I find that I am just so thoroughly tired. Fair warning, I think this might turn into a giant whine fest. Either that or it’s going to be horribly depressing, and I’m pretty certain I’ve said all these things before. Welcome to the black hole that is my inner psyche.
So, my father asked me a few days ago what it feels like to be divorced. He and my mama are still married, 25 years and going strong. Love them to pieces, and honestly if it wasn’t for a relationship like that I’d seriously just throw in the towel. Clearly it is possible to find someone and make it work through all the shit that life has to offer. But since neither of them are divorced, they find it hard to relate.
I can sum it up in one sentence: It feels like all the light in my life is gone.
Seriously. How depressing is that shit. It’s the only way I can even remotely describe it. And the funny thing is, it’s not even about my ex-husband specifically. It’s more about being alone. Which, I know a lot of people are actually pretty good at, and kind of prefer. I myself prefer it over being in an unhealthy relationship, which proves to me that my ass does NOT belong in a relationship for quite some time. But it’s still horribly sad and lonely.
You see, when you get married, you can finally breathe. Because no matter what happens, someone always has your back. Someone sleeps next to you at night, and your subconscious feels safe because there’s this huge person next to you standing between you and almost certain death at any given moment. You feel safe because being a grownup is really scary, I mean who thought this stuff up? The electric company? Rent? Car payments? Are you fucking kidding me? Having a spouse takes some of the pressure off. Because no matter how hard it is, at least you’re not alone.
I don’t think just being in a committed relationship is the same thing. Because my husband and I lived together for a few years before we got hitched. We essentially lived the same life after we got married that we did before, minus a few things. But once you get married, go through the whole shebang, your life just shifts in a very small but very noticeable way. You feel like you can breathe a little, because someone adored you so much that they wanted to share all the horrible things with you as well as the joys. Being alone… it’s just you. And since we all know that for every joy there are one hundred horrible things happening, you can see how being alone can be such a drag.
Have a bad day at work? No worries, your husband is there when you get home and it’s his job to listen and then give you a hug and kiss and say “Fuck those bitches.” (That’s exactly what he used to say, as per my instruction.) Stressed about money? Don’t worry! Your husband can help you figure it out. Car having problems? Don’t worry about that either, because he’s good with cars. He does have a penis, after all.
And then the joys. Something amazing happened to you? He’s so excited to share it with you. Found a shiny nickel? Guess who wants to spend it with you? Or put it away, if you’re the responsible type. And the constant feeling of safety and security of never having to worry about anything at all, because no matter what happens two is better than one. It’s not that you don’t think bad things will happen, it’s that you have someone in your corner. On your team. Its you two against the world. And that feeling of security creeps deep inside your brain and builds a nest there. It gets comfy. It fights battles against insecurity and loneliness. And it always makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
What’s being alone like, in comparison? Sort of feels like you’ve failed before you even start. Because since you’ve already been a grownup with someone else and it was almost too hard to make it work, it’s unlikely you’re going to pull it off by yourself. So, in a nutshell, it feels like all the light is gone. Before at least there was someone else to watch your back, and now you have no one. You are totally screwed.
On the other hand, I really like being alone for a lot of reasons. For starters, I am in complete control of my own life and decisions. Being married, or being in a serious relationship, takes a ridiculous amount of sacrifice. I go to eat where I like to eat. I buy what I want to buy. I watch whatever TV I feel like watching, and I go to the bars I like to go to. I hang out with whatever friends I want whenever I want without having to worry about hurting my S.O.’s feelings for blowing him off. I also get to have sex with whoever I want whenever I want for whatever reason. Talk about freedom.
Unfortunately, these good feelings are sort of empty and shallow compared to that feeling of safety and security of being in love and committed to someone. I mean what good is freedom of bar when it’s late at night and I’m lonely and I just wish someone would kiss me on the forehead and say it’ll all be alright? That it’s okay to be scared but not to worry because they have your back?
Gotta change gears. This isn’t even really what I want to get off my chest.
So, after my husband and I split up, I started seeing someone. Everything was great. Seriously fantastic. We laughed, we partied, we had sex in numerous inventive places. It was fun and exciting and incredibly easy. I was pretty honest from the get – I just got divorced, I’m just looking for something casual, I don’t want to be in a serious relationship with you. I don’t want to move in with you, I don’t want to discuss our future, and I don’t want any pressure. I did stipulate that I wanted to be exclusive just because I’m rather possessive and the jealous type (not going to lie on that one, there’s just no point), but that was about it.
Well, unfortunately, I didn’t realize how hurt I really was. I mean I hurt, I hurt a lot, and we talked about it for hours upon hours upon hours. I just didn’t realize how much this gaping hole left by the divorce needed to be filled. And so, this person was very appealing to me on a strictly subconscious and primal level. That part of the brain where the security had built the nest? Yeah, that was empty and bleeding. Bleeding out. So I think my brain was on the prowl for a replacement, a transition guy, whatever. It’s pretty important that I make it clear that none of this was the point of any of it. He was my friend, he was an even more amazing friend and helped me get through a lot, then I realized how attracted I was to him, and became more and more drawn, and then the next thing you know we’re falling in love and now I’m in a relationship.
For awhile I tried to balance my need for space with his need for closeness and intimacy. And there were lots of times when I had conversations I had no business having. My actions and my words contradicted one another. If it’s something casual and no pressure, why are we having conversations about our possible future, even in the most relaxed way? Bad move, Kyrston. This guy somehow got it in his head that we should be further along on the relationship timeline, AKA I wasn’t treating him well enough for the level of feelings involved.
I reflected on this and decided – hey, what’s the worst that can happen? I mean nothing this person can do to me would be worse than what happened to end my marriage. And as it turns out, I was right.
So, I moved a little further along down the relationship timeline. And then things weren’t so easy anymore. The details aren’t really relevant. As it turn out, he and I aren’t really right for each other. There was a bright flame, it burned hot, and then it burned us out. What I mean to say is, that level of passion doesn’t make a relationship work. Compatibility makes a relationship work, and we don’t have a lot of it.
Then, as if the universe was doing me the biggest favor in the world, he moved away. Which is a completely separate story, but the short version is that he had an amazing opportunity and I encouraged him to take it. So he did. And I was so proud. Except then I started to panic a little. Or, at least, that shaky sense of security I was starting to get back was starting to panic. How is someone supposed to fulfill your needs from so many miles away? Crazy talk.
So, I ended our relationship, mostly because I just couldn’t handle it. I made it abundantly clear that it wasn’t him, it was me. As cliche as that sounds, it really is true. I am a fundamentally damaged human for the time being and Kyrston+Relationship=Meltdown. So, I said I couldn’t do it anymore and that didn’t go over so well, considering he refuses to speak to me. Well, perhaps this is just another small favor from the universe. Or possibly him.
I want to say that I am angry for being completely ignored, considering our last conversation went relatively well and we agreed that we should talk on a regular basis, etc. And then he just stopped speaking to me. After several phone calls and a variety of text messages I just decided to give up because no one wants to be THAT girl. Sometimes I am angry, but mostly I’m just tired of all the bullshit. Feelings are just no good, people. Well, they’re no good if you can’t manage them well.
So, I figured, I just walked away from someone pretty important to me and I better make the most of it. I am experimenting with all kinds of new things. For example, what would it feel like to text a boy you like and have them not text you back? See, I would usually interpret this in all kinds of crazy girl-specific ways and go off the deep end. He doesn’t like me back, I’m annoying him, he’s humoring me. Etc. Instead I decided to take a new approach: What if I didn’t give a shit? What would THAT feel like?
And so here I am, adopting this brand new “I don’t give a shit” mentality about things that previously, when cared about, caused me a whole lot of trouble. You don’t call me back? I don’t care. You don’t text me back? I don’t care. You ignore me? I don’t care. You don’t like me? You don’t like what I’m wearing? What I say? How I feel? My cup size? A big fat I Don’t Care. And no, I’m not saying “I don’t care” to present this hard candy shell covering the soft and gooey inside. There isn’t a soft and gooey inside anymore. But don’t worry, because I know you don’t really care either. No one does.
That’s the real beauty of it all. People are self-centered and they are selfish. They are constantly seeking fulfilling their own needs. They say things like “I’m doing me” or “I need me time” or “I need to figure stuff out for myself.” What they really mean to say is: I do not require you to fill my needs, but thank you, come again.
And that’s exactly what I said to my ex before he moved away. I need space, I need time, I need blah blah blah. What I was really saying is, I can’t do this and I don’t want to try. Because I didn’t, and still don’t, even if he lived across the street. It would have been way harder to cut him loose if we were still in town. I don’t think I have to strength for that. I think I would have gotten to it eventually, but not for a while. And things would have been messy, it being a small town and all. As it is, I’m sure I’ll run into him whenever he shows up on this side of the country again. I’m really not looking forward to it. You want to ignore me? Fine. Be my guest. But I never want to see your face again.
Okay, so maybe I do care a little bit. But I’m trying really hard not to let it get to me. See, being an insecure woman is kind of like this never-ending chain of negative thoughts that are all connected. It goes like this: Man pays attention to me=Self worth goes up. Man ignores me=Self worth goes down, plus I am going to spend hours over-analyzing the million reasons why I am not unlovable Oh, and as an added bonus, I never really thought I was lovable anyway so I get this sick and twisted sense of satisfaction knowing I was right all along.
The new pattern of behavior is: Man ignores me=Self worth TRIES to go down. I do not over analyze why. I make up an arbitrary reason why he isn’t talking to me, because honestly… I don’t want to know the truth because it’s none of my business and it’s not relevant. So, in the case of my ex, he must have lost his phone. Or maybe he thinks I’m a terrible person even though I’m not. Or maybe he’s doing this as the last “good” deed he’ll do… to make it easier. Seriously the list goes on. And I rotate through different ones depending on my mood. Mostly I just land on that he’s a childish asshole that deserves to be slapped in the face for pushing me for more to begin with. But, that’s only on really bad days. The next thing that happens is I repeat to myself over and over that I am someone who is special, that I don’t want a relationship anyway so I shouldn’t worry about it, that the right person is out there for me a few years in the future because I know I won’t be ready for a while. This series of thoughts happens about fifty times a day and by the end of the day I am completely worn out. Haven’t had a good night’s rest since he left and I am just getting tired of all the bullshit.
What happened after he left, you ask? Well naturally because I am apparently a serial co-dependent I started thinking about what else was out there. Then I chilled out a bit. I thought about it sensibly. What do I really want? What I really want is someone who will pay attention to me when I feel like it, make me feel valued as a human being, have sex with me when I want, and requires almost nothing from me in return aside from respect and honesty. I don’t want to go to brunch, I don’t want to fall in love, and I don’t want to be looked at like I am the most amazing human being that ever walked the face of the planet. I don’t need flowers or expensive dinners and I don’t need you to protect me or look out for me. Just fulfill some basic needs and otherwise leave me the hell alone. Buy me a drink once in a while. Also, you have to be at least minimally interesting and dynamic.
I am rereading my criteria thinking that I am either a Grade A whore or the biggest bitch in the world. Some male friends of mine, ones who know the situation pretty well, seem to think that this is a completely sane and reasonable thing to request of a man, as long as you tell him what it is. I find this surprising. Isn’t there so much meaning associated with sex? Isn’t there some kind of social responsibility to move forward and make more human beings? Isn’t there such a thing as a respectable relationship between two people?
Well, if there is, I’m not interested. I’d really just rather have the perks with none of the strings attached, and I’d prefer it to be easy to obtain. Maybe that sounds bratty, but I’m not really interested in anyone’s opinion of my life choices. I only write them here because it’s so much easier than having it all in my head.
I can’t think of a way to wrap this up. The rest of the things I want to say are rather vindictive and childish. Too late for manners, I suppose.
Although you say it’s irrelevant, the most plausible reason that he is ignoring you is because he’s trying to get over you and move on with his life. It might sound selfish, but when you consider that the alternative is to pine for you and despair about what could have been, then it seems like a perfectly acceptable, rational choice.
Being alone isn’t just about the *awesome* freedom that comes along with it. It’s about recognizing that gaping hole (as you have done) and then doing your best to fill it in with yourself. So many people believe that they are not complete without another person, and those people are actually right. They’re incomplete without a significant other.
But those are people who are generally uninteresting and predictable. They let others define themselves rather than seeking out their own identity. They are cookie-cutter, and they’re perfectly fine with that because it’s much easier than actually using their brains and forming their own sense of true self.
To be okay with being alone is to truly be okay with yourself. When you get to a point of self-reliance, you will find that your relationship patterns will change. Instead of being with someone because you feel like you “need” that person and your life is incomplete without him, you will be with someone purely because you WANT to be with him.
It doesn’t make relationships any easier, mind you. You’ll still have fights, you’ll still get your feelings hurt, and breakups will still suck. But you will be able to better discern which relationships are more meaningful than others since you will have rid yourself of the fear of loss.
It’s true what they say, that you have to learn to love yourself before you can love others–or even before you can be able to accept love from others.
For the first time ever I actually considered doing a dating website thing (eventhough I find the concept somewhat lame). It wasn’t out of a sense of desperation, but out of a sense of true confidence. I believe now, in my heart of hearts, that if I tried I could date someone and probably have a fulfilling relationship.
Ultimately, I decided against it because, really, it just seems like too much work and too much sacrifice. I’m not ready to sacrifice yet. Sure, it’d be nice to have someone to bone every once in a while, but whatevs. There’s more to life than fulfilling our physical needs.
Find the joy in being you, and then being alone won’t seem so bleak.