, I got the same excuse: "I hate talking on the phone". Well, when you don't live together, and sometimes even when you do, the phone is the easiest way for a couple to speak to each other when they're not in the same house, let alone the same zip code. It may seem trivial, but those little things--how's your day, are we going out this weekend, how did this project or that test work out, etc.--matter in the long run. They show you care about what's going on in each other's lives even when you're not together in the same physical location. Especially when you don't see each other more than once a week, if that, keeping up the communication is important. You can't build any kind of relationship or intimacy without it.

4) I will save SO MUCH on gas. Also, it may seem petty and unimportant, but it's true. That long distance thing has cost me more money over the years than I care to think about.

5) No more religion. I admire religious people who are dedicated to their practice, whatever it may be, because I believe it's healthy to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself, to be a part of a community like that; it helps you improve yourself and feel better about yourself. However, I don't admire religious people who think they're better than you or who act like they know more about life, the universe and everything simply because they hit up the Sunday service or meditate for an hour a couple times a week. I'll respect your belief and your practice if you respect my carefully considered choice not to believe or practice the same thing.

6) No more sacrifices. I don't have to choose the dopey comedy over the Oscar-nominated film at the movies. I don't have to eat at Qdoba instead of Old Chicago's simply because it's cheaper. I don't have to give up a night of writing because it's the ONLY free time he has in his schedule. As much as I like to know and plan things ahead of time and as particular as I am about some things to the point of being a little OCD, I think I was extremely flexible the past few years when it came to this relationship. I made those choices because I thought spending time together was more important than my preferences when it came to dinner or a movie or whatever, and for the most part, I think that's true, but in retrospect, I think there should have been a little more compromising--more taking turns on those kinds of decisions, as trivial as they may seem.

7) No more drama. I try really hard not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but being a woman, it's kind of built-in, so I have to work even harder to keep a level head about things. I'm a philosophy major, so rationalism is also built in now, too, and it takes multiple offenses to get me to lose it. I knew who I was dealing with, so I didn't ask for more than I expected him to give. I didn't make any unreasonable requests, for gifts, dates, or anything else if I didn't think he could live up to it, and believe me, it's a hell of a lot less than most girlfriends would demand from their partners. The fact that so little was contributed even after setting such a low bar is the biggest reason this break-up doesn't completely suck.

In retrospect, this whole thing probably should have ended three years ago. Maybe it should have ended six years ago. But it didn't--we kept coming back. I thought it was for love, for finding someone we felt close enough to open up to, for a future, but now, maybe it was just laziness--not feeling up to exploring other options--and fear--of not finding someone you could be that comfortable with.

Still, now that I'm here, I'm not afraid. I may be a little nuts sometimes, but I'm awesome. I'm genuine, I'm interesting, and I know I'm worth more than a once a week visit. I also know I'm not lazy. I worked my ass off to make this last relationship work, and I will work my ass off to make the next one work, but next time, I'm going to be a little more judicious about when to push and when to let go. I stick. But now, I'm going to try to focus on sticking only when it truly seems worth my while.

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