The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 December 2005

On the verge of desiccation

I know a dry spell when I see one:

I was unprepared for marriage when I tied the knot at 24 with an equally unprepared woman. We stayed married for twelve years. Our dysfunctions remained dormant as we fought side-by-side thru countless non-marriage-related battles. We were a hell of a team as long as we had a common enemy. However, once we were both out of college, working well-paying jobs, and focusing on the future, things got easy. Too easy. Without those common enemies, our marriage got stale and fell apart. As did the few relationships I was involved in after the divorce.

I didn't make it to twelve years, but I do have the "Been there, done that" T-shirt.

And I do recall a few things that sound like this:

I miss having the interaction of another person in my life. I know how to deal with myself and my quirks. (Well, most of them...) Being with another is what's missing. I miss the companionship and the conflict and the commiserating and the sharing of Sunday morning breakfast. Life — just like a relationship — brings about a swirling river of difficult sacrifices, unexpected complications, and competing demands. At least in a relationship, there's a woman on the other bank of that river!! I've long ago thrown off the notion of blissful abandon, where nobody says the wrong thing, where nobody gets their feelings hurt, where nothing goes awry. That's the stuff of Hollywood and the (pulp) literary world. I'm much more pragmatic about love and relationships at my semi-advanced age. A healthy relationship should be equal parts romance, individuality, and mutually-beneficial business arrangement. To make it all work requires effort, optimism, patience, and occasional mumbling to oneself in the basement.

Then again, I said to someone at the shop today:

Most of my love life seems to have been covered in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; if I need to go through that sort of thing ever again, I'll just buy the damn DVD.

Maybe I'm getting too old for pragmatism.

Posted at 6:04 AM to Table for One

I spent all my adult life - until February 2005 - either with a man or trying to find a man. So I'm coming up on a year of being alone and find it's really not that bad. As my brother said to me in his mid-40s: "all I've missed by not getting married is a couple of bad divorces." (But he's now married with kids.)

When I feel lonely I remind myself that being alone is better than being miserable (or just irascible) with a significant other, which seems to be the state an awful lot of people are in. Some haven't noticed, some have noticed but are afraid of the alternative.

Posted by: Melinama at 11:35 AM on 14 December 2005

My standard response has been "At least this way, only one person has to suffer." Few people seem to buy that as an explanation, for some reason.

And let's face it, one of the reasons I have developed some semblance of a life is the fact that I have some actual time for it, which wouldn't necessarily be the case were there two of us around here.

Everything, at some level, is a trade-off.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:47 PM on 14 December 2005