On Having a Moment, and Not Holding Too Tight

This afternoon, I had a moment.

You see, D was supposed to come down to see me tonight. Not for anything special, but, for various and boring reasons, the next 36 hours are just about the only window we’ve got together this week.

And at about 3:00 pm, the exact time that D had told me he’d plan on heading down, he called.

“Where are you?” I asked.

“In Santa Fe,” he said. “I was about to leave, but I just got a call from work. I need to go back. There’s a fire.”

(Don’t ask me why a fireman not on his shift has to go fight a fire when there are lots of other firemen who are on their shifts; unknown. You may, however, ask if this has anything to do with the Arizona/New Mexico wildfires being heavily (mis)reported in the national news: it doesn’t.)

Anyhow, I broke down. Like, sat at my desk and pretended to have sniffles as tears formed in my eyes.

Why did I do this? Out of fear that my boyfriend might injure himself or die in a fire? Out of concern for the safety of someone about whom I deeply care?

Unfortunately, it was nothing that rational.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure why. But I do know that, for starters, it’s been a rough week. I’ve been feeling more fragile than usual. These past couple of days, I’ve craved D’s support and affection, and he hasn’t been here. I was looking forward to having him close.

But is that really something to cry about? I want D’s support, sure, but his arms are not the only place I can find it. I have no shortage of friends and family, far and near, to talk me down from various ledges of anxiety and insecurity and stress.

Sure, there’s nothing quite like the comfort of a romantic partner. But in that moment, staring at my computer screen, sniffling, and thinking of all the people I know who live states and continents away from their significant others, I felt the need to remind myself to take a step back.

Specifically, I felt the need to recall the advice of another guy I know with the initial D: this one among my closest DC friends who now lives in Boston (can we call him Boston D, for the moment?) and is very, very wise.

Early on inΒ  my relationship with D, Boston D had cautioned me about keeping some distance: about not letting myself get too tightly wound up in something just because it was good. Or something. This afternoon, walking B in what felt like 100 degree heat to to the dry cleaner, I couldn’t really remember.

So I called him.

“Do you remember what advice it was that you gave me? Something about not letting things get too close, with D? You might have said it came from Oprah?”

“Um, I have no idea,” he replied. “Did it have to do with posture? I’m always talking about posture.”

“No,” I told him, recounting what I could. “It definitely was not about posture.”

“Sorry,” he said. “Can’t remember.”

Fortunately, after listening to his own romantic dilemmas, along with some fresh wisdom (“Go cuddle with someone tonight.” “See the Woody Allen movie.”), I realized that Boston D had dispensed his initial advice over Gchat.

Alas, I searched. And there it was:

“Just dont hold hold too tight,” he had written. “I mean, don’t squeeze the relationship. Let it breathe. I think when we have something we love we want to hold it super close and tight and sometimes its good to just release the pressure and let it exist on its own.”

Words that, to be honest, didn’t make total sense to me when I first read them, and aren’t entirely clear now. (For the record, he did punctuate them with this, overly modest, qualification: “Sorry, I can only come up with generic Oprah-esque language right now.”) But I do think there’s an insight there, and it’s one that, right now, is helping me get through.

Basically, that one person can’t be everything. They can be a lot of things, a lot of wonderful and important and invaluable things. But we need other people, too. We need other people for lots of reasons, including this one: as precious as partners might be, they simply can’t always be there when we want them to be. Whether we like it or not.



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6 responses to “On Having a Moment, and Not Holding Too Tight

  1. Jenny Krause-Gay

    I’m sorry you had a rough time today. But here is the opinion you didn’t ask for, from a married woman’s perspective: Men are useless in making their significant other feel better. After living with them for an extended period of time, their arms are no longer a safe place but a place you go to hear them try to solve your problems, when all you want is sympathy. Smother the crap out of your relationship because when you settle down with someone, it’ll be gone.

    Oops, I’ll keep my thoughts to myself next time.

    • Jenny! You are so right on. The problem-solving versus sympathy thing, I mean…it’s hilarious how universal it is. Why are they wired that way? And why, even though I know you are completely right, do I still crave the support I ought to know by now will not really be that satisfying?! Thanks for the unsolicited opinion–always welcome here πŸ™‚

  2. Jenny Krause-Gay

    Perhaps we’re wired to crave support from men to ensure the survival of the human race? And men are messed up from the beginning. Think about it, that silly little y chromosome is lopsided, trying to stand on his one, little leg. Pathetic, really. πŸ˜‰

  3. I think it’s because we no longer have quilting bees… you know, regularly scheduled times when women gather, ostensibly to quilt– but you know a lot of gabbing was going on: complaining about the mate, life on the prairie, that kind of thing. And lots of support from our women friends. Men just can’t be that.

    And don’t beat yourself up for being upset that D wouldn’t be coming down to ABQ… emotions, like relationships, need room to breath.

  4. Thanks Mama Bear Jen πŸ™‚ Do we really need to start quilting!?

  5. k

    I think this is a pretty normal reaction because you are rightfully very disappointed because your plans have unexpectedly changed – and you have been looking forward to seeing someone. Also, it’s a strange feeling you get in these situations because you can’t even be miffed, although you feel like you should because it feels like you were stood up. Of course, at the same time you know it’s not something he has control over so you try not to feel the disappointment. Plus, I’m sure he was disappointed as well but on another level excited to go to some adrenaline-pumping firefighting stuff. I used to date someone who did avalanche control and mountain rescues and this happened all the time. You have mixed feelings because you want to be irritated and know that you shouldn’t be, at the same time. It’s just one of those things.

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