“Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give upon matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now Rose, and never let go of that promise”–Jack
“I promise”–Rose says as she lets go of his hand
It all just kind of hit me this morning that the relationships with all the men in my life are like the people wearing life jackets, bobbing in the freezing water in the movie “Titanic”. They are all waiting for someone to come rescue them. Unless somebody “does something”, all these people (my relationships) will die. What if I “did nothing“??
Now of course, those people should’ve been saved, but I am speaking metaphorically. Imagine each person bobbing in that icy water is a man I’ve either had a serious or brief relationship with, or those who boomerang back and forth, never staying long, and don’t forget those who never actually made the effort to take me out on a first date. My phone is filled with men who are all basically not interested in me enough to text me on any regular sort of basis. Only one truly cares about what is going on in my life, but not enough to write me and ask about my life, he’s willing to listen and respond if I write first however. And when our Words with Friends game ended, he didn’t even “rematch” to begin a new game with me. Oh sure, if I hit rematch, he will play me, but again, not initiate.
And I got to thinking about the analogy of the bobbing heads because tonight is another night off with no date. I would really like to go out tonight and have zero men clamoring for my company. Oh sure, let me be clear, many would like to “Netflix and chill” but I’m not interested in that. Last week’s date cancelled at the last minute claiming a “migraine”. The old me would probably text, “Are you feeling up to meeting tonight?” Something pathetic and needy.
Having nothing to do on my night off triggers my anxious-attachment style. I need to know where I stand with the people in my life that I care about, and any kind of uncertainty as to “do you still love me/want me?” makes me incredibly unsettled. I cannot sit in that gray area for very long and if I have to, I will poke, prod, tap-tap-tap, annoy, beg, plead, argue, even double-triple-quadruple-quintuple text, negotiate, roll over and play dead, whatever I have to to get that person to make a decision or let me know where I stand in their heart and life. But here’s the kicker–I wasn’t even aware I have been doing this until I decided to “do nothing.” I’ll sit and scroll through the four dating apps I’m on and realize those I’ve previously right-swiped are bobbing in the freezing water with all the others. Just waiting for me to keep the conversation going. If I’m not doing all the work, they just keep bobbing.
So today I made a decision to just STOP. I am doing something completely foreign to me, and it’s called “doing nothing”. I am declaring to the world that as of this moment, I vow to continue to “do nothing” to keep all these relationships from drowning. I shouldn’t have to beg anyone to pay attention to me, and the truth is, I just keep reliving my insecure-anxious attachment style by pursuing avoidant men. Yes, I’m in therapy and we talk about this all the time. I am aware of what I do and why I do it, and change is hard. I’ve been this way a really, really long time and change is incremental.
This “do nothing” decision came totally organically to me this morning upon realizing that the most important of all these bobbing heads isn’t able or willing to climb up on that creaky piece of wood and grab my hand. He’d rather bob in the freezing water longer. Like Rose, I have to let him go. I have to let them all go. If any of them want me, they will do something to change the circumstance of the holding pattern in our relationship. I have always said, “I’m not that picky–whoever makes the most effort is the guy that gets me” but none has even tried half-percent.
And don’t get me started about letting men do the “chasing”. I could write a book on that. And it’s not that I want to be “chased”, I just really want to MATTER to someone. More than someone to have sex with, someone who cares about the kind of day I’ve had. “How was work? How was your drive in this morning? Did you get lunch? How’s that paper you’re writing coming along? Did you make time to get your nails done today?” We all know how that feels. THAT’S what I’m looking for. I have my cat to “Netflix and chill” with. I don’t need a man to watch TV. I need someone who gives a shit about me in between the sheets. It’s not quantity of texts (which would be a nice improvement!) but the quality.
So starting today, I will not text any of them to try to get reassurance they are still interested. I will not let myself sink into despair when my night off comes and goes and I’m still sitting home. I deserve more than crumbs; I deserve the whole cookie.
I’ll “do nothing” to revive these bobbing relationships. I will not extend my hand to them one more time. By doing nothing, I’m communicating that I want more. I am honoring myself by refusing to beg for anyone’s attention. By “doing nothing”, I am actually doing something quite profound. I am choosing ME. I “promise” I’ll survive, that I won’t give up, no matter how hopeless it feels.
One thought on “When “doing nothing” is actually “doing something””
In a swipe right – swipe left dating kinda world where there seems to be more of a focus on here and now gratification than building anything meaningful and long term, the male heads you have bobbing around you there have probably pigeonholed you as too much effort when they only want to dip their wick before chilling with Netflix! You may do much better engaging with folk in face-to-face interest groups and seeing if anything organically grows between you and folk who actually have at least one similar interest.
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