Donald has an in-person interview next week.
You'd think that would simply be a happy thing, but it's so much more complicated than that. Donald has had a lot of interviews, by phone and in-person. We don't get excited about the phone interviews anymore, but the in-person ones are promising enough that it's hard to resist the temptation to hope. Over the last year, Donald has probably had about five in-person interviews, and each time, they have said no.
The worst part is after the interview is over, even worse than hearing "no". All we can do is wait. Each day, Donald waits for the phone to ring. He hopes he doesn't get an email, since those usually say "No, thanks." We protect ourselves by assuming that it will be at least two weeks before they make a decision, before we know anything more. Those two weeks crawl by so slowly. Our nerves get frazzled and we get snappy at each other.
Sometimes we dare to get excited. The in-person interview goes well, it's only a matter of time, so we start researching the area, looking at apartments, what the town/city is like, where the good neighborhoods are, what our next favorite restaurant might be. We look forward to the future. We start dreaming and hoping. The truth dashes it all to pieces and we go back into protective mode.
I don't know whether it's better to have those few days of pure joy and hope or whether it is better not to have them at all. About a month ago, Donald had a very promising interview and we got excited and carried away. We were looking at dog breeds and talking about what kind we'd like to adopt. Donald said that I could go off the pill if he landed this job. He was the happiest I have seen him in the past year, a true departure from his depression. Suddenly he could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I cherished and fiercely protected his good spirits. When his mother tried to inject some reality/negativity about the fact that he might not get the job, he instantly lost the hope and started saying "I didn't get it." While they were both eventually right, I resented his mother's undermining of his happiness, even thought I understood her intentions. He was devastated by the news either way. Did getting excited make it worse?
I think it makes it worse for me. I start to peek over the wall I have constructed between where we are now and where we want to be. I start to imagine what it's like over there, where we'll live, what our kids will be like, what our life will be like, what Donald will be like when he feels a sense of purpose again. It's harder for me to be a rock for Donald when I'm also hurting, feeling the wall go back up and saying goodbye to those dreams once again, putting it all away for someday.
The hurt is worth it though, when I see Donald happy and excited, and looking forward instead of backwards. I'll do anything to make that happen because I know that his happiness is inseparable from mine.
How do you handle disappointment? What do you do to stay strong for the people who need you?