Day 131 - A Confession of the Hopeless Variety
I am not sure what I thought life after divorce would be like. I am not sure that I even considered it really. I think that, in fact, I know that I just thought that I couldn’t go on being married one more second. I am pretty sure that is all I thought about. Five years later, I have gained a little perspective...
There is a lot to be said for having a partner. Even though I feel like I have done a fairly poor job of it in my life, and have actively avoided it, I can see why people stay in relationships that do not serve them. Being alone is hard sometimes. The fear of being alone even worse.
Why are we so afraid of that? What is so wrong with being alone?
For me, I think that it has to do with worth. If you are alone, no one has selected you. No one finds you worthy enough to date, love or commit too. Now this isn’t necessarily true, sometimes people are alone because they think way too much of themselves. No one is good enough.
As I do the post mortem on five years ago when I walked out of a decent marriage, I can see my arrogance and my hubris. I thought that by now I would have found the love of my life. We would be happily raising our children together, going for long walks in the woods, camping, hiking, having a vibrant sex life. These are the things that I thought five years ago.
Today I can see that was very short sighted of me. I can see that I kind of skipped over the parts of me that didn’t lend themselves well to the above relationships ideal. The parts that didn’t really fit into the above relationship. I have done a lot of work over the past five years. Hours spent reflecting and going to therapy to work out my shit. I have had one persistent delusion...that someday HE will show up and my life will make sense.
As much as I have banged the single drum, beating it with a fervor and intensity to prove to all that my single mantle a worthy and prized status. But I think it is time that I was honest. It has never been about that. It has been about pretending I don’t want something that I actually do. God that was hard to write.
I have always wanted a love story. You know the movie worthy kind where you meet and your eyes lock and then it just happens. Both people being pulled toward each other, making sure that whatever comes next includes the other person. I am embarrassed to say how often I have written that ending on a story that was never, ever going to end up that way.
I started the Mansbatical 131 days ago to spend a year without dating and I totally failed at that. I am not even sure that I made it a month. I really don’t like admitting this and am even more upset that I will post this for all to see shortly. However, I have to own up to my shit.
I did not honor the time off because I felt like telling one of the guys that appeared in my life, that I was taking a year off, was ruining a potential love opportunity. In truth, I was just allowing fear to work in my life.
I have dated three men in the last 131 days. Each one began with the promise of a story...a love story. None of them turned out that way for one reason or another. No one fell in love. Love seemingly out of reach. Feeling completely impossible.
So I arrive on Valentine’s Day Eve feeling somewhat sad and lonely. This is so hard for me to admit. I do not want to own the fact that I want a partnership. I do not want to share this with myself. Let alone with all of you. Feeling this way makes me feel pathetic.
I have a great life. I have great kids, family, work, friends. I believe that I have meaning and purpose. I like living alone. I like being able to make decisions about my life on my own. I like my independence. I like having freedom and autonomy. But I have to own the fact that I would give it all up to fall in love again.
But I stand at this seemingly impossible place: not being able to be honest about what I want because I am terrified to love someone again. Terrified to love and lose...again. It is kind of ridiculous...I recovered from Lane, it took a long time and it was incredibly hard but I am good now. I wish him well and do not spend any time thinking he is the right guy for me. I can see now that he never was. I have done the work to see through the love haze.
What is one to do when you want to partner and love someone else, but stand in your own way? Pretending even to yourself that you don’t want something so as to protect yourself from a most basic need: to care and be cared about.
I have settled for less a lot in my life. I have taken what was available and then pretended like it was what I wanted. I have allowed people entrance into my life not because I felt strong feelings for them but because they appeared and I was casting for leading man and I was afraid to turn them away.
What this all comes down to is that even with all the work I have done, I am still allowing my worth to be externally manufactured. The men in my life trophies of sort on the shelf of my self worth. I have dated to prove to myself that I am worthy. It has to stop.
So on this Valentine’s Day Eve, I am recommitting to myself to not date. I apparently still need some time to sort out my shit. Be able to hold my center and be honest about what it is that I want. I am not interested in causal dating or sex or whatever lies between those two. I really want a partner. Someone that I feel like I can lean on and lean into. Someone to shore me up. Someone that I can be present for and give of my time and attention.
I can see that I have no idea how to be a partner. Always looking for what I am going to get. Never really being honest with what I am going to give or what I need. It is time to stop the charade and get real. Which is ironic because I swear I have been trying to do that this whole time...
So I retreat again into the land of not dating, taking a step back to re-evaluate my intentions and level of honesty. Saddened by my seemingly never ending ability to pretend. I begin again, owning my failure to be honest, despite the fear, the vulnerability and the hopelessness that lies beneath.