It ain’t for me, babe. It ain’t for me.

The immense danger of relationships is that they bring out both our best and worst selves. At best, we give with abandon. At worst, frightened of our own vulnerability, we disregard the emotions of our partner in ways that we wouldn’t a friend or an acquaintance.

It seems a cruel joke, both inevitable and horrible, that we find it so difficult to treat the people we care about the most with the dignity they so much deserve.

This more than anything else makes me want to be alone. The energy it takes to be wrestle with my own resistance to vulnerability and fear of being hurt combined with the energy it takes to protect the vulnerability of another and to protect myself from the defensiveness and offensiveness that vulnerability might incur in another is exhausting.

It is amazing how much hurt and tumult can be bound into one relationship.

Most recently I quickly was branded as an overreacting, crazy lover of drama. I was the target of misdirected anger. Many times I have been shut down and shut out.  I have caused multiple men to go cold, to find themselves bored and too comfortable. I have been withdrawn from. I’ve been cheated on and left without being informed.

Frankly, I’m tired.
I’m tired of protecting myself in and from my most intimate relationships. I’m tired of giving without replenishment. I’m tired of having to get stronger just because I’m not dead.

I know that I’m not perfect, that I can be rough around the edges and stubborn.
But I also know that I deserve to be cared for in the way I care for others. I know that I deserve to be listened to and valued as a whole person, imperfections and all.

Unfortunately, when I look back over all of the many comings and goings, the math doesn’t really add up to a positive number. I’m too old and too cynical to ever believe that if I keep adding up wrongs, I’ll eventually make a right.

The thought that perhaps long-term or relationships with much depth are just not for me has returned and stayed longer each time it arrives.
This thought is often accompanied by the notion that my solitude may be a blessing because it frees me to focus my energy on more productive and more fulfilling things than the double-edged sword of relationships.

Until I can both love myself and love another and also be loved in return, I will choose myself and solitude every time. Unfortunately, this seems an impossibly high bar, so it is likely that I will and should make myself at home with a solitary life.

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One thought on “It ain’t for me, babe. It ain’t for me.

  1. It seems pretty clear to me that loving and being loved is, for as much as our society makes it a central focus/life goal, a rarity.

    I had the good fortune today to spend time with my lover. Toward the end of our hours together before I needed to head off to my job, he said to me “You love me when I am ____, and you love me when I am ______.” He said it wonderingly, like he’d just realized it.

    I agreed that I loved him when he was ___, and when he was _____, and when he was being a PITA, and when he was ____. I stated that he was a package deal, and of course I loved all of him.

    (I have long since accepted that he loves me, overweight and needy as I can be sometimes.)

    We will have been together for 10 years in April. He’s nearly 70, and I am fast approaching 50. And he’s just realized that he’s loved unconditionally.

    My point in sharing this is not to brag, but to point out that maybe the Princess Bride has it right, that true love really is pretty rare, regardless of what the storybooks tell us, but for all that, it is still possible and when it arrives, it generally is worth the wait… even if you had to wait until you were almost 60.

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