One commenter on my last post mentioned something I hadn’t highlighted – but it was something my brain latched on to from my conversation with Tony. And since my writing this, a few others have gotten on that train.
It was his “I don’t want to hold you back” comment.
What the hell does that mean?
I doubt he’s at the point in our relationship that he loves me so much he would rather let me go than potentially hurt me. I felt that way about someone in the past, and it was borne out of a lot of love and mutual respect.
Where did my brain take that comment? To this place: it’s a passive way to tell me he can’t / won’t meet my needs. That perhaps he wanted me to say “I don’t want to be held back either, so goodbye Tony”.
So that’s the first thing rattling around in my brain. I’m working on letting it go; his behavior will let me know soon enough where his head is at.
Which brings me to another blog comment. That I can’t possibly know someone’s motivation unless they tell me themselves.
This I definitely know to be true. Time and time again I see people get in trouble when they ascribe motivation to another’s behavior. It used to drive me crazy when Will did it – he was constantly convinced he knew why I did things, and he was often wrong. I am working to make sure I don’t do this – but it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it and come up with theories.
Bottom line of this hiccup with Tony is I took some of his behavior and believed they signaled something about where his head was at, and what his ability was to give me what I need.
These are dangerous things. Of course, I could be right about why he acts the way he does. BUT I am proud of myself for not letting myself get down into some dark place about how he feels about me. Nor did I allow my anger to override all other emotions. I honored it, because it was real. But I can easily fall into an “everything is this way” and forget the good things.
But here’s the rub. When do I go too far down the slippery slope of understanding and justifying behavior that I don’t like? Ending up rationalizing all of the behavior and later discovering I’m deeply unhappy and unsatisfied?
And then, how do I figure out which attitudes and behaviors are unacceptable, and which am I willing to discuss and hopefully negotiate, and which can I not live without?
Is Tony as communicative as me? Nope. Does he process problems the same way? Nope.
Does it matter?
And I say these things in moments of lucidity, earlier in the day. When I come back to this post to edit, there’s been a three-hour delay in response to one of my text messages earlier today. Then I call him in the evening from my home number – which he doesn’t recognize and answers the phone. He was at a sports lesson with his son. He can’t talk. I ask him to call me later if he can.
Five hours later, no text, no email. Nothing.
The day after we have a conversation about communication.