We all do it. We all have ways of protecting ourselves. My way is a very Vulcan way, at least I fancy it as such. I prefer to close that part of myself off and approach everything from a logical and analytical standpoint. My childhood psychologist called it compartmentalization and told me that while it is effective in some ways, I create more issues down the road. I still revert to it when I encounter situations that I find unpleasant, though.
Psychology defines compartmentalization as a defense mechanism, or a coping strategy, which doesn’t impart a very good connotation. Put simply, it’s how our minds deal with conflicting internal standpoints simultaneously.
How that plays into my life today is as follows. I finally asked Mr. Yesterday to clarify the ending of us. When he told me what happened on his end, I realized the dichotomy of who we were versus who we are now is something I can not overlook, nor can I delude myself into thinking one day it might merge back into what it once was. A part of me was thinking there was a chance down the road, that our paths diverged but still overlapped more than once before converging once again. We talk daily about everything, we have inside jokes and a connection that can’t really be explained. We just are.
But his exact words were, “So to answer your question. I think it was partly because I was freaked out by how quickly everything was going and there was a feeling that wasn’t sitting right with me. There was nothing specific that you said or did. I just went whoa and put the brakes on. Then the unfinished business (the ex) came back up, and yeah…”
And then he added, “I’m sorry I can’t be more specific than that 😦 there isn’t anything about you that’s not lovely.”
Here’s how I interpret that. Like many, many, MANY men, we became too close to soon, and the thought of commitment scared him. That feeling that wasn’t sitting right was when I became the more exuberant one because by then I had bought the fantasy being presented hook, line, and sinker. So he was no longer the one leading, I was an active participant who has a natural tendency to be excitable and jumped ahead of him. And instead of talking to me about it, he just shut it all down and kept going halfheartedly until I gave the soft pitch exit which he gratefully took without offering explanation whatsoever and moved IMMEDIATELY onto his ex. He thinks everything is lovely about me…just not lovely enough to want in a romantical capacity.
The dichotomy is that I know he is meant to be in my life. Sometimes you just know these things. And I absolutely ADORE the friendship we have. However, I’m angry because of the dishonesty and the way I feel misled. I view Relationship Mr. Yesterday and Friendship Mr. Yesterday as two totally different people. That’s the compartmentalization thing I do.
See, he led me to the point I became that excited to begin with. He lied on the first date by saying no one before me in quite a long time had been anything more than checking off a list. I wasn’t in need of checking off, I WAS the list. But he really had feelings that had not been resolved yet, and knowing that would have made me a little more cautious and a little less inclined to become so excited. In that case, I wouldn’t have moved ahead of him in our journey, and he wouldn’t have been scared, and perhaps it would have played out differently.
Plus he never bothered to discuss his emotions with me. He didn’t mention one time the desire to slow down. Instead, he preferred to let it build up without discussing it with me until the point of a complete breakdown. How can one try to maintain a relationship without any communication of your needs? It’s impossible. It’s putting expectations on your partner that they have no real possibility of meeting because they have no idea what those expectations are. Just one mention to me of needing to slow down, especially after I had already voiced my fear of burning too brightly and too quickly which was the perfect opening to tell me his true feelings, could have set everything right as rain once more. I’m pretty good at trying to ensure both people in my couplings are having their needs met. If, you know, I’m aware of them.
But then there’s the other Mr. Yesterday. The one that offers me advice and spends all day talking to me and cares about my thoughts and is completely in sync with me. And THAT Mr. Yesterday is the one I have now and is the one I want to keep. So… I accept the dichotomy and begin my compartmentalization process where I separate the two as completely different entities and lay to rest the one who hurt me so I can enjoy my existence with the one who has not.
Luckily, the way compartmentalization works for me is that once I lay the past Mr. Yesterday to rest, it will be as if he never existed. I’ll view our friendship as one that was always platonic. And any mention by him in the future after I am all sorted out again of trying to rekindle anything will be met unfavorably. That’s the only downside. Every ex I’ve ever had has tried to come back, but it’s never until after I’ve killed off any semblance of romantic love I’ve ever held for them. It’s as if they all decided after some exploration that they made a huge mistake that they want to rectify, and I’m easily angered when that happens. It takes a lot to dissect the relationship and surgically remove every bit of their vestige from my heart, so once I finally complete that with Mr. Yesterday, I’m sincerely hoping he is okay with what we are at that point. Once I’ve worked that hard to move past someone, the techniques I used and my substantial ego ensures I will be angry that I wasn’t good enough once I was captured and suddenly I’m good enough once I’ve invested all of that effort to move past them. I view them as selfish and childish, and that’s just not a good thing.
So that beautiful dream is ended, and I’m fully awake now. I’m brewing coffee and wiping the sleep from my eyes and preparing to move forward as I allow the dream to become more and more murky and abstract while I move further and further away from it. I have already learned many lessons from this experience, and I’m bound to learn more as I process each microscopic bit and catalog it before setting it onto a shelf in the dark recesses of the past.
It’s a new day, and I am facing the sun.