Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I have been single for a little over a year now. For me this is an accomplishment. I used to be one of those people who believed that without a partner I was incomplete. That kind of thinking has gotten me into a considerable amount of trouble over the years and has led to missed opportunities for personal and professional growth. It has only been in the last decade or so that I have overcome that belief and have enjoyed periods of singularity and yes, even celibacy.
2011 was a challenging year for my hard won sense of self sufficiency. I had been through two relationships within a year. The first ended when my partner relocated for employment. Actually it ended shortly after he relocated, as we did make a brief effort at the long distance relationship. It was a half hearted effort on both our parts I think, almost a gesture of politeness or respect for one another or of the very ideal of enduring love.
Once that ended, civilly, I decided for about the thousandth time that love was a lovely ideal but most likely not something that was destined for me. I had a lousy history with it and so did my parents, although to their credit they did both eventually find partners with whom they have managed to stay happily partnered for 30 years each. So the second relationship was not meant to be taken seriously, in my mind, but I ended up getting hurt in the process anyway. That relationship was short lived and quite dysfunctional and it took me by surprise. Surprise because it had all the elements of some of the relationships I had when I was younger and vulnerable. At the time I met this man I was vulnerable again, not because I had suddenly forgotten the painful lessons I have learned along the way but because I was not yet healed from the loss of a very sweet and comfortable relationship that had too recently ended. It was the proverbial 'rebound romance'. I hate falling for cliches even more than I hate the fact that they exist. Even if it's not true love, it never feels good to be taken advantage of and manipulated.
Once that little fiasco was out of the way I pretty much decided that was it I was done with all this relationship stuff. If I couldn't even manage to come out of a casual relationship unscathed it wasn't worth the effort. I've been comfortable with my decision so far. I loathe dating and the pressure of meeting someone new, trying to decide if they are worth the time and effort of getting to know them better and all that mess. I also rather enjoy living my life by my terms, on my schedule and in my own style.
But once in a while I miss the companionship of having someone around who is intimately a part of my daily life. I miss having that person that I can bounce ideas off, share my thoughts and feelings and just Be with. I miss the level of companionship that evolves over time, a settled and comfortable affinity where half the communication that occurs is nonverbal, because you know one another that well.
Maybe not everyone gets to have that, or keep it. Maybe it's a little bit fate and a little bit me. I really don't know.
Most likely this longing will pass and I'll go back to being perfectly content being just me. Usually what happens when I start thinking this way is this: somehow I must emit availability signals indicating that I am single and out of nowhere men start appearing in my life, showing interest in 'getting to know me better'. Then as soon as I get to know them even a little better I realize, or decide, that they are not the person for me. There are always one or two glaring qualities that I just know I could not possibly endure no matter how many other likable characteristics the person might have. Then as quickly and unconsciously as I dropped the shield of detachment I summon it back and become once again, invisible.
Regardless of whether it is me or fate I often wonder about the bit of wisdom that says only when you really love and accept yourself are you ready to love someone else. Eliminating the perceived need for a partner certainly reduces the chance of settling for someone who is not right for you, or even healthy for you, that much is true. But I think many of us have come to regard the 'love yourself' ideal as a kind of magic spell or lucky charm, believing that once we achieve that state balance will be restored to the Universe and we will be granted the wish of True Love.
But maybe the joke is on us, after all the years of trying to achieve that blissful state of self acceptance all the while secretly harboring the hope that we will unlock the magic to finding our soul mate, that we discover we really only needed ourselves after all.
© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard