Vive la difference… or not.
Sometimes differences can be extremely enjoyable, like sweet and sour sauce. Sometimes they work great as a team, like “good cop, bad cop”. Sometimes they’re just annoying, like a morning person and a night owl cohabitating. I’ve discovered a difference that’s painful, and potentially relationship-ending.
When I’m upset, I want attention. I get downright pissy if I am ignored (or feel I am being ignored) when I am upset. Likewise, when somebody I love is upset, I’m right there for them, asking what’s wrong, what can I do, and just generally trying to comfort them and make the upset go away.
When #3 is upset, she wants space. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t even want a comforting touch on the shoulder. She just wants to be left alone until she can get past the major portion of upsetness. She also, apparently, gives space to others when they are upset.
The stage is set…
So she and I had a talk Sunday about what my place is in her life, and where does she see the relationship going in the future. I didn’t get bad answers, but they were… less than perfect. All said and done, I could live with it, and was happier for knowing than being uncertain.
Sunday night we chatted about other things, and I got the feeling that she was setting up space between us, keeping me at a distance. Which feels a bit contradictory to her recent complaint that “it feels like you’re just here for the sex” and “I don’t want somebody who’s just a fuckbuddy”. I don’t want that either. And yet, here’s me trying to get closer, and here’s her pushing me away. I’m feeling like a fuckbuddy.
By Monday, some of what she said had settled, and I had some new questions and concerns. I chatted her up on IM and asked if she would be busy at lunch, because I’d like to talk. No immediate response. A couple hours later she gives me a non-reply of “what do you want to talk about?”. She’s also informed me that her day’s gone downhill since our morning chat, and she’s moody. I decide I don’t need to talk to her at lunch because if she’s in a bad mood, it’ll likely turn into a fight. I offer to listen if she wants to vent about why she’s in a bad mood. She declines. I’m being pushed further away.
She does not talk to me the rest of that day, except to reply to my goodnight text. The next day, she IM’s me to say we’ll talk later, but she has to run out to do a few things, and she logs off before I can reply. At lunch she’s online again, but informs me that she’s not done, and is going to “head back out in a minute”. Fortyfive minutes later, she’s still online, hasn’t headed back out. I get into a snit. “When you’re done avoiding me, let me know.”
Whoa. Wrong thing to say at the wrong time.
Turns out her #2 broke up with her (I got this from him… she never did explain any of why she was upset). Why she wouldn’t tell me this, I have no idea… But now I’m the asshole (in her eyes) for how I’ve behaved, and officially she and I are through, though she was in hysterics at the time, and I am waiting for her to calm down and either discuss things with me or tell me we’re through in a calm frame of mind before I accept it.
And it all boils down to that one difference. Because she felt crowded and harassed, and I felt pushed away and ignored. A little communication on her part could have avoided it all. A little more patience on my part could have made it all a non-issue. Instead, we both mourn.