Karen: “Will you marry me…?” Karen: “…Of course! I think?”
I’m drinking tea and contemplating life this morning…what’s new? This is what I do every morning. The major difference of this morning compared to most, is that I woke up 20 minutes early to devote adequate time for such contemplation (hah)…
Do I want to continue my journey of life solo or with another person(s)? When I ask myself that question, I am unsure if it is a yes or a no. I know I can’t imagine shacking up with another person. I should elaborate, I am more than capable of living with people, in fact I have never lived alone. I mean sharing expenses, sharing a bank account, and making joint decisions that will impact both of our futures. I do not see it. And it isn’t in an “AHHH, I WILL BE ALONE ALL OF MY LIFE!” kinda way. It simply hasn’t happened yet, perhaps never will, and I feel that I would be okay with that. I know it is a bit of a joke to imagine my life without heartfelt connections, but it sure is taking me a long time to get how to do it right. haha.
I wrote the above on morning after my (now) ex-boyfriend and I broke up. Days before Valentine’s Day. It was more like a “re-break up,” really.
Like a “we tried this once and broke up, but let’s try again just in case it works this time, oh damn…it didn’t,” up. It is a behavior that most who have entered such relational unions may be familiar with. I feel okay and it was the right thing at the right time. In fact, the timing made me chuckle.
I remember when I was in 9th grade right around this time of year. I pestered my classmate Andrew Dowler about what he was going to get his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. He didn’t seem too concerned. I, unaware of my pestering invasiveness, on the other hand, felt it necessary to gather every last detail about his plan as to ensure that he get her SOMETHING GOOD (or at least something I deemed as good). He ended up writing her a poem and buying her flowers, which I thought was really quite nice…not that it was any of my business. Ahem, well, the next day when I asked him how the gift-giving went, as though it was anymore of my business than it was the day before, he told me that he read her the poem…He gave her the flowers…
And that she broke up with him.
I was a bit stunned. Andrew delivered this information in a calm and cool way. He seemed okay, but I was still stunned. Broke up with him!?! On Valentine’s Day???? My 15 year-old self was shocked. Couldn’t she have waited 24 hours??? There I was, perplexed, but Andrew didn’t seem worried about it at all. He had accepted it and moved on (…moved on to date my friend Alyson. Alyson, who I had immediately told Andrew had been broken up with and was now available, hopefully for her to date). I learned a lesson about prying that day, in short, don’t. At least not after setting up your friends. I was brought back to that memory today, days before Valentine’s Day, the day “my Valentine” and I break up. And like Andrew, I’m not too worried about it.
This recent break-up has me thinking about it in a way that is different from several of my other break-ups, though. Plus, we are in February and most people associate February with Valentine’s Day. The day of love. Capitalism wreaking havoc and the encouraging of loneliness to all “not-coupled,” aside, Valentine’s Day is a good time to both appreciate those we love in our lives, whether it is your significant other, your children, your co-workers, or yourself, and it is also a time for us (me) to reflect on what is blocking you (me) from allowing love into your (my) life. Ending relationships isn’t a new things for me, but this one was different than several others in the following ways:
1rst. I wasn’t the one to do it – pretty self explanatory, I was dumped. This is NOT to say that my heart hasn’t been broken or that my exes haven’t moved on before I did…oh no, but in the past my break-ups have either been mutual or I had just been the one to do the official breaking up before the other got the chance.
2nd. There was no emotional, mental or chemical abuse prompting it – which is definite progress.
3rd. I thought that we were going to be together for a long time, like, a long time…
Hold the phone, this was an unfamiliar feeling for me. I had envisioned a long-term future with one other person who I had dated years ago. Okay, more like enmeshed-ated years ago. It was completely co-dependently fueled and not at all grounded in reality. Anyway, this time around I was simultaneously happy and terrified at desiring long-term with someone. I am still not sure which the dominant feeling was.
4th. WE STILL LIKE EACH OTHER – this is a good thing, but it also is what make amicable break-ups so hard. It can be hard to know that a relationship is over when you still enjoy the other person.
Regardless, we broke up … because it was the right thing to do.
I initially beat myself up over this. Broke up AGAIN? What is wrong with me? This gentleman is a kind, gentle, person who loved me dearly. He is handsome, loves cats, and will always be gainfully employed. He could fix my computer, car or nearly any other device that broke that I would normally leave around the house waiting for it to fix itself (that doesn’t seem to work, btw). We have great conversations, he is insightful, and smart. He snuggles like a boss and is overall very sweet.
Sounds like a real doozy, doesn’t he? Not at all! He is great! There is a core difference between him and I though. One that I didn’t realize until the night we had our “break-up” discussion. I think love should be celebrated and shared with many and he thinks love should be cherished and saved for one person, one person who feels the same way that he does.
The humorous and, time will tell, ironic part of our thinking is that we both are “alone” now. Lacking romantic love in our life. He wants to put all his eggs in one basket, so to speak, and I want lots of baskets, or one really big basket with lots of eggs in it and I want to share my eggs..(okay this is getting real strange). And here we are apart, both basket and egg-less.
Enough egg analogies, to be honest, I am resistant to making a commitment and anything long-term and he is terrified of what that means for his life and his heart. I can’t blame him for that, I don’t know if I would be able to date myself. For reasons un-related (or related?) to my resistance, I am interested in varying degrees of openness in my primary romantic relationship. He wants no part of that. I want someone who can handle my incessant fears and he wants someone who is sure that they feel the exact same way that he does: you are mine, I am yours, we want it that way. Neither is wrong, they are just different. Very.
So as I approach Valentine’s Day, I want to celebrate all forms of love that exist around me. This is because I like VD and although I don’t have “a love,” to share it with, I am not going to get down about this. Instead, I must remind myself why I don’t have “a love,” because I think there is enough love to go around. My own heart needs some attending to…
Now is my time to re-formulate what it is that I want and that I need in a romantic relationship. Figuring this out will save me time, energy, and pain. That isn’t to say I am in a hurry to enter another relationship. I am pretty occupied with school and work. I also think one of the most full-filling love-fests one can have is with oneself (seriously, read “Sex for One,” by Betty Dodson and you may agree). It is also important to give this some thought because I am 50% of why my relationship ended so it is my job to attend to that 50%.
I was reading this morning and everything that was coming up was about *committing* myself to…myself. I could go on and on about what the other person should have done differently in this relationship. I can make a mile long list of qualities I want my next romantic partner to have. That isn’t the job though! My job is to make that list, read it over, and then work at attaining every attribute on it.
The last couple of day I have been irritable, unsure of the next best move, fearful of what I am or am not doing right when realllly my answer is…to attend to myself. To bring my energy back to where it belongs – me. To my own heart, head, and body. This, arguably, will always be my answer. I have a problem? What was my part in it? Because I undoubtedly had a part in it? What do I want the others parties in this problem involve to do? I will go do that.
I don’t know how long this will take. Growth and change always take much longer than I would like them to. I was talking to a friend this morning and she said she is ready for a marriage with herself. I LOVE THAT. Although my relationship with marriage is a bit strange (surprise)…perhaps we could benefit from couples therapy? Anyway, I find much of what marriage represents awesome, I am thankful people make the commitment and I know it has worked out for a lot of couples, millions. I also have no interest in doing it and can see how it could go terribly, terribly wrong. I crave commitment but I don’t want to do it, hm…
OK, so if I “marry” myself I am practicing a commitment with a person I (…can become) comfortable doing it with – me. I am contemplating getting myself a promise ring. The idea is so hilarious to me and yet so perfect. Symbolism is so powerful and the whole idea of a promise ring is something I want to learn how to do – show someone, before it happens, that I want to get on board with them. That I am in it to win it, that although NOW is not the time to take the plunge, but to state the obvious…I want this, I want you (I want me?)
The fun, but strange, part is that all of those thoughts and feelings must go inward. I must “marry” myself. I laugh when I think about it, but it is perhaps how I am going to eventually be capable of fully committing to another person…If that is what’s in my stars. It is also time to chill out! Enjoy my own company, I spend literally all of my time with myself so I mine as well learn to do it in a way that serves me and is most enjoyable.
Now, I realize that the majority of you are probably married or coupled, I hope it is clear that I am not slamming marriage or commitment. I am really thankful that people choose to make the commitment, top of the list, my parents. Life is hard and to go at it with another person who has your back is a fantastic thing (see the beginning of this post…). I know that we need other people. I also think living a solo life has its perks. In short, it is all good.
I think that appreciating and respecting how another person chooses to enact love is extremely important. I think finding people who have similar expressions and receptivity to love is also important. Knowing what love looks like, what it feels like, your connection between love, sex, and life-style choices, like, for example, how are we going to arrange the kitchen? Or the BDSM dungeon? They are all important. Are we going to bring children into this world and what do we want to show them about love? All good areas to address. Not necessarily easy, but good.
Hallmark hasn’t written that card yet, no box of chocolates will do these questions justice (although…it is good to at least try with chocolate) the answers are something that needs to be played out every day. Something that we express in our every interaction with all those we come into contact with, ourselves included. Who we choose to develop whatever degree of intimate relationships with, is up to us. It is up to me. And it is my responsibility to tend to my own psyche and heart so that I can be in a position to give love to another person(s) and to receive it in a way that I feel is consistent with my soul’s longing.
My ex-boyfriend and I broke up. I have accepted it and it is time to move on. I am not too worried about it.
A week late. This is the best I could do for Valentine’s Day, or VD, as I affectionately refer to it as. Sure, this holiday is a great excuse to scarf down chocolate covered strawberries, but it also to spend time with people you care about. It can be really amazing and can be celebrated and practiced every day. If you feel you are allowing love blocked from your life no prob, I do it too, we are all works in progress. If you have love in your life, I commend you, and hope you EAT IT UP!