Forgiveness is a good thing right? We forgive not so much for the sake of the other person, but for our own sake. I’ve taken that teaching to heart and pride myself on my ability to forgive; you could say I’m a serial forgiver. Unfortunately cockeyed optimism doesn’t always serve our best interests.
Here’s an example: There’s a man I cared a lot about for years. Our friendship was one of those instant connections where sparks flew and engaging conversation followed. As the years passed our relationship went through a series of highs and lows. We’d meet when he came into town; there were occasional attempts to create something more than friendship, but things never worked out. He’s a lot younger than I am so yes, it was flattering to consider the possibilities. Did the age difference keep me hoping for more? You bet it did, especially as the years passed and I underwent 2 mastectomies and a battle for self esteem.
A few years ago we talked of trying again, of getting together, starting over, seeing if there was some reason that no matter what we can’t seem to let go. But he always flaked out. There was the important party he promised to attend and didn’t, the trip to Alaska that never materialized, the earthquake (he’s in the armed forces) that resulted in no communication long after the troops came home. Anyway you get the picture. Sometimes there was a valid excuse; sometimes he just disappeared for months or years. I would get mad, then I’d forgive, do my best to forget and move on.
Last Thanksgiving it seemed that we’d finally reached the now or never moment. I told him I wanted a relationship, I wasn’t getting any younger and I had no time for detours. We began texting almost daily and it really seemed like he was trying to meet me halfway. We decided if things didn’t work this time, we were done.
Then it started, he wanted to know what turned me on in bed; I wanted to know what turned him on about living. (I know, classic Mars and Venus) I wanted to know what his life was like, he wanted to know what I liked sexually. I wanted to talk about philospophy he wanted to trade fantasies. Then came the day I realized that I had just had a far more revealing and interesting conversation with the guy who sold me tires than I had ever had with my friend. I knew then, I was only kidding myself about the possibilities of things ever working out.
Not being good at letting go (see my last post!) I explained one more time what I wanted; nothing changed. Knowing what a pushover I am, I finally put a block on my phone and got on with my life
I guess this past Saturday the block ended, because suddenly there were missed calls and text messages. At first I thought wow, he’s fighting to keep me and in the spirit of forgive and forget, with a mixture of panic and hope I called my girlfriends. Without missing a beat, they reminded me how many times I’d been disappointed, how many times I’d cried, how I drove to Texas in search of the truth and come back with even more lies.
I put the block back on.
There was an email; he seemed sincerely puzzled and intent on not giving me up.
Wanting to be clear, I carefully explained in one last email, why things weren’t working, that I couldn’t be what he wanted and the time had come to time to say goodbye.
His reply was as if he hadn’t read a word I’d written.
Does this make me angry? If I look past the grieving (this is a long time dream I’m giving up) the frustration (what part of all the things I clearly said do you NOT understand?) the guilt (I can’t believe I still fall for his crap!) and the regret (If only…) You are damned right I am. The problem is, as much as I’d loved to be pissed at him, it’s myself I’m angry at. I’m the dummy who wanted to believe in magic and fate enough that I was willing to override my own standards and boundaries and forget the things that really needed to be remembered!
So this week’s lesson in Earth School is – while yes, forgiving is a good thing, it’s not always something to rush into. Forgetting on the other hand isn’t always a good thing, in the least it makes us cautious where caution is advisable and at best it saves us from repeating hurtful or dangerous choices.
Now if I can only forgive myself for not figuring that out a decade ago!
onward and upward,
© C A Crossman and Dancing Through Life with Spirit, 2012.