Doubt talking to her parents

I was to talk to her parents this evening. Spoiler alert: it happened and went well.

But this morning I woke up with the sinking feeling. I just felt like the truth is, I don’t like what she says about 40% of the time. By the end of the day I found myself thinking, this might be a big mistake. On the other side of this I’ll think, I knew this wasn’t going to workout.

But I wrote out what I was going to say to her parents to ask for their blessing over our Facetime tonight. It was about how I want to help her pursue her mission when she is sad I want to make her happy. When she is hungry I want to bring her food she loves. When she is sick I want to comfort her. On the normal days I want to bring her flowers to brighten them.

I sent it to my roommate to proofread my Spanish translation and he said it was the sweetest thing he’s ever read. And he’s the most well-read person I know. He gave me some grammar corrections reluctantly (he said the mistakes were endearing).

That made me feel a little bit better. I felt I wrote what I would say when I was feeling quite divided about the whole thing. I did mostly write what I truthfully felt though. I do often want to help her when she’s struggling. I do love her a lot.

I talked to my friend who has a pretty hard marriage. We check in every Monday. I asked him how he felt on the week leading up to his proposal. He said he felt all the emotions that he had felt throughout the whole dating process.

This encouraged me. I have felt some amazing highs, like the crying with happiness in the car to the superbowl. And the crying with sorrow picturing losing her like I saw in that short animated movie. But I’ve also had these times of fear.

I wish I just knew like some people just know. I wish I didn’t get disappointed and triggered about 40% of the time. I hope they can affect me less and less. I don’t know if this is a bad recipe for a marriage. This does feel like a risk. If someone were to say, promise me you won’t get a divorce, I would say, I don’t know if I can. We’ve had some really hard times and they say marriage can just get harder.

But I’m moving forward as a decision. Like my roommate says, “it’s not a matter of being certain. It’s a matter of resolution.”

The talk was beautiful. They said this was a very special day for them. Their sons help translate (her father doesn’t speak good english). Her mother said, you are an answer to prayer, when you say you want to be her comfort when she is sick and hungry.

I emphasized B wanted to make sure that I ask for the “blessing” of both her mother and father. I feel I should say that because if B every discovered this, she was adamant that I ask for blessing, not permission, and asked both her mother and father.

But I guess if she ever finds this, there is a lot more she’ll get mad that I’ve shared about. I hope I don’t actually say identifiable traits of us in this blog! I want to help anybody who has rOCD like me, so you can see someone else who struggles with it, and yet chooses to stay in the relationship.

In the end they said, we give you her hand. We were all crying happy tears and praying for each other.

R 2-9-21

Print smaller

B came over to my house to print something. On her way she called and described her situation. She said, “Your printer prints smaller, and these words are already small so I need to check it still comes out legibly on your printer.”

I said with skepticism, “What do you mean it prints smaller?” I knew you can always click “print full size” and it shouldn’t be a problem.

She went on to describe how it doesn’t print to the edge and leaves a white space around it. Oh, I see; you’re thinking it would shrink it to fit it onto the margins and you want to see if it would shrink to small.

That was enough to allay my obsessing for the moment but I found myself obsessing angrily about it, saying to myself, “She thought that shrinking it by a couple centimeters would make it less legible? Does she not understand you can press “print 100%” and not have to worry about that?

I went to pick her up outside my apartment downstairs and she started to say go to your left, no right, wait… and then just said walk around the corner. I didn’t know which corner she meant. I could go left or right. I walked around the closest one, assuming that was what she meant and I was looking for her car parking. “I’m right in front of you. Look straight, R!” Eventually I saw her walking toward me and our tension was mostly dispelled. As we got to the top of the elevator I had started to make silly jokes to match her sort of simple humor (which is honestly the best I can do for humor as well.)

It was sweet. I gave her some of the Indian food I had just picked up because she hand’t eaten all day. She loved it. We got the flyers printed. I had to pick my head between some shelves to reach the printer (because I had to take my shelves out of my closet while we paint it and put in a clothes rod.) And I joked about her wanting to touch my butt when it was vulnerable.

She certainly did. I liked it. I said you can touch between my legs if you want and she did that too. I like that even as innocent and religious that she is, she doesn’t shy away from sexual things. I’m so grateful she doesn’t appear to bring any baggage in that category.

But my roommate came in and B told him a story of how she felt so crazy when she had gotten upset at me for getting sprinkles on the ice cream I had brought to her last weekend. (she’s told that story on at least 3 different occasions) But the way she said it seemed so unaware of how minute it really was. She kept on saying, “I was being a total crazy person.”

And of course I mentioned under my breath how it didn’t make her the crazy one at all, considering I was triggered over more irrational things.

My roommate mentioned some Spanish poetry and we asked him to read some.

I think she kind of has a crush, or at least a great respect for my roommate. She just lights up and almost performs for him when she’s talking to him. He thinks she’s really great too. He’s been one of my biggest proponents to marry her. He’s gay however, so luckily it doesn’t make things weird.

But part of the reason I think maybe she has a crush on him is that after his extremely good reading, in Spanish, of a sad love poem, she got all touchy with me. I think it may have turned her on a little and she focused that energy on me.

🙂

I’m totally okay with that. That’s normal in relationships. We’ll interact with people that we feel attracted to, or turned on by. And I think she did the right thing. We just refocus that energy on our partner.

Oh and it was sweet that evening. We turned off the lights in my room (my door has mirrored glass looking into it) and kissed with much vigor. Things that if the glass wasn’t properly mirroring, would be quite inappropriate for them to see.

But during that time, I was still feeling the discomfort and dislike of her. The naivety and unawareness she had of social things. She seems so simple to me.

But as I laid with her, I was able to hold her and kiss her and look her in the eyes (maybe not as much as on a good day). But it is this thought I’m getting comfortable with: I don’t like everything about her, but she is mine and I am hers. She is the one I choose to love, warts and all.

And with that idea you can look more fully in the eyes of someone that is bothersome, even in that moment.

R 2-9-21

Super bowl, holding discomfort

There was a moment on Sunday, driving up to the Super Bowl where I started crying happy tears. I get to spend the rest of my life with her. I was working out the details of marrying her while our song played. 100 days by the Bengsons. Maybe we can get married 100 days after the proposal or something. And I was feeling so much love and closeness to B, next to me. I also thought, this is the emotion that God feels for me: just sitting in extreme pleasure at what he sees in me. This also was why I was crying.

I also had a moment where I was looking for a movie for B and I to watch while she took a shower. I found a quick 9-minute animated Pixar film where an old woman dies and is taken away from her husband with a last kiss. I bawled my eyes out knowing what that moment would feel like between B and I. My heart would be wrenched apart if I lost her. We had the sweetest time snuggling and making out while we let New Girl play in the background. We just looked into each other’s eyes and I tenderly kissed places on her body.

But the discomfort happened once we got to the Super bowl party. She had to help set up and I just didn’t like how she sounded in comparison to the other people. I tried to just live in the discomfort without having to solve it. This is practicing ERP (exposure-response-prevention). And then I tried to appreciate that it was better than stressing. I did this to try and complete the CBT cycle. That’s just a counseling term which means you do hard things that normally trigger you and then bask in the satisfaction that things are better this way, so that next time you will be less conditioned to respond negatively in those situations that usually trigger you.

There was another thing she said that seemed super stupid to me. A friend in the group was telling me about the 40 acres of forrest he was developing into 4 premium AirBnB properties. I told B she should come listen because she would like to hear about the beautiful cabin designs. I let my hand hang on her belt loop or brush her back as we marveled how fun it would be to stay at these places. But as she heard about the land she asked, “Are you bringing any animals onto the land?” To me this sounded completely idiotic. I pictured she meant bringing in deer or squirrels or birds or whatever to make it more picturesque or create an ecosystem. Maybe that makes sense for thousands of acres, but over 40 acres I thought they’d just wander away!

And then later we were watching the super bowl. The Weekend performed and she said, she had heard on NPR that The Weekend was planning to channel Diana Ross in his performance. That sounded smart but when she said that The Weekend’s red jacket and those shoes with the white socks look like Michael Jackson, for some reason it struck me as not a good conclusion. I became skeptical but tried to be patient as she googled Michael’s similar outfit. The shoes and socks turned out to look pretty close and he did have a red jacket, but not one like The Weekends. I know, it sounds dumb that I even get triggered by something like that.

I’m learning to hold the tension. And be OKAY with it. This means realizing I will be triggered and not letting it make me obsess. As we drove home she told me a pretty intricate story about one of the couples there. And again I was like, okay that sounds intelligent. But she also FaceTimed with her dad (who was getting over COVID) and said he sounded stronger. I didn’t really know if I could sense much difference and I was teetering on the edge of doubting her intelligence again.

I got home that night holding it together, but still carrying the discomfort. When I woke up in the morning I had to fight off doubts.

I’ve started trying to send her 5 things I like about her each night, along with a pickup line for every day in February leading up to Valentines, which is also when I’m going to propose. So I sent her a Marco Polo video telling her how I liked how confident she was. And how it was so cool seeing her little god-daughter light up and run to her when B got to the party. This usually helps; it seems to shift the chemicals in my head to the good.

But in the morning I still had to fight of the remaining discomfort and resist letting myself get mad about the “bringing animals in” comment. This is ridiculous, isn’t it?

This is the nature of Relationship OCD (rOCD).

R, 2-9-21

Doubt and Proposal

So I bought a diamond and left them my mother’s setting in which to place the diamond. It’s crazy thinking that we still have terribly hard days and yet I’m still choosing to go forward.

My sinking feeling is that the truth might be that I just don’t like her that much. But some days I know I do. I just always imagined choosing who to marry I would be eager and it wouldn’t be confusing. I wouldn’t doubt if I had a crush on them. I wouldn’t shut down around her like almost half of the time.

Even knowing this I talked to her family for their blessing. I paid $1500 for the ring. I’m setting up an ornate proposal. I guess it made it easier that, even though we had a horrible Sunday, Monday was magical.

This is our story. Some days I shut down and I’m completely miserable. Other days it’s pretty rad. At least she’s not mean when I shut down.

It had been a really hard Sunday where she felt unsupported, even while her dad was in the hospital with COVID, because I was triggered and blaming her for saying things which I was “extremely bothered by.” But the day after she said, “I need to get out and do something fun. I need to buy a basket too so do you want to meet me at IKEA?”

She knows we usually have great days at IKEA. I love seeing her brilliance at interior design as she tells me what she likes and what she doesn’t. I feel like that suggestion was her fighting for our relationship again. She needed us to have a good day.

And it was so good. As soon as she got there, she still wouldn’t look at me directly for long. I held her, paused, and said, is there anything you want to talk about before we do this? She said “Hmmm, yes. Let’s go find a couch to sit and talk.”

She told me, “I was really bothered on the way over here thinking that keep track of how many bad days we’ve had. It feels defeating. I don’t understand if you have a reason for doing that.”

On Sunday I had told her, “I feel like we haven’t had but one good day in a couple weeks.”

I said, “I try to keep track a little bit so I can track what’s working and what’s not.” I recently had stopped recording them on an actual spreadsheet. She had asked me to stop tallying on that spreadsheet because she felt like she was being graded. I had found it really helpful so that I wouldn’t feel super defeated when it seemed like we had never had good days. I made sure that I would record the good days. I’d rank each date or convo on a scale from -5 to +5. (OCD much?)

She said, “Well, it doesn’t help me when you tell me how many bad days it’s been.”

I repeated back to her what I heard her saying, agreed with her and said okay.

She looked at me for the first time fully in the eyes. She looked so beautiful. I liked this version of B. Not the happily naive, but the cut and dry speak it as it is, tell me what you need B. She kissed me. I could see the life come back into her again. We were on a bed and I laid sideways on it and put my hand on my hip and other holding up my head like a seductive pose and she laughed.

We walked around IKEA and were very happy. We sat in Ikea and imagined what our future house would look like. “No way are we doing the suburbs!” “Yeah, me neither.”

She said she wanted some Mexican food from a place in her head that she couldnt’ remember the name of. And we drove around until we landed at one of our favorites instead. We fed each other off the same plate like a disgustingly cute couple. Then we went to Old Navy and she set me up with a whole new wardrobe. She had a clear vision and ran back and forth giving me things to try. We got me taken care of big time for $180.

She tried on some yoga pants and invited me into her dressing room. She let me watch her disrobe (nothing on underneath) and as she used me for her balance. She saw my smile and just shook her head and smiled too.

I hope she never sees this. She would be mortified.

I went and bought the ring today, thinking “This is crazy. Still about half of our dates I am miserable. But I’m going forward anyway. This is a choice. I cannot wait for my feelings to be consistent or I would never propose. This is a willful choice. It is knowing that it is VERY hard, but the good outweighs the bad.

There may be someone else out there who would trigger me less. But there might not be. It’s been this way with all the girls I’ve been in a serious relationship with. And some of them have been very good catches. And We’re in our forties so I don’t want to try again. I’m going forward.

As I waited for them to clean the ring at the ring shop I imagined giving her the ring and I was overwhelmed with joy because of how much joy I know that day will bring her.

I talked to her friend tonight to run things by her about how I would propose. And as I went to bed that night I thought about how crazy it all was. And I remembered our date on Monday and I was just overwhelmed with gratitude that I would get to have this woman who I loved part of the rest of my life.

So grateful.

This still all feels crazy 🙂

R.

Fancy Date Gone Bad

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.”

R, 2-2-21

A Love When You Don’t Like

The other day I think I experienced a new type of love.

I’m used to evaluating if I feel affection toward her each day or not. That’s what I usually obsess about, when it comes down to it.

But there was a day where I didn’t feel affection for her. And I didn’t feel attraction. But as she told me the struggles she was having that day I realized, this is my person. I have decided to do life with her for the rest of our lives.

And what I felt was a new type of love. It was really different. It was not dependent on feeling affection. It was a commitment and bond with this person. She is within my power to deeply bless or curse.

I had brought her donuts that day as a surprise from her favorite donut shop. She was very happy. So I think I blessed her that day.

That brings up something my counselor had suggested. He said, going into a date afraid I’ll be triggered because I might not like her is a pretty good way to be more likely to get triggered. But going into a date with the mindset, “How can I make her happy” should alleviate some of that stress at least.

He described our stress on a 0-10 level. And he said If I’m starting at a 4 and I get triggered two additional points, I’m that much closer to a ten. But if I go in free from fear because I am preoccupied more about making her day better, I’m more likely lower on the stress scale.

Hope this can help as well!

R, 1-29-2021

Asking for Her Family’s Blessing

After we got back together B asked me to talk to each of her siblings. I called them tonight.

I wasn’t feeling very into the relationship for most of today. I’m thinking sometimes I just don’t like her enough. That’s what haunted me today. I was at the coffee shop at which I plan to propose to her, planning it with the owners. As I was there I pictured what she would do and say if she were in conversations or situations with us. And today I didn’t like what I thought she would have said and how she would have said it.

But I have to tell myself that’s not fair. She wasn’t there, I can’t predict. And she is not meant to act like other people that I like, nor should I expect her to be comfortable in all those situations. And I know how much good she brings to my life, even if i DON’T like her all the time. I’m not choosing to be with her because of how often I like her (maybe I should be? Is that worth obsessing over?).

But you know what got me back on track? (Knowing I would have to talk to her siblings and wanting to sound confident I wanted to be back on track.) There’s this method I’ve been finding that really, really helps. I actively recall things I really like about her and I recall moments in which I really liked her. I’ve heard when you replay something or imagine it in your head your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. That sounded stupid to me whenever I had heard it, but it really seems to be true! So I imagined how she is so strong and adult, while also being able to be so goofy and lighthearted. And some other moments.

However, I had started to stress again when it was time to talk to her family. More negative imaginings snuck in.

But I’ve just accepted that some days I won’t feel into it, but that shouldn’t change what I know is good. And it shouldn’t change what I have chosen after weighing everything. And that gives me permission to go into a call like that feeling so-so. Because I know that it doesn’t change my resolve. In fact at this point, I’m just assuming that I’ll feel uncertain when I propose to her, and probably on our wedding day. I usually get that way when there is stress. Unfortunately it seems to test out as true.

I was just planning on FaceTiming with a couple of her siblings, but they happened to be in the car with, or going to the house with the rest of them. So I ended up talking to all of them on this call. It was fun and edifying.

I told them I was getting ready to propose and wanted to answer any of their questions so they would feel comfortable giving me their blessing. They knew I was uncertain about it all along and B wanted me to talk to them to gain her trust in me again. So this was me attempting to do just that.

Her sister in law was on the call and said, “When you are ready to marry someone you just know. We knew we wanted to be married within six months of dating.”

I was thinking that wasn’t my experience at all. I have made a conscious decision that I will do this even though I don’t “know” much of the time.

But in the end they said they give me their blessing as long as this makes B happy. I assured them as far as I understand, it makes her very happy.

I am planning the proposal. The beauty of it made my cry. I told her family and her sister in law wiped away a tear afterward.

R, 1-19-21

You frustrate me 50% of the time

I showed up the other night and she was great to offer to help me with a project before we went to small group (this is how great she is!). It was taking video of this box set I made for sale and she suggested we do it with Instagram Reels. So she showed me how and we worked on it together. But 15 minutes later I was so discouraged. About half of what she said was frustrating to me. Like she’d say something that just seemed dissonant to me, like it knocked me off kilter, or she didn’t understand or didn’t assume things I thought most people would. This isn’t supposed to feel this hard, I thought. And it felt like it was always like this.

We went to Small group and she had to join a quick facetime meeting in the car for her job. She was great. I was proud of her and I told her so. I was feeling better. We arrived and the small group started out fine. I felt like I just accepted who she was as good, and that made anything she would do just fine. But eventually a couple things she said sounded irrelevant to the conversation or felt a little bit behind or baby-ish or something. It made me a little unsettled but I was still doing okay. But as we got into the Bible study discussion some more things sounded that way and I was tanking. We were going from person to person giving updates and I told them I was planning to marry B in the summer sometime. But it was tough saying that when I’m feeling such discomfort.

Why do my feelings fluctuate so drastically, and the status of our relationship feel so extreme good or bad? As the discussion went on, I had to remind myself I just like her presence next to me and I did.

But still, by the time we left, I was triggered hard core. Why did I always have this discomfort? Why did it feel so dissonant when we worked on the box together. Why is this always a problem? These were the questions in my head.

I have been trying to tell myself recently something my rOCD counselors had told me: be okay with the discomfort. I think this is a great tool; this would have helped me but I was gone beyond recovery. I’m not even sure what did it. What she said. I wish I could tell you. Maybe it was just the pressure of telling all her friends I planned to marry her, because that is the answer they had been wondering.

That night I spent the night (resolved to behave sexually) and as we lay next to each other I told her, “I’m not doing well. I just don’t understand what to do. Sometimes I just get so frustrated with our communication. I get disappointed. Like half of the time.”

She was sad. I didn’t need to say that. She said she guessed she wanted to know so that she knew how to pray for me, but that it didn’t feel good. I felt a little relieved, getting that off my chest but I was making her carry it.


The next day I went for a run, worked out with a friend and met up with her. We did more video stuff and this time it was wonderful.

I need to tell myself it isn’t “always” hard. That day she spent like 5 hours helping me with the box project and it was great. I felt so much love because she was investing in my project. We were so kind.

So I told myself, I need to mark these moments so that I can remember them as strongly as I remember the negatives. And I did mark how I felt in my memories, but as I thought back, I also remembered plenty of things she said that bothered me.

Here are a couple quick examples, and you can tell me I’m ridiculous. We were looking for a big envelope to put the box (a 2″ tall shoebox size) into. We were looking for one that was similar to one that held something I had received recently. We passed by some that looked the same to me except for the color and said, “What about these?” She said they aren’t tall enough. I looked at her like, what are you talking about. I said something like, “They box will make them tall.” In my mind it was just like the other envelopes. Any envelope would look thin before you put something in it. It sounded incredibly stupid to me. Turned out that was the one we got.

Then she said she had to find the restroom. She looked toward the back, didn’t see it and then started walking toward the front. The front looked very unlikely to have it and I glanced to the back and saw it. “It’s back there.” I held that against her too. How did she not know it would be in the back of the store? Aren’t they pretty much always back there?

Then we were watching a movie, Captain Marvel, putting together the boxes. A big part of the movie was these shape shifters. And at one point she asked something like, “Oh, how did that lady turn into one of the aliens?!”

“They’re shapeshifters, hunny,” I said. At least I didn’t tank like I did last week when she asked what I thought was a really obvious question about the movie Avatar.

I just have to let those go. It’s hard though, when I’m trying to remember good moments, and many of the things she said just seemed wrong like these. But she did a miracle with organizing and packing these boxes. And I told her over and over how amazed I was at that. I just can’t focus on the things I didn’t like she said. I need to remember she had amazing smarts in how to put together these boxes, and as a team we got the job done.

I talked to my brother tonight and he reminded me not to tell everybody about my qualms with Betty. And don’t tell Betty hurtful things if they’re not productive. I think that is one of my compulsions: to tell her the thing that bother me. It makes me feel better.

But I remember telling a girlfriend she looked kind of fat in a sweater when she asked. She could tell I was shut down and kept pushing for what I was thinking. Now I realize I probably gave her a psychosis.

January 8, 2021

Routine of Good Thoughts

So I felt like God has been growing me to be the type that is in control of my thoughts. Because that will have to be absolutely essential to make this survivable.

My friend had told me about how John Gottman says to reprogram your brain by stating 5 good things you like about the person each day.

So I’ve been thinking of ways to to do this and keep it sustainable. And I think I found a good way. What is going to keep me accountable to doing this? How will I make it sink in?

I just sent a text to B saying, “Hey hunny, I want to tell you things I like about you and favorite memories I have of you even if it seems random or I repeat them. So be ready 🙂 It may be on different platforms depending on how I want to express it. First, I like how you are so level headed when I go through my vicissitudes of emotion. Thank you for being so stable.”

She replied, “My heart just melted!!!”

-January 6, 2021

God: I will not take my ring from you

So on that night we repented for crossing sexual boundaries over the past couple of months, B led me through some “spiritual healing.”

She had said, I think a lot of your hangups with me have to do with your dad, and your dad’s perspective of your mom (I had told her my mom didn’t feel smart enough for my dad so obviously their might be parallels). So picture a room that you really like, and we will talk to you dad there.

So I picked this upper room in a coffee shop I really love. It’s beautiful in the morning when it’s quiet and the sunrise light comes in. Then she said, picture your father there and Jesus there too. What are they saying?

I pictured my father sitting across from me. It reminded me of a situation where about 7 years ago when I went back home for thanksgiving I had invited my dad to coffee to ask him something specific. I asked him, “Dad, I feel like I need to hear, what are you proud of me for?”

He had pushed back and eventually pounded on the table saying “R, that’s not for me to tell you. That’s for you to earn among your peers!” Obviously that was a hard thing for me. Eventually after begging him to try he said, “You work hard at things. I’m proud of what you’ve worked hard at.” But it was like pulling teeth.

Well then B said, “R I see a little yellow box. Do you know anything about a little yellow box?” Oh my gosh. There had been a little yellow box in my room ever since I had told my dad to send my deceased mother’s engagement ring so I could propose to B two months ago when I was more certain. I told her yes, I know what that box is.

I pictured that box sitting on the table between my dad and I. I remembered how certain my father was about marrying my mom. I remember seeing disgustingly sappy love letters from him to her when they were dating. This was just another way I wasn’t living up to my father’s model.

Then I remembered how he had sent me the ring to propose to B when I was first dating her. But after the first time I broke up with B Dad asked for the ring back.

Then I pictured my mother alive again and sitting across the table from me. I asked her, “Mom what are you proud of that I’ve done?” I imagined how she would have laughed a kind laugh and said, “R I don’t need to be proud of anything to love you. I just love you.” And then I pictured Jesus there across from me. I asked him the same thing. His response was my mother’s response, “I don’t need to be proud of you to love you!”

And as I let that sink in for a while eventually I remembered the ring on the table between us, and how my dad had taken away the ring when I hadn’t lived up to his hopes for me. How I couldn’t close the deal with B and he had taken the ring back.

But this time I felt like Jesus said, “I will not take the ring back from you. You are my bride. Nothing you can do will make me want to take back this ring from you.”

I cried. And I thought back to most of the messages I felt like God had given me when I had been crying out to him during this season of seeking direction with B. And most of his messages had been laced with me being married to him.

And then I realized, this coffee shop was where I was planning on proposing to B.

It appears, though I’ve been committed to Jesus my whole life, this was very much like a proposal day for us.

-January 6, 2021