(I love these entries.)

First: lis­ten to this. Some days I feel exact­ly like this song. Those days are pret­ty good.

I remem­ber read­ing the blog once of the guy who said that his aunt was Nancy. She was a Canadian woman who suf­fered from men­tal insta­bil­i­ty and killed her­self (“It seems so long ago/Nancy was alone/a forty five beside her head/an open tele­phone”), and Cohen read about the sto­ry in the news­pa­per, and penned this song about her.


I like him. He’s very unbi­ased. He does­n’t try to cod­dle me or side with or against me or force me into think­ing any­thing. He offers per­spec­tives that no one else can give me.

I was­n’t sure where to start, so I just tried to bring him up to speed on my life in the time that passed between us. It began briefly with how well I was main­tain­ing the progress we had made but quick­ly drift­ed to the rela­tion­ship, and that pret­ty much took the rest of the ses­sion.

(From here on out, I’m going to refer to it as the rela­tion­ship. Just cause I’m tired of writ­ing “half-rela­tion­ship” or “rela­tion­ship” in quotes like that. I’d say that two peo­ple as involved as we were would cer­tain­ly be con­sid­ered to be in a rela­tion­ship.)

He tried link­ing cer­tain things back to past issues. Like whether or not my being enam­ored with this per­son, who had ini­tial­ly expressed no attrac­tion to me, was just a way of pro­tect­ing myself in the long run (some peo­ple who suf­fer from trau­mat­ic emo­tion­al expe­ri­ences will be attract­ed to the peo­ple they can’t have as a way of avoid­ing inti­ma­cy and any kind of chance of being hurt, and I used to be one of these peo­ple). He fol­lowed this by ask­ing if I had hope that it would work out, and I told him that in my head I did­n’t, but in my heart I did. To him, that was a sign it prob­a­bly was­n’t me sub­con­scious­ly pro­tect­ing myself again.

He asked me what I liked about her. I told him as much as I could remem­ber: that she under­stood my art (which is very impor­tant to me in a rela­tion­ship), that she was cre­ative, intel­li­gent, nice, com­pat­i­ble (inter­est­ed in the same things, like watch­ing movies and lis­ten­ing to music), enjoys walks in nice weath­er, and food. (Looking back, it seems like such a sim­ple list, but at the risk of sound­ing cliché, what more is there to life but spend­ing these moments with a per­son you love?). I fin­ished off by say­ing the most impor­tant thing I shared with her was that our first pri­or­i­ty was the oth­er per­son­’s hap­pi­ness, and that sort of blos­somed into every­thing else.

Then some­what clin­i­cal­ly, as if he was check­ing off a list, he asked whether there was attrac­tion, inti­ma­cy, and pas­sion too. I said yes. From my end, at least. She would only express the first one in a round­about way by say­ing, “I have a weak­ness for you”. The last two she could nev­er deny.

I told him how she did­n’t like the con­flicts we’d have, which she saw as a sign that we were incom­pat­i­ble, and he asked me how I felt about it. I told him I saw con­flict as com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and there­fore a way to resolve things. He said that was a dif­fer­ent answer from one I would have giv­en him a year ago, when I would clam up so that oth­er peo­ple could­n’t dis­ap­point me, and that was good.

He also asked me about the rea­sons she gave me for why it would­n’t work. I told him, but he dwelt on the one that went some­thing like, “We’re too dif­fer­ent beyond the pos­si­bil­i­ty of change” because I said that was the one I believed the most. “Was that clear to you?”, he asked, and I could tell he was try­ing to remain neu­tral to gauge my opin­ion. “I guess. Sometimes we would argue about sil­ly things, so I fig­ured it was those instances she was refer­ring to.” He said, “That sounds pret­ty ambigu­ous to me. I think she should have the respon­si­bil­i­ty of explain­ing to you why, and the con­stant ambiva­lence by her was a sign that she had to fig­ure things out on her end first.” I told him I did­n’t think she knew her­self, how every­thing lined up for her but did­n’t feel right, how she want­ed to give me a rea­son but could­n’t, and how I believed her about that. But while explain­ing this, I was think­ing, “I love this guy”.

I explained that when it was over, I told her I could­n’t see her again. He said that was prob­a­bly a good idea, that it made per­fect sense because humans feel pain and need to heal, and that it’s wise to start pro­tect­ing myself beyond a cer­tain point, which she def­i­nite­ly crossed.

The only time I got a lit­tle misty-eyed was when he said my behav­iour of giv­ing her every­thing she want­ed (so she could fig­ure things out and I could live with­out regrets) prob­a­bly did­n’t enable it, but rein­forced her behav­iour of con­stant­ly tak­ing and hav­ing no respon­si­bil­i­ty. He stopped short of telling me I should have act­ed dif­fer­ent­ly, but did say that some­times peo­ple need to be jolt­ed out of that1, and while my approach made sense, the oppo­site may have had a bet­ter effect. I said, “In try­ing not to screw up, I real­ly screwed up, did­n’t I?”, and we had a hearty laugh about it, cause it’s the only thing you can do some­times.

We left off ambigu­ous­ly. I told him I did­n’t know where to go from here, but we were out of time. I’m going to absorb a few of his obser­va­tions first to see which ones apply and how they affect my per­spec­tive.

Wow, writ­ing that was eas­i­er than I expect­ed. Maybe I’ve learned to let things go again.

  1. He relat­ed one of his high school expe­ri­ences to me, which I won’t repeat, due to doc­tor-patient con­fi­den­tial­i­ty. Ironic that I’m being open about myself, but pro­tect­ing him, isn’t it? I will say that it was a great sto­ry though, and when quot­ing the girl, he actu­al­ly swore, which is out of char­ac­ter for him, but fit per­fect­ly with the quote. []

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