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2003-05-04 - 8:46 p.m.

I guess you could say Jane and I had a fight last night. It wasn't exactly a fight, and we immediately resolved it, or as best as we could (I think I need to write about it to resolve it in my head) but we both managed to upset each other.

We were at a party- a friend of Jane's. I'd already met a lot of people there, and particularly in the case of her friends Claire and Mark I can talk to them like I've known them for ages. Also an old friend of mine, Matt from the Entertainment Centre, is friends with the host and his brother, and he was there. I felt like things were going really well. I didn't need to be baby sat, as in Jane could go off and catch up with everyone and leave me to fend for myself. It was all good.

We were sitting with Mark and some other people when Jane asked Mark for a cigarette. To understand my reaction and the implications of this you need to know a few things.

Firstly I don't like it. But if it were that simple I'd just have to deal with it. Jane was a smoker when I got involved with her, somewhere between social and an actual smoker, in that when she did give up it was difficult, though she was only a "smoker" for a bit over a year. I'm a very literal person. When she said she was giving up at Christmas time, I became the vigilante afterwards, as in up until then I said or did nothing, but after that I'd voice my disapproval every time she smoked, basically because I figured it would help her (and I had her approval to) and of course because I don't like it.

Then there is the Mark thing. At one point she said she was definitely coming along because she was finding when people were smoking she didn't even want one, but with Mark it was different. It was a shared experience thing. It was to make him feel less isolated when he smoked. Or something like that. When she went out with him after he broke up with his girlfriend (I think I aliased her as Kelly in a previous entry) I assumed she would be smoking, and told her that was fine, just don't tell me about it.

That's getting ahead of myself though because why do I have the right to tell her if it's fine by me or not? I don't control her. No, what it is is that one night when we were out with my Unifriends and Mark was there, she lit up and afterwards realised how much it upset me. Like I said in that context it would be my issue to deal with- you accept people for what they are.

But when I said to her "you know it upsets me" she replied:

"yes, but I didn't realise how much before. It's okay, I won't do it anymore."

"I'm not asking you not to, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't in fron of me..."

"No I want to stop doing it for you."

That was basically the parameters under which I got upset last night. Once since then she told me she had a few cigarettes and it kind of upset me but I didn't make an issue of it- I appreciate that she wants our framework to be absolute honesty even if it causes one of us to be upset. But after that, when I knew she was going out drinking with Mark, I wasn't so naive as to think it wouldn't happen, so I told her that was fine but I didn't want to know. That made her feel better about not telling me if she lapsed when I wasn't around, because I asked her not to say anything, so the honesty thing isn't really an issue. But I assume she did because she's always proud and tells me when she didn't have any if she's out drinking and they're on offer. It's fine, I'm fine with her smoking when I'm not around.

When she smoked last night I gave her evil looks and she gave me a "what?" look back as if she didn't know what I was upset about. That upset me a lot more than her actually doing it. After she finished I took her aside and said:

"You're not seriously telling me you don't know why I seemed upset?"

"I want to hear you say it."

"Well, I never asked you to stop- you said you would. And all I asked was that you not do it in front of me and then you just pulled one out right in front of my face and you must have known how much it would upset me."

Basically the conversation then started going into how it wasn't that easy or something, and I said I'd like to think that she could resist when I'm right in front of her, and she said something like:

"Well I wanted one tonight so I had one, that's how it works"

That was probably what upset me the most. That's not how a relationship works. It's no longer just about what you want, it's about other people's feelings. It's a big thing for Jane to make sure she is still herself, and I accept that, but it upset me to think that my feelings weren't considered. It felt like it was about what she wanted and her wanting to prove she did things for her and not anyone else, and the mindframe was either if it upset me then tough, or worse that she wasn't considering my feelings at all.

When I made it very clear that I was not trying to change her at all, that's not what it was about, she said "sometimes it feels like you are" and that upset me a lot as well. It's never been about that. My acceptance of things has always been based on who she is at the time, and promises she's made to me. People not keeping their word is one of the things that really upsets me, and because of that any time anybody says they'll do something and doesn't I get upset to a degree- even if it's something as silly as saying they'll call you at a certain time and calling two hours later- that wouldn't be anywhere near as much an issue but I always get a tinge of being upset about it.

I'm such a fucking girl.

But I digress. Before I get carried away I should say that I was entirely incorrect in thinking it was about putting her need to convince herself that she was still her, or simply giving into temptation, ahead of my feelings. In fact, as we sat down to talk about it, it transpired that she did it deliberately to piss me off.

And neither of us really understand why.

It hurts, but not as much as if she had in fact not considered my feelings. I don't respect or understand the idea of doing something you know will annoy or upset someone, even if it's joking about something that you know will get a rise out of someone. But I do kind of understand, moreso than the idea that she wanted one so she had one, and it was as simple as that, my feelings weren't an issue.

It had something to do with "us" as in us as a couple around this particular group of friends. It was freaking her out for some reason that neither of us can work out, and at the point that she did it she felt some sort of resentment towards me that I was completely oblivious to. That's why it upset me so much, because it was so unexpected. After what she had said the other time, and the heartfelt sincerity with which she said it, I was confident she wouldn't smoke around me again, because she had promised me that. She also said she wouldn't full stop, but I know it's not that simple and I'm okay with that, as she said it's no good her saying "I might from time to time". To help her stop completely she has to have that steadfast resolve and accept that the resolve will be tested from time to time.

And even now it upsets me that after doing it deliberately to upset me she pretended she didn't know why I was acting weird as she sat there and smoked her cigarette in front of me. I don't really understand that, and I wish I understood what the problem was in the first place, but she doesn't really understand it herself.

I think what I resent the most out of the whole situation was that I have had several soul baring conversations with her recently where I've felt really stupid for some of the things that upset me, but I've wanted to let her know in any case, because that's how both of us want this to work. So I wish she'd shown me the same courtesy when she felt this irrational resentment, rather than taking it out on me the way she did. I would have been confused I guess, but it would have been better than how both of us ended up feeling.

I love her and care about her deeply and I want to know when things aren't okay. I know how much of a thing it is for her to retain her identity and not compromise herself under the context of "the girlfriend", and I know that this whole thing is new to her and she's still learning how it works (hell, so am I sometimes :) and I want to help her with that. I don't want her to think she can't tell me if something she's thinking is a little irrational or unreasonable. I have those sort of thoughts all the time, and I'd rather we tell each other, and make it clear it's not about expectations or trying to change each other, it's about us sorting our heads out, and helping each other with it. I never want our insecurities to manifest themselves in the way they did last night- feeling the need to deliberately do something the other is not okay with to assert to ourselves that we are still our own person, and not ruled by someone elses ideals.

Jane is probably the most independent-minded person I know and I would never do anything to change that. I'm not trying to change her- I accept her for who she is, and in doing that I accept that there are things about her that can bug me sometimes (which takes me back to another debate we had that reached the frustrated pained defensive stage), but they are things I have to deal with. It's different when somebody says something and then doesn't stick to it, it's always been one of the things that really upset me. I know that could come across as unreasonable but I can't help how I feel.

Anyway, it's all okay now, I just needed to write it down to sort it out in my head.

 

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