Problem solving fail | or why I can't figure my sh*t out

[The image is from the brilliant Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half]

I haven’t been writing much in the last two weeks. Usually, the ideas flow freely and as long as I make time, I can write. My thoughts and opinions are obvious to me.

I knew that after Johnny Id left, there would be a writing pause as I absorbed our time together and figured out what I wanted to write about. It happened after our first time together. I simply had to think a little bit about how to accurately reflect our time on paper. And of course, thinking about what it meant for our relationship after the trip took a bit of sorting through.

The same thing has happened again, but even more significantly. I can write about what we did when he was here, but writing about how I feel now, and what’s next, has proven to be a huge challenge.

It becomes more obvious when I try to explain to friends what is happening. They give me a quizzical look and say they don’t understand. My rationale isn’t infallible. Okay, I will admit that sometimes it’s not, but being a practical sort, I do the following:

  1. Determine I have a quandary / problem / puzzle / issue
  2. Discuss it to break it down. Either with others, or just the voices in my head
  3. Figure out the root cause / core element of the thing
  4. Think about options for how to resolve it
  5. Pick what I think is the best plan
  6. Invoke the plan
  7. Experience whether the plan succeeds or fails
  8. Plan fails?
  9. Discuss new learnings
  10. Repeat from step 3

I was recently accused of being clinical by a reader. It wasn’t remotely a compliment. You may look at that ordered list above and think the same. But it’s how I process things. I’ve always been logical, methodical, and organized, ever since I was a little kid. Fuck, I’m a Virgo, for crying out loud (and yes, I’m going to write a post about Virgos, since a) its our birthday season, and b) there are SO many of us hanging around here).

Here’s the thing.

Johnny and I need to figure out how to handle being in love, but from a LONG distance, and for two years, realistically. He wants to move to where I live, but when he does so, there is no guarantee a relationship is going to work. And it’s a huge thing if he moves here.

Did you notice? Yes, I said I’M IN LOVE WITH HIM.

He’s completely ready to be in a committed, closed, relationship. I’m pretty fresh out of my marriage and had 15 years of not being who I want to be, and am still trying to figure out what I want from my life. But I love him.

I am trying to solve a problem. But I’m not sure there is a problem, or exactly why I feel unsettled (#1-3). It could be because there really is something to solve, or perhaps there isn’t.

I will write more about what we agreed to do. But the point I’m trying to make is that because I’m not even sure whether there is a problem and what I’m trying to solve for, I’m not sure we’ve chosen the right path forward (#4).

It probably doesn’t help that my hormones are all wacky since I’ve stopped taking the pill after removing my fallopian tubes. And, admittedly, I’m anxious about my son’s well-being, since next week is the start of me as a single parent. And, okay, it’s my birthday in a couple of days and that always has me think about the past year.

What a fucked up year it’s been. Awesome in many ways, but tumultuous nonetheless. Oh, and I guess I shouldn’t forget that we are close to a massive project implementation at work, the biggest ever, and I’m deeply involved in it.

Yes, I guess I should cut myself some slack. But that’s not my style.

I will figure it all out and will be writing my deepest thoughts in no time.

Until then, write things about Greenland!

0 thoughts on “Problem solving fail | or why I can't figure my sh*t out

  1. In time, you’ll know if you have a problem to solve or not. Feeling like there is something wrong is often an indication that there is. I’m highly methodical like you, but my methods fail at human beings most of the time. It’s possible that your brief union, and renewed distance have created only the impression of a problem. But, a interesting man told me today “We have time.” Two years is enough to know I’d think.

    • It’s not necessarily that something is wrong…just that there is something unsettled. A decision or path that’s incorrect. I do know it will become clear in time.

      And yes, it’s definitely harder for him to have been here and now gone. I’ve never really had this kind of long distance relationship before – where it’s a massive hurdle to see one another. So that’s not a comfortable place for me, either.

      • The wife and I started long distance, granted not such a distance as you guys, but I recall the trepidation, the yearning, and the temptation. In many ways having something wonderful over the horizon was enriching. I guess I still kinda experience that now. But time sorts everything out. It’s the only thing that does reliably.

  2. If you think there is a problem, there usually is. However like Gardner said, you have a long time to figure out what it is and how you both want to go from there.

    It could just be that you just need to give yourself some time to get your hormones back into whack (it took me about 6 months to feel somewhat “normal” after I came off the pill) and in the meantime, be nice to yourself.

    Don’t keep pushing yourself to over-analyse a problem that may or may not exist at the moment. And if there is one and it comes to you (mine usually appear after an epiphany-ist dream) then you can deal with it then.

    In the mean time, long baths and whatever your fall back is to give some normality to your life.


    • Thanks Sharn. I’m trying to be patient. I’ve put together a calendar for me to track certain lady things…because I’m worried my migraines will return and I’m bad sometimes at remembering how little / how much time has passed. I hope it will help keep me focussed.

      I’m *trying* to not push myself to overanalyse. Just letting the thoughts roam around and be honest with how I’m feeling. That’s the uncomfortable place for me…I’m not used to not being able to sort things out quickly.

      Hope you are feeling okay too <3

  3. My ex wife once told me that all men are too analytical. I would form a list like yours to solve any problem either of us ever had and she’d say I needed to shut up…. all she really wanted was someone to sit there and nod and say “oh poor you.” I could do that very easily. Like a trooper. But then I’d secretly make up The List. You are every man’s dream if this is how you solve your problems. Will you marry me? πŸ˜‰

    • Well I can say with certainty that I am *not* every man’s dream. Some don’t like to be analysed and they take offense to the inquiry. But in my experience, this is a small minority. So perhaps you are on to something πŸ™‚

      Granted, there are some times where I don’t want to solve a problem, I just need to mope or vent. But I’m pretty good about saying that to my partner so they know. My ex would say “do you want to solve this problem or just tell me about it?”

      • Oooo. I find that a top notch response. However if I had to guess it probably did nothing to resolve an already… um… “bitchy” mood? With my ex, the answer would never, ever have been “fix it please.” I discovered very quickly that throwing solutions out was like throwing gas on a fire. Could have fixed it in 20 seconds but instead I ended up with a 10 acre bon fire.

        • Actually, he didn’t mean it in a bitchy way. It was learned…and an honest question. If I said I just needed an ear, then that’s what I got.

          The first time I read your response I thought you said “10 acre bacon fire”… which sounded kinda awesome. I like my bacon REALLY crispy.

  4. I think you are on the right track by identifying a clear process to address all of your spinning plates. From the post above, you are experiencing major changes in almost every aspect of your life (health, parenting, work & love life). Please be patient with yourself. With so much going on, you may simply need time to work through everything. You are an intelligent, intuitive woman, so you will get it all sorted out. My suggestion is to prioritize and continue to reassess your priorities along the way. All the best.

  5. I read it and just wanted to ask, do you really have a n issue or problem.

    Just being out of a marriage/relationship is never easy and one should/could say one might not be sure at first.
    Over thinking if ID is good for you, long distant. one pretty sure he is and you know it it feels good. Long distant there is no answer if you never tried it. will be hard work but you doubting your ability to make it possible? And he is willing to come over to you. Now a guy is faster when it comes to the willingness to commit, dozens of studies said so.

    No need to over think it all. go with the flow.
    Your past year has been that and you slowed it down when you felt overwhelmed or tired. No need to doubt your own ability to have control over your own life.
    See how it goes and I am sure you will get there. If it is worth pursuing or working for? Life is as it is with you and your son, that will always come first.

    Okay that sounded way confusing LOL

    • Not too confusing…I think I know what you mean. It’s hard for me to just “go with the flow” but I’m trying to do so. I definitely don’t want to cause a problem where none exists. But the feeling of limbo is not a comfortable one for me πŸ™‚

  6. A sense of unease exists for a reason and it’s usually a fear. After my 15 year relationship ended I remember feeling lost and depressed. I was afraid that I couldn’t cope with life on my own because I had never really been on my own before. After my last relationship ended, as dramatic as it was, the feeling this time is different. I feel that my life is devoid of meaning without someone remarkable to share it with. So what’s your fear? Once you know what it is, things get better.

    • My fear is that I will do the same thing again. End up in a relationship that’s not right, out of some obligation or fear of hurting someone.

      I don’t think I’m doing it…but because I’m so afraid of it, I’m probably hyper sensitive to anything that could get me into that place.

      It’s good advice to think about it…thank you.

      • Our fears blind us to opportunity and our greed blinds us to danger. It’s always best to operate from a position of strength, so gathering our resources until we can achieve the necessary balance is the safe thing to do.

What do you think?