Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Wall of Cynicism

Remember this blog from a couple of years ago? I explored my path toward cynicism in regard to relationships and love. So we all know I am familiar with the dangers involved of becoming that way, and that I do not want to encounter them.

But I think this tendency has gained some pretty deep roots within me. I say this because even though I do not want to be this way, I think I am. It's no longer even a conscious decision that I make! Here's why...

I have been told by three different men in the last month the following things:

- I don't appear to have feelings.
- I am difficult to read.
- I am very reserved/hold back a lot.

If three completely unconnected individuals have made these observations about me--two of them after having spent a considerable amount of time with me--then something is obviously wrong.

Here is the thing... I move pretty slowly, emotionally speaking. I have always been this way. It takes a lot (lot lot) of time for me to get to know somebody and for them to get to know me for me to decide that it is worth pursuing a serious/exclusive course. With my ex-fiancee, it took both of us six months of being friends and four more months of in-between, kind-of-dating before we went exclusive. With a recent ex, it took four months of talking every day and texting constantly, plus three times of him pushing, for us to go exclusive. Granted, many of my relationships have begun online, so it just goes without saying that you've often got a lot of time to get to know somebody before even meeting.

I guess I like to know somebody is invested and is really trying to get to know me. And I like to really get to know a person. In this process, I come to appreciate who somebody is and start to fall for them that way. When my feelings for somebody grow, I invest more and more of myself and risk more and more of my emotions.

I don't see anything wrong with that part about me. I am not non-committal in the least. I probably am overly committal, actually. But I think the problem has come from this last relationship...

I put a lot of myself on the line this last time. I really jumped in. I put a lot of work in, and a lot of emotion. And he knew everything I had been through, and what a big step it was for me to try a relationship again. He knew what I was risking, and what might happen as a result if he couldn't give back. But then, well, he didn't reciprocate at the level I needed. Or really any level at all, to be honest. He ignored me, didn't answer my calls, said he'd do lots of things that he never did... It got so bad that I barely even shed any tears at the end of everything. I honestly just built up a lot of emotional scar tissue to protect myself from being hurt by him or anyone again.

So now, when I like somebody, I don't want to tell him. If I want to be affectionate with someone, I will not make a move at all. I make it look as if I don't have feelings. I make it difficult for men to read me. I seem to be reserved.

Recently, someone I had been dating casually for a little while (and actually felt a good connection with), told me that he just wanted to be friends. He said that he didn't feel a huge connection. And he said part of it was because of my tendency to hold back, which he had pointed out to me several times. That really bummed me out! I felt like he understood me really well without my having to say much, so I wasn't too worried about how little I expressed. I wish I could be more like Larissa in this post, where she celebrates the fact that she put herself out there vulnerably.

Here's the thing, I didn't really hold back on purpose. I just get scared not knowing what someone else is thinking or feeling, so I say nothing in case they shoot me down or don't feel the same. I don't want to be the first one to be vulnerable. It's not a conscious decision I'm making, like, "Protect yourself Janae. Say nothing." So that's why I say I think the cynic has gained some pretty deep roots--it's like I've got no control over it anymore.

I think if someone does put in the time and effort that I typically require to move forward, I will definitely be willing and ready to put myself out there and be vulnerable again.

But will anyone stick around long enough to see that? Or will I keep driving everyone away with the walls I've unintentionally built up? The walls that dictate to my subconscious what goes said and unsaid, done and undone.

I think I'm going to miss out if I can't open up a little more quickly.



JoshuaR said...

I sympathize with you.
My emotional pace in any relationship is akin to the speed of a sloth, post mealtime.
I have not kept in touch with you nearly as well as I had hoped after high school, but I can easily surmise you feel. I've always felt the lack of showing feelings almost always means one is hiding larger emotions than they care care to share for one reason or another. I can't bring myself to believe there are people who don't feel. They just hide it well. Being hurt or feeling untrustworthy of others doesn't help, but does lessen over time if worked on.
As far as being difficult to read, doesn't that make things much more exciting/interesting? Sure there are times when spoken direction is needed, but not always. Insecurities just make the person, who is difficult to read, seem uninterested to the pursuer. However, some mixture of chivalry, confidence, and persistence on their part should overcome that. And you deserve nothing less than a gentleman who will persistently try hard for your attention. In a fashion unlike a stalker hopefully.
Lastly, everyone is reserved to some degree, minus a very select amount of individuals. We all have stories, memories, thoughts, and events in our life that we, at some point, have consciously, or not, deemed okay to speak about to others. Usually going just a bit further than small talk, helping contribute to each person's knowledge of one another. Some have more they have allowed to share than others, but no one jumps right into the deep feelings right away and everyone has there own pace at doing such. Understanding, the ability to develop trust, and to make the other comfortable enough to open up takes varying amounts of time, are what helps strengthen that happy bond between two individuals, and what gets them beyond the giddy early stage while maintaning the same, if not greater, level of care for one another.
I fear I have gotten off course and rambled away from the subject I wished to speak about, but will still post to show how much I enjoy your blogs and the amount at which they provoke thought in my large head.

P.S. I realize the speak of chivalry may seem chauvinistic to some now-a-days, but I feel the same is true even if the woman was the pursuer, and in my defense, I was raised by a single mom who instilled quite a bit of chivalrous learnings. Likely causing me to become the hopeless romantic that I am.

Larissa said...

Oh man - this sucks! I am so sorry this hurts so bad. And I won't pretend like I didn't sit on my couch and cry for two hours straight at my low point. But, in the end, I'm just glad to know that I can feel for someone again.