A Field in Which to Frolic**


Why Do I Keep Getting Burned?
September 4, 2014, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Undisclosed

Sometimes, it’s so loud you can’t help but hear

Last week, whilst baking cookies, I briefly touched my arm to the just-out-of-the-oven cookie sheet. This is the third time this summer that I’ve burned myself in the same way, in pretty much the same place.

I immediately grabbed some honey and covered the burn. As I was doing so, this was my train of thought:

“Why do I keep letting myself get burned like this?”

“Well, at least each time it happens, I know better how to take care of myself.” (The first burn, I ignored and have a nasty scar. After the 2nd one, I did some research and discovered that manuka honey is a great burn treatment. The scar from that one is much less noticeable. This time, I knew exactly what to do.)

“Eventually, I’m going to learn not to let myself get burned like this.”

I paused after that thought, and it was like a lightning bolt in my brain.

“Touché, Universe.”

Cut to a couple days ago. I went to a movie with off-again-on-again-now-we’re-just-friends Nick, and of course, despite my new boundaries (see below), I wanted nothing more than to put my arms around him. Then, when he confessed that he felt like his life was completely hopeless and pointless, I was again overwhelmed with the desire to take care of him; to find any way possible to take his pain away and get him to realize that a good life is worth fighting for.

Of course, it’s that kind of thinking that has left me burned so many times with him in the past. He needs, I give. I need, he is too busy with his own shit to give me so much as a “how are you?” text message. Which is why I decided to make another attempt at boundaries. No more sexy time. No more sleepovers of any kind. No more me asking him to get together, because he’s flaky and non-committal. If he wants to see me, he can make it happen.

Listening is harder than it should be

After seeing him hurting, and him telling me how hopeless and withdrawn he feels, I find myself wanting to put my needs aside and just take care of him. So I cross one  of the boundaries I’d set, and ask him to spend some time with me. He has a few unexpected days off work, and I tell him we should take advantage of them. He says that sounds nice. And then about an hour before we’re supposed to meet up, he texts me to say “tonight won’t work. I’m sorry but we’ll get together soon.” And I’m reminded why I decided to stop making an effort. I let myself get burned by him, again.

I sent him a message in return, and have yet to hear from him the day after. I want to yell at him and tell him that makes me feel like shit. I want to tell him I’m fucking done and that unless he makes the effort, we won’t see or talk to each other.

At the same time, I don’t want him to feel abandoned when he most needs people, and I don’t want to add to the pile of shit that he’s got going on right now. (It’s a big pile.) But once again, I’m hurt and disappointed, and it’s my fault for expecting something that I should have known not to expect.

The problem is, despite his enormous emotional unavailability and unreliability, I love him. I want him in my life. So it’s not as easy as simply saying, “fuck this, I’m out.” I do not want him out of my life. I just want to release this intense attachment to him. I don’t want his presence or lack thereof to dictate my mood. I want to be okay with not seeing or hearing from him for weeks or months at a time. I want to be 100% okay with us honestly only being friends. And I have no idea how to get there.

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