the learning curve

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In every relationship, there’s a learning curve. With some relationships, that curve is sharp and steep and in others it’s gradual and slow. In a few, you get shoved off a cliff and hope that your parachute will open in time.

Up until Dean came along, my learning curve was that of the parachute route and if you go through that long enough, you start developing patterns you never wanted to develop.

I’ve been through a lot… a LOT.. but no relationship I’ve ever had was as difficult as the one with Chet. This isn’t to say that I don’t value the learning experience and haven’t taken home a huge lesson from it all, but given my chance to change things, I would have ended that relationship sooner.

There was no arguing because if I dared express my frustration or anger with something he did, he’d just up and leave my apartment and cut me off for a week or more. He didn’t have a phone, he rarely replied to emails, and never called me at work unless he needed something so if he decided to vanish on me, he would. I ended up walking on eggshells and stifling my feelings in order to avoid a fight. He never once told me he loved me. He never admitted feelings. Eventually everything got difficult and he even started to get mad at me for farting. I wish I was kidding.

Looking back I can’t help but wonder what the fuck I was thinking when I thought we could go the distance.

You know what the most fucked up thing about all this is? He was the the best relationship I’d ever had. He was the most difficult, but he was also the best so what the sweet blue fuck does that say about the ten years prior to him???

And then Dean came along and everything was so easy! It is such a breathe of fresh air to be with someone who speaks to me every day, keeps me on his mind, tells me he loves me, can’t stand to be apart from me, open, honest, wants to know everything about me… he’s everything I ever wanted in a man.

The problem? The problem is that over the last decade I’ve shoved myself into patterns that cater to the type of man who’s closed off, emotionally retarded, and angry. I haven’t learned how to bounce off of a good man and flow with it. In a way, I kind of flinch when the verbal moments get rough. I’m so groomed to the pattern of men breaking up with me or walking away and vanishing if I dare speak my mind that when Dean and I argue, I am absolutely terrified to the core of my being that he will walk away and never come back. I know deep down this is ridiculous and he wouldn’t do that, but this has happened to me my entire life with almost every man I know and not just in dating. Breaking this pattern is going to be a challenge.

The other challenge is learning how to speak properly to Dean. I’ve gotten so used to biting my tongue and holding back feelings for fear of saying the wrong thing, that I end up being vague. Dean interprets this as me being cryptic and to him being cryptic is intentional and a sign that I don’t trust him. Really it’s just me scrambling to find the words. I forget that I am allowed to say whatever the fuck I want, whine about my day, cry all I want, and tell him I’m mad at him for something. I’M ALLOWED TO DO THAT! More than allowed, I’m encouraged to do so. This is every woman’s wish and yet it scares the begeesus out of me.

Yet another challenge comes from the fact that unlike most men, Dean wants to talk about our arguments and make sure I understand why he’s upset and where I went wrong. Unlike most women, I want to fix the problem and correct my error so I don’t do it again. When he’s angry, he’s stubborn and doesn’t listen. He makes his decision and that’s that. I have to give him time to cool off, but when he says he need an hour, he really only needs one hour. When I’m upset I’m analytical and emotional and I need a lot more time to think it out. I don’t like to talk about it until I know exactly how, why, where, what, and who. To say it’s a challenge is an understatement.

So far in this relationship, we’ve had two very exhausting arguments and I’ve been left with eyelids so swollen you’d think I’d gone a few rounds in a boxing ring. But I’ve survived them!

What’s completely different about us though is that neither of hold grudges and when we express our issues, we fix them and don’t keep repeating our mistakes. Its this crazy awesome grown way to be and it’s awesome! It’s just getting there that’s difficult, but if the end result is passionate make up sex and a newfound sense of closeness… well then I think it’s safe to say that those exhausting several hour long arguments are completely and totally worth it.

Now I just want to get to the place where those arguments are fewer and father between and that is a learning curve I’m very comfortable with.

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