There were a few happenings that lead to the return…
But the biggest one was really late one night just after new years… so just about 5 years later.
I’d been dating this particular guy for just under three years at this point… but it had been a non-exclusive relationship since about 6 months in, after he’d told me that he didn’t want to remove an online dating profile because it was paid ahead and he wanted to get his money’s worth.
I wasn’t in love with the guy, and never really had been… nor do I think that he ever was with me… but he was a nice guy, and so it had basically been friends with benefits for a long time.
We never fought at all, so there was never a reason to break up… and I’d taken advantage of the ability to still date others, so it wasn’t holding me back there…
But in the past month, there had been two major incidents where I’d felt like he’d let me down in a major way emotionally.
So on this particular night, I couldn’t sleep… but he was staying over, and so as I watched him sleeping beside me, I was thinking over whether or not the relationship was really worth continuing anymore.
It was a debate that could have gone either way… and really, either way I’d have been just as on my own emotionally.
But eventually I came to the decision that the friendship aspects were still a benefit… and it wasn’t hurting me any to stay as long as I knew what to expect, or more specifically, what not to expect.
I’d known from the start that he was the intellectual sort of guy, but not the emotional sort. He was an electrical engineer… logic was his thing, not feelings.
Given that I generally go for smart guys (with some notable exceptions), this aspect of him was part of the package that had drawn me to him in the first place.
I knew what I was getting into with dating an engineer… and I knew that areas like emotional support were not going to be strong points. It’s sort of par for the course.
The analogy of choosing a game character type to play came to mind. If you pick an elf, you don’t get to complain about strength not being high…. if you pick some giant creature, you’ve got to expect that agility isn’t going to be great…
If you choose to date an electrical engineer, you know better than to expect the guy to be the best on knowing what your needs are emotionally, or to even know what he’s supposed to do to meet them after you’ve told him what they are.
He has other areas that are strengths… where his “character points” are concentrated in the game analogy… and if you want a character that’s higher in other areas, you are going to be losing strength from the existing strong areas, and really are essentially looking for the profile of another character entirely.
So, the debate had come to a conclusion.
I decided that I was ok with my intellectual… and ok with realizing that I needed to give him some slack in areas that were not his strengths and accept it as part of the profile.
Then came the nudge.. the first one I’d had in years… clear as can be…
“And yet, you can’t accept that about yourself.”
It was right of course.
But I still really had no idea what to do with that initially. There were no tears or instant turning back… it just sort of hung there… just sort of was.
The next big part came in the afternoon… I think it was that next afternoon, but it might have been a day or two.
A softer nudge came… bringing to mind the list. Remember that super long list of grievances that I’d made?
Going back over the list, I came to a realization.
Every last item on the list was something that had changed…. and that I’d made the deliberate decision that I preferred the way that it had been originally.
All of them.
Several years earlier, I’d made the decision to go back off medication. I’d figured out that having a much looser guard meant dealing with a lot more messy problems that were created when people got through that guard that shouldn’t have.
I’d figured out that the dulling of the edge on the anxiety angle meant not being as on my toes in life in general, and decided I preferred the acuity.
I’d figured out life with a bunch of hang-out level friends as a more extroverted person actually brought me less happiness than having a small but very trusted group of close friends and a wider but less connected network of acquaintances.
I’d gone from hating the intellectual side, to intentionally choosing to ignore it, and ended up right back.
I’d been thinner… and yet, decided that when it was working that hard against my body, it brought me only more anxiety, not the joy I’d expected it to be. I’d gained the weight back, plus a good deal more… and yet, I was more ok with my weight than I had been at either of the lower levels. It was the weight my body settled at with my life the way that I wanted to live it, and so I was ok with letting it settle where it wanted to settle…. even when that was right about 100 pounds heavier than at the peak of resentment.
I’d dyed my hair… I’d done treatments to it to mess with the texture… and with the exception of being a bit longer, it was back to the same as it had been before. I’d had contacts with the changes in torics making it work with my eyes, and I’d decided that I didn’t like contacts and had gone to only wearing them for dress up occasions.
The infertility? Well, less than 6 months after the list, I was pregnant… having conceived completely without meds on the first weekend I’d slept with the guy… who was someone that had assumed himself sterile as he’d tried for years to get a previous girlfriend pregnant with no luck only to have her almost instantly have success with the next guy she dated. A year to the month after I’d had that meeting with the endocrinologist, I was going to another office on the same floor of the same building for my first sonogram and ob appointment.
And after the baby was born, I’d very clearly figured out that I wasn’t interested in having more anytime soon.
Every last thing had come full circle.
And each case, it had been my own decision to let it do so.