More and more I believe that my boyfriend and I are not in it for The Long Haul. Recently I looked up our very first emails to each other, trying to see if the differences that are now so clear to me were this obvious before. Nope, I sure don’t see them. I guess we were both on our best behavior: he’d write about how smitten he was with me, and I’d frequently use the blowing-kisses smiley. We seemed so compatible and like-minded.
Fast forward two years and three months, and I’m sad to say that for me, the thrill is largely gone. I find myself nitpicking: “Not once in all this time has he given me flowers even though he said – over a year ago – that he ‘probably should do that sometime’.”
At first I thought he had such a positive attitude, but now it seems that, although it’s true that he doesn’t get angry about much at all, most of his casual observations about any given topic are less than favorable. He calls it being analytical, but I call it criticism. It appears that he truly feels good about himself when he is able to correct someone, and this is no small issue, as I *hate* being corrected, particularly when it comes from someone who is so focused on a grammatical mistake I’ve made that he’s entirely missed the point of what I was trying to say.
Just this weekend I shared that, citing a book about relationships, my way of feeling loved is when people listen to me. That same day, at least three different times he interrupted me with some comment he just had to make about something on the radio or whatever. Granted, I wasn’t saying anything earth-shatteringly profound, but shouldn’t someone who claims to love me want to hear what I’m saying just the same, since what I’m saying is important enough to me to mention it? Especially after I just said that being heard is important to me? (I plan to mention this briefly in my next email to him and say that if he must interrupt, could he please then say, “But anyway, as you were saying …” to acknowledge that I had been speaking?)
Also frustrating is that he remains blissfully unaware that my feelings have changed. For example, this weekend as we were resting in the car between shopping gigs, at one point he leans over and kisses me on the cheek. In a trying-to-be-cuddly tone, still leaned over close to me, he says, “Oh, I shocked you.” With my eyes still closed and my arms crossed, I say flatly that I didn’t notice. In a self-congratulatory tone, he says, “All you noticed was my lips, huh.” Again not moving, I reply in the same flat tone, “Yeah.” Now perhaps I obsess too much over what certain exchanges mean, but apparently he’s waaaaaay over at the opposite end of the spectrum where his rose-colored glasses block out all verbal and non-verbal clues that there are problems.
In all of this he-bugs-me thinking, I try to keep two things in mind: 1) would I rather he be the completely opposite way? and 2) am I guilty of the same things? In the case of the latter, I do know that I interrupted him at least once over the weekend, but as I would like for him to do in that situation, I said, “But anyway…?” and he took the cue to resume his story. And for a for-instance to the former question, I can think of one very earnest former suitor who not only listened, but asked for clarification on much of what I said, to the point where it made me uncomfortable.
Despite my efforts to think reasonably about all of this, I keep coming back to the fact that I do feel the way I feel, and I have felt this way for over a year now. I guess the logical response to that is “Well, why are you still with him?” In his defense, he does have some good qualities. And it’s not as if we spend the day at odds; most of our talk is of how our week has been and whatever other neutral topic finds its way to us, which is fine, but should there be more? Shouldn’t there be more? I mean, we live in separate towns and see each other at most once a week, and yet I can’t imagine what we would do if we had more time to spend together.
Maybe the biggest problem lies in my attitude, my inner response to the attitudes I perceive in him, the nitpicks listed above. Therein lies the debate I have with myself: how serious *are* these issues? Are these part of the growing pains found in all relationships, or is this a sign that we’re not a good fit? Either way, while breaking up doesn’t yet feel like the right thing to do, maybe I should think about this a little less and try to talk to him about it a little more.