Bennett is an intriguing young man. I guess we’re not that young anymore, but it feels weird to call him simply a “man” because… well, he isn’t one. I mean, he’s not a boy, and I don’t like using the word “guy” because there’s no female equivalent, so that leaves only “man”… but that’s not really sufficient.
He’s so… interesting. And I mean that in a purely scientific way, aside from my apparent obsession with him. I want to dissect his brain and see what makes him tick. I just don’t understand him, but I want to. He’s not a sociopath, I know, primarily because he feels enormous amounts of regret and guilt after doing wrong. (For the record, a sociopath is someone who “is indifferent to the needs of others and may manipulate through deceit or intimidation. He or she shows a blatant disregard for what is right and wrong, may have trouble holding down a job, and often fails to pay debts or fulfill parenting or work responsibilities. They are usually loners.”)
He believes that people should be judged by their actions over their intentions. And yet, he still acts in conflict with what he believes would make him a good person in his own eyes. Is he afraid of actually being a good person?
I learned on Wednesday (when I met him to give him my belated holiday present to him) that he loves dating. He likes the game of cat and mouse. He likes the kissing, holding hands, and snuggling, and overall romance of the whole thing. But after things settle down somewhat, he falls into a relationship that tends to be a path of least resistance. He’s subconsciously thought of all of his girlfriends as pets: things to be taken care of and loved, but on his time and his terms. He thinks that may be why we lasted so long as a couple, because that’s all I wanted from him: to be loved and taken care of. (It’s still pretty much all I want, and to be taken seriously when I have something serious to say.)
I got the distinct impression that if I had moved to New York a half year earlier, he would’ve wanted to move into an apartment with me rather than Elvira. He says he misses me. He misses being able to tell me anything and watching anime with me (Elvira’s not hot on anime, apparently) and cuddling and that I gave him space and didn’t ask for much. Or, at least, I didn’t ask for much all the time. I was high maintenance in our relationship (I suspect I am in any serious relationship, friend or lover), but not at every waking moment, which Elvira seems to be.
Elvira recently started training at the FDNY Academy and Bennett’s schedule got worked around so that now he works mostly during the day and she works primarily at night. So, he gets up at 6 AM to be at work at 8 AM…. then he gets off at 8 PM (sucky shift, if I may say) and waits up for Elvira to get home around midnight. Then, she needs/wants quality time with him, which usually includes sex (no surprise there), and he finally gets to sleep around 1:30 or 2 AM. Now, I don’t know about you all, but 4 hours of sleep just isn’t enough for me (or him) to go on, especially more than one or two nights in a row. I asked him why he doesn’t just go to sleep when he gets home at 8 PM and let her wake him up when she gets home. He prizes personal time and if he did that, he wouldn’t have any “alone time” to prize. So, it’s either sleep or “alone time” and it’s not an easy trade-off. That means it’s either wakefulness (from enough sleep) or sanity (from having some time to himself). Yeah, I can see where he’s had trouble.
In any case, he chose sanity. And, for a while, things were going fine, but now he’s started missing work because he’s just too tired to get out of bed. I asked why he doesn’t just tell her he’s tired, and he said that when he does that she gets weepy, her self-esteem plummets through the floor, and he has to do more work to make her realize (at least until the next time) that, yes, he does love her and just because he doesn’t want her right now doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her blah blah blah. Essentially, he’s in a co-dependent relationship. So much so that he acknowledged that she verbally and emotionally abuses him, but “not in any way [he doesn’t] deserve”—um, hello?? Can anyone say “Battered Spouse Syndrome“?
He’s described his feelings as shallow on numerous occasions, including Wednesday. He doesn’t want them to be shallow; he wants to feel the deep love that at least two women in his life (Elvira and me) have expressed they’ve felt for him, but he doesn’t know how or if it’s even possible. He gets seriously angry every once in a while—only once that I know of during the entire time we were dating—but other than that his emotions aren’t of the deep variety, it’s true. He likened his feelings to having a kind of emotional CIPA, which “is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder usually manifested in childhood by a history of unrecognized trauma, indifference to pain stimuli or self-mutilation.” In his case, that would mean that he doesn’t feel emotions like normal people do; he has a lack of emotional sensitivity. He’s fine picking up on the emotions of others, but in himself he’s at a loss.
My new therapist wants me to seriously consider not contacting him any further because my heart still hurts when I think about him. But my dad said something in relation to marriage in general that really struck me as applicable to relationships in general, as well:
If you marry, it will not be because of some well-reasoned and researched choice, it will be because you and a partner are so right, and you know that you are so right, that you are willing to overlook all the imperfections to make something greater than the sum of the parts happen.
I continue to defy what my brain is telling me (that Bennett’s generally bad news) because I believe in what he could be (a good person in his eyes—and mine). When we’re together (physically, I mean: in close proximity), we’re good for each other. We complement each other in a lot of positive ways. All my reasoning and “research” (so to speak) says that my therapist is right: I should just let it go and move on. But, I can’t help but think that Bennett and I could really help each other if we ever end up dating again.
Which, by the way, is highly unlikely. Elvira told his parents that I showed up on his doorstep and now they think I’m more of a psycho ex-girlfriend than before. They believe that Bennett should “be firm with [me]” about our relationship and make sure that I know “it’s really over.” I know it’s over. He lied to me (about something really important, and after I specifically told him that honesty was/is important to me) and I, despite the times I lied to him, have a hard time forgiving that. And without forgiveness, any relationship is bound to be rocky at best.
I know that “we” are done, no more, nada, zip, overwith, finished. I do. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it—or that I have to give up (or give up on) my best friend just to get away from the pain. I refuse to be cowed like that. Despite all that’s happened, Bennett knows me better than anyone. You wouldn’t give up on a sister or brother or parent that easily, would you? For better or worse, Bennett is part of my family, my history—I can’t abandon him. Unless he sits me down and tells me that he won’t be my friend anymore and never wants to hear from me again—which I know he won’t do because he is my friend and does want to hear from me—I refuse to just “let it go.”
Enough of this. I’m tired of defending myself.