Last Saturday afternoon, Erica sent me the following email.
You said if there was anything that I could ask you that might soothe my soul to any degree that I could ask. So, I would like to ask you something. And please understand that I’m not upset with you and don’t wish you ill will at all and I promise I won’t be upset no matter what your answer is. But your answer might help me to understand what is wrong with me and what I need to work on in order to be a better person more worthy of being loved. Can you let me know all the things about me that make me not worth fighting for? And all the things that make me not worth being loved? I mean, I DO understand that because of Jesus and because I am His child, that that automatically makes me worthy of love and that I AM loved by Him. But if you could let me know, in your opinion, what makes me unworthy of being in a loving relationship with a man, it would help me so I can hand those things over to God so He can work in me and make me a better person. Or, maybe what is hard to love about me? What do I need to allow God to change in me so I’m not so difficult to be with or to love? Maybe that one makes more sense? I don’t know. I appreciate any insight you would be willing to offer me. Thank you!”
To which I responded:
It pains me that you would think such things about yourself. I’ll respond to it as best I can, though I can only speak to my own personal experience with you. I don’t feel that you did anything wrong; the blame lies entirely on me. I didn’t ‘fight’ for you after that original email because of my own personal history. I don’t know how well you’ll be able to empathize with the following because our experiences are so vastly different, but throughout my teens and early twenties, I spent a significant amount of mental and emotional effort trying to win the hearts of various women who just weren’t interested in me. Consequently, when a woman conveys that she doesn’t want to be with me, I back off. Like I said, trying to win their affections was just too draining. When I read your initial email, some of its content, which I’d rather not rehash since we’ve already discussed it, triggered me to detach.
During our conversation a week ago, a huge part of me wanted to ‘fight’ for you, and by that I mean plead to give me another chance and vow to do right by you. I don’t know if that’s what you’d call fighting, but that’s how I interpret it. I relented in part because I worried you might regard such supplications as insincere, stemming from fear or guilt rather than authentic affection. The other part was worried even if you were willing to give us another go, I’d ultimately fail you again, just in a different way. For instance, you talked about how you now think you should be with a feeler like yourself (and your dad) rather than a thinker like me (and your mom). I honestly don’t think that part of me will ever change, and I’ll probably always disappoint you in that regard. You also talked about how you’d want both you and your groom to be overjoyed on your wedding day and that you’d resent me for the rest of your life if we got married and I wasn’t. I know you’re also an introvert, but I think I’m maybe two or three standard deviations deeper into that side of the spectrum than your are. I certainly would be happy to marry you, but realistically, I won’t be able to match your expression of joyfulness (not your joyfulness, the expression of it-I’m very even keeled, remember), and as the event goes on, maintaining my enthusiasm (for the occasion, not the marriage to follow) would become less effortless. I don’t know if you’d be able to tell the difference between my being happy and my acting happy, but I suspect just knowing I was acting, no matter how convincingly, would bother you. That’s impression I got, at least. My RBF probably wouldn’t help, either. I’m probably always going to be introverted like this, and I certainly can’t promise that I’ll change. I definitely don’t want to disappoint you in that regard if it’ll cause you to resent me forever.
Again, these aren’t your failings, they’re mine. I’m miserable with remorse, and I don’t know what to do other than wait. For what, I have no idea, but there’s little other option available to me. I honestly thought I’d be better at coping with this than I am. Apparently, overestimating my abilities is something I need to work on. You did nothing wrong. I can’t emphasize that enough. I wish I could do something for you. For what it’s worth, I still pray for you every morning. I ask God to heal your hurt and grant you peace in knowing that He has a satisfying, fulfilling future for you. Maybe that sounds hollow coming from me, but it’s the truth.
With warm affection,
A few hours later, she called me on the phone, she couldn’t talk, but she wanted to talk Sunday. Twenty-four hours later, I call her, and she expresses that those statements she made about how she should probably be with a feeler and how she’d resent me if I wasn’t overjoyed on our hypothetical wedding day were just self protection, trying to convince herself that we wouldn’t have worked so as not to feel bad. We talked for another several hours, and I’m surprised we didn’t get back together, to be honest. Maybe I would have otherwise asked, but she said that we should wait to reforge our emotional attachments until the day we could date more conventionally (i.e., not long distance) and try to maintain a friendship in the meantime. I agreed, and I suggested we could talk next weekend if she wanted, and our conversation ended for the evening. Our previous conversation lasted for 6 hours, so she wasn’t convinced we are entirely over, and neither am I.
Wednesday comes, I send her a text, checking in and asking her how her week has been. All I got in return was radio silence. I wonder if the fact that Valentine’s Day was on Thursday has caused her to be silent. A month ago, she had made plans to fly to Georgia and spend the week with me, so she would have spent last week with me had we not broken up, another reason she might not want to talk to me. Still, I wonder. When people break up saying they should just be friends, that’s so seldom what happens. Usually, it’s only stated for politeness, as there’s no kind way to say “even though I think you’re a good person, I’d rather not maintain contact with you.” My birthday is in a month, and when she said she wanted to keep in touch, I told her that was the perfect excuse for us to talk. I guess if I don’t here from her then, I’ll have my answer.