The Stark Cause and Effect

Several weeks ago Goose and I had a conversation about boundaries.  The limits that each person maintains to protect themselves.  We all have them.  It’s quite romantic to say ‘I’d do anything for you.’ ‘ I’d sacrifice anything for you.’  ‘I’d die for you.’  ‘I’ll love you unconditionally always and forever.’  Being the romantic that I am… I’m certain I’ve spoken these very words at some point in my life.

That’s when life came along and showed me the truth.  I learned that even with my ever-loving heart, my depth of compassion, and my deep selflessness.. even I have limits.   There are limits to the amount of sadness or disappointment or pain I’ll endure at the actions of another.  Another who proclaims to love me.  Be it lovers, friends, family, even my children.  There are limits that I protect on the level of respect I believe I deserve.

So when I become involved with a new person in my life.. it takes time to show each other our limits.  To see the yellow caution tape and the red warning lights flashing.  We learn about the other person and they learn about us.  That’s when the dance begins.  All of us in our human-ness do this dance at times.  We twirl ever too close to someone’s limit.  We may even inadvertently cross a boundary.  Hopefully to be pushed right back where we need to be.  On the side of respect.  On the side of honor.  On the side of loyalty and trust.

That ‘uh-oh’ look on Goose’s face indicated to me that either the anesthesia was kicking in for another round or he had danced right through the yellow caution tape.  Into the valley of disrespect and dishonor.  That the level of his desire to have me in his life was worth the risk of crossing the limits of my safety.  Of my trust.  Of my love for him.  Just like in the game of dodgeball he had gotten the ball and threw it, knowingly and forcibly right at me.  It’s possible I should have seen the ball coming.  It’s possible I shouldn’t have trusted him or believed his word.  It’s possible.

What happens when someone crosses your yellow caution tape?  What happens to the relationship?  In years past, I’d personalize whatever happened.  I’d believe that I had done something wrong.  That I had caused this person to lash out.  That I didn’t deserve their love or respect.  That I was unworthy.  This stems back to roots in my childhood.  I had root rot.  I had learned from a dysfunctional family system to accept blame that wasn’t mine.  I had learned to believe these twisted realities.  I learned them very well.  They became me.  I ran away to hide in shame that wasn’t mine.  I ran away from whatever or whomever hurt me.  And then, once the sting subsided, I’d try again.. ever harder to be worthy.  To be valuable.  To be enough to deserve their love and respect.  I tried so hard.  I didn’t know that it wasn’t about me.  I didn’t know that it was about the other person.

It took a very long and arduous journey to undo the damages of those untruths.  There are battle scars.  But I am a survivor.  I made it through to self-respect and self-esteem and I learned to value myself.  I’m a pretty awesome person.. full of flaws and silliness.  Awesome none the less.

So now sitting here with Goose across the table, the warmth of breakfast in my stomach and the stark yellow caution tape appearing across his face… I took a deep breath.  And I began.

“Was that the Minneapolis Girl?”

The look on his face answered even before he opened his mouth.  He was disappointed.  Disappointed that I’d asked.  Disappointed that I stood up for my self-respect.  He had hoped that I would look the other way.  But I didn’t.   Really, he was disappointed in himself.  But he wasn’t ready to accept that this was about him.  About a choice he’s making,   He wasn’t prepared for the effect.  That’s when I became disappointed in him too.

“So what’s the status of this relationship with her?  You assured me that it was done.”

The certain-ness in his tone told me all I needed to know.  “It takes time to let go of someone.” He repsonded.

My response was certain too.  “Does it?”

I got up and put on my coat and walked to my car.  I put the key in the ignition and turned it.  Goose had not followed me.  I waited there warming up the car.  As the heat began to blow warmth back into my reality, he came toward the car.  It was a very silent ride back to Goose’s house.  As I turned down the country black top nearing his house, I asked…

“Are you going to be alright to be alone?  I have things I should get back to.”

He quietly replied yes.  I passed by the dogs who were wagging until they felt the tension,  then I walked through the starkly lit kitchen.  There was no warmth here today.  I opened the closet door and packed the clothes into my suitcase.  Goose did not follow me.   I carried my computer bag and suitcase to the car, looked at Goose who was feeding the dogs.  His tail was between his legs and he had sad eyes.  The last thing I said as I got in the car, was

“Take care.”

There was no kiss or hug goodbye.  There were no plans made for the next weekend.  There was nothing more to say.  I just drove.


10 thoughts on “The Stark Cause and Effect

  1. good for you!!! we all deserve honesty in our relationships, and he wasn’t fulfilling his part. what, did he think you wouldn’t find out??? that had to have hurt you alot, you had to be very disappointed at least in him.

  2. It was here that I made a choice to stand up for myself. It was difficult for me to look.. and to see. I didn’t want the message to be from her. I didn’t want him to not choose me. I wanted to deny it. But I didn’t.

  3. You are a strong lady, Jeannie! Actually it’s the strength that comes from knowing you are right. If you had given in things would have fallen apart further down the line… I’m so, so sorry!

    • I’ve learned many things about myself from these dating experiences. Some parts have been wonderful and have left memories that I will cherish always. Others have taught me crucial life lessons that have allowed me to grow and to make better choices for my life.
      I truly love Goose.. he will always hold a piece of my heart.

  4. My heart goes out to you and I empathise with the taking responsibility for other’s actions from our childhoods…it takes years and a very hard long road to unlearn that response. You have gained a good sense of your own self worth Jeannie, but my heart is sore that Goose felt the need to hang onto this other ‘relationship’..not really a relationship but a situation fulfilling some need in him.

    I so admire your strength and courage and the calm and kind way you handled this when your heart must have been breaking, especially after what you had just gone through with him. Your grace and love will out and big hugs to you for being brave enough to write about this, because I’m betting that the pain is still there when you look back at what happened on that day.

    ❤ (that's a heart if it doesn't work!)

    • As I wrote about the early parts of my relationship with Goose.. I did relive those joyful and much welcomed musings of falling in love again. It caused me to take pause and wonder.. ‘what if.’ But reality grabbed ahold of me and reminded me that I also had to write about the whole relaitonship experience with Goose.
      In truth, I’ve been dreading this part. It was a very difficult thing to experience the first time.
      I do look back as I write… so that I can write truthfully. Anything less than that would be cheating my readers and myself.

      Thank you for the heart!

  5. Trust has been broken in your relationship with Goose.

    I remember the last time he said to you, “It takes time to let go of someone.” Then you two went on as if he had not promised to end things with the Minneapolis girl.

    It seems to me that Goose made his choice, was taking you for granted. I feel heartbroken for you.

    How sad for you Jeannie … how sad for Goose.

    Blessings – Maxi

    • Sometimes we aren’t ready to see another person’s choice. Sometimes our need is greater than our wisdom. As was the case for both Goose and I.
      I so wanted to be chosen by Goose. But time marches on and pulls us with it even if we’re not ready, willing or able to go.

      I learned that I could love again. And that alone is a gift.

  6. What a beautiful and sad and so well written post.
    I admire your strength. He didn’t choose you, it’s true, but you did and that’s the most important thing.
    I’m sure you are going to do great things in your life.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

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