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Curtain #1...
Curtain #1/Curtain #2 (Mouse Over)

Dear Kim,

After weeks, months of meditating and praying on this, I think an end to the struggles with Pseudonym may be in sight.

Sunday, when I was at Pere Marquette, she called to say she wanted to exercise the quit card again in therapy on Thursday.

I asked if she was sure as I believe there are therapeutic opportunities for us to still stay in the struggle as long as we are getting help with it. I didn’t say this because I strongly believe in not trying to talk someone into something.

There is a lot we can still learn together. I can learn how to say no without feeling like I am being run over or filled with guilt and remorse and perhaps most importantly, anger. She can learn how to learn how to live with the anxiety of no without thinking she is being abandoned and will die and without getting angry.

These are very tough things to learn and integrate on an organic level. They are essential for almost anyone to live a healthy and productive life. And to have relationships that are not based on power and control.

So I asked if she was sure and she said yes, she wants she wants to work towards a friendship.

That would be the best possible outcome, as I care for her but do not want to be her partner. We'll see if she holds that position by Thursday. I hope so.

She also said that there are people with whom she wants to go out.

I still think she has an enormous amount of work to do, as do I, if she is to have a stable connection with anyone. There is a part of me that is sad that she is not more interested in looking at why we can’t get along.

I told my sister about this on the phone tonight and she said, “Well, not everybody wants to do the work. They would rather trade someone in. And maybe she will meet someone whose dysfunction matches her own.”

(Kim: I like your sister. Is she older or younger than you? Where did she go to high school.)

I have this weird mixture of feelings tonight. I am not even sure what and why they are.

I am so clear that I don’t want a romantic relationship with her. After months of struggling, it seems beyond difficult.

Yet I feel sad and also angry. Angry about how she can flip from dramatic proclamations of love to telling me 48 hours later that she wants to cut the cord so she can date other people. I am angry that I have been trying to work through this with her even though there are people with whom I can imagine having a better connection.

But I am not sure if that is the source of the anger. And I don’t know why this should make me angry. If it is even anger that I am experiencing.

So she is quixotic and flips from one extreme to another. And that makes it very difficult to negotiate. But why should this make me angry? Why can’t I just realize and accept that this is who she is?

Maybe I am recalling on some subconscious and neurotransmitter level the tremendous emotional instability of my childhood and am getting angry safely as an adult about something I couldn’t as a child.

Does that make sense to you?

I think I am also sad about who she is. Because it is so clear that she is operating at a fraction of her potential, professionally as well as relationally.

Like much of my family, she mistakes boldly stated demands and judgments for communicating.

Maybe at the core, I am also sad that we are not going to make it. Although there are many things about her that are less compatible with my rhythms, I now realize that there is much about her that I love and will miss.

I now realize that ours is a path that will never happen. I wonder what might have been on the other side of the door. Behind curtain #2.

I am also thinking that there are so few models we have to productively think about intimate relationships and what can help them work. For weeks, Pseudonym and I have batted around the idea that we just aren’t compatible.

She likes small talk, I don’t.

I like to read, she doesn’t.

She wants a lot of contact. I want a lot of space.

These preferences are inconveniences but hardly deal breakers when we can also make each other laugh, show up for the other when it is important, please each other in erotic ways.

Although I hadn’t realized it, all of these differences are negotiable.

Compatibility is a kind of stock phrase and is actually less important than it would more readily seem. Sure, it is pleasant when someone likes to do the same things that you do when you want to do them.

But how truly realistic is that, if two people are truly individuated and following their core needs and desires? If they are striving to live as fully as possible and to fulfill their potential?

Again, that is Hollywood speaking. The music is going to swell and I am going to want to run through the field of daisies in slow motion at the same time that you are.

Good grief. Could Charlie Brown have said it any better?

No, what I think is really important is to figure out a system of communicating that both people construct and with which both are willing to stay. And for whatever reasons, she wants to bail.

I can usually figure out what I am feeling and what the cause is so it is strange for me that I cannot track this. I will have to sit with it some more.

As an old married man, or rather a not old man but one who has been married for many years, I wonder what you think about all of this. About the compatibility part. About communication, negotiation. About . . .

(Kim: Communication is a tool toward connecting. It doesn't have much to do with what you say, but rather it allows energies to intersect. Small talk can even perform the function unless it is so boring that it takes you away from the situation.

I hate negotiation. It suggests compromise, which is not "win win." The other day I heard a couple negotiating about who was going to get which extra bedroom. It didn't sound right, because neither were able to step outside their personal needs and determine what was best for "their" lives. Negotiating is kind of a hostile act. What I try to do in my job is to lay out the facts and get the parties involved to figure out the best course of action for everyone involved. If everyone takes ownership of the best overall solution then the group is the one who wins.)

Later,

Joan

Monday, Jan 9, 2006

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