Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Have A Brand New Respect For Astronauts

Gravity and I are not getting along that well tonight. I am not a fan of the "must come down" aspect of this particular law. 

I was feeling pretty damn "up" after I wrote my last post. Things just seemed to be moving along quite merrily in my world. It's not to say that I'm unhappy at the moment, just experiencing a bit of a downward tumble which, of course, is to be expected. This is life, after all. 

In his "I must have your attention right now" kind of way, Justin expressed a feeling of discontent with my last post by starting off our conversation with "I really hate reading your blogs". I can't say I'm all that surprised - I can imagine it must be strange for others to read about how I experience my interactions with them. Even more strange when you consider my very public platform. I am not so naive that I don't realize I may come up against some resistance when something I write about is perceived differently than I intended. As a new writer, however, I'm still working on getting used to… ahem… "constructive" feedback. 

Without going into too much unnecessary and irrelevant detail, Justin felt as if reading my blogs sort of took away the surprise factor in our relationship. I wasn't sure what he meant by this… he went on to tell me that he had assumed I had an ulterior motive when getting he and his wife together with his ex-girlfriend, Whitney and her new boyfriend. He figured it was so that my social life could be more convenient as I would no longer need to bounce back and forth between my friends. After reading my last blog, he realized that his assumptions were correct. 

I didn't stick around long enough to find out what this had to do with the "surprise factor" he spoke of. 

I was extremely offended and hurt by his comment. I couldn't believe that he thought my intentions for bridging the gap in their relationship had to do with my own personal gain. Perhaps it bothered me because it was something that "old Tina" would've done. Or maybe it's because Whitney expressed a similar feeling (although presented in a much more pleasant way). Before my head completely exploded, I did take the time to remind myself that a person's perception is their reality and that personal motives are often lost in the glare of everybody's individual sunlight. 

I talked out my frustrations with a few different people and got many different opinions and ideas on the subject. All in all, I ended up feeling okay about things. I mean, I know exactly what my intentions were and it shouldn't really keep me up at night if they aren't always understood by those around me. Right? Hmm… then I'm reminded that relationships become difficult to strengthen when there is a "well, that's like, your opinion, man" kind of attitude surrounding them. 

I thought writing was the best way to express what I'm truly thinking. Still… sometimes things are read differently than how I think they will be. I suppose to some extent, this is the nature of communication. 

This was not my only challenge with relationship gravity this week. 

Things are going really well with Steven. There is a very comforting confidence about our relationship that revolves around the fact that we simply "get" each other. Our sense of humor is almost exactly the same. Neither one of us ever misses a beat. The amount of time we allot for social interaction as well as personal time are almost identical and every time we part ways, I have to ice my cheeks for an hour from the constant smiling and laughter that is such a huge part of our time together. 

So, when things got tense tonight, I wasn't really sure how to handle it. 

We were enjoying some social time with Whitney and discussing the scenario with Justin and his comment. In retrospect, I shouldn't have brought it up as I am pretty done talking about it… but I wanted to share what Jeremy had to say on the subject when I mentioned it to him. 

Jeremy, of course, being the President of the "Tina's Blog" fan club and with his practical business mind brought me off my emotional foothill by simply saying that any piece of writing that evokes a passionate reaction from someone - regardless if I find it to be positive or negative - is good writing. I liked this. It helped me shift into a place of contentedness with the situation. 

Steven disagreed with this comment by stating that it would most certainly apply if it were just some random reader who had an opinion on one of my experiences. But the fact that it was Justin reacting to something about… well, himself, that the personal connection and reaction would be strong whether it was good writing or not. Obviously, he wasn't saying that the writing wasn't good… he was simply emphasizing the fact that Jeremy's thoughts may not be completely applicable in this situation. 

I found him to be very animated when he shared this opinion. I sort of felt like he was angry that Jeremy had made this comment. 

So I snapped at him… I said that Jeremy's comment made me feel better about the situation and that it was the kind of feedback I needed to hear to shift me from my own frustrations with what had happened.  

There was some silence afterwards. After a few more comments from Whitney about things, we gently eased into other subjects. But, my mind had already started to go and I could tell there was some disengagement on Steven's part also as our combined energy, which up until this point had been completely in sync, was now disconnected. I knew almost immediately that it had nothing to do with Jeremy's opinion on Justin's comment. It had to do with Jeremy. 

Well, not just Jeremy. Cory too… and not just Cory, but my solid relationships with many of the men I've dated. You see, I've been so wrapped up in my own happiness about being able to maintain such healthy relationships with the people in my life that have brought me joy and taught me about myself that I forget sometimes how hard it must be for the new man in my life to have to hear about how wonderful my ex-boyfriends are. In fact, Steven told me that when I mention either Cory or Jeremy, my face actually lights up. 

Yikes. I'm not crazy about the fact that Steven still carries a picture of his ex-girlfriend in his wallet and here I am, sharing a meal with my ex-boyfriends at least once a week. Not to mention talking about them all the time, just like I would any other close friend. It takes a very strong and confident man NOT to get up and walk away from me. This was something I didn't realize until tonight. 

For the second time this week, I had to talk to myself about a person's perception being their reality. I know exactly how I feel about Cory and Jeremy. And any other ex that I may keep in contact and have a friendship with. If there were any romantic feelings left, I wouldn't pursue a friendship with them at all. In fact, I was so hurt after my second break up with Cory that I had to remove him from my life completely until I truly felt I was over him. I wasn't sure if we'd ever even talk again. But, one day, I realized that we weren't meant to be a couple and that he was simply a really great guy that I wanted to keep in my circle of friends. Case closed. 

With Jeremy, the connection was just never one of passion and romance - our brains found each other and locked up. I'm not sure we could unlock them if we even wanted to. We didn't even need a grace period after our break up. We immediately settled in to what the relationship should've been all along. But knowing that we gave dating a shot was very helpful as we never have to wonder again if it's something we should try. Case closed. 

I know how I feel. But I have to be compassionate to how all of this may look to someone who has been in my life for all of thirty days and sees past boyfriends floating in and out of my space constantly. 

We talked about it for a while after Whitney left. I didn't want to part ways having had tension between us for the second half of the evening. I felt we communicated our thoughts well and that we came to a common ground, but our giddy and glowing energy was a bit dimmer than I wanted when I watched him walk away towards his car. My chest hurt and my eyes filled with tears as I drove home and thought about how I was supposed to work all of this out. 

I adore Steven, from his karaoke name of Right Doggy to his commitment to his friends and family and all the creme-filled goodness in between. I didn't expect to date so quickly after breaking up with Jeremy, but then again, as badly as I want my Road Dog, it's no surprise that the Universe presented me so quickly with such a viable option. 

He assures me that he doesn't want me to do anything differently and that my open communication about my friendships is something that he has a lot of respect for. Still… I can't help but think there is something I could be doing to keep him from feeling even a little insecure or concerned without jeopardizing the quality of my relationships with people like Cory or Jeremy. 

My head tells me that time will take care of everything and that as long as Steven knows that I only have eyes for him, the comfort level with my other relationships will improve and eventually not be an issue. This is probably accurate. 

My heart tells me that I need to do whatever it takes to let this man know how important he is to me and that if he thinks my face lights up when I talk about Cory or Jeremy, it becomes Clark Griswold's house at Christmas whenever I talk about him. As always, I will do my best to connect these two and find the happy medium. 

Because there is one thing I know for sure in all this confusion… 

I have definitely found a Road Dog in Right Doggy.


  1. For the record, I actually enjoy reading your perspective about shared events, this one included. The parallels between where this blog ended up with Steven and where I was after seeing Justin and meeting his wife are intriguing: while we start a conversation about connecting with an ex (Jeremy/Justin), it always ends with what is going on in our present relationships. It elucidates where we are developmentally in romantic relationships and constantly reflects in our present lives.

    On a less personal level, I enjoy the story arch of this blog. Like the one before it, I think it accurately portrays how interpersonal relationships constantly evolve and react to one another.

  2. Since I'm one of the parties involved here, I'm not sure how qualified I am to speak on the subject, but I'm going to anyway. (would you really expect anything less??? LOL)

    Your willingness to be 100% honest, open, and vulnerable with the people close to you is something you just don't see much of in the world nowadays. You serve as an example to those around you, and whether you mean to or not your actions constantly nudge people in the direction of complete openness as well.

    Having said that, that prospect can be quite intimidating to those unfamiliar with it. I can certainly understand why Steven feels the way he does. Your second-to-last paragraph is spot on in my opinion. You, frankly, are a lot to handle! (that's a compliment, just for the record)

    Awesome blog, as always! :)

  3. Thank you, Stephanie, for giving me permission to post this comment. It's great feedback and a comforting perspective:

    "I have to say, I enjoyed your previous blog and can't say that I agree with my husband's interpretations. Interpersonal relationships are like chemicals, they react. Or, sometimes they don't. I think these reactions become intensified when the people involved are so closely intertwined.

    I didn't think you had an ulterior motive, but that is because you and I had that discussion prior to all of us meeting and I understood where you were coming from. I attempted to expalin it to Justin the way I interpreted it, which apparently failed. You and Justin (from what I understand) have always had a very... energetic way of dealing with each other, which is intensified when you disagree or don't understand each other.

    I have to admitt, I read this blog 3 times in a row because my initial reaction was to immediately jump to my husband's defense because, well, he's my husband. My reaction was based on my relationship with him.

    When you put a group of people together, who are in some way or another closely intertwined with each other either separately or together, and then add emotion and individual interpretation.... well, the outcome is either going to be an epic win or epic fail.

    Luckily for our little family (that I am so happy to be a part of and feel blessed to be accepted into) we all have the *ability* to realize the reactions, ourselves or with the help of each other, which will hopefully create more epic wins than fails.

    If any of that jibberish made any sense at all!

    And remember, the giddy feeling between you and Steven will come and go. It's always there, but sometimes you can't feel it because that happiness has become normal. Embrace when it goes, knowing you get to look forward to it coming back. Just my 2 cents.