Tag Archives: Life Events

10 Words

He said, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Immediately, I felt sad, alone, foolish, on-guard. How could I not know this? I mean, I knew we’d been struggling for a few months; as a matter of fact, we’d just had a few major discussions about our relationship just 5 or 6 weeks ago. But to tell me he was no longer in love with me? I was crushed. I’m still reeling from it.

“You’re my best friend, and you’re wonderful. Maybe we can redefine our relationship.” I thought, “What??! As what, friends?”

However, after this pronouncement, we talked for another couple of hours, and over the course of our conversation, he decided he didn’t want to end our relationship after all. At least not yet. Ever since our “big talk” in early May, I had really been putting in the effort to build a stronger relationship with him and had even returned to visiting my shrink to work on some of my issues surrounding intimacy and commitment. I really thought we had taken a turn in the right direction, and even got confirmation from him that he thought we were moving in a better direction and that he loved me more than he had previously.

Then, due to assumptions and miscommunication, we had a spat and ended up with those 10 words.

So, because I’m analytical and a researcher by nature, I did what any self-respecting woman would do. I Googled “What does it mean when someone says I love you but I’m not in love with you?” And Google was very helpful (as always!). There were several articles by noted psychiatrists and therapists and of course, I only want to believe the ones that lean in my favor. But the takeaway from all of the articles was the same: either the relationship is on its deathbed, or we need to put the work in to get over this hurdle and enjoy the loving, sparkling relationship we once had (which is what I’ve wanted to do all along).

He said, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”

I don’t know what will happen with our relationship, and as I’ve said to him, I certainly don’t want him to stick around simply to avoid hurting my feelings, but we’ve both been sick with serious illnesses in the past 6 months, we’ve both been under a lot of stress and financial worry, and well, life.

He himself admitted that maybe he’s not sure what being in love means and that his idea of love is really more about infatuation and the “honeymoon” period. He said he felt like things moved too quickly at the beginning, that we went from infatuation to “an old married couple” in the blink of any eye, but that was more his doing than mine. He was the first to tell me he loved me and that he was “all in,” even when I wasn’t quite sure yet.

This recent pronouncement worries me for the long-term. If he’s “all in” what does it say if he wants to cut and run when things aren’t going that great? And it certainly plays into my fears of never realizing unconditional love with a partner.

According to one counselor, “Unfortunately, there is no generic answer to the question ‘How do you know when to hang in there and when to cut your losses?’ It is, however, a pretty safe bet that if you don’t feel that you’ve given things your very best shot, then it’s worth hanging in there a bit longer and making that extra effort. Athletes experience what they refer to as a ‘second wind,’ which often occurs after the point at which they feel that they are on the edge of depletion. Being in relationship, as many of us know from our own experience, is not unlike being an endurance athlete or a marathon runner. It may require the willingness to hang in there and go past the point where you feel like quitting and giving up in order to find the hidden strength or energy needed to finish the race.”

I’m often the ambivalent girlfriend or wife in relationships, but I realized, when I thought I was on the verge of losing this relationship a couple of months ago, that I wanted to fight for it.

I want to win this race.

Life After Layoff

Three months ago, I was unceremoniously and without warning laid off from the job I loved at Jones Day (to be fair, it wasn’t personal; they laid off 64 other IT professionals the same day). There is no national support group for such life events, so once the initial shock wore off, I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and figure out what I was going to do with the next chapter of my life. To be honest, I spent the first six weeks in a deep fog of depression, occasionally getting out of bed long enough to go buy groceries or participate in the webinars offered by Right Management, a career transitioning service provided as part of the severance package.

My Former Office

Kübler-Ross provided me with an intellectual distraction; I’d think “OK, I must be going through the anger stage now.” You know Kübler-Ross, don’t you? The five stages of grief? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance? Yeah, well, it turns out, the fives stages are applicable for a variety of life events. And it’s not too far a stretch to say I was in the grieving process. It was a death, of sorts, to lose a job, lose friends, lose income, lose seniority, lose respect. I think I skipped over the bargaining stage, and I probably spent way too long in the depression stage, but here I am, three months on, firmly planted in Acceptance.

You know what? It’s a good place to be. I’m considering things I never considered before, including starting my own business or buying a franchise. I’ve never thought of myself as the entrepreneurial type, and yet, it sounds really appealing at the moment. I’m also considering things I had already thought about prior to being laid off: getting an MBA, getting another job in training and instructional design, or getting a master’s degree in instructional design. I’ve also gotten a peek into what it’s like to work from home, thanks to a former Jones Day colleague who left the firm a number of years ago to join an online learning provider in Florida. He contacted me a little over a week ago to ask if I’d like to do some contract work from home, reviewing online modules prior to publication on their site. I’m really enjoying working from home, even if the pay for this particular gig is abysmal. I get to wear whatever I want, I have a window office, and Zoey (the amazing wonder dog, or Z-dawg, as I sometimes call her) is rarely three feet away from me. It’s a comfort to feel her head resting on my feet under the desk.

I’m also considering writing. Writing a book? Maybe. Writing short, anecdotal stories? Maybe. Writing poetry? Definitely. Not sure yet, but I thought beginning with a blog might be a good start. I’ve kept a paper journal for 35+ years, but I see this as an extension of that. I’m currently reading “The $100 Startup,” and one of the pieces of advice the author gives is that with any endeavor, you should just start somewhere and not worry about how perfect it is or if you have all of the questions answered yet – just start…

I’ve started!