I’m going to write about something I don’t really care about anymore but I was reminded recently of a tendency and this anecdote illustrates it. And, as is my way, I write about these things to make sense of them so I can put them away and get other things done. Several years ago I was involved with a man who meant a lot to me for a time. I swallowed a lot of words and bit my tongue frequently with him because, as he had been through a nasty divorce and had some health problems, I thought it was what he needed from me. But there came a time when his lunches with a married co-worker (my current colleague, his former) started not to sit so well with me and so I suggested that perhaps letting her be a shoulder to cry on regarding how unhappy she was in her marriage may be playing a risky game. He did the right thing and “broke it off,” coming home one day with all of his books and movies she had borrowed in his arms. And tears in his eyes.
Now, I can honestly say I regret this a little — those tears pissed me off. Just flat pissed me off. There I was, playing surrogate mom to his kids when they visited, making him dinner every night, sitting up with him when his blood sugar went nuts due to the diabetes and helping him get regulated at sometimes 3 or 4 in the morning. And he was crying because he couldn’t have his cake and eat it, too. I told him calmly, dispassionately even, to forget it. If she meant that much to him, by all means, they should be friends. I knew when I said it I was sanctioning the relationship. He knew it, too. And I think he figured if I didn’t care then — well, I didn’t care. And maybe that’s true, I don’t know. All I know is that this was the beginning of the end of the relationship (one that took me a few years to really put behind me) and that what breaks my proverbial camel’s back is often strange and out of nowhere. I mean, he had finally told the woman he couldn’t see her — for me, I might add. He certainly wouldn’t have had that conversation had I not suggested it — and I just threw it back at him because he made me feel guilty for stripping him of something that he clearly liked SO MUCH that it caused him to cry at the thought of losing it because he would just miss it SO MUCH. The point is, I don’t like people who make me feel guilty about being with me because they are somehow missing out on something else — something better — by wasting their time on me. And so, while I regret being hard enough to feel nothing, I regret more the regret over it. Because that’s why it took a few years to move past it…regret can seem like other things and you think it means you still love or you’ve made a mistake or etc. etc.
In the end, dude made the right decision — he married the woman and I moved to DC. And really, I can’t imagine my life there anymore. But I can say that one way to run me off — because I flash point and I’ve no desire to fix it — is to make me feel like you’re missing out on something by being with me. Because guess what? — we all are when we make our choices. That’s how it works. We choose what’s in our best interest. That’s human. But bump you if you make someone feel bad for your decisions.
Okay, offdachest. This made me happy this morning.