ultimately it means letting go

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I’m going to venture into waters that I NEVER go into — relationships, particularly intimate ‘partner’ relationships. I’ve written about work, lack of work, hiking, my family, positive thinking, getting older, books, NPR, and who knows what all else. All the stuff that makes up my routine day. I’ve never written about intimacy because, well, it’s not part of my routine day…or week….or year … honest? Decades. Ninety-five percent of my time is involved in all the above mentioned and other inconsequential stuff. The other occasional five percent comprises thoughts of what life would be like if I had a partner — not a husband, that’s too much commitment for a daydream.

Bloggers making references to their ‘partner’ ~ I like that word because it doesn’t denote a gender or license and, as far as I’m concerned intimate relationships should be about “partnering” in one form or another anyway ~ is almost unavoidable if you are sharing anything about your life, if your life includes a partner. Bloggers share all the bad and the good about current or past relationships and sometimes all the details. I’m especially drawn to the people who describe, even just as passing detail, a healthy relationship with their partner. I get a little squeamish when the post contains some negative but very normal language and emotion – I just remind myself that I’m reading one side of the story and that living with or being intimate with someone is part of life and sometimes ~ a lot of times ~ it gets messy, dirty and ugly.

Aside from a very few fleeting encounters with another person, I haven’t had a partner since my divorce about 20 years ago. I don’t admit that to people (well, people don’t ask, thank God) because it’s embarrassing; it is indicative of a flaw within myself.

Ugh,…the depths of the “why?”

My pre-adulthood exposure to relationships via my only parent, my mother, was — well, abusive and toxic. I had an isolated and sheltered life — except for the uglier side, the wrong-side-of-the-tracks side of life. I had no inclination or concept of having a relationship; I never had a boyfriend until I met my husband and that, dear readers is another-whole-story for another post when I feel strong and daring.

Anyway…I got married and I knew even before I did it that it was a mistake. He was and is a ‘nice guy’ but there was no compatibility, no common ground. The reasons the relationship happened at all are what couches in offices with bubbling water fountains and soft colored walls are made for. So, three children, medications, therapy sessions and an incessant suicide ideology lifetime later I finally worked up the courage to leave.

Through the combination of being destitute (no job, no money & no home), a single mom and a singular history of never having witnessed a ‘good’ relationship, I was resolved to not go down that road again. It was an easy decision to adhere to because creating a life for myself and my children took all my time and energy.

I did it.

Years later when the kids were almost all grown and I didn’t have to work two jobs I dabbled with online dating. It didn’t go well…at all. I gave up. I decided that I was better off alone. I rationalized that I made my own money, had my own home and did whatever I damn well pleased without consulting, compromising or sharing anything. And as fine & well as that is, I was also secretly believing that I am flawed. Worse, I have no redeeming value or qualities at all. I saw myself as ugly, stupid, uninteresting, fat, socially inept, undereducated, a “downer” and, generally speaking, not worth it. I’ve had a lot of help believing this too so, there was that.

And that was why I busied myself with things that I enjoyed and it reaffirmed my belief that I am “better off” by myself every time someone I knew was having relationship issues or worse, issues about not having a relationship. I rejoiced in my ‘good fortune’ to not have someone in my life. I knew that if I ever ‘met someone’ they would most likely make my life worse for being in it: emotional abuse or exploitation. I feared my emotional destitution would drive me to gullibility and it would be a fast-track to hell from there.

I didn’t have to concern myself with beating anyone off because no one approached me anyway. This further cemented my beliefs about myself but I am not so removed from reality that I didn’t realize that I was at least partially responsible for my singleness. There is (probably) some truth to the fact that we draw or repel people/things based on how we feel, what we are ‘putting out there’ and I’m sure that people felt the equivalent  of the Great Wall of China surrounding the insecure and self-loathing person I had become.

I started working on myself because I have been unhappy with where my life has come and not only because I am lonely but because without changing myself, my attitude and my belief system, my life will not change. I’d like a partner, an intimate friend, a ‘someone’ special in my life but…it’s definitely harder when you are older and regardless of whether or not I’m blessed with ever having that, I want to be happy with myself for making myself a better person and making my life more enjoyable.

There is nothing wrong with being alone — as in not having someone to touch or kiss or embrace in bed — but I believe life is a little sweeter if you do. I’m not emotionally strong enough to ‘pursue’ finding someone; I still hold the hope that, if it’s meant to be, someone will find me as long as I open myself up for it, if I work on optimism, hope, self-love, gratitude and happiness.

In closing: the path of my life has come to an ultimatum: keep doing what I’ve been doing and be miserable or take the unknown path and see what happens.  I am feeling better since I’ve concentrated on pushing negative thinking out of my conscious mind, being grateful for even small things, reading good writing, writing out my demons, being intentional about giving myself some latitude with how the universe wants to use me and being hopeful about my future — even if it’s scary. Trying to control my destiny has only led to disappointments and disillusionment. Since I don’t know what I am doing wrong, I’ve given myself up to just doing my best and following whatever leads appear in my path. It’s terrifying but I don’t have young children anymore to worry about so I’m just going to go with the flow.

#jusjojan: ultimatum

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. that was a beautiful, heartfelt and meaningful post. You’ve been quite prolific today!
    First of all, this is the first post I’ve read of yours. and I’ve gone through a lot, that I learned about you. I know your interests and some nuggets about your home situation etc. You just showed a side of you that I wanted to see. And I related to it. I post often about my marriage, yes there are 2 sides, and yes it was probably hard to read. But it’s part of me. But I also feel like I have been alone for a long time, would like a meaningful adult relationship and have found myself as unworthy when I look at my dateability. My takeaway from this refreshingly honest post,(how does it feel?) is that you know what you want. You just need to find out how to get it. But don’t set ultimatums on yourself, just open some doors. Sorry for the long comment but your post made me do it. Remember….liberating

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful words. I had to go back and read my post when I saw your response about your post – people sharing about their relationships is ubiquitous, especially when I was working – I had no problem with your posts, I think you were diplomatic and acknowledge your (ex) wife’s contributions: good and bad. A refreshingly honest post feels good – particularly when it is well received.
      LOL…I made you do it!! I drew you in and compelled you to speak 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I love this post. So honest and raw. It’s a very difficult process to put yourself out there. We’re all scared deep down, I believe that anyway, of being vulnerable and exposed. Thank you for giving us this insight to who you are. It’s a brilliant post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for those encouraging words. Yes, I was daring myself to do it. I read so many posts from people are have had or do have such hardships in life and they post with such honesty and, a lot of times, gratitude and optimism. Again, thank you!

      Like

  3. I can totally relate to this. It took me a long time to feel able to be part of a couple again but now I feel ready…… I haven’t met anyone I even want to meet!
    I may not and that’s OK; I’ve learned to make myself happy. But I sure would like to have a crush on someone and get excited again. Preferably someone with his own house.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL!! Being open is a great first step toward “recovery” 🙂 I hope you find someone and, yes, I hope he has a house but, more importantly, I hope he is a loyal and gentle soul. You deserve it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful look into your strengths and vulnerabilities! Thank you!

    I truly think that this is what our community (can I call it that?) is all about. Raw, unfettered contribution. I dig it.

    Your closing was a powerful statement to the complicated journey of like, Karyn. Do we, can we, should we ever risk losing the utter control of our lives we have worked so hard to attain? Dare we risk? My answer is always “yes.” My only caveat is, do not go in blind. Often, in life, when we are without something for too long we leap towards it again with a dangerous abandon and we stop looking for the warning signs. Be open, but be wary, would be my only advice, if advice were asked of me.

    “…keep doing what I’ve been doing and be miserable or take the unknown path and see what happens…”

    The essential question of our age, whatever age we are, and in whatever age we live. For me, I always choose against misery. I’m rooting for you to do the same. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Tom!! And I agree, ‘our community’ thrives on sharing our fears and dreams.

    I completely understand your advice; that is to what I was referring when I mentioned the fear of being “gullible” (which may not be precisely the word I want there) – you said it so much better.

    I am so glad you see my perspective and agree ~ it helps knowing there are people out there who ‘get it’ and support me. Thanks.

    Like

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