I came to a realization tonight. As I was going through my phone, beginning to delete the texts between me and Jane, I could see a trend emerging from our interactions. Jane was almost always forthcoming and the first to share emotion or any other sign of caring, while I would always react. If it happened to be a emotional concern, I would often deflect or downplay or otherwise ignore it. That's how I created a distance between us. When I wasn't getting what I wanted or what I thought I deserved, I used excuses like her OCD or her sleeping habits to exempt me from having to understand her, or to undermine the legitimacy of any concerns she had. I always used those things against her, rather than trying to understand and accept them. And then it struck me that these were similarities to what I learned in the end of my relationship with Liz. (And it manifests in both my professional and personal life too. I "ignore" what I'm afraid of confronting, but spin it so that I have a legitimate reason to ignore it. Whether it's the check-engine light in my truck, my workplace situation, my financial situation, etc etc. I act as if these matters are trivial when in fact I'm just afraid of dealing with them. And in the same way, I've been ignoring Jane's pleas.)
The counselor had helped me to see how emotionally detached I was, how I learned that as a coping mechanism in the adversarial environment of my childhood. In order to protect myself from being hurt, I would invent or rationalize to myself that I didn't care. That something wasn't important or without merit. When Jane came to me with her unsatisfied needs, I would pay lip service and maybe half-heartedly attempt some change in behavior, but in my core, I held grudges. Her true concerns were rooted in her emotional heart. Yes, she had superficial needs, which truly aren't significant and fooey on me for using them as ammunition against her. For distilling them into animosity. All that Jane really wanted from me was for me to share my heart with her. And I didn't. I was insecure about letting in someone again, I was embarrassed to admit these feelings, I didn't trust what I felt, I didn't want to risk being rejected, I feared that I wouldn't be able to live up to the commitment and expectation of “love”, etc. And so I latched onto minor grievances between us and erected them as barriers to our growth as a couple. Jane has come to me with nothing but an open heart but I've resisted matching her openness and caring. Because of fear and insecurity. I held Liz at bay too. Back then, I prided myself on being cold and rational about our troubles. Now I see that all I was doing was using my rationale to invent defenses against the allegations levied against me. Somehow fear crept into that relationship. Yes, she had issues, but I carry some blame for sabotaging us. And I've almost done it again. Jane wasn't asking for anything truly beyond my means; I denied it to her because (although I would never admit it), some part of me would never surrender, would always hold back to protect me. Even though she's been in more relationships than I, I was the one acting jaded and selfish. Me.
When I connected these dots, I wasn't crying anymore. I wasn't upset. This was a revelation. It probably came too late to save Jane and I, but I knew I had to do something. My failing in this relationship was not committing fully to it. I always held back, I was never fully honest, I always used logic or excuses to excuse me from committing and loving. Now my logic was telling me, “Cody, leave her be. She's made her decision. It's wrong to contact her now. You had your chance, it's too late. She doesn't love you, it's over.” But I can't trust my logic. Any of those could be excuses that are rooted in fear or insecurity. I'm a clever human, it is well within my ability to deceive myself. The only way I can know something for sure is to act according to my true feelings.
So I left my bedroom, walked out of the house, and got into my truck. I didn't have keys to lock the door behind me, I didn't even have pants. I knew if I stopped or turned around for any reason, I'd use it as an excuse not to act. I had to tell Jane that I now understood what I'd done wrong. All this time I'd been holding her at fault to some degree. Now I could see it was largely my fault. I knew this information would not change her mind. But I HAD TO tell her. This is what I felt now. Not sadness, or anger, but conviction. And a vow that I would not allow myself to do this any more. That I would act fully and truly according to my feelings for her. Even though we're over now I had to share this with her.
I started driving to Denton with many doubts as to whether this was the right or wrong thing to do. But I wasn't going to let doubts stop me now. I already greatly regret what I've done these past six months; I'm not going to regret not seizing upon this opportunity here and now.
And so I drove. Eventually I had to admit that I might catch her at a bad time, or cast myself in a bad light if I showed up without warning at her house, pantsless and wearing my “Fuck Y'all, I'm from Texas” shirt. So I texted her when I was halfway there. “Are you up?”
The next five minutes were tense. If she didn't reply, then this was all for naught. The epiphany was truly too late. Then came, “Yes”.
I told her I wanted to talk and she acceded to texting. That wasn't what I'd hoped for, but it would have to do, so I pulled over somewhere in Prosper. I was torn between respecting her wishes for time and distance to come to terms with things, and making her understand that I saw things differently now and accepted full responsibility for my actions. This wasn't about asking her to take me back. That's too much to hope for now. Even though this was probably all out-of-line, I did my best to unflinchingly admit what I'd done and describe how I believed I could overcome it. I struck the best balance I could see between respecting her needs right now and my own need to answer for my actions. Jane was graciously understanding, yet firm. After an hour of long texts, I felt that I'd said as much as I could expect to, in these circumstances. I bade her goodnight and turned around and headed home.
All day I swung between sadness and barren emotional exhaustion. Now though I feel energized with purpose. It feels good to act. Whatever happens now, I won't regret. I've acted with honesty and authenticity. I've laid all my cards on the table. If I lose Jane, well, I've learned a valuable lesson at a dear price. If I win her back . . . there might be a chance for me to grow into a better man after all.
P.S. Part of me warns that all this might just be desperate, addled logic resulting from my emotional state and that I shouldn't trust my instincts right now. But all I can really be certain of right now is that the past six months of me deliberately navigating through our relationship led us to ruin. Reasoning is not to be trusted right now.