Ummm, these relationships were not with a spouse, I've never been married. Never even been in a long term relationsnip.For a time, I thought I was "less than" for not having that.
Many I've talked to say what you say, "it's about you". And just so you know, I've done VERY deep intense work to take a look at myself and how I create my reality. Ever heard of "The Work" by Byron katie? I have undone some major issues doing that work and it is all about taking a look at the reality that our thoughts may just be our "stories" and may NOT be true. And usually, they are not true. And that is just one modality I've used for the last 20 years.
However, even doing that work at that level, I noticed that this particular dynamic that I spoke about in my post, was still present. I am learning about the difference between boundaries and expectations. I mean, if I set a boundary such as "the phone works both ways" I then expect friends to understand that. The alternative is to be the anchor in the relationship, the one doing all the calling, planning, etc and I found that to be rather co-dependent (oooh an 80's buzzword). Cuz I'd call and want to make plans with my friends and I'd be just hanging out for days or weeks. A healthier option, I thought, was to decide not to be the anchor. So in one recent friendship I, too, stopped calling. Interestingly, this person then called me. She asked if I "fell off the planet". I replied back that "No, I figured if you wanted to call me you would. And I wanted to see if the ball would come back so to speak, I like a two-way communicado." We had spoken about my thoughts on people calling me back previously. I havent heard back from her. So naturally NOW I wonder if I was being a bitch or just saying "HEY, a relationship is a two-way deal and I noticed you not doing your part." Yeah people go away when you call them on their stuff, but I dont want people in my life who will just "let me do it" either. So now it really is about how much quirkiness I want to tolerate and love them as a person anyway. MY internal dialogue tells me "No one let ME get away with that shit." And the sister thought "OTHER people get to speak their truth about what works for THEM!" So the challenge here is to love myself as I find my way and do no harm to others AND feel loved while letting others do precisely as they wish. And the risk there is they will just disappear no matter how much I "hold the space" for them in love.
As far as me taking a good hard look at myself, I've had many much, MUCH harsher words than your post (which I didnt find that harsh by the way) who've held my feet to the fire about how my behavior creates the effects. And while it is good to learn, let's just say the delivery was bad. Example, "You have a bright light that attracts people, but they get close and fall in because you have no substance, you are a void." So I hear that and wonder how I am to assimilate that and be functional in society if I am a walking black hole--a deceptive one at that.
In fact, I've had that feedback to the point that I DO feel there is some internal "thing" that I must be vigilant about lest it screw something up. That makes for muddy decision making though when I am trying to speak up for myself. Cuz then I wonder "Ok, now is this that old tape or is this just me speaking the truth of what does and does not work for me with the understanding that if we talk about it we can come to a mutual viable option?" OR was it just me being a bitch for no reason? I am rarely a bitch for NO reason. And, rarely a bitch.
However, since my post the cycle of life has brought me back around to being at choice. Today I was blessed with a thought:
"They care as much as they can for as long as they can."
AND..."I can care about me at ANY time."
And really feeling that is the key. Not just thinking--FEELING it in my body. So today I am treating myself to feeling into LOVE and just being with that. Because the truth is, as you stated, it really isnt about "them".
Finally I would like to say, THANK YOU for such an in depth post!