There’s no such thing as normal.

“If it wasn’t for you being here, I would have quit my job and moved back home months ago.”

The seemingly normal response to hearing such a declaration would probably be swooning, right? How many women would freeze up in utter panic at these words?

This is me. Raising my hand.

It is not because I doubt Mr. Darcy’s sincerity. Absolutely not. He’s one of the most honest, true, reliable and loving people I have ever had the privilege to know let alone date. But it’s more about ME. How can I be that person? That person who is the one good thing about living here. Be his reason to stay. I suppose you’re going to tell me that thinking that I can’t live up to that isn’t the healthiest response. It’s okay, don’t bother. I’ve already told myself that.

See, I thought I was doing really well. I was feeling like I finally had a handle on my self-esteem. I wasn’t falling apart in self-loathing fits. I wasn’t even wasting as much time on worrying about what everyone on the planet must think of me. I was setting healthy boundaries and getting good at self-care. I HAD MADE PROGRESS. I swear I did! It’s just taken being in a relationship to really shine a spotlight on how far I’ve come. I’m in a healthy relationship with someone who is pretty grounded and self-aware. And now that I’m in that? I don’t feel like I’ve covered enough emotional distance or come far enough. I often feel bad that Mr. Darcy has to ride these waves with me as I try to figure myself out. As I try to tear down my defenses. He never ever makes me feel bad. I make me feel bad.

And as we’ve already established, I’m a champ at that.

Please don’t for a second take this to mean I want anything other than to be in this relationship with Mr. Darcy. I do. I’m just realizing that my coping mechanisms are yet again causing me to shut down. Is completely numbing out a coping mechanism? Lately, with all this planning around him moving in, I feel frozen. I know it’s just the fear and that the fear doesn’t have to win. Like I’ve said, I want to feel. And a lot of the time when I do dig down to the feeling? I cry. Then I close up again and carry on with life, making the next decision.

Every time I date a “nice” guy, I end up falling apart. When I don’t date a guy who is needy & broken, the focus goes on me and I can’t seem to handle the microscope I put myself under. I mean, I’m handling it, just not with as much poise and centeredness as I’d prefer. It’s hard for me to have an audience to my breakdowns. (And yet I blog. Go figure.) Mr. Darcy is patient, kind and supportive. I just worry I will wear him out. I don’t want to be something someone has to endure.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit these things because I want to be tough and together. But the truth is, I falter and waiver, steady and right myself over and over all day long. I am trying to be my most authentic self. I know I won’t always feel this way, that I’m journeying towards something that’s even better than I can imagine. It’s just a rough road getting there.


24 thoughts on “There’s no such thing as normal.

  1. You won’t wear him out, though. That’s what’s so great about him. He knows you, the real you, and he thinks you’re worth sticking around for. And he’s right!

  2. It seems perfectly reasonable to freak out a little, especially if you’re super independent. You were spot on about being with someone grounded shifting perspective onto yourself; I so relate to that. If I’m not focusing on everyone else, it means I have to look at myself, which can be uncomfortable.

    Mr. Darcy sounds like a standup guy. He loves you. Try to be gentler on yourself. You’re more inspiring than you realize. 🙂

  3. I think it’s totally ok that after all you have experienced, you’re a little hesitant to have somebody come so close, let somebody know you that well… but don’t think that you’re wearing him out. I don’t think you are – I think he understands where you’re coming from and he’s trying to tell you that he’s willing to show you that some people are different.

  4. I think you have found someone who doesn’t have to ‘endure’ you. You have found someone who effortlessly meets your needs. I understand that it can be hard to accept and surrender yourself to the fact that someone else had to ‘deal’ with it, but that is what makes love and people amazing. We all strive to find someone who handles, accepts, and helps you deal with your own shit. We all have it, we all need help with it. Keep on keeping on.

  5. Ebb and flow – Some days we have more confidence in ourselves than others. You will be fine and Mr. Darcy seems very supportive and it doesn’t sound as if he has any intentions of going anywhere except where you are.

  6. I think the wonderful thing about being in a really solid relationship is that you love each other for your good graces and your faults. You’re there for each other in your own ways. Mr. Darcy admitted, you keep him grounded in Seattle. And you’ve admitted how happy Mr. Darcy makes you. Together, you make each other better. It’s ok to be weak. It’s ok to show weakness. It’s ok to lean on your mate during times of weakness. That’s the wonderful thing about relationships that work … you’re there for each other in times of celebration and in times of need. And I don’t think Mr. Darcy has shown any indication that he’ll act otherwise.

  7. you have come this far…a huge feat in itself.

    don’t give up (and I secretly believe you won’t…but I had to say it anyway)

    i know it is not about Mr Darcy, but sometimes it helps to remember the good feelings; like when his eyes crinkle up, when he puts his hand on the small of your back, when you cry and he holds you tight, when he makes you laugh…make new tapes.

    hold those thoughts when you go down the -ugh- road, put them in your pocket… 🙂

    he’s not going anywhere.


  8. I have been married to my husband for 5 years and I have not yet worn him out. The greatest thing is that because of his patience, love and support I am able to work on my confidence and happiness. And life just gets better and better. And he keeps being amazed at me – I’m not sure why, but I’ll take him!

  9. i’ve had to deal with similar feelings in my current relationship. does he really love me this much? why? will he suddenly stop loving me?

    i’ve come to realize it’s just easier to accept everything my guy says at face value. well, getting there isn’t easy, especially since i couldn’t take anything my ex said at face value. there was always an ulterior motive, or he said what he said out of guilt, or there was something he wasn’t saying and would suddenly spring on me later out of nowhere.

    i think it’s okay to “fail” occasionally at the self-esteem thing. i’ve also beat myself up for not being “together” and “strong,” for crying over ridiculous things. i grew up being criticized for crying over ridiculous things. but my guy just says, “you’re a girl, girls cry,” not in a negative way but in an accepting way, and hearing that is a HUGE relief. i’m a girl! i’m weepy!

    i think worse than crying is the SHAME of it. crying and trying not to. feeling upset and equating that with being weak. the shame on top of the actual feeling makes things so much worse.

  10. I relate to much of this. I’d offer some “advice,” but I’d just be spewing forth the words of my therapist: don’t feel guilty! you’re worth it! spend times with those feelings!
    And, sure. Great. But I think the best insight I’ve heard, other than those therapy tools, is knowing that this kind of stuff is all part of the process. That, though it feels like a setback or failure, such a moment needs to happen for us to grow. To learn more about ourselves. To feel.

    It *is* a damn rough road, isn’t it? Take comfort in knowing that it’s not a bike you’re pedaling alone, but a bus full of friends who want to share that journey with you.

  11. I understand where you are coming from. I think he has shown you that you will never wear him out, but I don’t think it is about him at all, more about you and your feelings that are kind of a completely separate thing from the two of you together even though it gets squished together because of the similar label of “relationship” and “security”. It is so hard to trust and get to the point of feeling secure but I know you will get there.

    Does this comment make sense at all? I hope you understand what I mean because words are just not coming very quickly for me today.

  12. I take what most guys say at face value as they are usually (I know this is a generalization) bad at being subtle or hinting. Mr. Darcy is there for the duration and that can be one of the scariest things of all. Perhaps some of this is the “pre-moving-in” jitters? Just remember, you have a good life all by yourself. The addition of Mr. Darcy makes it better. Deep breaths!

  13. I’m probably the wrong person to comment on this 🙂 for reasons we both know. But I won’t let that stop me.

    I guess I just want to say that in relationships, we endure each other. I think he’s so great, but I bet you’re enduring a little bit o’ Mr. Darcy stuff. And I think it’s a lot to put on someone – to say YOU ARE THE ONLY REASON I am on this coast. That’s not really a position I would want to be in. I need someone to be content where they are, and then I’ll come along. (Not that he’s not.) But I still think it’s a lot to put on you. I hope he’s continuing to develop and invest himself as solo act in the PNW, even tho he’s part of the world famous duo, now and forever more. That will only make him better, richer, stronger to support and compliment you.

    Here’s the worst part of my comment: I think you are journeying towards good things. Both individually and together. But I’m a believer that the journey is the destination, and that that means more than most people think it does, and I’ve noticed that the problems I struggle with at the beginning of a relationship are the problems I struggle with the whole way through. These issues you’re experiencing might get totally resolved at some point, but my experience tells me otherwise. I think that if we’re lucky we get used to our triggers so they’re not so alarming. We may get to a point – maybe – after years of work – where when we get triggered we can say, “Oh, there’s that thing again wanting me to get all nutty. I recognize that.” But in the mean time, we continue to experience our insecurities and flaws as frightening and shameful just because we’re human. To me, it’s a matter of redefining the goal – are you able to move forward as you experience them, are you able to communicate as a couple through them, are you able to start to recognize what tips them off so you can see them coming? If so, I say: success.

    Here’s the best part of my comment: You get to go through all that with Mr. Darcy. Lucky you. Lucky him.


  14. You know what is interesting to me? It might seem random, but in your last paragraph you used the word “waiver” as opposed to “Waver”. That is a freudian slip, I think, and I quiet finger pointing to the feeling of Safety.

    The more serious you get about this guy, the more you open up yourself and your life to him? The more vulnerable you will feel, and therefore, UNsafe. There doesn;t have to be a valid reason for your feeling, to feel them. Fear is like that. It just lives there, inside of us, waiting to be triggered.(which you yourself mentioned just the other day)

    Waivers are legal statements we have people sign, to wave off risk and chances of serious regret. Unfortunately people do not come with such assurances. We have to accept people for all the delightful chances they bring, and it can be scarey as any parachuting trip or white water rafting you might do– for good or bad. Just give yourself time to adjust to things, and let yourself have time to feel the fear recede. Sometimes asking our partner for a actual verbal assurance of what seems obvious can make all the difference. When I was seriously afraid? I had Spouse tell me out loud, as many times as I needed to, to FEEL it and feel reassured.

  15. My husband said something very similar to me way back when we started dating. It made me feel awesome but at the same time incredibly guilty and fearful. He was staying away from his family…how would they react to that?! What if things didn’t work out? Then would he feel stuck here and resent me?!
    It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. He was on the fence about whether or not to move back home. But meeting me and falling in love…it was the icing on the Washington cake. 13 years and counting…

  16. I’m kinda with LongStoryLonger here: Even though Mr. Darcy was paying you a huge compliment (which you totally deserve), there’s some pressure there too. I mean, ideally he’d love his job and Seattle AND you. But yes, you’re both in this to be an audience for each other’s issues, and it’s a testament to your strength that you’re willing to be vulnerable in front of each other. As for poise and centeredness: WAY overrated.

  17. I could have written this post. One of the hardest things about my relationship is that my boyfriend is so damn practical, together and confident. He doesn’t need me to fix him, and he totally copes with my crazy. It scares me, and I feel like I’m forever pushing him away because I am sure he’s going to bail, that I’m too much for him, that nothing will end well.

    That said, there is something so beautiful and amazing about having someone know all of you, even those secret issues and weird things that are locked inside, and have them still love you. It means letting them stay for you and realizing that it’s an act of love. My boyfriend moved to CA from IL and he stays primarily for me. It scared the shit out of me for a long time, and now, I just trust that it’s worth it for him, just as we are.

    I think you two are so good together—reading your journey has been amazing. I wish you the best as you continue to grow.

  18. He loves you. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that. True story, I was meeting with my career coach and she asked what I had to offer, I told her I didn’t know. She said “Then tell me why The Man loves you.” I told her I didn’t know that either. It was not a stellar moment for my ego. I play tough but I’m not…

    So maybe it’s ok not to have all together. Maybe you can just accept it and not look too deeply into it. Or you can ask him… so why me? (Honestly and truly and nicely) I got some pretty good answers.

  19. As strange as it may sound from the outside, I think that’s a sure sign of a strong relationship between honest and mature people: you can be your true self, and have weak times, and admit that you both have faults you’d rather not have. People talk a lot about love and how you can “love all your partners faults” but I think all that really means is acceptance. For instance, snoring. I can never love snoring. Sorry, I cannot. But I can accept it, because it’s what we do. And all of those other Rather Nots go into that category too. The whole is greater, neuroses and all, right?

  20. I know exactly how you feel. I up and moved my whole life to be with someone I love and it was hard. It still is hard. I left my friends and family behind and I don’t regret my decision one bit, but I never thought about how hard it would be.

    I love Portland, but I didn’t move here for the city. Some days it’s so hard and I break down and cry because I’m sad. That I haven’t adjusted as well as I should have, haven’t made enough friends (although I don’t know what “enough” friends is, but hey, when you beat yourself up you don’t usually focus on details like that, right?) I’m keeping him from his friends. Etc, etc.

    Of course I am pretty sure I’m doing none of those things and hi! I only have like a ton of friends (that were his friends, yes, but they like me) and I’ve only been in school one quarter and I am happy here. It just sucks when you think you are going along just fine and WHAM! you get his with the “I’m not good enough” stick.

    But if it helps, I think you are doing a MARVELOUS job.

  21. Its scary to think that someone loves you enough for who YOU are, the let them change what they’re doing with their lives. Really scary, kind of an awesome responsibility.
    But you know what? He knows you, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s choosing to do it with you. Because he loves You.
    Its like that trite little saying I’ve been reading everywhere lately, true friendship is someone who knows all about your faults and bad parts, and loves you anyway.

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