Planning an Escape Route

I realized this week one of the things that I’ve been doing wrong in my relationship. I’m sure there are lots, really, but this is one thing that has been on my mind as CBG and I have struggled through what felt like more than our share of challenging moments during our family vacation.

Always, in my mind, there is an escape route.

Even after over two and a half years together, I am having trouble trusting in what he and I have together. I could list off reasons for it: the fact that we’re in a long distance relationship with no end in sight; the fact that my spectacular failure of a marriage has deeply shaken my faith in lasting relationships; blah blah blah.

Truth is, I’m scared.

I’m scared of feeling trapped.

I’m scared of feeling like I’ve wasted my life.

I’m scared of being hurt.

I’m scared of hurting other people – my girls, CBG, his kids, his family.

I’m scared of the effort and energy that’s going to be required to continue to sustain this relationship and all it entails.

There are just so many things to be afraid of. Always. Still. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always the best at handling my fears.

And so, my way of “handling” it is to have an escape route plan. When things get tough (like they did on vacation last week) I plan my exit. Quietly, in my head. I mull it over. I focus on the positives of taking off. Ending it. “Escaping”. I think about how much less exhausting it would be to not have to do all of this traveling. I think about how good it would be to just focus all my time, attention, love and energy on my girls and nothing else. I contemplate the possibilities that not being in a relationship would open up to me. I think about how easy it would be, to never have to accomodate someone else, never have to compromise, never have to think about someone else and their wants, needs, and weaknesses.

Somewhere, in my back of my mind, this relationship still feels like an option, rather than a conscious decision.

And I know that’s bullshit.

Sure, this relationship is challenging on so many levels. But I honestly believe that it’s through life’s challenges that we grow and learn the most.

But only if make the choice to do so.

I know what I need to do – I need to put away the escape plan. I need to accept the fact that this relationship, like all relationships, is going to have its up and downs. That doesn’t mean that we’re doomed or that I should cut my losses and run. It means that sometimes I need to dig deep. It means that I need to accept what we have – imperfections and all. It means that I need to count my blessings and appreciate the (many) good parts.

It means that I need to let go of the fear….which has been a part of my life for a whole lot longer than CBG has been. It will be a process and take some time, but if anyone is worth the effort, it’s him.

10 Responses

  1. This is very interesting to hear you put it this way. I too have played that game in my head, but it’s always with the thought ” once BLT figures out he can do better and he leaves…”

    Kind of like a way to ensure myself I could handle it.

    • I hear ya. Either way, it’s like disaster preparedness planning. But what I’m coming to realize is that if we expect bad things to happen, then they will…one way or another. Quite often it’s because we either subconsciously make it happen, or because we’re so focused on the negatives that we can’t see the positives…

  2. You need to be ‘all in’ is what I read this to say. Commit to it fully. You can handle this, you are both strong enough, and it will be worth it. If it wasn’t, you would have been long since gone.

  3. Yep, me too. I did that in my relationship with Soldier too. It is difficult to trust when you vowed, “to death do us part” and it didn’t work. At all.

    And it IS hard. And yes, all relationships have their ups and downs and this relationship’s ups and downs are going to look different than the last one. There are times when Jack and I have issues that my ex and I didn’t have and my mind says, “there must be something wrong with HIM because I’ve never had this problem before…”

    Yes, our brains plan a way out when things get difficult. This is perfectly normal and a means of self-protection. Then there are times that leave you breathlessly in love and you realize that fear can go SUCK IT!


    • You make a good point, T…even when things are difficult with CBG and I, they’re a different kind of difficult than it was with the ex and I. Every relationship is different. The reasons why things didn’t work with my ex and I aren’t issues at all in my current relationship. So just because things didn’t work out then doesn’t mean they’re not going to work out now.

      The thing is? It’s easy to say that now when things are easy and feel great…a little tougher to remember when the challenges are thrown our way. But I’ll get there. WE will get there. 🙂

  4. When I was in my last relationship, I always had one foot out the door (okay, honestly, I usually had one and a half feet out the door!) A friend of mine suggested that I commit to absolutely staying in – ALL the way in, no longer giving myself the option of escape – for one year from that date. At the end of the year I could re-evaluate and make an informed decision about whether I wanted in or out.

    I gulped hard and took the challenge. I put the date on my calendar for one year from then and did my level best to get ALL the way in. It was at that point that I realized I REALLY didn’t want to be in that relationship. Making the commitment to stay for a year really highlighted what a bad match it was for me. I’m grateful that I figured out that it really wasn’t it because it gave me the courage to finally get all the way OUT, rather than hanging around being half-miserable the whole time.

    I think making that “absolutely all in” commitment can show us whether it’s really right or really not.

  5. […] friend Jobo‘s comment on yesterday’s post about being “all in” has really got me […]

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