Thinking about Relationships

I wrote to Bea not long after Thursday’s session. I had a lot running through my mind. She did write back, but mostly to acknowledge she got my email, that she was here, and that she wanted to talk through this on Monday. So that’s the plan today. We are going to discuss relationships– the one thing I forbid Bea to talk about last year. Yikes! 

I’ve been thinking about relationships again. Ugh. It’s not so scary to just think about them, write about it. That’s different than talking. Not something I could have done a year ago. What changed? 
I’ve been thinking about what you said, that what I called “relationships” for most of my life, and now refer to as “surface relationships” are just “daily interactions”. I think….I felt sad when you said that. And confused. Sad because…well, it feels like it’s something too big to explain, but like I missed out on a lot if you are right and I am (was?) wrong. And confused because well…if those surface relationships weren’t real relationships, then what exactly makes a real relationship? 

—Bea did write more in response to this, and I’m going to include that part of her response:

Alice,   I think I was a little dismissive when I said “daily interactions,” so that was not particularly helpful. Really I think relationships are on a spectrum, and some fill little niches in our lives. Some don’t need to be deep to satisfy a need. Some we crave more depth in, and sometimes we just really connect deeply with someone in a way that’s surprising. I think I could “rank” all my relationships by depth, though I’ve never tried that. You do that too–you know how Kay always comes up as the deepest relationship? And sometimes we can be aware that a relationship lacks depth, but the vulnerability involved with deepening it can seem like too much and bot worth the effort.

  

Is this chart I’ve started even right? It sounds like some sort of fairy tale. Ugh. I don’t know. And, I keep thinking…I asked if its always scary to have real relationships. And you said no. You said it might be uncomfortable, but not scary. So why is it so scary now? And is this something most people already know how to do? Is this why my girlfriends traded secrets at sleepovers and I shared made up secrets? Because they knew how to have a real relationship? And if that is true, then what is wrong with me? And is that why hubby and I have so much trouble? Because I can’t connect? Maybe he tried and tried and eventually my pretending to be on the same wave length as everyone else wasn’t working, he caught on and then he just gave up? And now I am sort of trying but failing miserably and he can’t trust that I’m actually for real this time and not pretending? Ugh. Or do I have this all wrong? 

And I thought and thought about it all, and I don’t think I sabotage things with hubby and I on purpose, not consciously. But sub-consciously? I think that is maybe very likely. I think I haven’t been quite so honest with myself as to just how much this idea of a “real” relationship scares me. It’s probably the very reason my friendship with Kay is so on and off again. It’s probably why I can’t seem to maintain any sort of good communication and connection in my marriage. 

And, I suppose while I’m being honest, I’ll add in this relationship. There’s been many, many times I’ve been ready to just quit therapy and be done– I’ve gotten too scared. The thing that stopped me is Kat. I guess I love her more than I’m afraid of relationships. And if I quit therapy, it would mean her quitting, too, and I couldn’t do that to her. So. Therapy– you haven’t been exempt from my screwed up behavior, Kat has just saved me from completely screwing things up. Probably the same with hubby, really. I very well might have run away more than once if we didn’t have her. Ugh. 

I’m not even sure why I am thinking about this so much. It’s just like on a loop in my mind, like I need to understand why I am so incapable of having a relationship that isn’t surface. Or why a real relationship is so scary to me. 

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9 thoughts on “Thinking about Relationships

  1. I have problems distinguishing between ‘casual’ (that may not be the right word) and ‘deep’ relationships. I find it hard to talk make small talk and usually take what people say literally. So if they were to say “nice to see you, we should meet up” then I would take that to mean that they really want to see me. However, I am learning that people say many things they don’t mean and that this is part of social chit chat. I take words very personally but I am learning slowly that some relationships can just be surface relationships because that’s all they are meant to be. I don’t and won’t deeply connect with everyone. Wishing you all the best on your journey back to yourself.

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    • I’m sorry that you can understand the relationship difficulties, and figuring out what it all means. I’m the opposite of you. If someone says “call me, let’s get together” I always assume it is polite social chit chat and they don’t mean at all. I’m glad to know I am not the only one who struggles, thank you for sharing this. Xx

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  2. I wrote an Ambien induced post last night (which went straight to trash this morning) about my inability to be…authentic I guess, in most relationships. People easily confide in me, but I don’t often reciprocate in the same way. I think it leads to that feeling I get of not being quite connected, of being on the fringe. Good luck as you work on this with Bea.

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    • Oh no! I wish you hadn’t trashed it…..
      I totally get the not confiding in others part. I am the girl who had “fake secrets” I told in middle school and high school at sleep overs. Ugh. And even now, as an adult, I’m very good at telling Kat’s story and our challenges as if I’m “letting someone in” when really, we have told our story publicly and it has been published and on television (local news, but still!!) so it’s not really…..,yeah……
      But yes, I think not letting people into our inner worlds lead to is being on the fringe and feeling very unconnected from others.

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      • Haha, well technically it’s lingering in the trash bin, but still a little more “real” than I like to get on the blog (which is saying something). It’s so different when it comes to our kids, I think. Letting others know our kids stories can also be a bit of a warning not to screw with them/us, too. 😀

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      • I never thought about it that way, but i think you are right– kids stories are different. There is something safer about telling them.

        Maybe save that post in a drafts folder or password protect it? You might want it, just for yourself, one day.

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    • Thank you for saying that; it feels super tough. You sort of inspired me, because you just push through and talk about relationships no matter how hard it is. I thought, if she can do that and survive the uncomfortableness, maybe I can too. And it helped, I don’t know, reading your posts about it. And it seems as though all my relationships are just this super messy mess right now and it is sort of very scary. So it seems a good thing to talk about. Xx

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