One thing I forgot to mention was a quite revelatory moment during the discussion of whether Carob should or should not move over to be in the same city as me.
How we were approaching it seemed to be to try to figure out the Best Decision given all the things we knew, pros, cons, etc. And if that failed, trying to access some kind of 'gut instinct' about it. But, really, there was no clear winner. Both options had so many complicating factors that it made it very hard to nut through with thinking.
And when Carob thought about what he felt he ought to
do, apart from everything else, he'd vascillate between the two options. "I should move," he'd say one day. Then "I should stay", the next. During this time it was really hard on me emotionally, dealing with him being in a new relationship but also long-distance and missing him.
One night as we were discussing this issue "for the umpteenth time" (as my ma would say), he let slip: "I told Ella I was going to stay."
I'm sorry, what?
That really bit me, like... here we are trying to figure it out, and as far as Ella knows he's already made up his mind to stay. It hurt that he would tell her that straight out, on the one hand, and still be discussing with me like it was an open issue, on the other.
Quite apart from that, though, I felt it was a done deal. I mean, you can't tell someone something like that and just take it back. Well, you can, but it hurts.
So I said: "Well, if you've already told Ella that, then we shouldn't talk about this like it's an open issue. Just treat it like you've made a decision."
And that's when it struck me... Buridan's ass
. When I first heard about that concept, my reaction was - yeah, well, that's all fine but really? If you get hungry enough you eat whatever hay. I felt superior to Buridan's ass. Not only is that donkey an impossible donkey, it had no relevance to my life. I'd never do that. Or would I?
We had been avoiding making a decision because we couldn't analyse which way was the 'best' way.
My thoughts, after we almost arbitrarily decided that Carob should stay with Ella, was: "making a decision was a good thing, rather than needing to make a good decision per se." It felt better having had decided. I felt the stress falling away.
If we had battled on through with the decision-making process, we could have had an on-again off-again kind of headspace which would eventually wear us down to (perhaps) breaking. Had been feeling fairly worn-down by the process already.
Now, things are good. Well - I know where we're at. Not looking forward to more LDR, but them's the breaks.
For a while now (mostly for very minor decisions, like, should I go out even though I feel sick or should I get some sleep) I've been using a method to randomly make a decision when I feel stuck in the middle. I flip a coin, and then go with it. Unless I feel disappointed in the outcome, in which case I do the opposite. This works really well as long as you have the rule to only flip the coin once.
My theory is that if you are sad that the coin went a certain way, then you have some kind of preference for the other one (and possibly a preferene that gives the other option an edge, though maybe not)
Anyway, that arbitrary decision-making device has assisted me in those everyday "argh I'm not good an making decisions" moments. Never thought it would be any good for larger things, esp huge life decisions like where to live, but yeah. It seemed to work.
As long as you've tried to figure it out yourself and got nowhere, I guess... Sometimes the indecision makes you less able to make a decision (like a hungry donkey) so something external forcing your hand can break you through. And you realise - well - these relationships transcend space and you would have made it work whatever wherever, surely. Surely. Right?