I’m really confused. I’m trying to be really smart about where I am and what I’m doing, but identifying all that and understanding my motives and drivers is difficult. I need to make healthy choices. I need to examine the whys and the expectations I’m setting for myself. I’ve learned a great deal about myself, my illness, my strengths and weaknesses over the past year. Now I need to apply these lessons.
First, a report card. I’m trying to put limitations on my behaviors and actions to better handle the growing mania. So I’ve put together the plan I’ve been talking about. I’ve made it through a day, now I should look at how I did.
First of all, I’m writing. I never really spent time on the weekends working on my blog, but here I am.
Work was a lot better. I was able to set good priorities and map out an efficient way to accomplish everything I had decided I needed to do. It was a productive day without being overwhelming. I was an 11 hour day, and I’ll admit the last hour I didn’t do so well, but I don’t think that had anything to do with being manic or unfocused. I was tired.
I made it through the day without going on the dating site, and didn’t send out all the emails to the different women I’ve been seeing. And it wasn’t because of any resolve; I just wasn’t obsessed with it like I have been. I feel like I just broke the pattern and found better things to think about. Things like taking care of me.
I managed to keep from getting too stressed out and tense physically. I was able to feel when I was starting to tighten up and put myself through the relaxation exercises. I was so much less tired than I usually am by the end of the day.
I only had one drink last night. That’s a big change.
So all in all it was a good day. I feel like I made progress and maybe got a little better handle on my mania. I’m not kidding myself; it was one day. But I was able to maintain my plan and didn’t allow myself to give in to the mood.
So here’s where the confusion comes in.
Separate and apart from dealing with a manic episode, I’m working on relationships. I’ve had a lot of them fail. I am determined to be 100% honest with myself and not make the same mistakes again. Not saying I won’t make mistakes, because I’m sure I will in some form or fashion. I just don’t want history to repeat itself.
Of course I’ve been running around with a lot of different women like some kind of maniac. But part of my plan is to stop that behavior and focus on developing a single healthy relationship. And I’ve been going out with a lady that I really like, and have spent more and more time with. As I said… yes, she knows about all my other dating, and has her own recent experiences. That’s not a problem for either of us. So I’ve been thinking more along the lines of ‘settling down’ and seeing where this goes. It’s very comfortable. She’s extremely affectionate, and that’s something that is very important to me. She’s funny and we laugh a lot. We’re both in about the same place economically and have the same feelings about spending money. This is especially true when it comes to going out or staying in. We agree that we don’t have to spend a ton of money going out all the time, and can have just as much fun staying in. I’ll admit that it’s very early in the game, but there are a lot of positives and some real potential for something long term. But for now, I don’t feel like I’m becoming too attached too quickly, and I’m definitely not infatuated or obsessed by her. Those are mistakes I’ve made in the past. I’m always falling too fast and too deep too quickly. But that’s not what’s going on here. There’s a lot about this that feels really good.
But there are some red flags too.
She’s a dedicated cyclist. The kind that rides 100 miles a week and goes on long biking trips. That in itself isn’t an issue. Whomever I’m with needs to maintain their own interests and do things without me. That’s one of the things that I believe will make a relationship much healthier. It doesn’t matter that I’m not into cycling, or that I’m not even in good enough shape physically to even try. That’s just not an issue. But there is a problem. I detest sharing the road with the big cycle groups. It’s a real hot button for me. I find that cyclist in general is insensitive to the fact that they’re on a road designed for and used by automobiles. They ride three and four abreast and impede traffic. They only follow the rules of the road that they want to, and ignore the others. She may or may not be like this, but it’s a prejudice I have, and it worries me that it could become a conflict. Or something I suppress, which leads to resentment.
The other thing that concerns me is her conversation skills. There are very few really good listeners out there. I’ve been a bad one myself, and have worked really hard to become a better listener and have real conversations. But, like most people, when I’m talking it’s evident that she’s thinking ahead to how it relates to her, and is thinking about what she’s going to say next instead of hearing what I have to say. It’s almost competitive. But that is very common. Am I being unfair to expect any difference from everyone else? Is it something we can talk about and work through? She may not even realize it’s something she’s doing. Most people don’t realize it, and when they do they become more sensitive about it.
There are so many thoughts and emotions rolling around this. On the one hand, I do enjoy her company, and there are a lot of things we have in common. For the most part it feels really good when I’m with her. But the flip side is, there are things that are concerning. Then there’s the biggest question of all… Am I so impatient that I am comfortable just because there’s somebody there? Would I feel the same comfort with just anybody I get along with? Or am I sabotaging myself to keep from really getting involved? Is this just another one of the same mistakes?
As usual, writing things out helps me put things in perspective. I think reading back through what I’ve written gives me a better idea of what I’m feeling, and what I need to do. It’s okay to enjoy being with her, but I shouldn’t put all my eggs in that one basket. I need to slow things down and keep my options open. That means I need to clearly define any expectations with her. No more spending nights together. We don’t have to spend all our free time together. I need to remember that there’s value in spending time being comfortable with myself. Keep things simple and casual. That doesn’t mean I should go back to going after anybody that has a pulse, but I should keep seeing other people. Not excessive, but not focused just on her. I don’t have to be in any hurry. I know I am impatient and really ready to settle down…but not if it’s just for the sake of settling down. Take things one day at a time, and enjoy the experiences along the way.
Maybe I really am learning.