Tuesday, March 31, 2009


What Would "Normal" Do?
Something happened tonight that triggered me. I'm questioning a lot now and wondering what a "normal" person would do.
I have a friend who I will call D. He and I have been friends for about 2 years. We met on an online dating site but we live 3,000 miles apart and have never met in person. When we first began talking on the phone, I let myself become ungrounded and we got too far ahead of ourselves. We started talking marriage, family, future.
Several months into our friendship, D wanted to come out here to visit me and meet in person. It freaked me out a bit but I was willing to give it a shot. Shortly thereafter, we were on the phone one night and he told me that something was bothering him, he needed some time to think it through before voicing it to me. He said we could continue to talk about "surface" stuff in the meantime. I told him to take all the time he needed to think through what he needed to say but I would not engage in fluff in the interim. He could call me back when he was ready to discuss what was on his mind. It turned out to be only a day later and he had some criticism of some things I'd said. He didn't like the way I reacted to his words and he ended up hanging up on me. Called me back & hung up on me again. Later that night, he called and apologized and said it wasn't worth throwing away this friendship we'd built.
Within another week or two, we had another disagreement and he hung up on me again. And then he left me crazy conflicting messages.....one saying he wanted me to send him back some gifts he'd sent to me because I didn't deserve them. The next saying he was sorry and couldn't we give it another chance. I didn't call him back. I felt like he'd established a pattern of immaturity at that point and I was done.
I have a "must" & "must not" list for any future potential partners. One of the musts, and there are only six must, is that he must be able to work through conflict. Hanging up on me doesn't really indicate a good ability to work through conflict. He meets so many of the other criteria on my short, and even the long, list. But this one has always hung in my mind.
Many months had passed when I initiated an email to D and asked him if he'd be interested in talking again, as strictly friends, no chance for more than that. He said yes and we started talking again about once a week. Slowly it's progressed to the point that we talk nearly every night. He's smart, he's funny, he's interesting. We have a great time talking. I could tell he was leaning back toward a romantic relationship and while, in words, I did not encourage it, I'm willing to accept that some of my actions said otherwise. D was again making plans to come out here in a couple months.
I'm going to register Bianca for Kindergarten in the morning and I'm feeling some sort of way about it. D called while I was in the middle of this and I expressed my feelings about her being in a new environment and so far away from me. He just kept saying "You have to get over it, you have to get over it." That triggers me. I've spent how many years learning how to identify and feel my feelings. I've spent a lifetime "getting over it", repressing bad feelings because it makes other people more comfortable. I told him "I'm upset, I know it will be fine in the end but I'm feeling some sort of way about it right now." Again, he said "You have to get over it." I raised my voice and said "I don't have to get over it. I'm having feelings about it and I am allowed to feel my feelings!!" He paused and said "Well, I have to go eat my chips now so I guess I'll talk to you later." and he hung up on me.
I called my friend Jennie and I did the black & white "I'm done. I'm not talking to him ever again." As I recounted the episode with Jennie and I talked about what the past 2 years have been like being his friend, I'm just not sure how to sort it out. I don't know how much is fear on my part, fear of his coming out here, of being confronted with having to make decisions about a relationship. I realize that I selfishly take what works for me out of the relationship. I enjoy the pseudo closeness....having someone to talk to every night yet it's distant enough to be safe. Am I looking for an excuse to end it before meeting and that's why I jumped all over it? And then I started taking the responsibility on myself.....well, I did raise my voice which was not the best way to handle it. Maybe it was my fault. I feel like I have no basis of "normal" and I don't know what to do. I feel completely justified in being done with him. As I talked to Jennie, she was giving me different scenarios and I kept defending my position. In the end, I was getting exasperated and I realized that I was going to keep offering up my "evidence" until I forced Jennie to agree with me. So I told her I was going to shut up and wanted her opinion, unabridged. Well, she actually did at least somewhat agree with me but neither of us have ever had a "normal" relationship so it's hard for either of us to decipher what another type of person might do in the same situation.
I don't intend to be a doormat and accept bad behavior. I also just wonder if I will ever give a man a real chance again. As soon as I see one tiny thing that displeases me or challenges my ability to maintain control, I'm going to bolt?


Enola said...

I'd feel the same way if someone told me to "get over it." What really struck me though was that D keeps doing the same thing, even after being told it bugs you. Hanging up more than 1x.

Then him again saying "get over it" after you told him you'd be fine, you were just feeling a certain way at that moment. Then when you told him it upsets you, he gets off the phone, instead of saying, "I'm sorry."

The "I want you" - "go away" conflicting messages are a caution sign to me. It seems a bit too much like playing on your emotions and his wanting you to chase after him. Give him reassurance.

I think he might be okay as a friend, but I'd be very careful about taking it further. And flying out symbolizes something more - at least to me.

Just be careful!

Enola said...

you're tagged on my blog

Tamara (TC) said...

I agree with Enola. He seems seriously immature. Hanging up on someone that you supposedly care about and want a relationship with just isn't mature behavior. I can understand him, initially, telling you you need to "get over it" because that is the pop psychology of how to deal with things. However, if you tell him this is not a response that is okay with you he should care enough about you to respect that.

This is ultimately your decision but I would be very cautious about expecting the kind of relationship you want with him.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

I am just leaving a marriage in which my spouse has borderline tendencies. If I had paid attention to little clues early on, clues I am seeing with "D" in your story, I might have avoided 8 years of pain and stress. He does sound immature, and also his back and forth behavior is disturbingly NOT normal.

I've been reading your blog for quite some time and just want to say - you deserve better!!