I hate relationships. Or rather they hate me because I try so hard to be perfect in them. Because in everything I do, I am a perfectionist. Unfortunately. When I make my first mistake in life, it’s okay. I say to myself, “Well that was interesting. Don’t do that again.”
But when I make the SAME mistake again, not good. Then it’s like I’m slapping myself sideways, exclaiming, “What the hell is wrong with you?! Didn’t you get it the first time???”
I treat my relationships the same way. My first boyfriend was a series of trials and tribulations, a rollercoaster ride lasting two years, so that when it finally failed, I could look back on it knowing what NOT to do next time. My “learning experience,” I like to call it.
After my first relationship, I had become hardened. I told myself I wouldn’t fall in love until it was smart and safe. And as time went by, it seemed as though I didn’t even know what being in love really was or what it felt like. My feelings had dissolved somehow. It was as if I couldn’t connect to anything. And I didn’t have a care in the world. Icy, I would say.
Then I met the Terminator. He was a wonderful person, kind and caring, always thinking of others before himself. He treated me with respect and gentleness. And when I told him that I couldn’t feel anything, he said, “It’s okay,” and held me tightly. Months went by with me analyzing my every move, thought, and feeling as I became closer with the Terminator. I am a firm believer in following my gut, but only after thoroughly thinking through every possible outcome my gut-reaction could create. At some point I realized I really cared about the Terminator and told him I loved him. But it wasn’t being “in love.” I still felt disconnected to that feeling and even admitted that I didn’t think I’d EVER know how to feel that way. Needless to say, our relationship ended quietly and calmly.
Unaffected by the failure of my second relationship, I moved on feeling strong and confident that I was making all the right decisions, that the end of the Terminator and I was the right move. I didn’t make any of the same mistakes that I had with my first boyfriend. It was a good sign. I liked feeling impervious to the sorrows everyone else was dealing with. Feeling nothing actually made me feel happy.
And then I met Mr. Georgia. This older man knew how to have a good time. Unbelievably open with his thoughts and ways he felt about me, answering every complicated question I threw at him, and being romantic in ways I never imagined, needless to say, I got swept off my feet. Literally, if you count the jet plane ride. There was also, deep inside my gut, a twisting sensation I had never felt before. It happened every time I knew I was going to see Mr. Georgia. It made me bouncy and nervous, and I couldn’t get a hold of myself. It was ridiculous. So I analyzed it for months, trying to understand why I felt so strangely. I had a bad feeling. I had a feeling I was falling in love.
This was not a good sign. Because I knew that if I was starting to feel this way, my perfectly constructed wall was crumbling. I kept my mouth shut for the most part, afraid of scaring off Mr. Georgia. It would peek out a few times whenever I said, “I love your hair” or “I love the crease on your cheek” or “I love…THAT…about you,” when I really wanted to shout out, “I love YOU, just you, dammit!!!”
After thinking about it for a while, imagining all the different outcomes if I told him how I felt, I had decided I had nothing to lose. If I told him, two things would happen: he would feel the same way, OR, he wouldn’t. Either way, I would have my answer. So I did it. I told him and he responded nicely. But he didn’t return the feeling. Although he said some very confusing things. “It was everyday implied but never declared,” Marianne Dashwood said in Sense and Sensibility when Elinor asked if Willoughby ever told Marianne he loved her.
Well, this was my problem. I thought it was safe and I was pretty confident in the way I felt, so I went ahead and let my wall fall. And Mr. Georgia did not feel the same way. That’s the problem with falling in love. You gotta be ready for a broken heart.
I thought I did everything right, analyzed my every move, my every thought and feeling, and I still ended up alone. So my perfectionism cannot be perfected…because I can’t seem to control my feelings and I certainly can’t control someone else’s feelings. My friend Marilyn said she was happy I finally let my guard down and allowed myself to fall in love. “It’s a good thing,” she said, “Please don’t let this bring your wall back up.”
It doesn’t feel good though. But so is life. And I’m back to building my wall. It’s amazing how fast it goes up. I guess that’s a good thing. Means I’ve perfected something in my life.
Except that being a perfection is my FIRST mistake. So there’s the rub.