Emotional Baggage

I had a conversation with a friend today who is in a very interesting long distance relationship. Her “other”, we’ll call him Mark, said to her that he’s not visiting because he’s in a bad place emotionally and he doesn’t want to bring his crap into her life. The logic here is both reasonable and flawed.

Sometimes when E and I have both had terrible days, we innately take turns. He’ll call me from work and tell me he’s having a bad time and if I’m having a bad day too, I’ll take the next couple of hours before he gets home to get it together. When he gets home he’ll tell me all about his day and I’ll support him and go out of my way to take care of him even though I’m having a bad day too. Usually, taking care of him, makes us both feel better. And on those days when he calls and I know I won’t be able to pull it together to be supportive of him, I let him know and he pulls it together to support me. And on the days when we both can’t pull it together, we are extra kind to each other and take turns.

The benefit of this system is that we both get a chance to support the other person and to be supported. Of course, in our relationship, E supports me a lot more than I support him because I have many more bad days than he does.

But my point is this, in the beginning of our relationship, when E and I were first learning how to negotiate his few bad days with my plethora of them, he thought he needed to hide them from me. He didn’t want to burden me with his problems when I was already sad and anxious all the time. But by not letting me in, he deprived us of an opportunity to grow closer and me of an opportunity to get out of my own head.

There is only so much time we can spend trying to get ourselves together without damaging our relationships. When we keep our emotional baggage from the people who are important to us we limit the potential of those relationships. We are in relationships in part so that we can support each other through the challenging times. Don’t forget.

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Relatively slow progress on the sock. Because I’m making it up as I go along, I keep making mistakes and having to go back and fix it. I haven’t made progress on anything else either. My knitting is boring. Sorry!

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