Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Having been from a large family and in a relationship for decades since I was a teen, the hardest part of leaving a long-term marriage wasn't the relationship--he'd been gone for a long time emotionally, but it was the physicality of being alone.
It was a terrifying prospect.
Like many folks, I immediately looked for someone to go towards. Instead of concentrating on getting away from something, I figured going toward something gave me direction. But, so far as I have known, folks who don't allow themselves to be alone after a relationship and get right into another one, have very grim long-term chances of that relationship making it. They begin giddy because the person is finally getting his needs met, but then the practicality of everyday life and probable incompatibility issues arise once the adoration phase wanes.
I get nervous when I see folks starting another relationship while leaving one. It says to me that they are desperately seeking someone to meet their long-unattended needs. If their spouse did not meet those needs, this new attentive person will.
Needs being met should be free of outsiders. In other words, you don't pick a partner to stroke your ego, agree with you, pick up the slack and take care of you. You pick them because they have all the qualities you admire. You wish to be more like them, they suit you in personality and interests, sexual chemistry and priorities. You don't pick them as a placeholder. It's unfair to the other person to have to fulfill long ignored needs that the last person didn't fill and to be everything the last partner wasn't.
What's so wrong about being alone?
Getting to know your capabilities and realizing you can count on yourself assures that no one can ever have so much power over you as to leave you completely vulnerable again. It can get lonely, but you don't start a relationship so you won't be lonely.
Someone once was insulted I had an only child. She acted as if it were worse than having no children. I told her, "He is ideal. He is everything I need. If I gave him a younger sibling, he'd wish he had an older sibling. If I gave him a little brother, he'd complain he wanted a little sister. The only reason for me to have another child is because my son has a rare blood type and he might need spare parts. That is no reason to bring a child onto the earth." So it is with relationships. We make someone fit our needs simply because we cannot stand to be alone.
Is your own company so awful?
Not having to compromise with a partner has been extremely liberating for me. I came out of a relationship in which he had control of absolutely every decision and I knew I couldn't influence him or get him to compromise, so I would fall apart into a crying child-like fit of frustration knowing I couldn't get my way and not only felt like a child, but acted like one at the checkout stand when she can't buy a lollipop and the parent has the control.
Knowing who I am without someone else's idea of what I should be has not only liberated me to be an individual but to appreciate that individual to manage my life and take care of me. Every night, I go to bed thanking myself for having gotten this, that, and that done for the day and managing my life efficiently.
When I do enter a relationship in the future, I will be able to do so knowing that I can stand alone and I will find an equal partner and not a companion for the loneliness, but someone who knows as well as I know that I choose to be there, and do not have to be.
As I often like to say, I do not NEED a man, but I might just WANT one.