How can someone feel happy, relieved and completely heartbroken, all at the same time? How is that allowed? It seems like some sort of cruel joke for all of these emotions to join the party. At the same time!
I discovered my former roommate left town today. I drove past where he was staying and noticed both his vehicles were gone. Then I unblocked his social media and had a look. Sure enough, he’s hit the road. “Good for him”, I said to myself as a wash of relief drenched me. I don’t have to be nervous about running into him around town. I told a few people who knew the situation and they were happy to learn this too.
As I was sitting on the couch, about an hour ago, it finally hit me. It’s really over between us. We can’t even be friends. I know we can’t. He’s not a good person for me to know. He’s not a safe person for me to know. I know all of this in my head and in my heart. I was trauma bonded for Pete’s sake! So why am I feeling heartbroken?! Isn’t that the opposite way of how I “should” be feeling?!
I’ve been reading bits and pieces about attachment theory and how our early bonds with our caregivers shape how we connect with partners. I have been reading how we continue unhelpful coping patterns when we don’t heal from them. I’ve been reading and learning how to shift these early lessons so I can someday have a healthy romantic relationship. I swear, the more I learn, the more I feel really broken and rather fucked. Seriously! Self awareness is great but it kinda sucks because you’re suddenly aware of how your patterns and coping skills have shot you in the foot, for 46 years. All kidding and hyperbole aside, awareness has been good but it’s made me wonder how much I could have avoided if I’d only know!
I read something today which said: (Paraphrasing) Sometimes we confuse love with pity. What we think is love is actually empathy on steroids.
As someone who can’t figure out why I cared for someone so deeply, without any return of affection, this made me question if I felt love or pity. Maybe it was pity for someone who I was certain had fallen on hard times? Maybe it felt good to have attention from this person. Are my insides and my emotions so jacked up that I honestly cannot identify what genuine love feels like?! Am I so fated to repeat this bloody cycle a few more times? It never make sense why I fell so completely for a “down on his luck” guy who was quite content with me taking care of him. That’s not the kind of person I want for myself! I don’t want yet another person to take from me and not return any of the kindness or emotional labor. I don’t want another “just stay positive” sort of person either. I also can’t handle being with someone who is not in touch with their emotions or who can’t communicate and give opinions on things I find important.
I simply, simply can’t repeat what I’ve had in the past. I need emotional depth and emotional support in my next partner. I need to be protected once in a while too. Just because I’m a strong person doesn’t mean I’m unfeeling and should handle everything on my own. I mean, I can but don’t stand in the shadows and watch me do it. I need a partner in crime who actually has my back. One who believes I’m a good person, even if someone is talking bad about me and the backstabber is really convincing. I need someone who is calm and doesn’t have an explosive temper. I can’t live with another person I fear. Three times of doing that is more than enough. I need someone who can appreciate my “squirrel!!” mind and who isn’t annoyed by my quirks. I need someone who will lovingly nudge me out of my comfort zone once in a while. I need someone with a curious mind and who has their own hobbies and friends. I don’t want to lose myself within a relationship again. For once, I want to feel secure, cared for and appreciated. I don’t want to feel from my partner that they’ve “settled” for me either.
So here we are, nearly at the end of another rambling blog and I don’t feel nearly as heartbroken as I did. I do miss the good parts about my former roommate. He’s a charming, interesting, guy who likes movies, disc golf and he is a writer. He also has a good sense of humor and a quick wit. I miss those things when I think about him. I still find him quite attractive too but I hope that feeling fades. It doesn’t make sense to still be attracted to someone who is so bad for me to be around.
I think this is the first time I’ve been so specific about the qualities I need in a person. Before, I’ve written about wants. Wants are negotiable, needs are not. I finally have my list of non-negotiables. See?? Growth!! Thankfully, I have a therapy session coming up. I imagine this one will be another chaotic spewing forth of things I’ve finally processed over the past month, just like our previous session. I am starting to feel like I owe my therapist a bottle of wine after our session last month. She is a gem and a blessing and I am so happy she is in my life! It’s encouraging when I can identify the ways I’ve grown, even within the past few months.