It's Not You, It's Me

That phrase is among select company in the statements none of us wants to hear in a relationship we value. It’s gone beyond being a standard line given when something inexplicable has gone awry in a relationship to being a pop-culture joke of reknown.
In Seinfeld, George Costanza freaks out after being dumping by a woman, saying, “You’re giving me the ‘It’s not you, It’s me’ routine? I invented ‘It’s not you, it’s me’. Nobody tells me it’s them not me. If it’s anybody, it’s me!”
But this time, it’s the Guy.
He needs some time, he says. Life’s hard. Between the rehabbing, working incessantly, being completely out of sick time for the next ten months, the frustrations of life being different from what it was, the fatigue, the lack of freedom and fun, the residual depression that comes with… It’s proving to be a hell of a reality cocktail for him.
Apparently, the future of the relationship is in jeopardy. As a result of all the things going on for him, he’s been left feeling flat and emotionless, and it’s eating him up.
I’m worried that it’s over. My worries are valid. A decision won’t be made yet, there is no timeline. Space will be had. Things will be revisited. We’ll see what’s next on the horizon then.
The strange thing is, we both care for each other a great deal. I know it. He knows it. We’re a great match. On paper, we have so damned much going for us, so how it’s here, how it’s this way, neither of us can figure out beyond just really dumb fucking luck.
I’ve had reservations since the get-go with his badly broken leg that he suffered only a couple weeks into our relationship. I should have played things differently. I should have pulled back more, made myself scarce, but I didn’t. I wanted to pretend things were fine, too. Delusion is a great plaything.
Unfortunately, I know exactly what he’s going through. I should have known better. I’ve been down that road – coming home from work so fucking tired all you want to do is die a while, cry a while, whatever it takes to reset. The last thing you want is having to deal with people of any kind, because you haven’t even got the energy to deal with yourself anymore.
Am I feeling negative about it? Yeah. Because although I’ve come through those injuries and know that he’s at his lowest point right now – there’s a false optimism when you get that first update on the prognosis from the doc: “Progressing nicely” – because it’s never as easy as you hope it will be. In fact, it’s harder. You throw excess overtime and challenges into the mix, and then you’re sent spiraling into a hole you think’ll take you all the way to China.
And one day, things change. One day, things get better, and you come back to yourself, and things carry on as you wish they would’ve a long time before.
The only question is whether I’ll be around to see it. Whether I want to be. And right now, I don’t even know the answer to that. I know he doesn’t want to hurt me, but I’ve been pushing little hurts and neglects aside for a couple weeks now, with a realization of what he’s been enduring and cutting a little slack as a result. I’m not sure what my breaking point is. I had a vision for this relationship, and that break broke more than his bones.
I have no cards to play. I get to back off, and that’s all I can do.
That’s adversity for you. It’s why hard times are so consistently responsible for trouncing relationships. In the end, we all close our eyes and become prisoners in our own minds. Lovers seldom can truly break through the walls we raise between us and the world. We try to let them in, but there’s a place inside they often just can’t reach (and sometimes we can’t, either), and when things like these happen, those places grow cavernous and dark and dank.
The thing that makes this really hard is, I want the Guy in my life, but if this was to end tomorrow, I’m not sure he would be. I’ve never stayed friends with an ex-lover. I don’t have it in me. Just like I can’t do random, casual sex; my emotional capacity doesn’t work that way. My reservoirs run far too deep to just turn the valve off and change pressure modes for comfort’s sake. I can’t ignore matters of the heart, and I can’t pretend they’re less than they are. “Friends” are nice, but when you’re wanting a lover, there’s not much sense in pretending you’re not the person you know you are, or that you don’t have the needs and desires you do.
I sometimes hate how life can change in an instant. (Ironically, mine seems to be changing two ways in an instant. I’m so fucking torn.) There’s so little power any of us has over our circumstances, and when the going gets tough, we have to hold on to the things we have and struggle to keep ourselves in the game.
Only this time it just isn’t that easy. Nothing is.
It’s a waiting game now, and my suspicions last week about overtime possibly being a dire contributor to this relationship have proved true; I saw it posing a bad shift in balance between the me time I have far too much of, and the time he’s had virtually none of. I don’t blame him for the overtime, he’s had no choice. We all know what responsibilities to the workplace entail, and we’ve all sacrificed our private lives to an extent for it.
I just wonder if either of us really knew what was on the table.
Now we do.
Am I optimistic? As I write this, not particularly. And I fucking hate that. I have no question that he wants it to work with me. He’d be a fool not to want that. I just don’t think he has it in him right now. And if he doesn’t, then I probably won’t have it in me to be anything outside of what I’ve been thus far for him. I wish I wasn’t, but it’s how I’m built. I foresee things being hard to overcome if it goes that way.
For now, we wait. We hope. We wonder. Then we see.

10 thoughts on “It's Not You, It's Me

  1. Romantic Perv

    Steff, for someone who doles out wonderful advice to so many, let me toss you some of my own. Since you have said you understand where he is right now in his healing process, as you have gone through similar situation yourself, I suggest you grant him his “space,” but continue to call from time to time to let him know you are still there for him.

    From what you have shared with us, I agree that on paper you two seem very well matched. If something like this had occured much longer into your relationship I am sure that it wouldnt have spiraled into where it is now. The fact that it happened so early, you skipped past alot of the early relationship trials and tribulations and moved right onto a difficult one.

    If you want the relationship to continue beyond, then keep the lines of communication open with your Guy, let him heal both physically and emotionally, and then give it a go when ready. Try to recapture the early days of a budding relationship, and I am sure that you two will have a better go at it.

    I wish you both the best, and a speedy recovery for Guy. Life delt you both a tough blow, I hope that you can get past it.

  2. Beth

    Aw, Steff. I’ve been there recently myself. And it does indeed suck. But – if you’ll forgive my annoying Pollyannaness for a moment – I firmly believe that everything happens the way it’s supposed to. So things are cooling off for the time being with Guy, but you’re going to need that time to focus on your new venture anyway. Down the road, you and he can reassess where things are at and what’s next.
    Hang in there.

  3. Haaaaaaa

    From reading and corresponding with you, I know you’re a really cool person with a big heart. I’m sorry that heart is a little broken right now.

    You don’t need my advice or philosophy. If you do, you know exactly how to find me. Just know there’s a lot of us thinking of you.



  4. roscoe

    Everything happens for a reason…his broken leg to your new adventures…

    Enjoy the moment and try not to dwell on “what isn’t” and instead focus on what is…you and your life, his and his needs…

    You guys are already waaaaay ahead of the curve, let life take it’s course 🙂

    As they say, one door opens another one closes you just gotta get out of the way of the one’s hitting you in the ass 🙂

  5. scribe called steff

    Thanks, folks.

    I’ll figure it out.

    I’m not sure I should have posted this so soon. But what’s done is done.

    I may have been a bit fatalistic, but I didn’t sleep well for the fourth night in a row. A lousy three hours, actually, and I was thinking a bit too much in the dark.

    Headaches and ear infections. What fun.

  6. RoyB

    (oh, who am I to give advice to Steff??)

    It seems to me that all you can do is tell him you love him and will be there when he’s ready…

    Just keep in mind that there are MANY (100s? 1000s?) faceless people out here that wish you the best.

  7. Spicy Little Pi

    i’m on the same page as you, steff, i haven’t been able to be friends with an ex-lover either, it just hurts too much…too passionate a person to shift gears for friendship…

    we all hate this one, but it’s always friggin true: give it a little time…

    seems you both want it to work, which is a great sign…so it’s all in the execution…

    hope it turns out well 🙂

  8. J. D.

    Oh Steff I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Though I’m in a similar position coincitentally, I felt so bad for you reading it last night.

    I’m going to listen to you tonight. I checked Emily out today and she sees quite cool.

    I just blogged about a man/woman thing. I’m terribly curious if you agree with what I wrote.

    Since I’ve discovered your blog, I read you every day.

    all my best to you, and hope things work themselves out.


  9. Anonymous

    Damn, damn, damn, DAMN!

    So sorry to hear of this. In a slightly similar place myself. Not as much time invested but still had to step back for a different reason. It stinks, no matter what the reason.


  10. shel

    i feel ya. going through so much right now it’s not even funny.

    thank you for having this blog and writing so eloquently. i’m so glad i found it when i did. it’s helping me feel not so alone w/all the stuff going down in this life of mine.

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