Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Circus Act of Relationships

When I hit my 30's, one catch-phrase that many of my friends are sure to have heard me say is "my threshold for bullshit has gotten really damn low" or something along those lines. I was always talking about other people's bullshit; my inability and refusal to put up with crap dished my way from lovers, partners, friends.

I forgot to take into consideration my own bullshit. I think I can dish out more on to myself than anyone else ever could.

How many of us self-sabotage and have a history of doing so? Oftentimes in relationships? I know I can raise my hand on that one. It's very sly, this little worm in our brain that causes self-defeating behavior; it can raise it's head in a myriad of ways. From simply picking potential partners who will eventually screw us over (or the relationship really will never work); to finding a good thing and creating obstacles in the relationship that will eventually send it down in flames; to simply ignoring the handwriting on the wall (and what they say early on) and then acting surprised when the shit hits the fan...it all boils down to issues within ourselves that create this inability to allow good things to happen to us - and avoid the pitfalls.

The bottom line is that those of us who have a tendency toward self-defeating behavior/thinking need to really look at this issue. I can stand here and wax poetic about how much it sucks that I do this, but that and a token will get me on the train toward a happy life if I don't do anything about it. Self-awareness is the first step, I suppose; but after that, it's almost like re-training yourself to think, act, and express yourself.

I know that I have a certain amount of self-confidence that has grown over the years as I get older and go out and conquer more things and gain experience in life. But I know that there is a part of me that is so insecure that I can't believe it when something good comes into my life, romantically, - kind of a what? why on earth would that person want to be with me? and I almost find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop; the catch, if you will. It's only been in the last two years that I've really been able to recognize this. It's completely unfounded, for I'm a great person who would be a fabulous partner for someone - but saying that and really believing it are two different things. I also have a lack of faith in the intelligence and emotional stability of others to recognize that I'm an absolute rockstar. Having done the "divorced/separated/single woman in her 30's living in the Big City" bit for two years, I've met some serious assholes. I could do my own version of Sex in the city and play the roles of all four girls.

I suppose, then, that a couple of things I and others like me need to think about working on are:

  • Listening to what they tell you early on - not what you want to hear.
    If they say "I guess I want to have kids", that isn't really a whole-hearted desire. "I guess I can handle a monogamous relationship" is not very encouraging if that's what you want. My problem in the past is that I heard the sentence but deleted the guess out of it, so I wasn't really listening. Then I'm shocked years later when he announces that he really isn't sure he wants kids and wants to boink his co-worker.
  • Believe that I deserve a good relationship - really believe it.
    Because if I don't, I'm always going to either expect it to end, do something to make it end, or spend my time waiting for the other shoe to drop. When I'm in something good, I find myself watching myself in the relationship, almost like an observer, not a participant, unable to believe that something this groovy is really happening. I need to quit doing that and live in the moment.
  • Avoid creating obstacles - and don't allow them to, either..
    This is a big one. Allowing the other person in the relationship to create them is as bad as creating them yourself, and goes back to the initial picking of the partner that would do that...but sometimes two people can overcome these problems if they just talk it out and each work on themselves. I have to really watch it sometimes that I don't create a situation that sets me up for disaster - like getting too much in their space or, the opposite, worrying so much about getting in their space that I almost avoid them. This leads to the last one, for now:
  • Don't over-analyze the damn situation.
    Sure, I can rant about how important it is that I take all of this into consideration, but after a while you just have to let go and freefall. I sometimes will come home and replay what it was that I said or did and their reaction to that in my head and it drives me nuts. Like a nutty professor, I'll play it all back and dissect moments where perhaps I did this wrong here...fooled around with him too soon there...gave the wrong impression here...DAMMIT!!! Then if the person is just living their life and maybe having a bad day and doesn't act quite like they did they day before, I get bent out of shape and think it's something that I did. What a fucking horror show. I don't do this as much anymore, but it still rears its ugly head now and then.

Whatever. I just hope that things continue to move in the way that they are, and that I can surf the ride without crashing into a huge wave - of my own making.


Blogger Maritza said...

So true! That stupid book, "He's Just Not That Into You" has been a real eye opener for me. Now I need, "You're Just Not Into Him so Stop Fucking with his Head". But then again, I realize that I'm doing this so I guess that's the first step...

6:53 PM  
Blogger NYCbeauty said...

I think believing you deserve better is the most important thing. I'm in a (DEVASTATING) mode of re-living every horrible disasterous mistake of a relationship I've ever had in my life (I can't stop my brain) and it sucks. But saying no to what you know sucks is a start. Here's to US!!!

9:00 AM  

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