The most peculiar breakup I’ve ever had happened over the phone. He called, and told me he could not continue with the relationship. I admitted I was surprised because as far as I knew, we weren’t in a relationship.
It’s often really hard to get people to talk about how they want things to work. I hate having to infer. I really like it when people can be clear about what they want to do, and how they want to do it and what sort of relationship they think we have.
People can ascribe such radically different interpretations to the same experiences. There are some people who will assume that if you have sex with them, that means you are in a romantic and exclusive relationship. There are also people who won’t assume that at all. It’s not just about romance, this. It’s about how we do any kind of relationships between people.
I have been surprised on a few occasions by how other people thought about friendship. People I thought I was closer to than I turned out to be. I was once dumped via email by a person who said she couldn’t invest any more energy in our friendship. That was odd because I barely knew her but had done a few things to help her out when she’d asked for help.
People have all sorts of interesting expectations – about what’s normal, or what should be forgiven. I’ve got into states of confusion with a few people along the way because we had differing ideas about what might be fair, or appropriate. The people I am most caught out by are the ones who expect a great deal from me but don’t hold themselves to the same standards. The kind of people who can ignore me for weeks and then get cross with me if I don’t respond to them within a couple of hours.
People are mystifying, sometimes. I know I must make as little sense to the people I’ve described as they did to me. Befuddlement seems to be a frequent feature of human interactions. I think the most important thing is to be able to talk about it. Wanting to understand helps a lot. Caring enough to find out what’s going on for the other person can be a game changer. Or letting them go if you find you don’t care enough to figure out what’s happening.
Did I miss a memo? Are there rules that are obvious to everyone else but invisible to me? Or are we just mostly crazy things, bouncing about in our meat sacks with really no idea how anything, or anyone else functions?