7/29/79 - Went to a party last night at the adjoining apartment. I rent half the downstairs of an old house. These folks live in the other half. They had also invited a number of other university students, mostly a few years younger than I. It was interesting and fun. I tried to get out of myself a little bit and spoke to a few people there. Sat down next to and started a conversation with a girl named Regina. Shared a joint with a couple of people.
Yesterday and today were very hot, and I do not have air conditioning in my place. I'm dealing with the situation alright with an electric fan and frequent cool baths.
7/31/79 - Betty had Keith move in with her over the weekend. I found this development very upsetting and felt betrayed. By late yesterday evening I realized I was not ready to put up with it and try to retain any kind of emotional investment in Betty. I called her and angrily broke things off entirely. I felt I had already been rather thoroughly rejected. She said she just wanted to see if it would work with Keith and that if it turned out that it definitely would not, then she would be ready for an exclusive relationship with me again. I found I was unwilling to stay committed to her under these circumstances. I was just reacting out of intense hurt. Now that it is definitely over, for both of us, I am still going through great pain. I keep going over in my mind everything that has transpired and how it has come to this conclusion. At the moment I feel defeated, a failure, both physically and emotionally exhausted.
Later. After a sleepless night, I called Betty this morning and apologized for an angry outburst last night. I added that from now on I would not be communicating with her in any form until when or if she would get in touch and indicate she wanted to resume contact with me. I said I'd been thinking a lot about the course of our relationship and felt now that when we met we had been at two different places. I was insecure and scared but tentatively wanted a loving, committed relationship, that I felt ready to fully plunge into such an involvement if it would work out well initially, yet I was not confident enough to avoid being overly defensive or upset with things that weren't going right in the early stages. She, on the other hand, while probably more confident about herself in relationships generally, was initially at a point of still rehashing what had gone wrong in her involvement with Keith. While she thought she was ready for, perhaps even too eager for, a new deep attachment to someone else, yet she really was still dwelling on the last one most of the time and either feeling depressed that it was over or wishing it could resume on a better footing. Thus I thought she simply was not emotionally in a position to be involved with someone new after all. This manifested itself in great ambivalence toward me, to which I often overreacted.
The pregnancy of course complicated things further, because it made both of us think seriously about getting married very soon and so exaggerated everything else going on between us. Further muddying the waters were that Betty was financially dependent on Keith and had been for some time, that she was pregnant with his child, that she had significant conflicts about when and how she was going to further her career and educational interests vs. her domestic concerns, wanting to be with her new baby at home after it was born, having three other kids whom she felt needed a good father, feeling she couldn't tell her parents, friends, or children about her pregnancy till after she were married, and, perhaps most important, that she was still in a stage, following divorce from her first marriage, of feeling a lot of fear of getting "hitched" again, coupled with a lot of satisfaction with the relative independence of living on her own (no one to be accountable to or have to compromise with or explain things to or put up with, etc.) and with generally taking care of things herself capably and competently since her divorce.
I told Betty I felt even, without her pregnancy, the fact that we were in very different phases of readiness for a new, close relationship would probably have made things difficult for us. But, with that factor and all the others, it now seemed inevitable things would not have worked out well between us. However, I said, I felt that we should not blame ourselves or each other for how things went or assume that this would be the only way we could ever relate to each other.
Still later. Now that I have it all well and rationally "analyzed," it would probably be well if I were to frequently reread the preceding. What have yet to be really dealt with, however, are my feelings about what has happened. And there, I'm afraid, I still have troubles ahead. Despite realizing how all this has come about and that Betty's actions do not constitute a personal rejection of me, the results of her behavior, turning to Keith completely, gives me the feeling, rather acutely, of having been abandoned, used, and betrayed. The knowledge that I walked into this situation "with eyes wide open" to the strong possibility of such a turn of events - at least I maintained the relationship, however equivocally, in the last several weeks despite awareness that at any moment things could go sour, and yet stayed heavily invested in it emotionally anyway - does not make me feel in the least better about it! And the resulting depression, hurt, anger, or anxiety I'm going through has been raw enough to keep me from studying, eating, sleeping, or relaxing normally.
Still, there seems no solution for this but time, which passes slowly! But that knowledge does not ease the pain either. Perhaps the best things to do are to accept the pain, really go into it instead of fighting it, wait for my inclinations (to start afresh with other activities) to become natural rather than forcing them, talk to myself about what a good guy I am, just give myself plenty of opportunity to do things like schoolwork if I feel like it, and for awhile accept less than a perfect, all-A average if I do not.
Meanwhile, certain things, like long walks, warm baths, meditation, a movie now and then, reading, or even slowly going through older portions of this journal, are ways I know of becoming a little calmer on a day-to-day, or even an hour-to-hour, basis. And writing it out here seems to help.
Finally, maybe I can work with my counselor on improving self-concept, etc. Important questions: What can I learn from what happened between Betty and me? When I'm ready to change, what can I do differently, so this won't happen again, with her or anyone else?
There is also the possibility to consider that Betty and I really might never be happy together, that our personalities or our styles simply clash too much. Thus, with no fault in either of us personally, it just may be a lot better for each of us to seek companionship and love with someone else.
I've called up a friend I haven't seen for months. We're going to get a sandwich after getting off work tonight. (Hooray for me!)
One difficulty I have with personal growth is the feeling of not knowing where to begin. The "project" seems so enormous I don't focus on any one or two things and am intimidated by the scope of what needs to be accomplished.
My visit tonight with Bill helped a lot. Among other things, he pointed out that I was probably better off without Betty, that it sounded as though the only thing guaranteed in a relationship with her was that I would be manipulated, taken advantage of, and badly hurt. So, why hang onto it? There are lots more "fish in the sea."
His comments echo those of my friends in Raleigh last May who warned me then it sounded like I was just asking to get hurt. They questioned Betty's motives, adding that, knowing me, they were prejudiced, but that it seemed if I were in pain already as much as I seemed to be, Betty must be playing games or something and I probably should be very cautious.
My brother Ralph and his wife said much the same thing, that I am such a nice, well intentioned, open person that it seemed to them if I am having so much difficulty with Betty it must be at least half her fault and I would do better to find myself someone with whom life could be more joyful. Ms. Carter too, of course, seemed to share their view, at least somewhat, and pointed out that I might be letting Betty walk all over me and that she, in turn, might be just using me, that I would tend to feel guilty, that I were at fault, and so go along with almost anything she wanted, even if she did not have anything close to my genuine best interest in mind. Thus she felt I was sticking my neck out and just asking to have it cut off; further, that I could probably find someone with whom I'd be happier. Well, I guess it's finally time I listened to my friends and advisors!
11:30 PM. It's been a fruitful day! I made my peace with Betty (and with myself about Betty). I resumed concentrated work on my studies. I arranged a good visit with a nurturing friend of mine. I went to class and work and to a movie (a reward for all the fine progress). And I discovered that I am strong enough to take losing Betty and to not be totally bent out of shape over it. Indeed, by late this evening I was singing rousing songs to cheer myself up, and it worked! I even got in some meditation. All this despite no sleep last night. I even found energy and the will for some pleasant conversations and smiles for various folks throughout the day. By God, I'm going to make it! You can't keep a good man down! And I am a good man! I expect there'll be more times when I'm feeling down about Betty, maybe very low indeed, but at least now I know if I try to take good care of myself I can just ride it out, weathering the storm, as the clichés go, and before long be feeling better.
8/1/79 - I got some sleep last night but then woke several hours early and found myself once more dwelling obsessively on the usual things and feeling really hurt. Then, as I realized there was nothing I could do about it, I began to feel rather bitter. I got up and wrote Betty a letter about feeling betrayed.
Yesterday's brief bravado has become today's desperate depression. I tore up the angry letter referred to above. What's the point?
No motivation for studies tonight, though far behind. Feel like curling up somewhere and dying.
Took a warm bath, had some coffee, decided to go see "Rocky II" tonight, read from Learning to Love Again, and began to feel a lot better. Called Irene, but she was not in. I'll try her again after the movie. Haven't talked to her since February. I'm off to the library!
Got several compliments today on my haircut. Good for the ego!
Best to look on the last four months not with regret but as a rich learning experience. And who knows? Four months from now I may be really happily in love with someone I have not so far met.
8/4/79 - I can see now that, regardless of her positive feelings at times for each of us, Keith and myself, Betty will probably be associating us much more with the negative feelings that have predominated for her, for many reasons, throughout the period since she learned she was pregnant. Thus, as soon as possible, she probably will, assuming she does not come to an emotional reconciliation with Keith and marry him before then, feel more than anything else like being free of both of us and starting a new chapter in her life once the baby has been born and she can find a way to get by without either of us. It will have little to do with the feelings she may have had for Keith or myself that had drawn her to us. It will just be that this whole time will come to seem like a storm she has finally come through. Each of us then will seem to her like dark reminders of that harrowing time, when she was clinging to and "juggling" each of us for security, but didn't feel satisfied by the resulting tempestuous or bitter relationships, in the way she needed, and so, when her situation changes enough for her to be free to cast us off completely, she will probably take the first good opportunity to do so, and till then will be reluctant to make any kind of commitment that would keep her from being able to do so when that time comes.
Thus, I should make no promises to her in the interim, even if she does call or come by again, which are not fully reciprocated. This is another reason to not initiate any contacts with her till awhile after the baby is born, even if she doesn't stay with Keith. She may see me now as having only a selfish, "taking" love for her and that to be with me she must always give and seldom if ever receive. I must use any opportunities I am granted to show her that this is not the case, that even if it were before, it is no longer.
With, for many reasons, the prognosis for a good involvement with Betty now so poor, I might just as well get my mourning over with and find new social and interpersonal outlets, and get on, or be prepared to get on, with a life without her, or at least without feeling I must have her to be happy. Actually, I think this process is already well underway. It is helped by the fact that I too have come to associate the whole period of knowing her more with pain than pleasure and so hopefully will only be interested in something new with Betty if this can be reversed. I have serious doubts this will prove possible and so feel that, for all practical purposes, I may as well at last regard our relationship as over. Then if anything does occur later, we may really be able to start more afresh, at least from my point of view.
In the event I do hear from Betty further, I must be leery of becoming the one to bail her out financially, assuming she turns away from Keith, but does not wish us to marry before long and to be with me exclusively in the interim. If her past is prologue, she might even feel she wants us together once more, only to discover her emotions have changed dramatically within at most two or three months.
8/5/79 - Have decided to go to the service at the Unitarian Church this morning, despite the difficulties between Betty, me, and Keith. She and he will probably be going there together, but I feel I'm strong enough to handle it, and I don't want to give up this social resource just because I am hurting.
In my session with Ms. Carter last night, it came out that, even in trying by various efforts to get out of my blue funks and to be happier, I change the rules between, first, deciding to do something and, second, doing it, adding new requirements. Then, instead of relaxing within the original objective and congratulating myself for its accomplishment, I beat myself over the head for "failure" because I didn't totally fulfill the new requirements.
We determined it would better to write down clearly what my aims are before trying out new activities or behaviors and, in fact, then rewriting them to be about half as stringent as at first, worrying only about that final, written objective and not about any subsequent inflated ones. The latter serve no function whatever and just assure unhappiness.