Confronting Confusion

“How come {this person} thinks you want to have kids, and I think you don’t?”

“Don’t get it twisted.”

“I don’t think I’m getting anything twisted here. I can only assume that means you don’t want to have kids with me. It seems like having kids with me is just more responsibility than you want to take on.”

“When do you really think you’re going to have time for kids with everything else you want to do? How do you think having a kid while you’re in a phd program is supposed to work?”

“That IS me. That is who I am. That is MY life. My dreams and goals. So, like I said, it seems like you don’t want to have kids with ME.”

There was silence until she changed the subject to gossip about someone else. This was never resolved, but became a revolving conversation over the next two weeks. Where my words were twisted against me. 

“You said you want to have kids, but never that you wanted to have kids with me.” She said. 

Confused. “Who else would I be talking about? You’re my partner. Do I need to make that explicitly clear to you?”
“You act like it’s just something you want for your life.”

“It is. All of these things are my dreams. Unfortunately, I can only make a certain amount of them come true on my own. The others require a partner who wants the same things.”

I never could figure out who was pushing who away. It seemed like we had the same ideals and goals. It seemed like we wanted the same things. Sometimes the words we chose matched up. But whenever I asked for commitment to those words, or wanted to devise a plan of action-I was met with pure resistance. 

I played small. I felt defective. I believed that I was going to have to choose between my professional goals and my personal goals. 

I know life isn’t fair. But that behavior is simply unacceptable. Because I do want it all. I deserve it all. 

What is the truth here? I’m not sure. 

Ultimately, I chose to go in the direction of the dreams that I knew I could obtain. Not without their own fair struggle though. 

I chose the profession. I felt guilty about it. I felt like I gave up the opportunity to have a family. I was scared that I chose work over relationship. I was scared that I chose career over love. I even believed this for a while. I believed she was right. That I had to choose. 

In real love-those are not choices we actually have to make. In real love-two people can be honest with each other about their fears. 
Eventually, she said, “I don’t want to say I want something I don’t know I can actually have.” 

I said, “you don’t have to have it all figured out to commit to wanting something. I’m not saying when or how this might work. I’m asking if it’s something you want to work for. This is how we achieve goals. How do you think I got where I am? I’m not fucking lucky. I decided I wanted something, and put in action steps to get there.”
How sad. Here I was-asking to build a world with her. To grow and shift into a new way of being. And she couldn’t access the space in her self to take the risk and say “Yes. Let’s figure this shit out together.”

I couldn’t access the space in myself to say-“give this some more time.” Honestly, I thought two years would have been enough. I thought seven years in and out of the relationship would have been enough to know. I thought having a conversation about it would shine a light, clarify the confusion, and make sense of the chaos. Eventually it did. But first I had to leave it all behind. And find myself new. 

I still want a family. And I still want a phd. I still have no idea how that might come together. I’m okay with that uncertainty. I’m not okay with the kind of uncertainty that comes from indecisiveness of another person. That lack of commitment confounds me. But that’s okay. 

Today, I am more fully committed to myself, my wants, and my needs. I may not have all the answers. But I’m finding new questions to ask. That is my beacon of hope out of all the confusion. 


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