Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What happens in time

While Tim was hanging out with me over the weekend, he lamented about girls not wanting to date him because of his height. Once again, I tried to lessen the impact of his comment by assuring him that he's a good man. He does have a girl in mind at work, but he's moving slowly on testing the waters given it is a co-worker (different department).

As we talked about dating, I admitted to him that sometimes I still wonder if I should have dated him longer to give us a chance. After all, we get along so well and enjoy each other's company. Tim chuckled an I-don't-think-so laugh as he said, "no."

When I asked him what he meant by that, he explained that there are things he likes about the way he lives his life. He said that it wouldn't have worked. We're different people. I couldn't get him to be very specific. Part of me thought that wasn't fair because how does he know we couldn't have found a compromise?

Moreover, the reason his response bothered me is because it felt like more confirmation that I'm unmarriable - no one can stand to be with me. Tim wouldn't say it, but I know that it sounded like if I hadn't broken up with him, eventually we would have broken up anyhow. That made me sad because I think about how excited and happy he was to be with me those four months we dated. Look how much it's all changed. I feel like that is what has and what will happen with every man I date long enough.

Of course, when my reaction went off the deep end, Tim tried to remind me that people care about me. They invite me to their parties. They like having me as a friend. He reminded me of all the fun things I have going on in my life. Still, it's no consolation when you've just been dropped on your head.

It's confusing because he says he enjoys hanging out with me. At the same time, when I complain about dating and share my fears about not being accepted by someone, he criticizes me for not trying to date and spending too much time with him. Sometimes, I still think he harbors some resentment and hurt towards me for the reasons I stopped dating him. (I learned a huge lesson about never giving specific reasons about break ups to anyone.) He questions how picky I am and my concerns about practical qualities (i.e. what's important to my mother). He knows me well enough that I recognize his points have some merit. Maybe he's being harsh, maybe I'm just too sensitive about this topic. I don't like talking about these things with him anymore.

Just last week, when I was feeling down about myself, I asked him if there's something about me that people don't like, he pointed out something that really stung. He said, "you're a bit self-centered. People probably wouldn't want to be around you after an entire week of traveling with you."

He said it very factually and with all honesty, but it hurt. He explained that I prefer to talk about things I'm interested in and that I don't listen. I felt so small when he said those things. I could only think, "this is why I will always be alone." I thought I had been doing better about that stuff, but apparently nothing has changed. All I could do was start crying. This was over the phone with Tim, so all he could do is ask if I was okay. He suggested that I just go to sleep and I'd be alright in the morning. But I haven't been. I hate thinking that he puts up with me in some way. How am I suppose to be okay when my best friend says that I'm not a good person?

It makes me fear saying anything to people. I feel like I have to be on my best behavior for people to like me. I don't know what to do. How do you enjoy life knowing that... that you wouldn't be anybody's first choice... for anything?


Anna May Won't said...

i don't think tim meant you're a bad person. if being self-centered equaled that, then we'd all be bad people.

hearing criticism is tough. even if someone doesn't mean it "personally," i always take it personally. that's good that tim was able to be honest with you like that. it shows that he has faith in the strength of your friendship. dude, this is such a rarity. i have maybe 2 friendships like that.

something like acting self-centered is fixable (note, i say ACTING not being). i for one hate being conscious of my behavior - we all want to feel comfortable and natural in social situations without constantly wondering if we're saying the right or wrong thing - but a quick fix might be when you're talking to someone, to TOTALLY focus on that person. not on what you're going to say next, or what that person might be thinking of you, but pretend that person is the most interesting person in the world and focus on them.

not in a scary stalker way of course, but just interested. this way, you might also start caring less about what people think of you.

at the party i was at over the weekend, afterwards i worried that i might have said something stupid. but when i start thinking that way, i remind myself that i remember little of what other people said. i didn't think anyone was stupid (well, except for one girl and EVERYONE thought she was annoying), and i'm hyper critical. so probably no one gave a second thought to anything i said either.

just some thoughts. you can take 'em or leave 'em. ;)

Pandax said...

Anna May, I do appreciate the thoughts.

I knew when I wrote the "good person" comment that it was rather extreme. It's just how my brain reacts to these things and I tend to write what comes to mind rather than how it might actually be.

The concern here is that I thought I was doing better with people. Apparently, not well enough would be Tim's assessment.

At least I was able to sleep last night just by writing out my thoughts to clear my head.

chloe said...

Hmmmmm.....where do I start? I think my opinion of Tim has taken a nose dive. I know I'm just having a knee-jerk reaction because he clearly hurt your feelings but I understand it was coming from a good place.

I believe you really have to be yourself. Not everyone can like you so it is of my opinion that you must remain true to yourself because in the end, YOU are the only person that matters!

The most important thing in finding a life partner is to be with someone who accepts you as you are, knows your faults, and who will be your biggest cheerleader. Don't compromise! You deserve to have everything.

I know I know - easy for me to say since I am already married, but our relationship was a long, arduous journey that started when I was eighteen and finally solidified when I was thirty. YES! It took him twelve years to figure it out.

Anyway - I'm starting to ramble so I'll stop now. I guess my point is to stop being so hard on yourself, there are enough people out there who want to bring us down, why give them any help?

zerodoll said...

now wait a minute! haven't you traveled with tim on long vacations and he still wants to hang out with you? i would take it as it's hard to be with anyone 24/7, and we all have things that another person will find annoying after that amount of time.

i also agree that he may still be needling you a bit about breaking up with him.

Pandax said...

I told my therapist about the conversation with Tim. I was assured that it's good I seek feedback. My therapist pointed out an error on his part. The night I asked him what people don't like about me, he should have realized that I was feeling down about myself and been a bit more understanding in his choice of wording rather than dragging me down more.

I have discussed my feelings with him since. When I pointed out how hurt I was, he clarified that "everyone is a bit self-centered at times." It would have been nice if he had qualified his statements a little better. I probably overreacted to his comments, but he also could have been a little more balanced in the way he phrased things.