“I quit school?”
M finally opened up to me last night, which was so interesting considering yesterday’s post (which got so many many comments, thank you all for your feedback, it is all so appreciated!).
This was after he made me a delicious dinner, complete with one of my favorite wines. He was in a very amorous mood and kept repeating how much he missed me (we last saw each other Monday morning), and we had a really great evening (complete with him squirming as the American Idol contestants sang horrifically! I tuned in for a few just because Canadian Bald Guy said on Twitter that this year seemed good so far, judge-wise. We apparently just saw a few of the worst of the worst! Was hilarious watching M get embarrassed *for* them though!).
He looked at me, and I’m not sure if it was just because it was late, but his eyes were a little bit red. And he said:
“I’m going to ask you something and it’s not because I doubt you or your feelings for me or anything. Okay? What would your reaction be if I quit school? Would you think any differently of me?”
Me: “No, of course not! Why would you think that?”
Obviously, his PhD program is hitting him hard right now and he knows he has a long road ahead of him (yet a relatively short amount of time to complete it) and that, combined with work stress, a friendship that is causing some drama, and the potential for needing to move (more on that later, but basically, his lease is up in another month and a half and it’ll go up a lot) smack dab when his thesis is due…hello, perfect storm of stress!
He said it’s something that crossed his mind, but that the ramifications are far greater than the work he needs to put in and he’ll likely stick it out. I think that was honestly his way of saying “look, I am going to really need to focus on this project right now and it might eat into our time together short-term,” without actually saying it. And I know he’d rather spend the time with me and that is his struggle. Saying no. (which we know is his issue anyway) I think it is something I will need to help him with – saying no to me and/or prioritizing when he gets his school work done so it doesn’t interfere or realizing that he can absolutely do his homework when he’s with me (I have repeated this about 15 days to Sunday, mind you). The trick for me will be not pushing the homework on him like a drill sargeant, but reminding him that it’s okay to do it, whenever he needs to.
The fact that he opened up to me without my really having to prod was a huge step and I felt so touched that he finally did and he felt better afterwards. And to think he would think I’d think differently of him if he didn’t get his PhD is something else…he puts so much pressure on himself to perform and be that person he thinks everyone wants him to be, when in reality, he’s perfect just the way he is. Maybe he has some Type A overachiever in him after all (since the rest of him is completely Type B and I love that about him. Good complement to me, no?).
Last night was a big first step.