I suppose it's a measure of my recovery that I am able to disregard others' insight when it is patently off-base.
Though the (very revealing) incidents about which I wrote yesterday --if taken in isolation-- may otherwise lead one to believe I was a doormat for S, just begging her to take me for granted, it is just not true.
Close friends know that I am absolutely committed to the ideal of gender equality. This concept -- though sounding like a bumper sticker or even the title of a sociology term paper -- dovetails nicely with my Baha'i faith; it is nonetheless mine. In both the happiest and darkest moments, even S would have grudgingly admitted that there was nothing in my commitment to our relationship that was not centered on fairness. I insist on that unattainable ideal of 50/50, and always have. If I am entitled to something, so is she. Again, though: it is an ideal. I am also a realist; it is conscientiously endeavoring for that ideal that makes deeper the relationship. Nothing is perfect...
I recall her getting insanely jealous of a friendly relationship I had with a girl back on the west coast, and my dogged insistence that it was no different than any of the similar relationships she had with men. (She was both a tomboy and Marine.) There were certainly times when I refused to budge; this is but one example. But that's the bloody point.
God, it sounds trite... but it is nonetheless true. For me. Every relationship is based on sacrifice, compromise and trust.
The catalyst for our destruction was that October day, when I was many states removed on temporary assignment. She called, and meekly asked, and I expressed my reluctance. A friend from work staying over? My heart sank. I told her as much.
But I also said --in the end-- "okay." Because I trusted. And, more importantly, because were the situations reversed, I would have wanted the same.
It just turns out that my trust was misplaced.
My relationship with S was not one deserved. It was earned. As was hers with me.
If you have a relationship deep and mature and fulfilling, you have become abjectly vulnerable to the other person. Naked to the soul. They see you at your worst -- your absolute worst -- and love you any way. You have no defenses, because you've given your self. It's up to the person in whose hands you've placed your heart to care for it properly.
Mine dropped it. And not because I hadn't put some goddamned leash on her.