Juxtaposition of Jealousy and Love
I had coffee with an old friend last night. Actually, it was my ex-boyfriend (or ex-fiancé), the infamous Mij from an earlier post.
A few days earlier, when he e-mailed me asking to meet for coffee, my stomach turned into one giant knot. I had ended our engagement three and a half years earlier and truly broken his heart. I knew that a reunion would be emotionally difficult for both of us, but that in the end, some greater sense of closure might be attained. I wasn’t sure if I had closure yet – I knew being forgiven would make me feel more peace – but even if I had, I owed him closure for the pain I had put him through.
I could not help but worry (as I AM a Loftus) in the days that led up to our appointed meeting time. And I could not help but think about the difficult and troubled times during our relationship’s decline. I thought a lot about why Mij and I were incompatible (see earlier blog entry) and when the “red flags” went up, so to speak.
Jealousy was one of the things about the Mij/Melissa relationship that I felt poisoned it. Whether Mij was right in feeling insecure (since I did end up leaving him – as he feared I might do), I still don’t think jealousy in the degree that it lived in him during our relationship can exist in a healthy union.
I remember I had a male friend whom I will call Ttam. Ttam was not a threatening personality. I had met him while working in a science lab at the University of Guelph and then we had been surprised to meet again at the Faculty of Education in London. He was a nervous, twitchy, friendly, but almost affeminite guy. When we finished teacher’s college, he moved to Brampton (where I lived at the time with Mij) to move back in with his Mom. He got a summer job teaching chemistry at a local catholic school. We spoke on the phone one day about how difficult he was finding it (being burnt out and attempting to pull a program together during the summer for kids who don’t really want to be in school at that time). I remembered that I had a good binder of chemistry resources. I offered them to him. We arranged for him to pick them up once he was done school that day.
Around 4pm, he arrived at the apartment building. He buzzed and I let him up to our 21st storey apartment. He walked into the apartment, I gave him a very brief tour of the apartment to be friendly, then I gave him the binder and he left. His visit’s duration could have not been more than 5 minutes.
When Mij came home and I told him that I had had another guy in the apartment “unsupervised”, he was livid. He told me that that was inappropriate and wrong. I was dumbfounded. Surely I could have friends who were males and I could use my own judgment to decide when situations were inappropriate.
Most of the friends that I made in the GTA during my first year living here were my teacher friends at the school where I worked. In particular, I befriended another male teacher whom I will cleverly call Mattie-O. We were the two new teachers at the school. The pain and struggling of a first year of teaching automatically brings two people together. We became friends for this reason in particular. Also, we both knew the above-mentioned Ttam.
One day, Mattie-O and I decided to go out for lunch – to escape from the drudgery and monotony of work to the local Subway. None of the other teachers were up to coming out that day – usually the “lunch escape” day of choice is Fridays and teachers are creatures of habit as a rule. We entered the local subway, ordered our meals, and sat and chatted as we ate. A multitude of our students came and went. We returned to school.
This time, when Mij heard that I had had lunch with another male friend, he was furious. He went so far as to phone the pastor who was guiding us through our pre-marriage counseling (a woman, actually), and he had her tell me how it was not condonable for a married or soon-to-be married woman to be out alone with another man. It tempted situations that are best unavoided. It was not advisable.
I remember this conversation. For some reason, I remember staring at a receipt for $865 dollars while this conversation happens – my receipt for the summer FSL part 1 course I had just enrolled myself into. I can STILL see that one object while I recall this conversation. I then realized that, not only did I not have the same ideas about marriage as this pastor, but I did not have the same ideas about marriage as Mij. Not only marriage – but a committed, long-term relationship. Selfishly, I would NOT give up the multitude of male friends that I cherished in order to get married. I thought I should not have to. I knew this would be a very unpopular point of view.
I realized that I had ALWAYS thought of myself as growing into a strong, independent and free-spirited woman. I took for granted that I would be successful and happy and loved. But my mother had emphasized and internalized the value of independence in me from a young age. And I suddenly felt myself slipping down a road that is not where I envisioned myself. I did not want to be lead by inertia and then wake up one day not loving and being proud of the woman I had become.
So I ended the relationship. Most of you already know, at least in parts, how that went. I will not re-hash it, as I would have to re-live it more than I already have.
Just before receiving Mij’s e-mail this past Monday, I was just having a “happy moment” in my life. One of those revelations that I truly try to savour, when I realize that all is well in my world. I am so truly blessed and lucky and it suddenly strikes me. Mij’s e-mail startled me. My initial worry was that I did not want to jeapordize my relationship with Kram in any possible way.
So I talked with him about the Mij’s request for coffee and he was completely understanding. He was relaxed and did not in any way question my intentions. At one point I asked, “Does it worry you?”
He looked at me and said, “Should it?”
I said, “No.”
And he shrugged and said, “Okay. Nope, it doesn’t worry me.”
It is one thing to be indifferent and not jealous. But what truly struck a chord with me was last night, just before going to meet Mij. I came out into the kitchen (I was feeling sick to my stomach) where Kram sat reading a textbook. He stood up and walked to me. He took me into his arms and just hugged me tightly and said, “Are you okay?”
This kind of support, I could never have fathomed four years ago. Support for me, in my personal and emotional growth, despite the fact that it means I was about to have coffee with my ex-fiancé, is the kind of incredible blessing that I carry with me in my life right now. To have someone love and trust you so deeply, to have someone care so much about you that they support you even when it must surely make them uncomfortable – that is true love.
I am so lucky to know it.