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Slices of happiness and the one that got away

My new obsession of using and abusing fish metaphors all started with my first attempt at making sashimi. Yellow fin tuna sashimi. And really, make is a rather strong verb. It was more like slicing. An easy task for sure, yet I was daunted but determined to tackle it.

I hit up the local fresh fish shop and was quickly advised that it was all about selecting the right fish. Not just any old fish will do. Though they were out of fresh ahi, there was some wonderful yellow fin, sushi grade tuna, which would be a respectable substitute, said the helpful store clerk.

So I left with it and took it over to my boyfriend’s house to prepare. It was heavenly. Divine. Perfect. Easily devouring 1/2 pound of tuna, we sat blissfully content in our newfound discovery that we could ingest brain food at a rate of 100 mph, without having to leave his kitchen.

“It’s like candy,” I said. “I could eat it everyday, no matter how much I have.” I thought to myself this must be the same high people get off eating sweets. I couldn’t get enough of it and it reminded me of something else – my (newish) relationship.

As we went for a drive after dinner, I shared with him this comparison. How like the sashimi, I adored him and he gave me the same high. “You are like tuna sashimi,” I said. “Like a fine slice. I can’t get enough and always seem to want more. You are my little slice of happiness.” To which he replied, “I’m not against being a little slice of happiness.”

After nearly eight months together, I still couldn’t get enough. I fell for this person very unexpectedly – hook, line and sinker. In the beginning, he had wanted a relationship and a commitment from me. Somewhat newly separated, I was hesitant, and looking back, vulnerable. But I decided to try taking it slow, giving it a chance. To my great surprise we enjoyed each other a lot and I came to highly value and further invest in the relationship, as did he. He gave me hope again and I was glad I opened up my heart.

Inseparable, we spent all our spare seconds together. If not beside each other, we were near each other with words, always. We connected on so many levels and I truly felt he understood and supported me.

So it really was about picking the right fish after all, or so it seemed.

This was enough for me to continue my sashimi slinging, boyfriend smitten ways with my main slices.

But not so fast.

Just like that, my slice, my fish, fell right off my hook. OK, maybe it wasn’t a fall, it was more like a daring escape.

I didn’t really see it coming or maybe I did. I’m pretty sure I felt some shakiness but chose to let it slide. It had been so long since I felt so happy, maybe I ignored a few rumbles.

Like a fish jiggling hard on end of my line, hanging onto my hook – he struggled (Did he want a breath of fresh air?). Or was it me on the line? Maybe I was struggling too (Was this the one or should I cast again?).

There was a part of me that wasn’t sure.

So I tested whether or not we may be in it for the long haul – someday, because something in my gut wasn’t sitting right.

And by someday, I didn’t mean that very moment. I meant down the line. I consciously wanted to discuss if we thought at some point soon, we’d move on from dating. Since we saw each other nearly ever day, I assumed we were on the same boat – that one day, we’d have the urge to grow together. I needed to know where he was as at because my instincts were telling me he was treading water and not settled.

Sadly, I knew the answer before I even asked the question.

Damn, sacred intuition.

Let me be straight, I wasn’t asking for a defined commitment. For goodness sakes I was absolutely not looking for a roommate or a ring, but was intent on hearing some confirmation that we were swimming up the same channel to hopefully converge in the same river. I was simply hoping he’d share that he saw a future with me and my family, as we’d all become so close.

But sadly, he didn’t. Or rather, he was unsure. I thought it was a fair question as we had discussed before what it could look like. He needed time he said. However, it didn’t take him long. Although we were very happy and cared deeply for one another, he said he would need an arrangement where he could come and go, talking to, texting, seeing and dating who he pleases – some of which he’d been doing during our time together. He decided he wanted a relationship where there weren’t fishing lines attached.

I started to second guess myself, over analyzing, thinking I messed things up. My green side had come out strong over the past few months regarding this very issue and I’d suspected this could be the case. I didn’t feel very proud even if justified, the moments of jealousy, fear and anger I had let slip. I searched inward and knew this was unhealthy.

The honest conversation was enough to set him a-floppin’ and frighten my dear fish right back into the water, where there’s likely plenty of fish who could be more comfortable with his terms. I’m pretty sure they may have been already be lined up single file under the boat.

He’d rather be set free, he said. It would save me hurt in the long run he promised; the problem was his.

Instead of giving in, I did what I do best, fighting back, pulling my line in, offering to be patient with him and work through his fear of commitment – something that has been a factor and an ongoing pattern in each and everyone of his relationships. There had to be something I could do if he really cared for me, and for our us. I tried my best to negotiate and flex but it was to no avail, he got away and took my bait with him.

I had reeled in someone who I wanted to change, and that is never a good thing.

To be fair, he had started getting help to figure out why he is the way he is – he did try, and I was and am proud. A very kind and gentle soul, albeit insensitive and selfish at times, he treated me well and it makes me very sad to know he was trying to grow and change, but it wouldn’t be for me.

I wish he had taken a bit more time working at it before giving me up, however I take solace that at least he was honest. That took courage. Although I’m a bit heartbroken, I trust in the fact that if the right catch comes along, it shouldn’t be such a fight. Reeling in should feel more like landing a small perch rather than a feisty marlin.

I don’t blame him and am glad this was sorted out before it went on any longer. I hope that even after he reads this, we will remain friends.

fishing lure

It can sometimes be a tough question. Do you hold on to the catch in your hand or cast again?

Here’s the thing that took a while to sink in but I now know it to be true.

Even though I had my doubts, it really WASN’T about me, it WAS about him.

And I needed to stop apologizing and saying sorry for the real feelings I was working through. This was his issue and his need, not mine. I am a damn fine catch and it’s his loss for letting me go.

Though it took a bit, (actually longer than I expected – and thanks to all who talked me through it) I’m mostly at peace with what happened. It could be true that he did in fact grow tired of me, but in my heart, I know he did really care. Even though he had invested heavily, the inner commitment wasn’t there but I understand it was hard for him too. However, this was his to figure out. And while I hurt, I know that if it’s meant to be, it will be.

But for the time being, I deserve more.

The side of me that still hurts made me think that perhaps, maybe he saw me as a fish too. 

Except once he caught me, he held on to me, admiring and enjoying me prior to losing my colour before throwing me back in. After all, once the trophy is caught, the thrill of the catch is over. If his pattern prevails, it’s time to troll again and onto the next lure. I guess I should count myself lucky that if I was indeed the fish, I got away now, as I can’t imagine being thrown into a shallow filled pail gasping for air with a bunch of other flailing fish, as he alluded could happen.

I may have my own issues, however I deserve a record breaking trout or tuna, not a toothy pike who could so hastily cut my line.

I will try my hand again at fishing and continue to drop my line as it can be pretty fun. I may never be a master angler but one thing is for sure … if I see a pike, I’m cutting the line before it ever makes it into the boat. I’ve learned picking the right fish out of water isn’t so easy and it’s best to be a bit more selective.

For now, I’ll probably just stick to in store tuna – fresh ahi preferred, unless a glint in the water really catches my eye (or my lure).

Happy casting!

P.S. I don’t plan to air out all of my fallen romances on my blog but this was a cathartic process for me which also involved learning some valuable lessons – that is why I chose to share it here. I had a draft of the happy sashimi story saved but sadly before publishing it, the ending dramatically changed. Most importantly, blessing was granted to write this post honestly, from a very important person in my life (you know who you are – thank you for your support, courage and understanding). 

You know whats the best? Someone who brings the good out in you, not the ugly.

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