Friday, July 14, 2017

Choosing myself.

I ended a relationship yesterday. It was a pretty significant one to me. In the beginning it seemed to be the first healthy relationship I had ever been in. We had honest, open communication and I was told to always be my most authentic self, even if it made me uncomfortable. That was new and took some getting used to. As with all relationships there were some growing pains as we learned each others quirks and battle scars.

The last few years have afforded me the opportunity to learn that I am allowed to have needs and voice those needs respectfully. I even get to have a reasonable expectation that those needs will be met, or that some sort of compromise will be found upon discussion. If, after repeated attempts, the other person cannot or will not make any attempts to address those needs, then decisions have to be made. So we found a compromise.

Or so I thought.

We came up with a scenario where I could get my needs met. We agreed on the parameters of what would be acceptable behavior. I thought things would be ok.

I was wrong.

When things went from the "hypothetical situation" to my taking steps to act on it, everything changed. And when I refused to violate another's privacy without their consent, my behavior was seen as being shady. When I wouldn't back down on the matter without discussing it with the other person first, it was considered an unforgivable violation of trust.

I have belonged to another organization for the bulk of the last 17 years that hinges on anonymity. While I am free to give up my own anonymity at any time I choose, I will not give up that of anyone else's without their prior approval. The same goes for my private social circle. We are asked not to out anyone. Ever. I take that very seriously. If I see you at an event, no one will ever hear about it from me. If they want to know if you were there, they should have attended. Asking me to violate a principle I feel so strongly about will never go over well if you continue to push it.

And that's what happened.

A month into the relationship, the cracks had begun to form. I tried everything I could think of to make it work and make it better. A month after that, I was still beating my head against a wall, trying to ignore the fact that things weren't improving and trying to find ways around it. Trying to find a compromise so the relationship could remain, yet I wouldn't feel like I was being stifled. When I was asked to go against a core value and break another's anonymity without their prior consent, well, that was the last straw.

I chose me.

I chose to do what I had to do in order to look myself in the mirror with a clear conscience. I chose to stop putting what I need on the back burner just because pursuing it takes me to unfamiliar territory and that is scary. I chose to end the relationship. I chose me.