Boyfriend Wisdom

Back in March, I was reading through some old emails I had written to Stone.
In one particular email, I was pining for him. It was more prose than a letter.
I found my eyes tracking slowly
with a saddened surprise …
as I read my own words.

Stone and I were reunited as friends last summer at the first of June.
We camped together once or twice a month until September
when we decided to date …. long distance – Augusta to Atlanta.
We talked on the phone once or twice a week when he found time to call.
He is always busy.
We continued to visit as often as our “pre-dating” months …
about once or twice a month (truly not enough to “build” a strong relationship of any sort).
By November, our friendship was a solid five months old.
I didn’t realize that even as far back as November,
I wanted something that wasn’t available to me …
or in other words …
I needed something that Stone couldn’t offer.

In the email from November that I found myself re-reading back in March,
I read these words.
I sunk into a telling slump as reality was revealed in my heart.
My thoughts when we first met last June …
were the same as in November …
and hadn’t changed as late as March, almost nine months later.

I wrote:

I want you to trust me, too.
I want to understand the things that are difficult for you
so that I will be tender.
I want us to be able to talk through the tough stuff
without you having to change the subject.
*scratches head and wonders “Why do guys do that?”*
I want you to show me … explain to me …  so I can listen
and understand
and edify you and lift you up … build you up.
I want to be your helper.
I already love you.
I long for the day that we have enough history and depth
that I know that I am your best friend,  preferred over any other companion.
Time is good for that.

When the conversation became deep or difficult, Stone would change the subject.
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?,” he would ask … until Joy or I would give in
and let him change the subject to his topic of choice.
This is the way he is built. It is who he is. And that’s fine.
I prefer to work THROUGH the difficult, not skip around it and ignore it.
This is who I am. I’m different from him. And that’s fine.

Back in March, I found myself in bed late at night when Glory came flitting into the house. I heard the door slam and she yelled for me until she found me.  She was getting ready to move out. She found a new room-mate and was ready to try it again on her own. She was excited. I had heard all about Elaine, but I don’t believe I had yet met her. The two came into my room and sat to chat for a bit. Quickly, the topic of Elaine breaking up with her boyfriend came up. I was interested. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “Oh, no … don’t be sorry. It’s okay,” she replied. “What happened?” … was naturally my next question. Glory had to flutter away to gather some important things – probably laundry – before they flew back off again. Glory left Elaine sitting at the foot of my bed to tell the story.

Elaine’s calming voice told the story in a rich voice with an unusual inflection that I can’t describe, much less mimic. She said, as time went along, she found she would call one friend to join her for a movie. If she was sad, she would call a different friend for support. If she had great news, there was yet another who came to mind to be the first to share in her celebration.
And it began to occur to her …
she called her boyfriend
less … and … less often
to share in the day to day ups and downs,
trials, tribulations and celebrations
of her life.
And she knew.
Her “boyfriend” … was not her “best friend.”

I sat there dumbfounded.
This child …
this young girl of one score …
had nailed on the head
my relationship with Stone …
without even telling her story with that intention.
She had boyfriend wisdom that I did not.

It was no accident that she sat at the foot of my bed telling me this story …
this complete stranger … but friend to my daughter …
beautiful and wise, young and knowing.

I spent several months confused, perplexed, conundrumed. The more I was drawn to Stone (from September to April), the more I found him an impenetrable, well fortified fortress. He protected himself superbly from injury, not letting me in … at least, not in the way that I need in a relationship. And that is no insult to him … it is how he is built. I am built differently.   He has been injured and there places he was unwilling to go, there were topics he was unwilling to put on the table. We all have these injuries. There were places he would not give. We all have these places.  When I would share, “This is how a woman feels about ….. ,” he would reply that the idea was ridiculous or insinuate that it was silly. He simply did not understand me … understand how women are built. And that’s fine. He would say, “I just want to be Stone,” letting me know that it was just too much work to be pliable and flexible.  I do not want to change him. I wanted to share with him … but not make him someone he was not.

He was always telling me, “Let it go.”
I realized that I did, in fact,  need to let it go.
I needed to step back and leave him alone … let him be himself.
He is a wonderful man with incredible attributes.
But, the longer we were together
the more I realized that I was just
too.much.work
for him.

The harder I tried to be who he needed to be
(non-analytic … more reserved …. less emotionally revealing ),
the more I felt MYSELF becoming lost.
I was building my own walls and fortress.
I even found that I had formed an almost invisible grimace and flinch
that showed itself very quietly
when I was afraid that I wouldn’t please him …
when I would wear something, do something or say something
that I thought Stone wouldn’t like.
I doubt Stone ever saw it.
But, it was there. More than one friend saw it and pointed it out to me.
I didn’t even know it was there.
I was again in a relationship with a man that I was trying to please
by being what he needed
rather than by being myself
and in being myself
being the person he needed.

Stone was not my best friend …
and I realized
as I listened to Elaine talk …
that he never would be …
because I was trying so hard to change to be what he needed
that I was losing myself …   again.

How can we have a best friend
or be a best friend
if we are not ourselves?

Just a few days before my conversation with Elaine,
I saw a quote somewhere in cyberspace
that hit me right.between.the.eyes.
God is good that way … to speak to me about a topic time and time again
and help me work it through. I’m always looking for Him.
I thought about it. I shared it with friends. And then,
I made it into a magnet and placed it on my refrigerator as a reminder …
and to give me courage
to do the right thing
and set Stone free.

Soon I would travel to Atlanta to spend spring break at Stone’s house. Joy and I went over during the Masters Tournament. It was wonderful to be there and spend our evenings with him. During the day, Joy and I traveled about sight-seeing and visiting. We rode the Marta Monorail downtown for a day. We went to Stone Mountain. We spent a few days at Lake Lanier.
But I knew that I would soon need to step away
and stop trying so hard.
Stone and I needed to just be friends
and no more.

And on a bike ride event weekend on the third weekend in April,
I handed Stone a beautiful handmade card
that declared my love and affection,
and let him know that he was right …
I needed to let him be himself
and I needed to be myself.

He began to read the card aloud. I told him he probably didn’t want to do that
as his son was within earshot.
He asked if I was breaking up with him. I told him yes.
He then refused the card … in true form … refusing to look at anything difficult.
I looked down and said, “That’s just it, the reality remains the same
whether you acknowledge it or not.”
I had to share what I was doing and why.
He would rather say, “It’s a beautiful day!”
We are built different … he and I.
And that’s a fine.

I love that God will use
a plethora of situations like
daily events,
His grand, marvelous creation,
accidents like spilled cereal
or a young girl with gorgeous, brown doe-eyes,
covered in ink, beautiful and quiet,
to speak into my life.

I said from the start that I believed that my friendship with Stone was orchestrated by God. I said over and over and that I would remain with him until God showed me differently. We have a great deal in common. Stone and I both love to ride bikes, swim, camp and hike. We worship the same amazing, grand God who created this beautiful world of trees, rocks, water, earth and fire. It was hard to come to grips with the idea that he and I were not meant to be a couple. Stone used to tell me we were getting older and didn’t have time to waste. Like the forty-year old, childless woman who believes her biological clock is ticking and knows she needs to have children sooner than later,  he is right. Stone and I are nearing fifty and we have no time to waste.

But, I see it differently. I do not have time to waste being in an unrealistic relationship.
And I certainly do not want to be married and alone. I have done that before.
I’d rather be single than squander my time painfully trying to be someone I am not.
I do not expect him to sacrifice in that way either.
He has too much to offer and is too grand in spirit
to squander his days
with a woman who has needs that he is not built to fill.
The blessing here is that I figured this out
before it was too late.

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10 thoughts on “Boyfriend Wisdom

  1. Oh my…with sadness. I had hoped, had truly believed, from reading about all the interests and beliefs the two of you shared, that you had found your life partner. You have my deepest admiration for the strength it took to acknowledge that this relationship would never provide the relationship we all hope to enjoy.

    I had wondered since there have been no posts…

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    1. Oh, Dear Bev,
      You have read long enough to know that I choose to focus on the positive. It became harder and harder to write as I struggled and fought with my heart. It was a good thing to come to the point that I rested in knowing that the words Stone was using to try to get me to deny my feelings (like “Let it go” and “I just want to be myself”) were the words that God used to show me that I needed to step out of our relationship.
      Stone and I are still friends. He still calls me. We may still camp together some. He has gotten a job that will bring him to Augusta from time to time. I hope to see him when he comes to town. I just know that he is not the man I should spend my lifetime along side. He does not need or want me in the capacity that I am built to give. And I’m okay with that. I’m glad that I saw this before I made a commitment.
      So, no sadness necessary. It took me quite a while to come to grasp with the need to end our dating relationship … and even longer to reveal it here on the blog. But, I’m glad that I was finally courageous enough to tell the story.
      Now, if I can get my laptop back in working order, I’d love to get back to writing daily. I miss it so much.
      Thanks for reading, sweet friend from far off.
      {{hug}}

      -|<@ren

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  2. You are an inspiration to many … I wish I had been in touch with you 20 years ago & read your wisdom … You’re going to be fine – I promise! Just remember that you have your beautiful children who will always need you & love you ❤

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    1. Thanks for reading, Lisa. Yes, I’ll be fine. I’m doing really well. It was a long process to work through but I’m glad that the decision was made and walked out. Stone will be better off without me, I’m sure. We all need someone who can love them exactly as they are. Stone was quick to let me know that I was not doing that for him (when he would say, “I just want to be Stone.”).
      I do have my children … and a gracious heavenly Father who loves me and directs my steps and my days. Life is good. I am grateful.

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  3. I want to tell you my story, and am tempted to write it in private…But I remember once you said that part of the point was to talk so others might listen…
    First of all, I am sad for your hard times!! You are so wonderful, and I hate to hear you hurt. You did seem pretty good for each other, and only you and God really know what is best for you. But I did have a thought…
    Recently, and before, my sig. other, whom you know, has said that he never wants to marry again…
    It came as a blow when we had been dating about 5 months, I thought we were on the same page…But when I wanted to break up (“It makes more sense to be with someone with the same goals”) he asked me to stay, that maybe he would feel differently at some point. Maybe after my kids were out of school. So I gave it more time…

    A year passed, and after a great week with his family, the subject came up again, to which he replied that he really loved me, and wanted me, but didn’t want that whole marriage thing again…Tough stuff to hear. So I thought again about breaking up with him…We just didn’t have the same goals, and that was a rejection of me, that he would rather lose me, actually, than marry me. Tears. He was sad too. He said I would probably marry the next guy I dated. It was all very sad.
    But after a lot of thinking on this, I decided to stay a while. I know that life is fragile. I know, given his circumstances which you know, he could be gone one day, even soon, though I pray not. I, too, am as vulnerable as the next, and you never know how long life is.. We may only have today. And if he made me happy today, then that was all that mattered…I know he loves me, I trust him more than I have trusted other men in my past, and he is a good man. We have fun together, and care about each other…I didn’t want to give that up.

    I’m kinda writing to you because we haven’t caught up in so long, and I miss you, and I wanted you to know what was going on. I was also writing instead of calling because of our schedules… I was also writing because maybe I need to hear whatever advice you might have for me in this. I am not really sure what to do, I am just winging it. It may really sound stupid, and I don’t hear myself, which is often!

    So I have changed a lot. Do I really want to get married again? How would that affect my life right now? Maybe God is in this, and knows best, and knows I don’t need to be married again right now…i don’t know…
    But what has happened is this fun friendship/love I have with him at this point, even though he doesn’t really satisfy most of my real needs. In fact I often joke about how he doesn’t, and yet we still have a lot of fun together.
    In the kidding, we have become more like friends, in that I don’t “see” a future with him, and I joke about the man I might meet next, and marry…And in that friendship, we have become closer. Does that make sense? And in that closer friendship, we have become better.
    Could it possibly work out that way with the two of you? Is it over completely? Some of your friends may want to throw tomatoes at me for even asking, and maybe they are right… Maybe we should have talked instead of writing. Or maybe I can be helpful? I miss you girl! I hope we can talk sometime…And I hope MOST OF ALL, that I haven’t said anything to upset you in any way! I love you girl! Wishing you good things your way!
    Lisa

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  4. Hey sweet person…I might not should have said anything last night…Maybe this has nothing to do with how it is with you. Maybe I should have written it, and thought about it more before I sent it. I don’t know. I will read what you wrote to your friend Bev, and wish you all the best,, because you are such a great person…Maybe I was just hoping it would work out for you because you seemed so happy for a while.
    And maybe I shouldn’t really be with D, as obviously I have had all of this on the brink of my mind for a long time, weighing what I should do with him….And I am not sure we will always be together this way…I think it IS good for one to pursue exactly what they need, and maybe I should have the courage to do that more…

    Anyway, you are a great person whom I only saw that one weekend, and whom I have missed talking to since then. We should talk sometime…Today I have plumbing issues, and no water…But hopefully soon.
    Love you!

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  5. First and foremost, dearest friend, No … you have not upset me in any way. You have such a sweet and tender heart, Lisa. Thank you for writing and sharing.

    I think it’s grand that you’re pondering and asking questions. We should all do this consistently. How else might we grow except that we consider what changes might need to be made in our life … asking God for His direction and input.

    You are so right. Life is so fragile …and delicate. We must handle each other with care and cherish each moment we have to love and give and offer. We must invest as best we can in each moment.

    To your questioning, Who would I be to suggest that you end your relationship or continue to walk in it? My friend, Charles, says he believes that we know most of the answers to our own questions. We just need someone to ask us questions so that we bring the answers out in ourselves. To a great degree, I believe that he is right. When we are questioning and unsettled, we know in our heart that there is something out of order. Maybe this is the Holy Spirit working within us? Sometimes it can just be the enemy trying to create havoc …. but the enemy leaves us confused. Confusion is always a red flag for me. When I am unsettled, I search God’s word for answers. When I am confused, I rebuke the enemy THEN search God’s word.

    I have to mention, though, that your words, “even though he doesn’t really satisfy most of my real needs,” is cause for concern. A mutual, intimate relationship that you pour time, self and energy into should at the least, meet “most” of your needs …. those that can be met by an earthly man and are not supposed to be filled by our Heavenly Father. That is why I was struggling so much with Stone. He was everything I needed and wanted in the physical world … but he wasn’t able to even consider my emotional needs. He wanted to … but just wasn’t able to look at them. He didn’t know what to do with me. So, he told me I over-analyzed and told me to let things go. I don’t hold this against him. He is an awesome guy. I’m just too much work for him. That’s okay. There is someone out there for him that will be the person that he needs without stretching him to a place that he does not want to go. I hope she comes along and blesses him richly while adoring him deeply.

    Only you can know if your significant other ….
    is significant enough for you.

    Should my friends want to throw tomatoes at you, I would step in between them and you and take the hits myself. Questions are my friends … even the hard ones. I love them. I appreciate you asking them. And, yes, I’m sure the dating relationship between Stone and I is over completely. It has been for quite a while. I want our friendship to continue though. We’ll see how that operates.

    I’m just thankful that I was finally able to find a way to share it.

    Thanks for writing, sweet friend.
    I miss your face.
    I’d love to talk sometime soon.
    {{ hugs }} to you.

    -|<@ren

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