Living to Learn

I started writing this post some time ago and stopped. I think it because I didn’t know then what I know now. Now I can put it on paper and own it.

I have heard that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is an exercise in insanity… I know now how I reveal my madness. I am mover, or a stayer. In the relationships that count I have come to a crossroads with my partner wherein I decide to move to or stay in a location I think will serve me better financially, professionally, socially, or even climactically…and then I won’t be swayed. Sometimes he expresses his displeasure with my decision and sometimes he takes the “high road” so as not to influence my decision.  But if he doesn’t tell me a plan to help me meet those goals, I follow through on my decision without a second thought. That is, until I get to my destination and he doesn’t call the way I thought he would, or he tells me that he doesn’t think the relationship is worth the effort, or he tells me that I didn’t consider him when I made the decision.

All of those reactions give me pause, but the most interesting one is the last one…but I realize now that while I do consider him, it was always a foregone conclusion in my mind that he would follow me. He would follow me because of the depth of our feelings for each other, he would follow me because I am a prize worth fighting for, he would follow me because I made the money, he would follow me because he wanted to start a new life with me in a new place.

In my mind, all of the reasons he would follow me were bigger than the reasons he wouldn’t.  He could put aside his pride and come where I was. If he was worried about me moving again when the mood struck me, he would learn to roll with the punches. He would know I knew best because I had a plan…and he didn’t.

Three out of three times, he hasn’t followed me. Three out of three times he told me I didn’t consider the things he would have to give up: his stability, his dreams, his goals, his finances, his past, or his desire to be the leader in the relationship. As time brings wisdom and hindsight is 20/20, while contemplating my course of action and his I have either asked him or myself one question: well, why didn’t you lead?

Not one time did a man make an alternate suggestion. Not one time did he attempt to assuage my concerns. Not once did he tell me his plans or how I fit in his plans. As a woman who has had to do for herself, who has carried the expectation from herself and from others that she would make good, that never computed for me. As a woman who does believe a man should lead, I didn’t understand how I could be successful following a leader who didn’t appear to have a plan. When I delve even deeper, I realize there is something about being submissive that I could not abide. My track record in leading myself to victory (outside of romantic relationships) is pretty flawless. Why would I turn over the reins to anything less than a sure thing?

I called myself avoiding resenting a man for making me stay when I wanted to go. What I realize I have been avoiding is the vulnerability of putting my life into someone else’s hands. Of casting my lot with someone else and learning to ride out the waves of what might come with that decision.

I don’t believe God makes mistakes. I have lived the growth that came with each relationship. I have marveled at the letting go I have done, from getting rid of the expectation that a man had something to jump high hurdles to prove to me he was worth my time to just being able to date without an expectation and enjoy the ride. But I see where I am growing to and what I am growing through.

I am grateful for the discomfort, for the evolution that is happening, because the end result will be more than worth it.

Standing on the other side of it, I can say this most recent time is the one I wish I could have gotten right, but I have no doubt I will learn to understand I might endure some temporary discomfort to get to the thing I wanted all along.

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