(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.
- 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. [↩]