Sunday, February 22, 2009

A final lesson

I don't want to be one of those guys who can't stop talking about his last relationship, but it's only been a month since the breakup. So I think I'm still in the window. And I do have something I've been thinking about for the last few days. So as a follow-on to my previous post, I'm going to share a fourth and final lesson that I have learned from contemplating my relationship with "Jem."

4: I regret not trying much more than not succeeding. This is true for all parts of my life. When I give something my best effort, I can always feel good about having tried, even if I fail in the end. And when I don't put in the effort, I always regret it.

Right after Jem broke up with me, I looked back for missed opportunities-- chances to save the relationship that I had blown. And I couldn't see any. But in the last week, I have seen one: the night she officially broke up with me.

It had been a week and a half since she had left my home to go back to her home, and in that time all our attempts at conversation had been brief and unpleasant. I knew that something was wrong, but I didn't know what. My dating experience told me that I was about to be dumped, but I still hoped that we might be able to last it another few days until we were both back in Boston and could sit down and really talk. But that's not what happened.

One night she called me up, and after a few curt sentences she paused. I thought to myself, she is trying to figure out how to tell me that she wants to break up, but she can't figure out how to start. So I asked her if there was something she wanted to tell me. And she said yes, and in another few sentences she broke up with me and then we hung up.

I now think that that conversation was a missed opportunity. It was a time where I failed to try. In that long pause, I could have told her what I was feeling. I could have said that in the last few weeks I had seen that she was not happy and that something was wrong in our relationship. More importantly, I could have said that I wanted to know what she was feeling and thinking, and that I wanted to make our relationship work. Instead of seizing the opportunity to try to make things work, I prompted her to break up. It was a cowardly act.

That was my last chance, I think. And at this point, I certainly don't see any chance of us getting back together. (In fact, some time in the last few days she took me off her list of Facebook friends. So I'm officially persona non grata.) I know that, and I accept that. But in that conversation, I had a chance. I don't know how she would have reacted, and maybe it would have made no difference in the end. The choice was ultimately not in my hands. But I'm sorry that in that moment, I didn't cowboy up and do everything I could to try to win back the woman I loved. Next time I am in that situation, I am not going to chicken out. I'm going to toss the dice. Lose or win, succeed or fail, I will try.

Okay, so now I'm done posting about this. Thank you, imaginary readers, for enduring a little melodrama. We now return to our normal schedule of posting about politics and comic books.




squirrelyearl said...

These past two posts have been very insightful. But yeah, it can be tough not to always be looking back for missed opportunities and such. Basically I find the best thing to do from relationships is simply analyze what I could have done better and what I appreciated in the person I dated. Focusing on these concepts it becomes easier for me the next time around to be a little bit wiser and to find what I'm looking for.

Sorry about the persona non grata status. It's always tough to really maintain a friendship after being so close because it's hard taking a step back. Typically some of the feelings are still there and so it's just always difficult.

Thanks again for the pearls of wisdom.

the House of Payne said...

Thanks, Scott. That's good advice.

Linda said...

Ah, I miss our conversations. I'm so glad you posted about this, though, because I know it always helps me to express these types of feelings. I'll be thinking of you.

the House of Payne said...

Thanks, Linda. I miss our conversations, too. Let's talk some time. What's your week like?