Thursday, March 31, 2016

Me and my head high, and my tears dry, get on without my guy

"Maybe you don't really want to be with someone."

I was talking to a friend of mine about my recent dating foibles, and this was her observation.

I was both surprised and not at all surprised.

The past couple of months have felt jarring and left me with a sense of disjointedness.  I had a birthday I wasn't thrilled about (although I'm as healthy as I've ever been and, as ever, it's better than the alternative), and then a week later Lori died, and then construction started on the kitchen, and now the kids have been gone for a week on spring break.

I feel emotionally pushed and pulled.  The past six years (and particularly the last two) have involved so much trauma, death, and heartache - it's hard to deal with it all while at the same time being a present and productive mother, daughter, sister, friend, and functioning member of society.  I keep thinking I'm old and washed up and nearing the end of my shelf life.  I don't know what I want.

She was so sweet and bubbly.  And I miss those South Park pajama bottoms.

I keep thinking about Emma and bursting into tears.  When I was in New Hampshire for Lori's funeral, someone gave me a picture of two-year-old Emma sitting on my lap on the porch of our beach house at the Outer Banks.  We are deep in conversation and she is telling me something interesting and I'm gazing at her like I can't stand how gorgeous or cute she is.  I love this picture, but it fills me with sadness.

And my physical surroundings do nothing to provide a sense of calm or stability.  The downstairs of my house is virtually uninhabitable.  The kitchen is almost done, but it'll be another four days or so before I can start putting things in cupboards and drawers, and before I can actually use it.  So everything is dusty and there are still boxes and appliances and plastic sheeting everywhere.  I have no idea where anything is.  The only place I can really hang out is in my room, which after a while gets depressing.

So I have almost compulsively kept myself busy and out of the house.

It's been relatively easy to keep my dance card full.  I thought, given that most of my relationships have made me miserable, why not just date for the sake of dating?  Keep it casual.  Be noncommittal. Have fun. And outside of one dinner with a guy who I found repulsive on every level, it hasn't been unpleasant.  They're all very nice and enthusiastic.  We have dinner and drinks and tell our stories.

But every time, I feel them start to get too interested and attached and anxious, and I reflexively pull away. This one has mannerisms that annoy me.  That one isn't dynamic enough.  The other isn't smart enough, though smart enough for what, I don't know.  It's my own intellectual snobbery at play.

At first it was fun to be so busy all the time.  But now I'm bored and I just want them to leave me alone.

I fucking hate that I do this.  Even just reading over what I've just written, it sounds obnoxious and awful.  My friend remarked that I should give one of them a chance.  But I don't want to.  When it comes to men, it turns out that casual and noncommittal is not in my DNA. As much as I crave both the emotional and physical connections, as much as I so enjoy the experience of hanging out with someone I respect and am attracted to, I can't fake it or force it when it's not there.  I wish I could just love the one I'm with.

But the truth is, I'd rather be alone.  I'd rather read and listen to Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album.  I'd rather get caught up on movies I've been meaning to see.  It feels less lonely than being out with someone I don't really want to be with.

This is a strange discovery to make at this point in my life.  But there you have it.


  1. Listen to yourself. I mean that. You seem to know what you need right now. Want can be different than need. Don't settle. For the love of god, don't settle.

  2. You are loving the one you are with (you).