Self Reliance

You fight for the relationship.

You fight against people who say it’s not going to work out. You fight against your own fears and doubts. You fight against all of your past relationships – all of them failed and whispering in your ear that this relationship, too, is doomed.

You fight even with your partner, and when that happens you try to keep a level voice and lay out your perspective as succinctly as possible. You tell him that you need him to be around more, that you need to feel like you’ve established a firm basis for a family, that you need support, stability and assurance. He tells you that he’ll give it to you, sure, everything you need. Just not now. Tomorrow. Next week. After his mom comes back from Florida. He swears that he wants things to work out between you two; all he needs is time to give you what you need.

You believe him and wait till tomorrow. Then till next week. Then until his mom returns from Florida. Despite your willingness to communicate and his proclivity to make promises, he doesn’t come around more, and he doesn’t make you feel as though the two of you have established a firm basis for a family, and he doesn’t provide the support, stability or assurance that you need. Yet you continue to believe his promises and deny there’s anything wrong. You offer excuses on his behalf and defend him from your parents’ and friends’ critical barbs. You deny any doubts and suspicions concerning his sincerity or lack thereof.

Tomorrow turns into next week turns into another trip his mom takes to Florida turns into four years and a baby on the way. Through the eyes of a mother-to-be, you see things you’d previously blinded yourself from seeing: his inability to pull through, to keep promises, and to be reliable. You remember all of the tears shed and frustrations mounted on the head of a failed promise, and you swear to yourself that your child will never know these things. Not from his father.

Suddenly, it’s happened, and you don’t care to know how or believe why: Where once there was a need for him to fulfill, there is now only self-reliance.

You’ve forgotten that you’d ever needed him to begin with, or that he had ever promised anything, or that there was an alternate future that did not include your break-up. He is not considered necessary, and this is what matters: Without him, you still have everything you need.

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