© copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Years have passed Gary. I have learned so much. I can only hope that you feel as I do. There were so many misunderstandings; there is still so much pain. You taught me of love, perceptions, communication, and how each of these is important. Understanding these in total is vital to the health of an individual and a relationship. I am writing in love, sharing our story from my perspective. I am working to communicate.
Through you, I discovered being “right” or “correct” is not beneficial. The two concepts are not as you stated, synonymous. The intent to be either is, in my mind unwise. Each is only discernment, personal and individual. People tend to think they are acting ethically, morally, and honoring common values, even when they are not in the minds of another. When one of us is intent on being or believing they are “virtuous,” no one “wins.” I believe, after much reflection, we, as separate beings suffer when we do not work in as one. The quality of the relationship is lost.
Gary, I accept and acknowledge that I, perhaps we, understand nothing with certainty. Sadly, through our association I realized that much of what any of us believe is a reaction to pain and fear, our own.
Dearest Gary, you mentioned you were always honest with me. Honesty without reciprocal reverence, open, trusting, vulnerability can hurt rather than heal.
This afternoon, you claimed vehemently, that I “blew you off!” When? How? Where? Moreover, why would I? I had wanted to be with you more than I ever imagined wanting to be with any other person. Yet, you saw our exchanges differently. I ask you to please ponder this scenario. I reversed the perspective.
Perception; Assumptions are only Associations.
You meet me for the first time, we talk, talk, talk, for close to four hours. There is so much energy, so many common interests, and infinite seeming similarities. I call you and express an interest in getting together. You call me the morning of the day we are getting together, just to chat and share. A man answers my phone. You freeze and hang up.
You may wonder? When we do see each other, the conversation continues to be stimulating. You discover in the course of this conversation, as I desire to be honest and I am always completely honest with you, what this man means to me. I tell you that he is my best friend, the person I met many years ago when I was most vulnerable. He is physically beautiful as well as a beautiful person. Yes, he has the key to my home and my heart. You are so confused. Why did I ever approach you? I have another.
Soon after, I email you and ask to see you again. You wonder why am I asking; my life is full. There is no room for you. You are puzzled. You question yourself, `Why would you accept?’ But you do. The conversations are so stimulating. It has been a long time since a stranger has been this interesting.
A few weeks later, I cancel a date with you because he needs my help and of course, I will always want to help him. He and I are spending the weekend together; we are working on a project he needs to do for school. I call you to reveal the reality and the reason I cannot be with you because I know the importance of honest communication. I even ask you for your thoughts, insights, and possible references for his project. I know this subject is one that you too are interested in.
Being the good person you are you offer your right wing resources; we laugh. We hang up so that I can go back to help him. My male friend and I are doing as we do, spending the day together, talking, talking, talking, and doing. We are sharing the nights together, sleeping together, and being close . . .
If I have him, why would I want to be with you? You know that in your own life, when you are part of a couple, you are loyal, faithful, and the friendship is very fulfilling. There is no need to be with another. Talking, talking, talking can be so gratifying when with you are with the one you love. Why would anyone in love waste time or talk on surface silliness with a total stranger? If you were he, my man, would you feel comfortable knowing that I was talking to another man? One short occasion is odd enough, but having more meetings . . . you may assume my man would think all this talk with another man, would truly hurt his relationship with me.
Isn’t there an element of trust that might be lost if one person or the other spends so much time talking to someone else? Doesn’t trust evolve through togetherness, being together, talking, endlessly about anything and everything? You may think, `if you were him, you would want to be with me.’ You assume I just want company, anyone will do, and my man is not home for this hour or so. You perceive that your time talking with me is nothing serious; at least it is not be serious for me. You know, or think you do, that I would never want to hurt him. You may muse, what do you really know of me?
You only know your own experiences, your own past. Maybe different people do relationships differently? You think and hope for yourself that you will not be interested in me. You do not desire to feel anything anyway. You are not in the mood to be truly close to anyone. You are not certain that anyone would ever want to be with you. There is too much hurt, too much confusion. You are already consumed with not feeling good enough. Recently, a person you love and trust hurt you. You now doubt your choices. At the time, you did not know he too was hurting. You are questioning yourself, your worth and so, of course you believe I will never be interested in you anyway.
People are forever telling you that they find you unique, unusual; you have energy, enthusiasm, and are so entertaining. You have long felt sad that you are not necessarily integrated into their `real’ lives, but you accept that. You have not yet reflected, realized, or really understood that this was your own `perception.’ I will teach you about `perception,’ `love,’ and `compassion.’
Much later, you will learn that you were desired, lovable, others believe in your worth. Only you rejected your own importance. There were those that desired to be with you forever. For now, all you know is that others find you amusing. Are they laughing at you? You have ample experience that others enjoy your being so entertaining and then when they are through, they leave. You assume this is true for me. My man, my love must be busy for an hour or so on Friday evenings and eating with you is better than eating alone.
You are infinitely more interactive than a television screen. I can choose to talk if I want to, but I choose. I have the controls. If I don’t like the program [you], I can change the channel by just getting up and leaving. You realize, unfortunately by now, that you enjoy my company and the conversation.
The sadness for you is that you really delight in who you believe me to be. The experience of exchanging with me is energizing for you. This is scary for you. You desire so deeply not to have feelings for me. I emailed that I too, enjoy your company and conversation. You told me the first night we met that you do not desire to eat alone; you prefer the entertainment of eating out. You consider that this is true; you are entertaining me.
Then, we were close. Why? What happened? What must I think of you? After such a short time of being acquainted with each other, we are joining together in what ideally is a very special and intimate act. We barely even know each other. You think possibly he and I are having problems. Am I hurting, reaching out to be held? You do not understand. Do you suppose, I am thinking of him, feeling bad because I know I am dishonoring him by being with you. I do seem uncomfortable; I appear to be distant.
Later, I wrote to you that this was so unexpected. Even later still, I wrote to you of being uncomfortable with closeness and you wonder if this is my way of telling you that I cannot be with you. You know that I am with him. I am comfortable in my closeness with him. I suggest in email we would discuss this later. I seem to express that I know the importance of honesty, chatting, and caring enough to come to an understanding. We never did. I wrote of the necessity to finish schoolwork, professional projects, being tired. You wonder if the conversation is not comfortable or truly not important to me. I later make it perfectly clear that this coming together will never happen between us again. You understand.
Maybe this was casual sex? This is not your impression of me, that I would take `making love’ so casually, but after all, you truly don’t know me. All you can assume is that this did not feel good, safe, or sane to me. Talking about such a sensitive subject is not comfortable for you either. You did tell me that. You prefer to speak of logic; you are Spock.
Feelings are not your preference and you did tell me that too. Expressing your most vulnerable feelings with a virtual stranger is not a conversation you look forward to. I may say I know the need to talk, but I never create the time. Ultimately, I tell you we will not be physically close again. Maybe by ending the physical, I am ending it all? As I talk, it is clear to you that this is over!
Phew, that would be wonderful because though you really enjoy me; you are not desiring to be merely entertaining and there is no place in my life for you. You feel as though you have been loose, lacking in ethics. If I was someone you were attracted to physically and nothing more, well . . . but you really saw so much more in me. Now you know that I will never see you as a person of worth. Look what you were willing to do with a total stranger; one that you know is deeply involved with a beautiful special soul.
Ahhh, you remember; I am in control. The third time we were together, I told you I needed to be in control. Definitions? Hmmm? Definitive? Decisive? You thought that meant I was decisive. All the women in your past were, and you admired that quality. Especially since the women in your past were so sensitive, they were simultaneously decisive and flexible, fulfilling your shared desires. Decisiveness with sympathetic sensibility is quite a quality. Ooops, you now know sympathetic decisiveness is different from control. Control, command, dictate, demand . . . Ouch!
I control if we ever converse, the times we talk, the place, the duration, and who drives. I seem to truly want my space separate from yours and so I insist we arrive in our own cars. When we are together, I look at my watch, continually. You may assume I am expressing my need to leave, because I really need and desire to be with him. He must be home, at my home, by now. You may frequently wonder, “Why did I ever ask to spend even a moment with you?” “Why did you agree to be with me?” Your feelings for me are deep!
You have told me often how much you enjoy the time we spend together, the talking, the company, and conversation. You are forever reflecting. As I have said, I am always and I have always been honest with you!! I have told you, he is a person I care about, I like, the one that I need to spend time with, want to see, to share with, he is very special to me. He is my best friend!
You assume that you are only an hour or so of entertainment for me. This does not necessarily make sense to you because we have spoken of intimacy, and you know I believe intimacy is very special, people in partnership. You observe that when I see a married person, part of a couple, but I see them alone at the pool I wonder aloud, “Why are they not swimming with their husband or wife?” Clearly, I must believe that committed couples are and act as best friends, eternally exchanging and together. I am not there with my best friend? You may feel so confused! There is so much pain, but I refuse to talk to you about it. It is your pain.
I am in control, I have the controls, I choose what, when, where, and how I am amused and you are just my entertainment. I can change the channel, walk out of the movie, or if this is a sporting event . . . well, it is only a game. Two years from now, when you think to ask, I will honestly tell you that, `Yes, I do play games.’ `I do test you.’
You have never in your life played games, not even in sport. You now remember learning from your Mom that you could not trust those that play games and test. Did you even know what she really meant when she said this? Agh, now you understand; you know what she meant by crazy making. You are living it and you feel crazy! Besides, you know of yourself that you have test anxiety. You know that when you are tested you freeze. Now you know with certainty why you freeze when you are with me. There is so much confusion and you feel lost. You are hurting.
I continue to email you each Friday, asking if you would like to meet. You know you really like me as a person. You wish you didn’t. For you, when we were “one,” it was not without meaning or feeling. You hope that you will be able to put this in perspective; it is only physical for me, and can be nothing more. As time goes on, you may wonder more and more, why I am even spending any time with you.
No two things can occupy the same space at the same time. You may believe that the few times you and I talk or are together, a moment in passing or an hour and a half on Friday evenings are times that he is not able to be with me? You are aware that I never call you to chat and so you assume it is because I am with him. After all, he is my best friend and the person I am comfortable with.
I have told you I am not comfortable with closeness, but I am comfortable with him. I show you that I am only comfortable being with you for an hour and a half on Friday evenings, nothing more. Can’t you understand and accept that? I have friends, a life, all separate from you. You assume if I wanted to include you, to integrate you into my life, I would. I am a very strong and self-assured woman. I have him; he is my best friend. For you, a best friend surpasses all others. Anyone else is superfluous. So you may assume you are superfluous.
I have divulged that yes; he and I have sex. We sleep together; spend time doing things together, because I am so comfortable with him. Of course, he is the person I am open and vulnerable with. I speak of him often. I may mention a story; something he and I shared. He is a large part of my life. You know that we all, as people need to be close, comfortable, safe, and trusting with someone. He is “my someone.”
On his birthday, again, I cannot be with you. I will always be honest with you, and I also honor him. He is important in my life. He is the person I feel comfortable, safe, and I am able to be vulnerable with. Though I have told you I will never marry him, I have also shared with you that he would make a wonderful father to my children. He does believe we have dated and are dating, but I do not see it this way!
On a few occasions, you desire so deeply to be with me, but when you call, he answers. On an occasion, you drove by, knocked on the door and he was there. You see his car at my home often. Often I seem annoyed with you. When I am bothered or annoyed with you I go to where you are and I come with him. You may wonder, `do I desire for you to see that I do not need you?’ I have him! Do I choose to reveal to you that I care for him?
Finally, I phase you out. There are no more emails, no dinners. You think, you hope, this will help you to heal. When you see me, you attempt to hide the pain. The sight of me is, as a very tender touch to an already infected wound. You bleed; your blood spills out and saturates me. You hate so much that you hurt. You are so sorry that you may be hurting me. The pain pours out.
If only healing were that easy. If only you were able to totally hide the hurt. If only it were just as I often say it is for me, `just that simple.’ For you, it is not! There is so much unresolved, so much left unspoken, but as I tell you again and again and you know it to be true for me, “There is nothing to talk about.” Your desires are denied; I have dismissed you. Know this, I am honest with you and what may be important or relevant to you, is not important or relevant to me.
I may on occasion show up where you are with another man. You change your schedule in an attempt to avoid me, but I will appear where you are with him or another. I will eat at an earlier hour than I have always told you that I prefer. You may wonder why? `Do I desire to hurt you?’ `Do I want you to see me with others?’ `Do I desire that you feel certain that I rather spend time being with him or another man, developing a foundation of friendship with any man, enjoying the energy of every other man, anyone but you.’
After too long of never openly discussing what was, is, will, could, or would ever be between us, and assuming we were never more than acquaintances that did the deed, a time or two, or three, or more, you must find a way to accept this as I do. I said to you, `It was a mistake.’ Mistake? What does that mean? I told you many times, “There is nothing to talk about!” There are wounds; you are still bleeding! Do I even care? Later, you will be forever haunted by the memory of my words, “I don’t care anymore!” You will continue to wonder, when did I care? For now, it is just a feeling that I don’t care.
One day you drop by my house, fearful of approaching, but you don’t see his car. You drive around the block over and over. Instead, you decide to stop and see friends for moral support. Your heart is pounding; your breathing is shallow, but the pain pours out in your every thought, action, and word. It has been too long and you have to talk to me; you hope it will help you to rid your heart, mind, and soul of hurts, the misunderstandings.
Others have tried to help, but only I can help you to understand my feelings, my thoughts, and my actions. You know you must ask me. It has hurt for so long. Others say you have to talk to me; they cannot know me. Therefore, you drive back to my house. His car is still not there.
You park near my carport. You use his space, the place you often see he parks in. You are shaking, but you attempt to breathe. At least, you can admire my beautiful flowers. Flowers for you are the essence of beauty and life. While the roses calm you, you also wonder why did I never bring you a rose. You simultaneously feel somber and serene as you glance at the roses. Though I know you love to garden, you speak of it often, we never formed the joyous friendship where we would garden together. Again, you are saddened. You breathe deeply, one more time, hesitate, and knock on my glass door.
I answer a knock, not yet knowing it is you. I instinctively rise from the sofa, see you and then shrug. I open the glass door and stand very near the door and the counter, directly in your face, so as if to say `I will block your view, your entrance, with my body.’ I am ensuring that you know I am not offering an entrance. I finally, though reluctantly, allow you to enter. You did say over and over, that you “need” to talk to me. You wore me down only because you are wasting my time. You know how important my time is to me. I have work to do, but I know I will be able to easily dismiss you. I can control you, I always do. If I cannot do it at the door, I know I can and I will deny you your ultimate desire, to talk to me, to be with me.
As you do, you wait for me to sit and then you sit so close to me. You know I do not want you near me. I have honestly told you this over and over again. I tell you with my body, my words, and my actions. I have my man in my home and heart. Then there are all the men I make sure you see me with; it should be clear to you by now, I do not desire to have you in my life. Doesn’t this say it all?
I do not ask you to spend time with me. I refuse your offers to go dinner, to shop, to help you with your projects, your papers, and your thought processing. I tell you that you are not part of my life. I do not call you. I do not sit near you at the pool. I often ask you, `What is your problem?’ I know I will take care of this now! I can be perfectly clear and I will cut this tie! You ask if I think people are disposable. I answer emphatically, “Yes!” You seem so surprised.
You can hardly believe this. You thought that I, as you do, value people, that I would never desire to hurt another, but believe in honoring and revering the worth of others. You saw me as a sensitive soul, a reflection of yourself, one whose heart knows the sorrow of pain, both real and imagined. You believed that I, as you, would never desire to hurt another. You thought the reason my real life was so full of love was because I am lovable, I have love to give, and I give love.
I live in the world of personal success. I was able to blend and balance with the beautiful man. I am perfect in my profession and in my friendships. You saw my life as full, full of love and compassion. I am fulfilled. Wasn’t I the one took great care to teach you of “Love” and “Compassion?” I helped you to understand that your mother does love you deeply and does not desire to ever hurt you. I taught you to understand her pain and that she is only dreaming of your happiness. You thought my fulfillment was a reflection of my filling my world through the sharing of love, not rejection.
There is so much confusion for you, but not for me! I love the world and everyone in it but not you! I have disposed of you and if you had any doubt of my honest feelings for you . . .
Again, I have always been honest with you and I continue to be. If I take a man boating, a man you once associated with, I make sure you know this. If I meet a man in California and he wants me to move there, to be with him forever, I tell you this. I add that I am seriously considering this man’s offer. If I meet the man of my dreams at a holiday event, one held in a hotel in Palm Beach, I tell you this too. I speak of this man often. I introduce him to twelve of my closest friends. We eat, talk, and laugh over a huge Greek dinner in Delray Beach. I tell you what fun that was. Remember, I had lamb?
I will be certain you know how beautiful he and each of these men are. This man in particular could be the love of my life, forever and ever. Possibly, it could be another of these men. Time will tell. Oh yes, I have always been honest with you! Have I been open, vulnerable, expressing a desire to be one with you and only you, honestly? Have I shown or told you how much I care for you? I preach “risks,” “spontaneity,” “trusting yourself, your heart,” “love” and “compassion” and you wonder with who do I share these? It certainly isn’t you.
When you continually share with me how much this hurts you, to see me with him or others, I do it more often! On these occasions you may feel an even greater sense of pain and you choose to write to me in an attempt to express your pain, in hopes that this may offer an opportunity for understanding, open a door to discuss. You truly believe I am a good person and would never desire to hurt anyone, but . . .
When you arrive at my home at 2:38 AM or 4:30 AM to drop off letters that you spent hours on, pouring out your pain, you know that these are times when people are snug and cuddling in their sleep. Couples are secure with those they truly love and trust. Even at these hours, you see his car is there at my home. It seems it always is. You leave the notes and other messages, but I never care to respond.
When you do see me, I always seem so angry with you!!! You attempt to casually chat with me, but if there is another man around, I clearly choose to chat with him! I know that you are a touchy feely person, but when you reach out to touch me, I pull away! When we do chat, just as when we had dinners together, I always glance at my watch, as though I am keeping track of the time I will allow for you. I did tell you I need to be in control and I am!
There is no place in my life for you. I do not choose to chat with you, to call, but then I never have, not since the beginning. I easily initiate conversations, calls, and connections with others. I never have with you. If you even attempt to talk or to be close, I scream, I accuse, I blame you, and I have made it perfectly clear that, “I don’t care anymore!” You wonder when did I ever care.
Your heart hurts so deeply that even the sight of me, my car, my smiling, laughing, chatting with another, seeming to choose to totally ignore you, forces a flood of feelings. Your heart pounds, you can barely breathe, but you are certain, I don’t care. Haven’t I been honest and said so? How many times have I honestly told you this? How many times have I let you know directly that I am with my best friend, or the buff blonde, the bulky brunette, the handsome hunk, anyone but you!
Gary, my hope is that after reading this you might understand my perspective. I reversed our roles so that you might relate to my feelings. My intent was to evoke empathy.
Gary, your words are accurate, “Reality is perception.” This narrative is my truth; this is my experience of us.
People speak of being “right” [not necessarily “right-winged”]. They discuss the desire to win. Many ponder which is wiser or what do they want most. After experiencing us as I did and us as I do, I have concluded, “What is right is the relationship.” If anyone wins, everyone loses. If either person in an exchange thinks they are correct, I surmise they think of themselves as a winner, holier than thou, whomever thou might be. A righteous being considers others wrong, evil, and ultimately, believes them the enemy. I want none of that. I shared our story as I did to demonstrate; two people supposedly experiencing the same events understand these in ways that are extremely different.
Gary, again I wish to say, I am not right, wrong, correct, or a winner. I am only sad for I suspect we each lost so much. I offer you hugs, kisses, and my best wishes. I hope one day we will join together in understanding.
Dear Reader . . . If the saga is interesting to you and you wish to read of the evolution, please indulge.