Who wants that perfect love story anyway, anyway?...
Who wants that hero love that saves the day, anyway?...
HEB and I are sitting across from each other at the birthday party of the child of one of his co-workers. Aiden's here, HEB's son JT is here, and they're both running around with other kids, having a good time. It's the summer of 2013 and HEB is not HEB yet. He's still The Guy.
The Guy and I are sitting across from each other at the birthday party of the child of one of his co-workers. After a few months of dating, we decide to make it exclusive and, two weeks ago, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Right now, we're mad at each other. Okay... I'm mad. We just had a stupid disagreement and I'm mad. (To be honest, as I write this post today, I'm not even sure what we were arguing over or why I was mad. That's how insignificant it was.)
I'm so mad that my impulsive reaction is to call it quits. I'd rather fly solo -- as I've always done -- than deal with any disagreement with him. I want to just walk away.
He doesn't let me. Instead, he sits me down and helps me talk through -- and work through -- whatever it was that I was mad about. He literally holds my hand as I work through my feelings.
Fast-forward to 2 1/2 years later and, at times, I still need that same hand-holding. Less often, but I still need it, nonetheless.
Here's the thing about adult romantic relationships: they don't work unless you do. And by that, I mean: you've gotta know how to be in an adult romantic relationship in order to make it successful. You've got to be dedicated to having some serious on-the-job training.
And by "you," I mean "me."
One thing that I've learned about myself in these past couple of years in my relationship with HEB is that I knew nothing about what it took to actually be in an adult romantic relationship. A true, meaningful, mature adult relationship. I had my thoughts. I knew (know) that it takes love and understanding and patience and selflessness. All those things that those self-help this-is-how-you-succeed-at-love books teach you. But to know it and KNOW it are two completely different things...
Stupid arguments. How I handle them is always the deciding factor in how much I've grown -- or not -- in this relationship. Stupid arguments. You know, the ones you can't even remember two weeks after the fact. Stupid arguments. They almost always make me feel like this thing with him isn't working and my impulsive reaction is that I just need to fly solo. As I've always done. As I'm used to doing.
So I try to leave.
Right in the thick of love.
At times we get sick of love...
So I try to leave.
He's patient with me as I try to work through this. I take two steps forward. I go several weeks at a time without doing it. And I relapse. And take one step backwards. But then... he helps me come back to the drawing board and helps me take the time to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting impulsively.
I want this. I want to be in this with him and grow together and be a family and live happily ever after.
But happily ever after doesn't exist. Not for me, anyway. I have to work at it and choose to do the work. Every. Single. Day. I know this. But knowing it and KNOWING it are two different things.
These disagreements, they paralyze me. As crazy as it sounds, they make me feel like it's over. HEB knows this.
It's fear, I know. I need to get over this fear, I know. But it's kinda sorta really easier to call it quits than to work through the fear.
That's my "thing" and I'm working on it.
He's got his thing(s) too. Matter of fact, there've been times that he's done things to make me say, "What the eff?!" And find it hard to forgive him. But I forgive anyway.
Because sometimes it's about two people learning to forgive each other and say "We're in this together."
I'm still a work in progress. I've got a lot to learn. So does he.
We've both still got room left to grow.
Acknowledgment is the first step.