Dichotomy and Compartmentalization

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.

14 thoughts on “Dichotomy and Compartmentalization

  1. Relationship Mr.Yesterday sounds like every man I have ever dated! I don’t understand why they run away in fear, as opposed to just saying, ‘whoa there girl, lets slow this down a little…’ Its not as if we’d say no and demand an engagement ring on the spot!

    Just remember that you are more than good enough for the right one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Communication, it’s imperative. And it is what it is. Now to finish laying Relationship Mr. Yesterday to rest so I can fully move forward.

      I know I’m good enough, I just think men are kind of stupid, even the really smart ones. I might need to work on that.


  2. I think it’s great you can still salvage a relationship with your ex so congrats to that! But he sounds like too many men before him…letting doubts build up rather than talking about them and actually giving us chance to fix the issues! I do believe the right man won’t do this however…it’s just finding him! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And men think women are complicated. I wonder if there’s one out there who says exactly what is on his mind and understands what it takes to make a relationship work…namely, voicing concerns and seeing if they can actually be resolved.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My God! Reading about your yesterday is so very exactly like my Boy! Even to the telling me there’s nothing wrong with me, but that he can’t really explained why I’m not right. Unlike you, though, I’ve never had my exes come back. The Boy is the first, and we’re at friendship level now. I am trying to compartmentalize like you, but I’m not 100% ready to give up on that hope just yet. I feel like I can still hold out the hope, but not act on it… yeah I’m probably lying to myself, but I’ve never felt so strongly about anybody before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel that strongly, too, but I knew that I couldn’t remain in limbo. I knew the answer would be given, and then I would know what to do.

      I told you I saw Mr. Yesterday in The Boy. I knew I’d located someone who understands why he’s in my life when I read about The Boy.

      But I know I’ll make it through this part and be happy with the friendship part. He’s in my tribe, and my tribe is very small. It will take me longer to compartmentalize with this one. Normally, I can easily flip a switch and have myself well on the way to recovery. With Mr. Yesterday, I am going to have to work incredibly hard to cut him loose. Or..that part of him loose, rather.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good luck to you. I usually cut them out, but never let them back. I’d cut the Boy out and he came back. Wanting to be friends, but we still argue about certain things from the past, and his willingness to work with me makes me think there’s more to it for him… maybe that he’s not even aware of yet. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking. But there’s a reason why he’s been put in my life. I just need to figure it out. Before it drives me insane!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I pinky promised Yesterday that I will never bring up the past again. Because of what I said in my blog. I know what happened now, and once I process fully, in my mind, it will be as if we never were romantically involved to begin with. He and I will start where we picked back up.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve spent my whole life compartmentalizing. I’m more prone to do that than face emotions and deal with them head on. I have a tendency to mostly just push emotions aside and use logic and reasoning. I’m trying to be more human (as my friend encouraged me to be), but in this instance, this is the best route to take. I can admit my anger and sadness and disappointment, but I can also see him as two distinct people, direct the emotions at the past, and be okay with who he is for me today.

        Sounds crazy, but it’s just the way my mind works…the way my heart works.

        Liked by 1 person

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