[Not] looking out for No. 1

Number One

I received a very special message the other day, by email. You know, one of those random but wonderful emails that friends might send you from time to time, not necessarily a long one, just a word to say “hi” and let you know they are thinking about you, or to relay an important viewpoint on something.

I wasn’t really sure what had sparked it but nonetheless, it had a massive impact in two ways:

Firstly, it gave me a little kick I’ve been needing to get motivated again, workwise. This also led to a temporary bout of depression following review of our annual report and the salaries that my manager and others are on- it made me feel very insignificant in the scheme of things. But to fix that I am working on a plan to make myself [at least feel] less insignificant.

 Secondly, it almost caused me to unexpectedly burst into tears. I say unexpectedly because when you read the content of this part of the message below, you might be a little bewildered by my reaction. Nevertheless that was my reaction.

The message was as follows:

…I would like you to start to think of yourself as number 1. The only number that really counts. Only when you feel like you are number 1, should you consider any sacrifices you make for a numbers 2, 3 and 4…

My quandary is this, and yes I know how ridiculous it sounds but:

I’m not sure I know how.

Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I don’t know what I want in order to be able to put myself first.

Lets take The Crush, for example. Leaving aside the fact that he may have dropped the L-bomb on me last night (I say “may” because he did in such a way that I really wasn’t quite sure if that was what he was saying), the facts are:

We are exclusive –neither of us seeing anyone else or considering seeing anyone else.

Im waiting around for him pretty much all of the time to be available to spend time with me and I have to accept that I will need to continue waiting around until at least the end of the year.

He has advised that his long term plan since moving to this country was to live interstate. He has even gone so far as to go to the preferred state and look for property to buy on the weekends, though he has since said that if he does move, he wont be moving for at least a year and a half. He otherwise has no family ties here other than a daughter who may be returning to her home country in the near future anyway.

He cannot have nor does he wish to even engage the idea of having more children- a factor which I remain undecided about myself.

I have strong feelings for him, perhaps even love him, though Im only too conscious that many of my friends (who have yet to meet him) may already not like him in light of his very obvious absence at gatherings to which he has cancelled on me at the last minute, leaving me to show up alone and leaving my friends to question the intentions of this man.

He seems to like me.

He’s been hurt in the past.

I’ve been hurt in the past.

We are both defensive and extremely cautious when it comes to relationships and I know that I at least, see a double meaning in just about everything he says and does.

Let’s say he does decide to go interstate. Presumably, I’ll have a choice to either stay or go. I don’t really want to go. If I’m honest, there is a little twinge of resentment. It feels like I’m the one having to make all the sacrifices here, while he holds all the cards, pulls all the strings and makes all of the decisions to suit himself. I have to give up what effectively will be a year of my potential “dating” life to wait for him, I have to give up any chance of ever having a child or family of my own, I have to give up my job, and proximity to my family and friends to live in another state if he decides to go and wants me to go with him.

So, on that basis, it’s not surprising that many of my friends say that this reason enough to just let it go and keep looking.

It’s the “what if’s” that really get me:

What if at the end of all this he decides to stay because he wants to be with me and knows I don’t want to go.

What if after a couple more months he realises he wants me enough to justify spending more time with me and thus I don’t have to sit out the “waiting” period.

What if I leave him to try and find someone else and it turns out I can’t have children anyway? What if that then causes any future relationship to dissolve? (Would M have stayed with me if I had tried to have a child but couldn’t?)

What if I walk away now and fail to meet anyone else?

Yes, the truth is I would rather be treated a whole lot better than I have been to date by this man. But I also realise that perhaps the reason he is so cautious is the same reason why I want to see clear dedication and devotion before I am willing to put my heart on the line. Also, while I have been agonising over this whole thing and become frustrated by the lack of time together and how slow things are moving, the silver lining is that in fact, this has allowed me the freedom to continue doing the things that I wanted to do before I settled down with someone new.

So by waiting it out for a little longer does that mean I’m not putting myself first? Or does it mean that I am?

I’m aware that R’s statement was not made solely in respect of my entanglement with The Crush but I suspect it still formed perhaps more than half of the justification for the email.

I have no idea. I don’t know how to put myself first, because I don’t know what I want! And Im afraid that at almost 33, there is not much time left to sort this relationship thing out.

You know, sometimes, some people just need one person to stick by them and put up with their crap. Even if it doesn’t work out, perhaps it will mean he won’t be so hard on the next woman that he meets. But if it doesn’t work out, then I’m not sure where that leaves me.

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