on mice & women
Wow. Two posts in one day. Holy crap, Alma.
It’s funny how random encounters will lead to unexpected lessons.
What I didn’t mention in that last post? Right before the mouse in the bathtub, I was in a heated text conversation with my ex–current–sorta–whatever. I’ve been feeling increasingly disconnected from him. Resentful. Angry. Confused. It’s a familiar feeling with him. He’s not the type of guy I’m used to.
We dated for a little over a year back in 2012. Then stopped speaking, but loosely remained friends. This summer, we reconnected and discovered we still had something there between us. We got really close this summer. But he’s living in Canada, and I’m here in Denver. Not ideal. He’s also been abroad, visiting family, for the last month–returning home later this week.
This summer, it was mostly great. A few things here and there, but we talked through them and we seemed to move past where we were before. We seemed to be better versions of ourselves–more equipped to handle each other. We’ve been in this thing that is not a thing for a while now, and he’s been insistent that we not label it as anything until we’re actually able to take things to a different level. Which I respected and agreed to, at first.
But life is strange and plans get rearranged. And time, for me, is complicated. I don’t take tomorrow for granted. I go after what I want. It hasn’t worked for me, but that’s how I am. I get impatient and frustrated. I can manage these feelings, if I have to, but I can’t have any doubts. And lately, I’ve had doubts. I’ve felt taken for granted. I felt like a burden. Part of me knew a lot of it was me. I’ve grown a lot over the years, especially since our last relationship, but I’m often blindsided by my feelings. For some reason, this guy brings out parts of me I never even knew existed. This time, this seems especially true and it’s more confusing because what used to be true for us is no longer true. And now, there’s this new thing happening where I’m literally at a loss. Often.
I keep feeling like–he’s pushing me away. Why is he doing that? I’m used to being the one pushing people away. That certainly was our pattern before. Before, he loved me more. Before, I held back. I didn’t even know why. I felt angry and triggered all the time. And he kept reaching out–kept trying. I never once questioned his love for me then, and that love is what strangled us. The more I knew he loved me, the more I withheld my unhappiness–the more I couldn’t open up to him. The more I used excuses to stay away. I was truly awful. I feel guilty for it now.
This time, things were great until he went abroad. Maybe it was just the weird timezone thing. Maybe it was lack of privacy. Maybe it was me shutting down. But it felt like it was him. Like he was scared. Holding back. Waiting for that day sometime in the future when all we have is now. So, I kept reaching out. I kept putting myself out there. I guess, believing the problem (again) was me. And then I felt needy and frustrated. Aggravated.
I finally sent a text to him this afternoon when it became clear I wouldn’t be talking to him again today. I wanted to talk to him–to hash this out–tell him how I was feeling. I didn’t want to text it. But I couldn’t keep it in any longer.
I texted a short–“I think we should take a step back.”
He responded with, “Why do you feel that way?”
And we went back and forth. Him inside his head, as he usually is. Me sort of angry that he didn’t seem to understand–that this was so surprising.
Then the mouse thing happened. And he disappeared when it was over. I just wanted to tell him about my mouse. To laugh at it. To hear him make fun of me.
I was disappointed when, again, someone else caught his attention.
I was sitting here, just now, thinking about the mouse. We’re both just living our lives. We mean each other no harm. But sometimes, we find ourselves in situations we don’t know what to do with. For the mouse, it was being in this slippery bathtub–with three cats just outside the door. And some psycho woman with a mop. No way out. He got more than he bargained for. He wanted out as much as I wanted him out. And he was terrified too. For me, there was a mouse in my bathtub. I’m a city girl. I don’t deal with mice. I didn’t even know they terrified me until I heard myself scream. Part of me wanted to pick it up and pet it–give it some peanut butter. Part of me just wanted it gone. At one point, I realized–when I was trapping the mouse–that I had to comfort him if I was ever going to get him in that container. I put a mop on him–which is weird–but yet–he got it. That I meant him no harm. When I got him in the container, he calmed more–seemingly understanding that I was not hurting him–that I was going to help him. And though I was crazy scared, we made it out okay. And now we live our separate lives (hopefully).
We’re all just scared. Sometimes, we have to do things that terrify us. But eventually, we have to just trust ourselves–that we know what to do–that we CAN…in fact…do the scary thing. That we won’t die. And the other being in this transaction has to trust that we mean them no harm. It’s really the only way to get through the unexpected crap life throws at you. Be brave and trust that it’ll be okay.
When I returned from the mouse thing, I felt irritated–seeing this thing as a prime example of what was wrong. This was an important conversation, and we had to resort to text for it to even happen–and he even couldn’t be bothered with that.
I texted some snotty message about having to clean and to let me know if he’d ever like to finish our convo. 30 minutes later, I came back from scrubbing the tub and found two messages saying he was free and then one saying goodnight. It was sent a minute before, so I told him I was free again now. So, we talked.
And I told him all the stuff I couldn’t find words for. And I realized something as we were talking. “Oh my God. I don’t trust you. I never have.”
I realized that, while I knew he loved me before, I never trusted that he could handle me. That’s why I didn’t bring up feelings when I had them. It’s why I withheld. It’s why it blindsided him. I didn’t even know this.
Now, I find that I don’t trust him when he says he loves me. I question it. I look for every crack I can. I take everything personally just to doubt it.
I don’t understand my trust issues. Sometimes, I can trust people so easily. Other times, I just can’t, and I don’t know why. He’s never done anything to justify this mistrust. And it creates the feelings I’m trying to avoid.
Maybe I’m just terrified. I’ve been focusing way too much on his fear and not coping with my own.
But at least, this time, I’m telling him. Our talk was good. I told him what I needed, and I felt closer to him than I have in a while. But I still have a lot of stuff to work on.