Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I have been struggling this week/month with expectations. I told Jim a couple weeks ago that my goal in life is to try not to have expectations. That way when things don't happen as I expect I am not disappointed. In Al-anon we say that expectations are premeditated resentments. And for the most part, I think this is true.

However, as Jim reminded me... you have to have some expectations in life. Realistic expectations keep your life and your boundaries in check. There are people in the program who live with active alcoholism and addiction. I often hear these people talk in meetings and wonder if they have any expectations left at all. Some of them are struggling but some of them seem to be happy right where they are. I am not them. As much as I would like to not have expectations I very much think Jim is right. There are certain things I feel like you should be able to expect of your partner and when you live with active alcoholism and addiction you don't get those things.

Which brings us back to my expectations. Realistic expectations. Before I begin, #1) I asked Jim if he read my blog, he told me he was here a couple times after I gave him the link but has not been back in a month or so.... which is why I am posting this here. Which leads beautifully into #2) unlike the previous topics of discussion last week and this week, I have not talked about this with him. You'll understand why in a minute.

As I'm sure you have figured out from reading here, Jim and I are not engaged, nor does he live with me. He started telling me he was going to marry me at the beginning of February. For a long time he told me at least once, if not multiple times, every time he saw me. When I asked him why his answer was that he was 36 years old and had never said that to another woman. He liked saying it and he really wanted me to believe it and know how important it was to him.

Sometime in March, he started telling other people he was going to marry me. Casual conversations, talking about future plans, flat out questions to him by his friends & family, things of that nature. Somewhere between March and April I started forming an expectation in my mind. He talked about it so often and was so excited about it I just figured that it was something that would be happening sooner rather than later.

We had talked about him living with me and I had basically told him he was welcome any time after April 15th. Slowly April 15th kept getting closer and closer and there was no mention of Jim living with me. So, one night I asked him what the plan was. He seemed to skirt the issue any time I brought up him living with me and I was wondering how he could be so excited about marrying me but avoid the topic of living with me. That's when he admitted to me that he didn't plan to live with me until we were engaged and also not until we had been together a year.

In his mind all too often people move in together before they are engaged with the intention of getting engaged but it just doesn't happen. A week turns into a month and a month turns into six and before you know it you are settled into a routine and not yet engaged. In his mind he is only getting married once. He is only picking one person to say that to and that person is me. So if he has to wait a few more months to live with me than that's what he is going to do to make sure he does it the right way.

So... I adjusted my expectation. A few more weeks went by and one day we were at the mall with Zack and we passed a jewelry store. He wanted me to go in and look at rings, I almost passed out. At that point, he was convinced that I still didn't believe him and so he started telling me that he had been in stores, that he had been looking, that he had talked to sales people, etc. Sometime around the end of April he told me he had found the ring and that he had bought it (or put a down payment on it or something to make me believe that he had already picked it out and they were holding it for him).

It was at this point, like it or not that my expectations changed. I knew from discussions with him that he would not be giving it to me in May but somehow I just figured that once we made it to June we would be engaged and he would be moving in. I would tease him about not having it until 2012 and he would say to me it will be sooner than you think. During one conversation I told him I didn't care what date he picked but not to make it September 20th (my old anniversary) and his answer was you will have it by then. So, somehow I convinced myself that sooner rather than later meant June. I don't know why I got that in my head but I guess there was a part of me that didn't figure he would buy a ring at the end of April and then hold on to it for 4 months.

I was wrong.

It is now June 17th and from what I can tell the possibility of us becoming engaged before the middle of July is slim to none. See Jim sells iPhones and the preorder was on Tuesday and the new iPhone 4 launches next week. He will be working eight days straight starting Monday and will be lucky if it slows down before the first week in July.

And suddenly, there is a part of me that wishes he had never told me about the ring.

If I didn't know that he had looked, if I didn't know that he was thinking about it, if I didn't know that he was planning to ask me then there wouldn't be this part of me that continues to feel overwhelming disappointment as the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months.

I guess for me, it's not even the being engaged part so much as the living together part. When I redid the house the timing of it was because I thought he would be living there soon. This is the part where I explain to you why Jim and I haven't had this talk. We haven't had this talk because I don't want him to ask me to marry him and move in with me simply because he thinks I was expecting it or because I'm disappointed that he hasn't yet.

I didn't redo the house so that he WOULD move in sooner. I redid it because I thought he WAS moving in soon. Because my expectation was that he had a ring, he had a date he had picked and surely he would not wait until July or August to ask me since he had been saying it since February.

And now... I'm kinda kicking myself. I love the house, I love all of the remodeling. The new feel and the new design is just as much for me as it ever was for him but at the same time I'm disappointed. I sit alone usually 3 - 4 nights in this house that I want to share with him. Last night he was off work at 7:00 and he went back to his place on a technicality. And it drives me crazy.

He will be at our house tonight, he will stay until Monday morning which in my mind means that he might as well be living there but he won't. He won't "officially" move his things in until we are engaged and we won't be engaged until lord only knows when. I'm starting to think 2012 again.

And believe me when I tell you, I get it in the grand scheme of things. What is a month or two when I am going to be with him for the rest of my life? I am seeing him 3-4 nights out of 7, why can't I be patient and just let things work themselves out in their own time?

So, this is why I come here to tell you, oh great people of the Internet. Because I can't tell him. Because I can't tell this wonderful man who has been loving and supportive and who is trying his hardest to make sure he does this the right way for all of the right reasons that I'm disappointed or that I'm frustrated with how things are going. Because that's not fair to him. Because he loves me and he loves my son and he is just trying to make sure he does this right.

And really... in the grand scheme of things... what is another month or two or three.... however if it becomes six... we might have to revisit the expectation talk. :-)


KimN said...

Heather - You know what I love about this post? You are worrying about "normal" relationship type things that just about every nearly engaged women worry about. Seriously, I think myself and a half a dozen of my friends could have written this post while waiting to be engaged. For that reason I am very happy for you! Not that, that makes things any easier for you while you are waiting though :) I for one, can't wait to read about your engagement announcement when that occurs....hopefully soon!

Jessica said...

Honestly I am shocked….my jaw was nearly resting on my desk as I read your post.

I understand and agree with you on ONLY two things that you have said. The first being; he should have never told you he got a ring. That takes the element of surprise out of a HUGE monumental day of surprise and joy ultimately leaving you with “expectations”. The second being I totally understand what you mean when you just want the man to come home to you every night and wake up next to you in the mornings; funktified breathe and all.

But that is it….that is where it ends. Insert disclaimer: Everything from here on is said with love….cuz really you know I love ya girl!

Are you out of your ever loving mind? You have a man that you have only been dating a little over a year who loves you and loves Spike. Once he moves in you can’t go back to the dating stage. You can’t go back to the butterflies waiting for him to come visit and if you share expenses; you can go back to the surprise gifts.

Knowing you as well as I know you I totally see this as a control thing. There is a HUGE decision brought to the table and it kills you not to have more say in all the details. Which…I also get. But, need we reminisce about how far you have come to build back up a little contentment about where you are?

Shove all those feelings of: un-resolve, unknown and anxiety of wishing you could snap your fingers and have it meet your expectations; shove them down and live in this moment. Cherish it. SO WHAT if you don’t know when he is going to ask; you do know that he will. He knows that he will be living with you someday and when that day comes it will be cherished. You know he is honest, trustworthy, and that the man is crazy about you and your son.

Let that be enough!

The place you are with Jim…these days – you can’t get back! Relish in the happiness; expect the excitement that is to come!

Heather said...

Ahh... Jess, Jess, Jess... you are right. Part of it is a control thing. I have absolutely no control over how this is going to happen, when it is going to happen, etc. And it drives me effing CRAZY!! That part he does know. That discussion we have had several times. That is probably why I know as much as I do. Because he doesn't like that I have this feeling of being out of control.

At the same time, this is why I am trying very hard to implore some of my Al-anon principals with this one. It is why I'm not complaining to him about this. He is doing everything right. This is my problem, not his.

It is also why I am writing this. To know that I need to get a grip. I need to stop worrying about things which I can not control and I need to live in the moment and be happy right where my feet are planted.

Trust me, nothing you said is new to me. It has all run through my mind a million times in the last few weeks. I'm just struggling with it all right now. In a year... I'm sure I will look back on all of this and laugh.

Jessica said...

That's all fine and lovely but the manner in which you began the post sounded to me like you hoped he would read this and know exactly how much anxiety and discomfort his decision is causing you.

Much easier said than done I KNOW...but really Heather you need to let it go. I feel like at the point in which you both are at it's not going to mean much when he finally does ask because the longer it takes him to do so the more details that are being divuldged.

I am not saying it won't mean anything to marry him...please don't misinterpret. It's just the actual proposal will become formality rather than romantic tradition.

Heather said...

Oh hell no. If I thought there was any way on earth he would read this... I would take it down.

He doesn't even have the link to the blog any more. We talked about it this weekend because he said something about this will probably go on your blog huh?

He admitted he isn't really into blogs and doesn't read them unless I send him the link and tell him to read something. So that's the only reason it's up here.

Heather said...

Oh, and as far as knowing anything else. The last thing he told me was when he got the ring. For all I know he could propose to me tonight when he comes over. (Boy wouldn't I look like an ass then.... LOL)

Aunt Becky said...

It's all about remembering you don't have control. It's something I struggle with CONSTANTLY (right now, actually, as I type this, although for COMPLETELY different reasons, of course).

But it's good to type it out and to remember that it's not all for you to control. Maybe we could BOTH take lessons on letting go, huh?

kbreints said...

3-4 nights our of seven? Ooooh that sounds GREAT ! That is better then I get right now...LOL

While I was reading this I thought...This is totally Murphy's Law he is going to propose this weekend.

But I agree with Kim. We all had these SAME thoughts... maybe not in the same order... but MAN I knew Dan was going to propose WAY before he did...

AND 6 years later it makes no difference.

Take a deep breath. Enjoy the fact that the man that you love, and Zack wants to call daddy is coming over to spend the weekend with you two....and in his heart really wants to be with you forever and ever.

MAYBE he IS making payments... don't be greedy. You know that it is going to happen. Enjoy the Excitement of waiting for the moment to arrive!

KimN said...

Just wanted to add one thing....There was no element of surprise as far as Ben and I were concerned because we picked out and bought the engagement ring together. I knew when he went to ask my father (not necessary but nice anyway). I just didn't know exactly when he was going to formally ask me. All and all it was only a few months...but at the time it felt like forever.

Anonymous said...

Jessica is sooo right. You've got to let go of the feelings of disappointment and just enjoy every minute you have with this wonderful man who loves you. It's amazing how many emotions are telegraphed through facial expressions and body language. You don't have to avoid telling him with words that you are disappointed, he will know, if he knows you. It's the NOW that is important, not the when or the maybe.
Kbreints is right on the mark too.
Aunt Cindy

Laura said...

I'm finding it hard to relate to this. I don't understand why you redecorated the house based on an assumed timeline that he had never confirmed? And I think that if you act based on assumptions you sort of give up the right to be upset about it when things don't pan out like you thought, because you didn't check first. It sounds like you have good reasons for not discussing it with him first, but nonetheless, that was your choice.

I also find it hard to understand why the sense of urgency for you to move in together, but that's probably just because I'm not in your shoes.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love it all. The comments, your angst, his refusal to do it at anything but his own timetable and ideals. I love your friend Jess keeping you dead honest. He's a man's man it appears. You're not gonna be able to control him any better than you could control J. The difference is, Jim doesn't need any help honey. He's got it goin on. It reminds me of how I am reading a fantastical book. So engrossed, and in love with it. Then, I can't stand it, I read the last few pages. Well, what's the point of the book then? I'm always so disappointed in myself when I do that! I ruined the journey for myself. You truly are adorable. Quirky with your own little Heather quirks. It's pretty apparent Jim loves you JUST AS YOU ARE. And he's still marching to his own drummer. Just the man you need.

Kelly said...

I'm going through a few hundred posts in my reader, mostly silently, because there's no time to comment on them all. But this one? Wow... I'm in a fairly new (only a few months old) relationship, and it's long distance. Not like across the world, but a 3 hour drive in each direction. And uhm, I'm the only one with a car, so... I'm trying to juggle spending 2-3 nights a week with him and taking care of my teenager and ya know, that life stuff like finding a job and paying bills. Part of me wants to speed it all up - to 2 years from now when my son is done with high school and I can move back to my hometown to be with him. But Jessica's comments? Really made me think about the benefits to what we have right now. Yeah, I miss him like crazy. But this newness, this excitement, anticipation, absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder bullshit?? Once we're living together, we can never get that back. New love is amazing, people (ok, I mean me) need to cherish it and be grateful for it being what it is. But yeah, the whole waiting/planning/lack of control part? That sucks. We sit and look at our kids and wonder where the time went, how they grew up so fast. Yet something like this comes along and we want to rush it? We're robbing ourselves of memories that way...

Jessica said...

Kelly - I can totally sympathize with your long distance relationship. My husband (then boyfriend) and I did it for two years while he was in the military.
I am still so thankful for: the flutters when the phone rang or waiting in the driveway for him to come home.

Enjoy all the newness, excitement and flutters! :)

Anonymous said...

One Friday I was talking to my coworkers about how my boyfriend was never going to propose to me and how I was ready for that stage of life, and it appeared he wasn't, so I was going to have a talk with him and break it off so that we didn't get any older and waste each other's time. Um yeah that night he proposed, without "the talk" happening. Life is funny. Enjoy what you have right now. it'll come.