Perpendiculous Programming, Personal Finance, and Personal musings

2008.04.26

Bridge-Burner

Filed under: Personal — cwright @ 11:08 pm

I feel as though I’ve been covering Relationships (capital R) all too frequently lately, which is why I had intended to back off for a while. Too close to the flames, pushing too hard, and trying to force meaning into meaningless actions was counter productive. But today, I got to see a bit from another perspective.

[for those on the http://perpendiculo.us/ side, note that I am transitioning from Facebook “blogging” via notes to an actual blog. There aren’t any Relationship entries here yet, since this is only the second post 🙂 ]

Typically, I’m on the rejection side of the equation. It used to be a big deal when I was younger, but anymore it’s a somewhat common, almost expected outcome. There’s still a lot of awkwardness involved, which still sucks, but there isn’t a lot of actual hurting.

Today, however, I got to be the dispatcher of such a judgement. This isn’t a position I’m in very often (read: ever), so it was interesting to see how it works from the other side.

A number of years ago, RW and I got involved. At the time, I enjoyed it, but mostly for chemical reasons (I believe my journal entries of that era documented that sentiment, so that’s not a postmortem false assessment). Because I was planning on disappearing for a couple years, to me it had a definite end. Because there were certain moral standards to uphold in order to embark on that two year disappearance, to me it had definite limits as far as how “involved” we could get. So, with these limits safely in place, I had lapse of good judgement and decided to enjoy what I could, while I could. No moral lines were crossed, and when the time came I said my goodbyes and hopped on a plane. I attempted to explain the nature of the duration, and the nature of how things were just not going to work (different ideals, different goals, different directions, etc), but that apparently fell on deaf ears. Or, more likely, they were spoken too softly. It’s never my intention to harm, though I began to realize why such actions sometimes need to be taken.

The two years passed, and then a few more months. Then silence was broken. Not much had changed. My mere contact had tainted things, stirred up sparks or something in the target party. No good, I thought. I backed off again.

Another year passed. Silence was broken again. Not much had changed. Again, contact tainted the association. But this time instead of backing off I realized that I needed to burn the bridge. Ick. Bridge-burning was my specialty in my more reckless days, but lately I’ve been trying really hard to not do that since it’s perhaps unnecessarily destructive. But this was necessary; It was unfair for me to spend time not working towards my goals, and it was unfair for her to be tortured by me leading her on by not explicitly terminating the association. Lose-Lose, or burn the bridge. I hate these kinds of choices, but I’m glad I’m wise enough now to know which one to choose.

Inflicting pain in the past had always reduced me to tears. I hate doing it. It’s not in my nature, and more dangerously I know all too well that if I ever get too comfortable with it, I’ll turn into some kind of sociopath. No good there. Best to keep some doors closed. This time, however, it was more surgical, methodical. I was calm and collected, and perhaps even a bit optimistic; I was preventing a dual-loss, after all. No weeping, at least on my side of the phone.

At first, confusion was emitted. Why was I doing this? Is it because of my size? I was queried. “Nothing to do with size,” I respond, “it’s just that we’re going in different directions, and it’s not fair for either of us to totally compromise our goals.” The coup de grâce, I hoped. “How do you know that? We haven’t been in contact for years!” Interestingly, peoples’ choices reveal a lot about their goals. I’m trusting my gut on this one.

Hysteria begins to set in. I hate this part, but maintain my composure. In retrospect, kinda crazy for how not involved we’ve been for nearly a third of a decade. “I guess I’m just meant to be alone” was the cry for help, the guilt-laced trap. “No one is meant for that,” I reply. “I regret ending previous [unfulfilling, degrading, and dangerous] relationships now,” comes next. “Don’t ever regret leaving bad situations.” “I was born to be rejected. I’m giving up. It doesn’t matter anymore. I’m supposed to be alone.” fatalism and defeatism sets in. Perhaps this is a muted plea for me to reconsider? If so, I don’t take the bait. I once again reaffirm though that it does matter, if being alone means less happy than not being alone. Defeatism wins this round though, and the lamenting continues. Can’t win them all I guess.

I make a few more tenuous attempts to pacify things before pulling out. Hopefully that was graceful. My hands feel clean, if that’s any metric.

I guess where this forks from typical experience is that I didn’t use the frequent trite phrase “You’re a great person” or the meaningless “We can still be friends” or the even more discombobulating “We can still hang out.” Having received those, I know the confusion and shadows of doubt that they leave. I know the false hope that they can sow. And perhaps most of all, I know how preciously short our time here is. There’s no sense in burning it on trails that have no chance at a happy ending. Exploration is perfectly reasonable, but there’s no reason to continue when such endings are discovered. Hopefully in time she’ll move on and come to discover that too.

1 Comment »

  1. […] statements. Idle words. Their meanings kept, treasured; their value tallied, carried. But in certain circumstances, I’m put into a position to destroy the efforts of others. I still can’t get used to […]

    Pingback by Perpendiculous » Purpose of Meaning — 2008.05.08 @ 12:47 am

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