Note: I wrote this post about 8 months ago and never finished it. It wasn’t going quite where I had intended it to go, and I wasn’t sure where I intended it to go. Now, over half a year later, I’m using it just as I wrote it then, with very minor changes. It will be finished/continued in the next update.
One of my best friends is getting married and I’m jealous. Which is funny, actually, if I think about it in abstract, because two years ago, even one year ago, I wouldn’t have cared. When she first got engaged, I remember feeling a jolt – but that jolt was more of “I’m old enough to get married? What?” than anything else.
A year and a half ago I was terrified of marriage. My parents’ relationship hasn’t exactly been an example of a happy, loving marriage. Their relationship is not one I want to find myself in, and I was terrified that I would miss all the signs and find myself in just such a place. I wanted to get married. At some point. But not now. The timing was wrong, my life wasn’t stable, I loved my boyfriend but wasn’t sure about the forever thing.
And then, somewhere in the past year, that changed.
It started when I admitted for the first time out loud that I thought I maybe wanted to marry my boyfriend. I was still terrified, unsure, not willing to say it to anyone who might think that I actually wanted to commit then and there – because I certainly didn’t want that. I did, however, bring up the topic of marriage in a sideways “not talking about US per se, but you know, in general” fashion, to my boyfriend. And me, in my state of “probably wanting this at some point with you but definitely not now,” thought that we were close to the same page. Maybe they were neighboring pages.
We hung out, we talked, we did fun things together, and we talked about difficult topics. By the time Yom Kippur came around – the Jewish Holiday of reflection and repentance – I was seriously thinking about whether I wanted to marry him or not. And as I stood next to him in synagogue, him, a non-Jew who had come to the service simply because I had invited him and it was important to me, I wondered if I could do that for the rest of my life. Could I stand next to someone who wasn’t Jewish in any way and deal with the conflicts that would come up? And the answer was probably yes.
But at the same time I was going abroad for a year, and was uncertain about a good many things, and one of those was the relationship. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted it forever, but I also knew there were a number of outside forces pushing me to be unsure. And I was unsure about where the unsure was coming from.
That didn’t help the situation when he decided that breaking up, but staying in contact, would be the best way to “save the relationship” during the year I was abroad. I didn’t like it, but I wasn’t sure that staying together was the best choice for me either. There was too much unsure going around. Besides, he had agreed to have “check-ins” about the relationship, where we discussed whether we would get back together or not. He set the dates at 4 months in and 6 months in. And then we would see what happened when I got back home. I thought that was a fail-safe mechanism. I thought it could work, and help me figure out where the unsure was coming from, and what I really wanted.
So I did. I took 3 months and dated other guys and only talked with my now-ex intermittently, and texted him less than I normally would. And by the time I got to the end of month 3 I knew that I couldn’t do this weird in-between “are we dating or are we not” thing. So I asked to have the check-in earlier, at the 3.5 month mark, and I sent an email beforehand detailing all the reasons this decision wasn’t working and why we should get back together.
And everything exploded.
I got a response that said that of course it wasn’t my decision, it was his decision to break up with me and that’s how life worked. It said that apparently I had focused too much on the “maybe we can get coffee when I get back home” part instead of the breaking up part. And it ignored any responsibility he had had for what I was thinking except for him breaking up with me. It ignored the check-ins. As if he hadn’t agreed to them, as if he hadn’t set the dates himself.
(to be continued…)