I was a very different person over a decade ago. Sometimes you don’t see how much you’ve changed until you have to confront an emotion or behaviour, or till someone brings it to your attention.Today’s reality slap brought to you by Life, sponsored by YOLO.
Can you be too independent ? I have lived life in this manner for over a decade, no significant other to consult on decisions, no significant other to have my back in tough times either. Of course I’ve dated and had casual relationships but they are dramatically different. Clearly. Even in my marriage I was alone, it wasn’t a partnership, I decided and I did. That’s not the model I’d subscribed to, but it happened, perhaps proving if you don’t grow together in a relationship and live together as two entirely separate humans co-habiting your relationship is doomed.
After marriage came a long pause, different priorities and a disappointment. Then the offer of casual – I’d never experienced this after 13 years of commitment. I figured what the hell have I to lose. Hmm. Casual is as casual suggests. No can make demands of you, or stipulate what you can and can’t do, as after all they don’t have those kind of feelings for you. Well sometimes they tell you after they actually did. Sure they care, and wouldn’t like to see you eaten by sharks, or with a life limiting illness. But they don’t want to be part of every aspect of your life.
There have been times in the past decade or more I’ve craved more, someone to have my back on a bad day, to celebrate my successes with, and to send the silly ‘saw this and thought of you’ pictures/ cards etc. I’ve missed and craved being in a ‘fully fledged’ relationship. Even the arguments about whose parents you go to. I’ve no parents so that argument is over. I’ve missed waking up on Christmas morning, with a partner and a box of presents or on sunny Sunday mornings when you wake up lazily in the sun and eat breakfast.
Don’t get me wrong, the past decade (plus) I haven’t been lonely, ok I have at times, I can admit it. I’ve had amazing nights, and created memories that wouldn’t necessarily been possible if I’d been in a committed relationship. I’ve been my wild, wilful and determined self, it’s not detrimental either to me or my circumstances. I’ve made the best of any situation I’ve found myself in. That seems to be my coping strategy – make the best of the situation . I’ve short-changed myself somewhat.
But, lately I’ve been noticing the things I miss, and knowing that I won’t ever receive them from people who have a casual approach to dating me. I’ve also had pointed out to me that clearly my independence has meant I have closed down certain aspects of my personality. If just one person had said this I’d question it, but there’s a fair few, certainly enough to have me questioning myself.
What happened to the optimistic, choose love type of girl I was? Life experiences. I totally believe that social conditioning will impact on your attitudes and behaviours. If you are being offered crackers, after being starved for so long, then they will taste like, ‘the best goddamn crackers ever’ Thanks Eddie Murphy. But they aren’t the most nutritious and filling option available. Where the hell has been my three course meal ?
Earlier this year I went on a date with a guy, there were several reasons I ran in the other direction, a) I was still flogging a dead horse attached to the wrong person) – let’s not elaborate on, b) his financial tightness and c) he’s behaviour that I interpreted as needy, when actually he was just emotionally available and wanting a relationship. Can I say the same ? It made me question my emotional availability. He highlighted in a short period that I am very closed, not very forthcoming in making contact or opening up. He said it’s a two-way thing, you can call me you know. Just when did I turn mute and stop speaking on the phone ? I initially on reflection put this down to having had cancer and being ring rusty and scared. But actually, this is down to having casual relationships, friends with benefit scenarios where obviously you shut off your loving abilities so not to hurt yourself. Or people who curb your calls, restrict when you speak to them, all at their convenience and if you do message spontaneously expect a long wait for a reply, no answer or that you are pursuing them. How big were these red flags ? Why the f*ck did you continue when so obviously disinterested in you ?
There has been one person, who clearly over the years has triggered me to suppress all my natural loving emotions. It didn’t start this way, but over time it became reality, why ? As they would have been wasted on him as he didn’t want that from me or realistically he clearly didn’t deserve them. This is brutally honest and desperately sad to read. I have only been able to express myself through physical intimacy and loving expressions via sex with him.Maybe deep down too I hoped that would make him realise what an amazing woman I am. Ummm nope !! I think writing this is cathartic and helping me to put that firmly behind me.
Friends with benefits does not work if you are in love with the person, or it goes on for years and you want more. We can kid ourselves we are cool. But if we are lying to ourselves this eventually is going to cause you inner conflict that will rise to the surface and burst out (February). Why are we all settling for far less than we deserve or want ? This has got to be self-worth issues.
I’ve decided in a timely fashion that it’s time to sweep out all these unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. Maybe there comes a time or sometimes another person comes along as a sign to do something different. They say when considering old behaviours, ‘how have they worked out for you ??’ and they haven’t do something different. Time to try something new, I’m finally allowing the vulnerability, that I’ve stifled to have a time to develop and evolve. I know all the anecdotes about re reading old chapters and that preventing you from moving on and I’ve put the book down, sent it to a charity shop for a new reader.
I’m in my 4th decade and yet feel in terms of relationships I stopped growing in my 2nd decade. But it’s never too late to learn, and today was a very important lesson.