I recently posted a link on my Facebook wall about the “Fear of Success” and began to ponder this concept, some of its underlying motivations, and how those relate to my involvement with women. My recent broken engagement has clearly brought about a lot of introspection, as I hope to break what seems to be a cyclic pattern of behavior when it comes to relationships.
This is both a pattern about my behavior as well as characteristics in the women I choose. However, let me be perfectly clear; I am not saying the women I’ve been with are all the same because they most definitely are not. What I am saying is that often they share similar traits or coping methods and my natural or comfortable response yields comparable reactions. These women may all be different chemicals, but they are in the same grouping – and when introduced to my chemistry a destructive explosion is a likely result.
Much of this comes from the plaguing thought in my mind of “what went wrong?” Without revealing details, my last relationship went from flawless to intolerable in a matter of only two or three weeks. She wrote a response to me and indicated the immense stress of external factors were too strong for us to handle in the infancy of our relationship. However, this statement struck me odd when I read it in our post-breakup email exchange.
In all fairness, different people respond differently to different circumstances. What might be stressful for me, my former fiancé might just shrug off, and the converse might be true as well. So it is possible she felt stress that I have not given the appropriate merit. However, what we had before us as “problems” did not seem grandiose in my opinion. Of course, compared to the issues during my divorce five years ago, little seems insurmountable to me anymore. Thus, while this might explain her perspective and reactions, it doesn’t work well to explain my frustration and anger at the end – and more importantly it doesn’t explain the rapid shift from paradise to punishment.
I do believe that in this case there are two people responsible for its demise; however, I can only focus on and analyze the variables I brought to the table. The others, while I may need to acknowledge, are not mine to solve. Certainly some factors carried more weight than others, but my effort here is not to place blame but rather that I be responsible for my own character.
So, I ask myself – do I know what a successful relationship looks like? Do I know what it feels like to truly experience an intimate, supportive, beneficial and romantic relationship? Have I been playing the game all my life without understanding how the points are getting on the scoreboard? Is it possible I have sabotaged my own relationships because of insecurities that I have?
I don’t know if it is as extreme as it sounds from those questions, but there may be an element of truth here. On the flip side, I am far more volatile to live with than the analytical persona presented from this blog indicates too. But I am coming to understand that those moments of emotional outburst are less about the circumstance and more about my anticipation for the other shoe to drop. I may doom my own happiness being like the peacock of the Aesop fable who was not satisfied with his lot. If I look for a problem, then I will surely find it, be it real or not.
I am starting a process to learn to be content in the moment – whatever that moment is. This is not an excuse to be slothful or not maintain what must be done. However, I need to relax and accept things better, to quit anticipated for some future moment because it never comes and I miss out on enjoying the now. It also means I can accept that not every moment is enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean it destroys the whole situation just because a problem exists. I must learn to drown out that little voice that says “See, this is why this won’t work” and replace it with one that says “We’ll get through this.”
Lastly, I think much of this is about simply making a decision. My feelings are not always trustworthy. Not that I should become a Vulcan either, but there certain things in my life where I’ve already decided no matter what this is where I stand or what I will do – my relationship with my daughters, for example. This is simply a decision, come Hell or high water.
Why then have I not applied that, reassured that, strengthened that and reinforced that in my relationships with women? I don’t know the answer yet, but I plan to find out. I’m suspicious though it has to do with actually being afraid of a healthy relationship. And this is where my therapy will delve soon.
I’ll keep everyone posted.