I have often dreamt of never feeling.
An odd dream to be sure, but most of the pain in my life can be tied to caring about things that I ultimately can't change, wishing for things I can't have, and needing that which can never be fulfilled. The New Year approaches, and once again, it's time to make a resolution. My problem is that I have been offered two pieces of advice: "Do what makes Kevin happy" (from my friend Jeff, who usually has some good advice) and "learn to deal with things like the rest of us." I don't know that at the age of 32, either will be an option - and it seems fairly certain that I can't resolve to do both in the same year.
The kids finally went to their mom's yesterday, giving me and RIch the first night without three excitable boys in almost a week. I had a great time with them, but it was nice to look forward to an evening with him alone, especially when I am still recovering from the flu. When I got home, Rich was playing World of Warcraft, or as I call it, "Twidgeting around," since his gnome's name is Twidget. We had discussed earlier that when I got home, he would help me clean the house, since it was unbelievably messy from a holiday with three boys, but as I began to clean, he made no effort to move - and eventually, I finished things up. When I asked him why he didn't help, he asked what needed to be done (as if it wasn't immediately obvious), but by that point, I had pretty much finished up: the kitchen floor was mopped, the dining room was cleaned up, the clothes were put in the kids' room, the dishes were done, the garbage was bagged, the vacuum was run.
The lesson, as I discovered later, is that if I don't get what I want or need, I have to learn to deal, just like everybody else.
A little later, I asked him if we could spend some "quality" time together that night. He knew I had to work this morning, so I figured since my usual bedtime is around midnight, saying this around 7:30 should be plenty of notice, particularly since he had been playing WoW since about 4:30, several hours before I even got home from work. He never moved from the computer - and finally, at 11:30, I told him I was going to bed. He said, "I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I need to finish this quest. I'll be in shortly." I went to bed, and Rich eventually finished his quest and joined me - an hour later, at 12:30 AM.
Apparently, I didn't learn the lesson from the first time around.
By that point, I had fallen asleep, and while most people can wake right up after 30 minutes of slumber, the medicine I take makes it very difficult to do that. I was also very hurt; I was put off the entire evening for World of Warcraft. I had always assumed that with me, I was the one in danger of making someone a computer widower. Instead, the shoe is on the other foot, and even though Rich knew it would hurt me (hence, him telling me he knew it wasn't what I wanted to hear), he chose his quest over me.
I tried to keep my feelings to myself. I really did. Eventually, they came pouring out of me. All of my insecurities were tied up in being put in second place, and my emotions took hold. I spilled my heart: I felt overlooked and unwanted; I felt as though he put me off on purpose until I had already gone to bed; I was hurt. I guess I am adult enough to know that I will rarely hear what I want to hear, and still stupid and naive enough to hope and wish for comfort anyway, but I had conjured a hope. A simple one, but it was there. I hoped he would tell me he was sorry.
Instead, I ended up being the one to apologize. I apologized for being sensitive, I apologized for keeping him up late, I apologized for crying. I said I was sorry for the same reasons I always say it: because I meant it. I want to truly be a positive force in the lives of the people I touch; if I hurt them, it hurts me to the core. I tell them I am sorry because I am, because I never want to think that my actions or words have hurt them, and I want to make it better.
It seems Rich isn't like me, and in fact, when I finally told him I had hoped he would apologize, he said if he had to apologize for every time I felt bad, he would be apologizing all week long. Touche, Richard, Touche. I suppose I deserved that. I've been sick and consequently sensitive. I went to him because I had hoped he would want to be there to comfort me, but I should have learned by now that Rich is not a nurturer. Yet, the lessons thrown at me must pass over my head, because even now, I still keep hoping he will take me in his arms and tell me everything is ok. That he is there for me, that I am loved and wanted. I need to stop creating ideal scenarios, because it can't happen. These hopes in my head of being comforted when I need comfort - apparently, they are pipe dreams and the product of a self-centered mind that asks for too much and should expect rather little. Eventually, Rich tired of my tears, of my hurt, and after asking for him to hold me and having him do nothing - even after telling him I had hoped he would tell me he was sorry, and never hearing it - he told me that in life, you just don't always get what you want. "You just have to learn to deal with it, like the rest of us."
I suppose he is right. I shouldn't have cared. I shouldn't have been hurt. I did anyway. And yet, I don't know how to distance myself, how to stop feeling the hurt. Rich suggested last night that I need to see the therapist, since he apparently can't tell me what I want to hear - but what shall I do? Tell the psychiatrist I want her to hold me, or to care that she hurt my feelings? I suppose in his mind, I need to learn to deal with the fact that I just can't have what I need. In mine, I just want him to deliver on those needs, but as I learned last night, I will be hoping for a long time, so I suppose RIch is right: I just need to learn to deal.
This must be one of the initiations into middle age, this discovery that the one you love can never really emotionally deliver everything you need. I suppose that it is certain I will be resolving to simply act like an adult, to be strong and deal like evryone else, and to stop hurting if someone says there is no reason to hurt. I always thought my hopes were just the product of a genuinely romantic heart that wanted to share its love and passion, and feel that love in return, in all the ways I know of sharing it. Instead, it seems they are the products of a toddler's immature notions that I should get what I want. I have learned that next time, I shouldn't care, I shouldn't hurt, I shouldn't let the tears flow, and that most of all, I shouldn't hope for the comforting words and apology of a man that doesn't have those things to offer. I need to change who Kevin is - and I don't even know where to begin.