Acknowledging That Lack Of Control

I’ve never been one to want to divulge my age here and I’m not looking to do so now.  Still, I am very much aware of the concept of locus of control.  I do my damnedest to not have an emotional reaction to that which I cannot control, because doing so is just a waste of time and energy.  If it happens to be out of my control, I have to deal with whatever it is and keep moving forward.  Indeed, much of what happens in the world is truly beyond our control.  What I try to do is subdue any adverse emotional response to those things that I can’t control. 

I think this is a fairly simple concept.  For example, when it rains, what good is it going to do if I start whining and complaining that I’m going to get wet if I were to go outside?  The weather is out of my control.  I can’t get mad when it rains, when it happens to be 100+ degrees outside, or when it gets cold enough outside for frost and ice to form on my car’s windshield.  I have to deal with whatever nature decides to throw at me on any given day.  Ideally, I’m not going to get mad because it happens to rain, snow, or if a tsunami develops.

What I can hope to influence is how Serena treats me, because this is something I can kind of control.  If I am kind, sweet, and loving to her, then I can hope that she will return these gestures.  Now, should she treat me like dirt even with all the love and attention I am devoting to her, then I need to either change something about what I’m doing or wonder if this is something that I can change.  I could also just get up and leave the situation.  As poorly as I treated Serena last week, I truly anticipated that she was going to sever all ties with me and move on with her life without me.  I am grateful that she did not do that because I know that she could have, and many would not have faulted her for doing so.                          

As far as my having “inner resources”, I will admit that I have a certain mindset when it comes to how I see life and it is always my intent to do whatever I can to lessen any emotional and psychological discomfort to which I may be subjected.  I have also come to accept that life tends to be a lot less stressful when you stop caring about things.  By caring for Serena as much as I do, I know that I left myself exposed to pain and vulnerability. 

Last week, I ran the risk of losing her.  Last Thursday, we patched things up, said some things to each other that needed to be said, and we righted the ship before I did irreparable damage. 

Serena didn’t have to talk to me the way she did last Thursday.  She didn’t have to talk to me and explore why I was upset.  She didn’t have to care as much as she did.  She could’ve left me behind, but she didn’t.  She felt so strongly about me as a person and as someone she still wanted in her life that she saw past my anger and basically forgave me for my being such an asshole to her. 

For the final time, I questioned her feelings for me.  This is no longer something I need to ask her because she made it abundantly clear. 

Serena loves me (just as I love her and I’ve told her this repeatedly).  I shouldn’t have to ask her if she still does because her actions will continue to show me, so long as I’m treating her the way that I need to and I’m not doing anything dumb to mess things up again.   

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November 21, 2023

What I’m still learning at this advanced age is that we understand interpersonal relationships all wrong, and the first is that we expect too much of our partners. I’ve been through many relationships over the years (an embarrassing number) and Caroline and I had many rough times over the first 9 months. Eventually, we fell into a “groove” and while there are times when she can be impatient, she always shows contrition for what she did.

Which is why we continue to love one another: we hold no grudges towards one another. We’ve each done terrible things to one another, and after reconciling them, we have a tacit agreement not to hold it against one another. Sometimes we look back on it and discuss it, but it is not to make the other person feel badly, but to reconcile what actually happened and understand it better.