Yes, I Think I'm Better Off Alone

It might seem a little contradictory -- just a short time ago, I wrote about how wonderful it was to live with my boyfriend. It was. Living together was not the problem. He was.

Rather, it was that I picked him knowing that he was completely wrong for me. That we were diametrically incompatible, and that I wasn't attracted to him. I chose him, though, because he lobbied me into the relationship, doing everything to convince me that he and I were right for each other. I suppose I said 'yes' because he asked, and that is admittedly a very bad reason for entering into a committed relationship. But, it was something that I wanted to experience -- this committedness -- and I thought, Who better than a friend who seems to care about me and my well-being. I thought I would eventually grow to love him holistically.

But from the outset, he did things that made me feel uncomfortable and out of sorts. Rather than allow our love to consume us and have us be infatuated with the idea of being infatuated and in a relationship, which I had truly invested myself in, he held me at arms length -- he needed to wait until I had a job, until he saw that I could sacrifice for our relationship, until I was making contribution, until he apparently felt as though he was being supported by me emotionally, for him to really love me, to feel like I'm "the one."

So, almost from the get-go, it was a game of cat and mouse. "Honey, please show me you love me so that I can feel like I should stay here and settle down," from me was met with, "Well, honey, why don't you lay down roots here and get a job so that I can show you that I love you." And, so it went.

The worst was his constant undermining of my emotional well-being. "Honey, you're not well and I understand that. I'll pull your wagon for you." But, when I really needed his support, he said that I "was like a Lamborghini in his garage, really pretty to look at, but with no engine inside of it," essentially saying that our relationship was a bait and switch, and that he felt deceived.

But, so did I. We both had wanted the same thing. To commit our lives to building a future with someone we believed in our hearts and minds was the right person. But we realized -- at different times, and for different reasons -- that we had deceived ourselves... that in foregoing the "like" we would never find "love."

Everything was downhill from there. I can't even recall there being a crescendo that climaxed in order to get to this slope. But, there I was, hearing things now post-break up such as, "Well, my friends told me that they've seen me in love before, and that it didn't seem to them like I was in love with you."

If I didn't see it, and they didn't see it, who did he think he was in love with?

Anyhow, what this relationship taught me is that I am the master of my own domain, of my own identity, and being in a healthy relationship doesn't mean subsuming your own entity for someone else or allowing them to co-opt your dreams in order to help you build them in some ham-fisted way.

The person you love, who loves you in kind, should love you for exactly who you are, all the good and bad, all the old scripts that you follow, all the problems you have with your parents, every high and low. He or she shouldn't try to change you, nor should you try to change them. If you need time and space to figure things out, your partner should be able to accept and understand that. If you can't accept a person for how they are, then move on. Which is what I did. And, I'm much happier this way.

Now, more than a year later, I have come to terms with the fact that I tried to be someone who I'm not throughout the course of the last ten years that I've been dating. And that's a person who is in a committed relationship.

I've realized now that it's just not for me, and I don't want to get married or have children. And whether people think that it's a function of my past relationships, or that it will change once I meet "the right person" is really irrelevant to me. It's something that I feel as a part of me... not something that I'm trying to be or change.

I'm not turned on by the idea of being in a relationship again or being committed to someone. Seeing couples, weddings, romantic movies ... none of it has any impact on me, good or bad. It just kind of is what it is.

And me? I would like to enjoy the idea of "You Owe Me Nothing in Return" by Alanis Morrisette, with someone who understands that entire dogma in kind. I want my space, my bed, my apartment, my life and independence, and I don't want to subsume it for anyone or conjoin it to someone else. And, I want my lover (yes, that's really all I want) to have just the same rights and liberties. And, like it says in the song, the freedom to love someone else, and to leave at their discretion (and to return in kind).

PatientRapunzel PatientRapunzel
31-35, F
7 Responses Jan 7, 2007

It's interesting for me to read my older posts -- moving for my job, the one about my first love at age 22, the failed cohabitation relationship at age 26... <br />
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I didn't write about another hurtful relationship at 28 that left me shattered in its demise. And, I haven't really put into many words what I feel for my fiance'. Sometimes I start a post, and I stop myself. He truly is the keeper of my heart, and I've grown incredibly private about what our love is -- because at the risk of sounding so cliche, it's the stuff of Browning and Bradstreet. Every time I reflect on how our relationship began, I fall in love all over again. And, it's a tremendously powerful feeling to have those waves of infatuation hit me when I'm well into being attached and deeply loving this man...<br />
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I can have butterflies, and be a teenager again...but know that at age 31, I found my soulmate who needs me and seeks my support and insight as much as I look for his, who is attracted to me and admires me. We cherish each other. I can remember every single embrace, kiss and smile, and I still savor them. <br />
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We're a traditional couple, and maybe there are things we believe in that not every couple does. I'd like to think we do what every happy couple does -- cook meals together, laze around at home and enjoy our silent proximity, go to book clubs and museums, go clothes shopping, scour used book sales for bargains, watch foreign films, tease each other about our gaffes... We have our own language, our shared jokes...<br />
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It's been an incredible year, and it's a love that I'm so blessed to have as I live the next half of my life with him.

I love seeing "after the fact" posts from a thread that spans multiple years...congratulations on finding the love that truly makes you happy & fulfilled.

Hi Libba...<br />
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Thank you for the note. I am quite happy to report that I'm now (four years later) in the relationship I always dreamed of having, with a wonderful man who loves me -- for all the right reasons, and even for all my foibles. It took a while for me to get to this place, where my heart, soul and mind were truly ready to engage with a man in the way one's soulmate and life partner deserves to be treated. It has been an incredible journey, one that has given me true peace and fulfillment as a person, woman, lover and friend -- to someone who is really my other half, who brings out the best in me, polishes the places that were once dull, and lets me shine.

Very well put, but I think you need to find someone who isn't a sheep and shares the open and strong independent personality that you seem to have. I'm in the same boat as you but always stay open and try and put myself in situations where I may stumble across someone like minded.

Beautifully written and expressed i hope you find happiness

Give yourself some time. Perhaps the excitement and desire for love and a relationship will return. Be happy being you. I wish you the best, CMR

This was very well expressed and articulated, and it's easy to see how you have come your current position. It doesn't seem to me at all unreasonable that your sense of self has decided that for the moment, relationships are something for another time.<br />
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Whilst he was no doubt trying to do the right thing, it does seem like his attempts to create a relationship frequently dipped into conditionality and unfortunate head-games. Unfortunate, to say the least.