I find people are often divided into two camps when it comes to how they approach a situation in which the outcome is uncertain.
Camp A: OMG! This is going to be so AMAZING!! I can’t wait!!! (already planning outfits)
Camp B: Hmm, let’s just wait and see. (arms crossed, eyes squinting, knowing look on face)
The classic Optimist vs Pessimist, Dreamer vs Realist. I sit pretty squarely in Camp A and am often gently advised by my Camp B husband not to get too excited. What?? And lose out on the sweet high of serotonin pulsing through my nerve cells?? “I just don’t want you to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out like you thought it would.” he would say, avoiding my gaze. We both know what he’s talking about.
We had been dating for a year and a half. 18 months of nothing but googly-eyes, fun, laughter, and great…um…cuddling. The only fight to date was when I asked him to remove the 8X10 photo of his ex-girlfriend on his nightstand. It didn’t even really register on the “fight” scale as we both realized quite quickly it wasn’t about lingering feelings. He literally didn’t notice this giant photo beside his bed (along with the 3 inches of dust apparently. Bachelor pads! gross).
So, it was Valentine’s Day and all I was told was to dress for a fancy night out. I was beyond excited! J was ridiculously romantic and had a way of making even a boring Wednesday night feel like a dream date. I couldn’t even imagine what he had planned for V Day. As I was getting ready, one of my roommates was bugging me that he was probably going to propose. I laughed and brushed the comment aside as I secretly thought this could be IT.
I answered the door for the taxi to find a shiny black stretch limo parked outside and J standing in front, dressed appropriately swanky. OMG this really could be IT.
We drove around Stanley Park sipping champagne while I begged him to tell me what was coming next. “It’s a surprise” was all he would say. The limo finally dropped us at The William Tell (since closed but was a Vancouver fine dining classic back in the day). We dined on oysters, escargot, and fine wine. I spent the whole time thinking how clever it might be to find a shiny rock inside one of the seafood shells. With dinner finished (sans shiny rock) and bill paid we were off to our next stop.
Phantom of the Opera! An enchanting, magical, passionate story of love and obsession. I was completely enraptured the entire time with tears streaming down my face from the intensity of the play and of the moment. I mean, the Phantom kidnaps CHRISTINE (spelled wrong, but whatever) to be his eternal BRIDE. And the music?? “…say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime”, Christine “That’s all I ask of you”…I mean, Come the F@*K ON! This is happening, right?? I realized that getting down on one knee at the theatre was probably weird, he must be waiting until we are alone.
Teary eyed and emotionally spent from a perfect evening we climb back into our limo. J asks the driver for one last drive around Stanley Park as he empties the bottle of champagne. I reach for a glass (so grateful for my fresh manicure!) and gaze lovingly up at J as I thank him for a magical night. This is IT…he kisses me and instructs the driver to head home…huh? home? This is the perfect bloody moment man! What are you waiting for?? It’s a short drive back to my place in Kits but it felt like an eternity. The butterflies that I had just moments before stopped swirling and dropped dead with a heavy thud at the bottom of my stomach. J was cuddling up and trying to get frisky but I was having none of it. Any rational thought in my brain was under siege by my suddenly rigid body. Every muscle wound so tight I couldn’t breathe. Each word came out at that high pitched, stand back! this bitch is crazy, level.
Finally back at my place, J was still oblivious to the fact that his girlfriend was spiralling furiously into a dark vortex of DISAPPOINTMENT. He climbed into bed, clearly feeling he had nailed the night, and wrapped his arms around me. I slid out from his grasp like a wet bar of soap and burst into hysterical tears. He didn’t move a muscle as he looked at me like someone had kidnapped his lady and replaced her with this total lunatic. W…T…F??!!
In between heaving sobs I hurled cruel, irrational accusations at him. How dare he set me up like that?? ANY woman in my circumstance would think a ring was coming on a night like this. Plus, I had good freaking reason to feel this. Just days before we had discussed moving in together and how my parents would definitely not love that idea (I would be the first of four kids to live in sin). AND, did I mention…VALENTINE’S DAY??!!
Well, I think we can all agree that it would be completely understandable for J to pack up and run for the hills. But this sweet man picked me up off the floor and held my blotchy, puffy, snot covered face in his hands and said HE was sorry. He hated to see me like this and that he believed we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together but he just wasn’t quite ready to propose. He also assured me it would NEVER happen on Valentine’s Day. “I’m too cool for that.”
When I think of that night I clearly see that my husband and I are just in two different camps when it comes to how we approach situations with uncertain outcomes. And thank God, can you imagine how that night would have ended if we both crashed with disappointment? (trust me, poor J did not get what he expected either). Neither camp is better than the other and in my experience it’s impossible to try and lure someone into yours. We is what we is.
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