When I am out and about these days, I find myself considering the guys I meet. It’s not like I didn’t sometimes think about this stuff when I was with J, and I am not looking around now with any seriousness. But the question is there: Do I want another relationship, now or sometime? What do I want in a relationship? What do I want the form of my life to be, going forward?
I really liked the feeling of companionship that was part of being a couple. I liked the ease of trust and friendship (when it existed, and it did for a long time) and I liked being somebody’s default adventure buddy. If you asked me to describe my ideal life, I would say that it would include a partner, a kid or two and a dog or two, and that my partner and I would work and that when we weren’t working we would visit family and that whenever possible, we would spend time hiking and doing outdoorsy things and exploring the western U.S. We would do a lot of things together but we would give one another the space to do things independently too, and we would encourage one another to pursue those independent pursuits.
Right now though, as I look around, I wonder about a lot of other things that make me want to step back:
- How do some people get so consumed by relationships? I do still remember the early days of me and J and the way I did think (a lot) about the next time we were going to meet up and what we were going to do. But it wasn’t just the excitement of “us”– It was the excitement of us going to have adventures together. “Hey, let’s go hike someplace new!” “Want to try a new recipe?” “Let’s go running or biking or look at maps, or maybe let’s try to find a movie from Redbox that will be quirky and amazing or just really, really terrible.” I liked that the structure of the relationship came from shared interests and that, while we were definitely more than just friends, the tone of our interactions was laid-back. I am made nervous by people who like to buy flowers and gifts and open doors for their girlfriends and give lots of compliments. By people who agree with me too much. I don’t know why this is something I fixate on, but it is. I do enjoy some attention and I do like flowers and all… But I don’t like a lot of attention focused directly on me.
- How do I trust somebody not to cheat on me again? I actually know the answer to this question (like, if I do start another relationship, I think I will manage just fine), but the emotional risk of trust feels like a lot right now. Mentally I am still, just a little bit, walking away from the institution of couplehood with my middle finger in the air.
- Which brings me around to…I just wanna do what I wanna do. No compromises for a while. I keep coming back to this point. When I am out, if I am meeting new people, I wonder about those people, and I imagine possibilities. But as soon as I am on my own again my thoughts are not on potential connections — Rather, I find myself wanting space. It’s a weird mental state to be living in– Occasionally interested, then suddenly and strongly overwhelmed by a big mental feeling of “Nope.”
So anyway… You know how on this blog I have a sidebar thing that is a collage of my blog tags? The more frequently the tag has been used, the larger the font. Over the past months the word ‘Divorce’ has been looming ever bigger in my side bar, and while it makes sense (the relationship I am leaving was 10 years of my life), I am feeling a little suffocated by the whole topic. I was thinking just now about how tomorrow is Independence Day, and that maybe, this month of July, it would be better to focus on the topic of independence rather than divorce. To stop writing about J for a little while, even if I am thinking about her. And then, come August, to see where that takes me. Life has been getting slowly better since the initial separation, but I’d like to see a lot more progress.