The Power and Pain of Acceptance

Sad manI suspect one of the reasons I stopped writing my blog was that I knew eventually I would have to deal with the subject of Michael 2.0, and I didn’t know what to say. Months later, I’m still not sure what to say. As a writer this is a bit humiliating. As a woman who felt so sure about a relationship that she wrote about it publicly, it’s a lot humiliating. And yet, if I’m going to write truthfully about my unplanned life then I need to confront the uncomfortable topics. I don’t want to live in avoidance and denial. I did that for too many years. So I’m going to dive in and trust that the words come. Maybe not the best words or the perfect ones, but the truest and most honest ones I can muster.

It didn’t work out.

I wanted it to work and I think, at least in my better moments, that Michael 2.0 did too. Things went quite smoothly for us until he left on a business trip in December 2013, and then something happened. I didn’t see it at the time, and perhaps Michael 2.0 didn’t either. Or maybe he knew and couldn’t bring himself to tell me. He returned after three weeks away and he was there and yet he wasn’t. He’d packed his schedule so full there was no time left for me. I was hurt and told him so. He said I was pushing him away. I said my feelings couldn’t push him away. He was doing that on his own.

He left on another trip and more or less avoided me for three weeks. We argued when we did talk, and then said I don’t want to argue with you. I sent him a letter that tried to express how I felt. I said I needed to be a priority for the man in my life, I needed (and deserved) to come first. It had taken me years of therapy and Alanon to be able to say that, to feel entitled to it, to see that I deserved nothing less. For weeks he didn’t respond. Finally I received a jumbled and confusing letter. In the letter he admitted he was confused. Now we both were.

He avoided me for two months, and I let him. I thought he needed time. Or maybe I did. Because I’d come to realize that Michael 2.0 was just as flawed as his predecessor, Michael 1.0, although in a somewhat different way. Both avoided feelings. Michael 1.0 tried to drown his in alcohol, and Michael 2.0 tried to bury his in work and busy-ness. Same issue, different approach. As much as I cared for Michael 2.0, I didn’t want (or need) another emotionally challenged man in my life.

A friend once said to me, “You don’t have to like a situation in order to accept it.” Since then I have to remind myself on a regular basis that while I may not like a particular situation, I DO have to accept that this is what’s going on. It’s gotten easier with time, but acceptance is a bitch.

Eventually Michael 2.0 would manage to tell me that he’d thought he was ready for a relationship, that he wanted to be, but he’d realized he wasn’t—and worse, might never be. There was a difference, he said, between wanting a relationship and being capable of one. This comment is ironic because I’ve said it countless times with respect to Michael 1.0 and parenting. And now here I was confronting the issue again.

Like I said, acceptance is a bitch.

HugI knew I faced a choice. I could detach with anger or I could accept that this was where he was and detach with grace. If I chose the later, maybe we could remain friends.

Once I saw that it was a choice—my choice—the path was obvious. I let him go with love and compassion and we’ve remained friends. It’s sad and it’s not what either of us wanted, but it is what it is.

It didn’t work out.

Or perhaps, in some strange way, it did.

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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2 Responses to The Power and Pain of Acceptance

  1. Eugenia Larson says:


    You write so beautifully, from your heart and soul! Your pain shows through, but also your acceptance of life as it is, and your willingness to move on from there to something better! You are a very special person and I’m sure you are an exceptional mother to your daughter. God bless you in all that you do. Eugenia

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