Monday, May 20, 2013

Rambling About Love

Blogging about love is tricky.

This is public.

My mother reads this on occasion.

I am super aware of what I post and that this is going across the great vast interwebs.

Having said that--being single is very much a part of my identity.

There are people who identify themselves as part of a couple.

And there are people who have come to identify themselves as single.

I have friends who are divorced or widowed--and friends who have never been married.

You'd think that we would all get along famously. But there's a huge difference.

The forever singles grew up into adults as singles.

The divorcees were relatively young when they got married.

Sometimes as a forever single--I feel like the divorcees and the other marrieds in the church view me as not a grown up. We are looked at as overgrown teenagers. At least that's how it feels.

And sometimes I see how divorcees act at parties and events and I conclude that they don't know how to be both an adult and single. They identify single with a mindset from the early 20s and they revert to that mindset whenever they're single.

These same divorced friends often find someone new within a short time--while the rest of us forever singles sit and lament that while we've never had a single chance at marriage--they're enjoying their second and third chances.

But where I have a difficult time imagining the day to day requirements of a relationship: how often do you talk? Do you have to plan something together every day or is once a week enough? When do you open up? What is too much? What is too little? --

My divorced friends can't imagine life alone. There is a vacuum of aloneness that must be filled with the presence of someone new.

My vacuum has longsince been filled with friends, theatre engagements, travel, valuable alone time...

I don't even know what I'm looking for anymore.

Am I too picky? Am I not picky enough?

I do my best not to want marriage more than I want a specific person.

My biggest weakness in love is that I qualify a man based on his feelings for me, rather than my feelings for him. "You like me! You really like me!"

I've been dating a guy off and on for a while now. I like his face, his jokes, our conversations... but really, I just liked that he liked me. I haven't liked myself much lately. I feel too fat. But he still liked me. And him liking me automatically qualified him--despite the fact that he never came to see my plays, we never went to dinner, I was never really a priority. He liked me when I didn't feel anyone would like me--so that somehow made him special.

A friend from high school contacted me last week to tell me that she was falling for a guy I was friends with on Facebook, and yup, you guessed it... it was him.

I was sad.

I realize that I was sad because he wasn't choosing me. He didn't want me. And being wanted is how I identify love.

So my feelings were hurt. I couldn't rely on his care to undo my own insecurities about myself.

I cried a little and moved on.

Back to my state of aloneness that I'm so used to.

I don't have to worry about whether I'm liking the right guy for the right reasons.
I don't have to worry about whether I'm calling him enough or whether he's calling me enough.
Should I be mad that he hasn't taken me out on a proper date in ages?
Should I be sad that he missed my play?
Should I care that I'm basically a secret? I don't want to advertise my love life anymore than he does--but what's the REAL reason for the "privacy"?

I don't need to worry about any of that. I am in my comfort zone.

I became an adult as a single person.

This is where I am most comfortable. I don't second guess myself. I simply live a happy life. I am occasionally lonely, but I fill those holes. I've learned how to do this.  My divorced friends lament the times when they're alone--I get hives thinking about having to be around people 24/7.

I go to church as a part of a large congregation of LDS people who are all single between the ages of 31-45. Yesterday, a former congregational leader delivered a speech where he outlined things we could do to open ourselves up to relationships. He talked about our lack of commitment. I thought about it today. What am I committed to? Do I fear commitment?

An old boyfriend stopped by last night. I thought about what I should do. Do I let him know I'm still interested? Am I still interested? Why would I be interested in him? Why not? We had a great connection. We can talk for days. I enjoy his company. Why wouldn't I?

Sooooo many questions.

Then he left and I snuggled up comfortably in my silk house dress and watched Mad Men.

The questions disappeared. I was once again my comfortable single girl self.

I know I should hope for and strive for marriage and a family, but this is the person I have become. This is the woman my experiences have made me into. And there are a lot of divorced people who don't know how to be single as an adult who will jump at the chance to be with a confusing man. Let her deal with the emotional roller coaster!

But I hear it's really nice...

So how do I do it? How do any of us forever singles evolve into the kind of people ready for commitment and love? 




9 comments:

Joseph L. Puente said...

Thank you for sharing something so personal, Eve.

Eve said...

Oh goodness... That makes me afraid I shared too much. What are your thoughts on how we can open ourselves up to commitment?

Joseph L. Puente said...

I've found myself questioning my own commitment in recent months. To myself, my faith, even my art. I think though if I open up to committing to those things again, I'll be better able to commit myself to another human being.

alice said...

I love this post Eve! I identify to being single so much more easily than I can identify being in a relationship.

I know that for me and my issues with commitment, the thought of opening up to someone and being with them all the time gives me a lot of anxiety. Not only that but wanting to date or be in a relationship brings on staggering insecurity and doubt. I honestly don't know why anyone would be interested in me, simple as that.

I also know that I wasn't taught to be committed. At home I saw my parent's marriage fail, I saw my parents (mainly my mum) start countless projects only to never have them finished, I saw promises made but never kept. So for me I know I have to learn to be committed before I can have a successful relationship...well that and I have to learn to break down certain walls and barriers, but that's an entirely different challenge.

I once had the idea that I should run a marathon before I got married. My hope is that by learning to go running everyday and to have an end goal in mind that I would learn to happily commit to something worthwhile, just like a relationship. At this point in my life though, I don't feel much like running and I don't feel much like being in a relationship. So for me at this point in my life its just not going to happen, and I'm okay with that.

Eve said...

Interesting stuff. Thank you for sharing. Maybe I should get a dog. Or keep a plant alive.

Miss Megan said...

I love this whole post, Eve. I identify with pretty much all of it. Thank you for sharing. You are amazing and wonderful!

Nancy Roche said...

When I was thirteen, I swore I would never kiss a man until I had earned a PhD.
*laughs for a long, long time*
That's not to say that my life wouldn't be better if I'd stuck to that goal (it wouldn't actually be tons different, as you see, from either perspective), but it was not about earning someone else's love - it was about putting my personal growth ahead of somebody else's lust. That's no contest. I win every time (actually, it was my cursed curiosity that led to my failure on the one hand, and minor success on the other).

But I think I see a major logic failure in our comments about personal value and commitment. Commitment is a CHOICE. It is ALWAYS a choice. If someone doesn't commit to you, or the relationship you have, it is their CHOICE, and ultimately, has nothing to do with you, unless you CHOSE to manipulate that other person into making that decision (which, you know, I've done). Hurts like the devil, but changing to match somebody else's ideal is just going to tie us into knots.

So we need to stop leaving ourselves at the mercy of everybody else's decisions. We are such as can ACT, and are not to be acted upon. We should make our decisions, commit to everything important, and have second thoughts later. Like after we're dead, and life is just a slideshow of a long-forgotten vacation. You know - the one with the really sweet TR that turned into something real.


(Travel Romance)


I dunno. Then part of me says, "well, if all you need to love somebody is that they love you, go for it. It's as good a reason as any to start a life together."
We're all just winging it anyway. That's what being a grown-up is about. Answer syndrome and clocks.

Smashie Smasherton said...

Hi Eve! I relate a lot with what you've said in this entry. I have a very difficult time witnessing how single folks around me are treated by some of the marrieds in my ward. It's like somehow since I've become a married person, I am somehow "legitimate" even though absolutely nothing about me changed. However, in some circles, I'm still not fully legit because I haven't had kids. It's all so ridiculous.

Up until I met my husband, I very much felt the way you did about being single. I think you and I are of similar mindsets: we'd rather be single than be married to just anybody. In my case, despite feeling that way, I'd stay in relationships much like the one you described: fun but never official, and always hurtling towards the inevitable separation. I wish I could say that one day I decided I wouldn't put up with it anymore and that's when I met my soulmate, but the fact is I was just lucky.

I will say that once I started dating my husband, I was shocked to learn that I was in the relationship I always wanted but had never had: low-key, undramatic, easy! I had started to think that such a thing would never exist for me. So I guess what I'm saying (and please do not take this as "sage advice from someone who is married and therefore knows more than you about ANYTHING"), just keep doing what you're doing. If you're happy in your single state, then stick with it. If you come across a guy that's worth leaving the single state for, you'll WANT to. The desire to commit to that person will push you towards actually doing it.

My two cents. I hope I don't sound preachy! I certainly don't mean to.

Eve said...

I like the sage advice. It's just a funky time. You want to enjoy life where you are--but you don't want to feel like you're not putting enough effort into getting married too... It's this horrible catch 22. Be happy--but not TOO happy! Crazy. It's good to hear from folks who have been here. I want to learn and grow and be my best self.