After two years of me volleying back and forth, my girlfriend said “by December 30th, you need to give me a final decision.”
We had an awesome time in the mountains with my family for Christmas (I managed to let a few things like how she sounded dumb when talking to others not take control of my thoughts) but on our way back we sat by a lady on the plane who was a little annoying. She was married to the guy seated in front of her. B went to sleep next to me but my head started obsessing. “Sometimes I just don’t like B like I don’t like this lady next to me. Am I about to decide to marry someone I don’t really like?” It felt like my stomach dropped and B said later she could tell I was in a bad mood since the plane. When B woke up and we got off the train, she was having trouble reading a map. This triggered me again. Can’t she read a basic map? She was struggling after I said something like, “it’s the northern-most stop.” And she struggled to find it. I had my arms wrapped around her through all of this (I try to keep my body in it when my mind and heart are not in it). Then I asked her politely, “Do you know which way is South on a map?”
She started to point up and to the right and then corrected herself and pointed down. “Yeah, I do.” I was silent. She almost pointed up. How can this girl not know such basic things? That’s what went through my head and my whole being felt it. It felt like disappointment.
So when she came over the next day and it was time to tell her my final answer, I was feeling very triggered. And everything she said that morning bothered me. I unenthusiastically said, “I feel a little bit rushed, and I’m sorry my feelings volley so much, but I know that this is good and I want to do this.” I feel so bad that I couldn’t offer her an enthusiastic “Yes, I want to be with you forever.” I could barely look her in the eyes because of the way I felt.
I gave her a paper ring (she really likes the Taylor Swift song by the same name). She told me she could tell I was super triggered. Her face said she was nervous and disappointed. We held each other. I told her this ring is not my proposal, but it is my intent to propose.
I told her I’m sorry I couldn’t make this moment more beautiful. She said, I expected that you would get triggered. In high pressure moments like this you have gotten super triggered in the past. I was hoping it would be otherwise, but I thought this might happen.
We started our couple’s counseling sesh. We had scheduled a zoom session with our couple’s counselor for the same day I was to give her my final decision.
So, we started our session and I was feeling so triggered. Everything my girlfriend said that morning sounded naive and unaware of how the world worked. I mentioned some of those things in our session and the counselor pointed out that part of a relationship is that you ask your partner to help work with you on some things. You can ask her if she can change her tone or be more aware of what she says.
I think a lot of the reason I’m triggered is because of her tone- her first language is Spanish though she’s completely fluent in English. But I think some of her tone of voice gets on my nerves. It sounds naive or dumb, and I blow that up into our whole relationship not being right. I ask myself if someone else had said the very same words and I usually conclude, that should have been okay but for some reason it REALLY BUGS me.
But after the counselor helped me realize these are things we can work on, it gave me hope again. And after our session I leaned over to her and held her tightly. She had been hurt by what I had said but was totally in this and ready to work with me on this.
She is that way- amazing. And I felt so close to her then. We were going through battle together. Although sometimes it seems like her versus me, we are beating this thing together. And I said, “I think this will be hard, but we will be close.”
And it felt beautiful and meaningful the rest of the day.