I went to the Shane Company on Saturday to look at rings. Later that evening I took B out on a really nice date. I showed up and was overwhelmed at how beautiful she was. I let her know with my eyes, my words, my arms.
We showed up for our dinner reservation and sat down. I was telling her about my personal retreat I had just returned from and her comments made me think, “This girl is ditzy. But… that’s her and that’s okay. I love her.” And I told her I loved her again. Technically I don’t think anything she said was uninformed or a bad idea, but her tone made it sound ditzy, and she was a little slow on the uptake. She is self-admittedly a slow processor.
She didn’t know who “Seth Godin” was, which I felt like she should have. (Although since then I asked a smart friend of mine and he didn’t know either.) I told her about my method of prioritizing tasks (which I had used on my retreat) and it took her a couple times to remember the steps. She was kind and stayed engaged while we talked about the retreat. Then she told me about her ideas about a conference she wants to organize and they were great ideas and I think she can actually pull it off. She asked if I could help with branding and I was excited to say yes. Who else would be as passionate about her mission and pursue it as hard and well as she does. It was a nice conversation even if I was a minor annoyed she didn’t track with me as much as some might (but maybe my expectations would be too high for most?). There was nothing but kindness and sweetness from her. I was a little impatient when I thought she said one thing, but realized it was actually a really legitimate ask. I just sometimes am so scared I will be triggered that I expect it of her. So I apologized. But mostly the kindness was mutual. She might have been the most beautiful woman in the room.
All this was just fine, and in fact a very successful date, until later that night. I was happy to be with her and told her how lucky I felt while we were out to dinner. We enjoyed mocktails and enjoyed being close to each other. Our energy together is fun, excitable, and tender. We like to dream together.
Her parents have COVID and she received news while we were together that her dad went to the hospital. She FaceTimed with her family and suggested to a couple of them that they make a list of phrases her dad might need to use in the hospital because he only speaks Spanish. It seemed like a pretty good idea to me, but none of her siblings seemed to take it seriously.
Later that night, that’s what had the most detrimental effect on me. I thought, maybe that was a stupid idea. I feel like sometimes she has ideas that others write off as dumb. What if she’s dumb like that? Everything else from earlier that night then flooded into me to reinforce this hypothesis. I feel like she’s always been like this. This is just like her. Am I the one who is trying to tell myself she’s smart but she isn’t? I got extremely disappointed and angry at her because I had just been convinced again that she was dumb. My mind had been triggered by this fear and had pulled all my emotions down with me. This is Relationship OCD.
And by the time we went to bed I felt depressed and was obsessing. We have been sleeping in the same bed when her roommate isn’t there (though we are still both virgins) and in the middle of the night, she had woken up for updates on her dad and started sneezing and sniffing a bunch.
I was itchy and hot and annoyed that she kept me awake. I couldn’t get comfortable and said I was too hot. She said, “Here do you want to try this side of the bed? It seems cooler.”
Usually the side I was on was the cold one because there was a vent that pointed down on it. And it just sounded really dumb that the other side would ever be colder.
“Why would that side be colder, B?”
“You’re right, sorry. I don’t know why it would. It just feels that way. Maybe because it’s by the window or something. Sorry, that was dumb.”
Eventually I grumpily crawled over her and said I was going to sleep in the living room. That side did feel a little cooler, but I was too grumpy to give her credit for it.
And I fumed for the next 30 minutes laying on the floor of the living room. Why was she so dumb? I’m so disappointed in this. Why does she have such dumb ideas as writing translations on a paper for her dad to point to? Why would she suggest one side of the bed was colder than the other.
I eventually prayed for help because I was so desperate. I was so helplessly negative. I was almost crawling in my skin. It had taken over me. Flooded me. But while praying my attitude slowly warmed to her and in a few minutes I crawled back into bed with her feeling better, and missing her. Prayer was the solution if I could identify any at all that night.
The next day I still felt the negative remnants of the night before. Like a hangover. I went for a walk to clear my head. It wasn’t super helpful. It started to rain and I ran the rest of the way back to her house. I got there and she said to take off my clothes so I could put them in the dryer. She brought out some sweats and a shirt I could wear.
Then she asked if I could come sit with her. She knew I was grumpy. I told her that I was really struggling with rOCD stuff and that I was feeling extremely bothered by much of what she had said. Even if much of it wasn’t deserved. It was hard for both of us. I told her I had really enjoyed our date but after I tanked late last night even all those things she had said earlier in the date all sounded dumb. She said, “That makes me feel really bad when you take what I thought was a good memory and ruin it by saying it was actually a lot worse than I thought.” I said, “Well, do you want me to be dishonest about how I felt?” She said some things are better left unsaid.
Overall, she now felt very unsupported during her hard time with her family. She went shopping by herself while I was doing some quick urgent work that popped up.
She came back with a bunch of flowers and would barely meet my eyes.
Eventually as I was trying to help her cook she told me she was coming to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to be her support during hard times. And that she would have to take care of herself even if it meant buying herself flowers and doing the errands she had asked me to do before the work fell on my plate. In fact she said she realized I might even put my burden on her when she is dealing with something hard herself. Because that is what I had done. Once I saw that I was very repentant. I thanked her for telling me and I said I was definitely disappointed in myself for doing that too.
What had started as a wonderful date had become a very depressing following day which crawled back to ruin the date as well.
I think when we talk about it though, at least we are connected. We sit in each other’s arms and look into each other’s eyes both carrying a lot of heavy sadness. But we were connected. We were together. She said something to the effect of, “In times like this, at least let me feel connected to you like this.”