Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I need to remember

I've been battling some insecurities this week. I'm feeling pretty inadequate, and I have found myself looking for problems. Honestly, I think it has more to do with work stuff, and I'm letting it spill over into my relationship. I have found myself looking to be unhappy, or for reasons to be disappointed or annoyed with Toyfriend.

It wasn't hard to find: He spent most of his Saturday with other friends (both women) - one hiking, one out for her birthday.

I was bummed. We usually spend Saturdays together. I felt a little left out, and honestly a little inadequate that his one friend can handle a hike like they did, and I can't. But I also know that staying connected to his friends is important to Toyfriend, and it was out of his control that the chance to spend time with these friends fell on the same day.

I also realized something else. Part of the reason Toyfriend wanted to get together with the one lady is he really wants to be a good friend. He wants to be there, particularly for those who he knows don't have anyone else.

The truth is, I like that about Toyfriend. I like that he cares about other people and is willing to put himself out. I also like that he knows himself well enough to know that he doesn't want to turn his back on his friends. If I stand in the way or try to change that, I risk changing something about him that made me fall in love with him in the first place. Which seems counterproductive to the whole happy, healthy relationship thing.

But I was so convinced I should be insulted, I found myself feeling frustrated. Was something wrong with me, that I wasn't upset? Am I just accepting too much because I want to keep him around?

Then I noticed that he felt as bad - if not worse - about missing out on our time together. It meant a lot to him that I understand why he wants to be a good friend, that these women are just friends, and that I was able to talk with him about things that were bothering me. He was happy that I spent what time I could with him over the weekend. He made an effort to spend as much time as he could with me, too.

It was then that I remembered some of the things I've written about Toyfriend that I need to keep in mind.

"I'm also really very lucky to be in this with someone who takes the time to understand where I am coming from, and who will meet me halfway."

Toyfriend is a good guy. He's honest, trustworthy, and he loves me (he's also handsome, nice, smart, funny, and super-fun, but that's a different post). He happens to have female friends because he relates well to women. But he recognizes it can be an issue, and he's open and honest with me, which helps put me at ease and reminds me that I don't need to worry.

That's what I need to remember most.

For those wondering, he does have male friends and does spend time with them. I write about the female friends because I'm talking about my own anxiety and insecurity, and the female friends affect that more.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The just friends line

Can men and women be friends? Harry Burns says no. He says eventually, one (or both) of them will become attracted to the other, and sex will ruin the friendship.

I believe something a little different. I think men and women can be friends... if the sex issue has been resolved. How so? Either they've already been there, done that, and know it won't work - or they mutually friend-zoned each other from the very beginning.

There's a fine line that separates a truly platonic friendship from a budding relationship. That line is different for everyone, and it changes depending on the friends' own relationship status. For example, as a single woman I might have invited a guy friend to be my platonic date at a wedding - but only if he was also single. The way I see it, even if I know that we are just friends, it is disrespectful to the woman in his life to invite him on what seems like a date - whether it is or not.

I suppose I feel strongly about this because of what I went through at the end of my marriage. An emotional affair contributed to our problems, and I would never want to risk doing the same to someone else.

If I'm with a guy, I'm also overly sensitive about women who want to be his friend. I think there's a difference between a woman who genuinely wants to nurture a platonic friendship, and a woman who has more in mind. I think it's pretty easy to tell one from the other - especially for me. This is one time when I would never ignore my gut - it knows best.

Sorting through this baggage has been tough, since Toyfriend is a guy who has mostly female friends. Of course I trust him, but it is tough to explain that I still do not trust some women. It's also tough to explain how something that seems like a trust issue isn't all about trust. Sometimes it's about feeling left out, or insecure.

One thing I have learned since my divorce, and through several failed relationship attempts, is that it's important to communicate those feelings clearly and fairly, without blame or accusations or jumping to conclusions.

The truth is, being open and honest seems to eliminate (or at least mitigate) most problems that come up in a relationship. I have found that, with the right guy, I am better able to navigate this issue.

Toyfriend is a wonderful, honest, trustworthy guy who is a good friend - and his friends happen to be women. In 99% of those cases, there's no issue, and I just need to work through my own feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. In the other 1%, I share my feelings and trust Toyfriend to make my feelings a priority.

I know some people think I'm crazy. Maybe I am. I suppose I "put up" with stuff that many wouldn't. It isn't easy; I struggle with insecurity and worry, and of course I'm scared someone will come along he likes better. But at the end of the day, I remember that can happen any time, any place. If it's meant to work out, it will. If he's meant to meet someone else, he will - no matter what I do.

Surprisingly, there is a ton of comfort in realizing I have absolutely no control. In realizing that, if I'm with the right person, that fine line almost doesn't need to exist.