When I first separated from my ex, I lost my mind about a month later and asked him to come back. Begged him, actually. He stood there stone-faced and said, quite nastily, “ No.”
I was devastated. I was mortified. I was freaking out. It was one of the lowest points of my existence and there had been some pretty low points at that time.
My therapist later said to me, “ Don’t ask a question unless you are prepared for every answer.”
After I got that (the bumps from slamming my head into the wall until I did are probably still visible), I realized that it also applied to sending letters or making phonecalls. I was never a Boy Scout so I learned this late in life:
Yes, be prepared. Be prepared for no answer. Be prepared for a nasty answer. Be prepared for a lie. Be prepared for weirdness. Be prepared for confusion. Be prepared to wish to hell you’d never made the connection.
Whenever I was failing at NC, I would write down all the outcomes my recent failures had garnered. None of them good. None of them ended with us riding off into the sunset together which, when I picked up the phone or the pen or keyboard, was the outcome I was focused on.
My therapist asked me, “ What are you looking for “?
Uh, to feel better? to not have to grieve for the ending of our relationship anymore because it’s BACK ON? to not have to find someone new? to not have to be alone? to not have to look at my crappy childhood? to not have to raise my kids alone? to not feel as bad as I really feel?
And does contacting him do all that for you?
Not really but it keeps me from being alone with me.
So I learned to ask myself a lot of questions both before and after and, most importantly, be prepared for any outcome.
George Costanza once said that he had given up expectations of finding someone and being happy and now that he had no expectations, he was prepared for whatever came along and ironically, he was now happy. “The only hope,” George said, “Is no hope.” :)
I don’t normally get my wisdom from television, but hey, it’s sorta true.
Be prepared for every outcome. Question why you’re doing what you’re doing. Question what you expect versus what you’ve gotten. Have no expectations. To avoid disappointment, hope for nothing.
And most importantly:
Do not ask the question if you’re not prepared for every answer.
And silence, followed by your agony, is an answer.