Monday, February 14, 2011
Today is definitely the day to think about such things. It’s difficult to get away from all the paraphernalia extolling people to be romantic on this day if no other. Of course it leaves single people, with no one to pass on their romantic longings to, rather out in the cold.
I, for one, have been single throughout most of my adult life. My longest relationship in that time lasted approximately 2 years. Even that wasn’t exactly smooth and the best descriptive phrase I could use about it is probably ‘roller-coaster’. It was, though, one hell of a ride. I was, for a time, deeply, passionately in love with the woman and at other times contemplating murder. The whole relationship was very instructive on multiple levels and made serious contributions to who I am. I grew up a lot in those brief years and suffered the pains associated with growth, but grow I did. For that, if nothing else, I will be forever grateful.
Luckily for me, and especially my sanity, I generally don’t mind being on my own. I am psychologically and philosophically largely self-sufficient. I am not incomplete without someone else in my life or in my bed. I do not need a ‘better half’ to complete me. I am already a whole person and not someone with a partner shaped hole in my life. Of course saying that I still have desires and I still form emotional attachments to people around me. But as through most of my life these attachments appear to be largely a one-way street. This is not to say that the women I interact with don’t like me – they do. It’s one of the things that has always perplexed me about relationships with women. They like me. Some of them like me a lot. Few, it appears, like me enough to want to be a part of my life however. It’s making that transition that seems to continually defeat me. It’s not as if I’m not trying – though I do give up from time to time. Of course I’m continually being given conflicting advice – about trying too hard for example. So I back off a bit only to seem disinterested. If I turn my interest up a few notches I’m seen as needy or creepy. I have witnessed women being made uncomfortable in my presence just by me being there. I find such experiences deeply troubling as you can imagine as they call into question my beliefs about who I am.
Presently I find myself with an emotional attachment to a woman at work. Maybe because of this I actually find it surprisingly difficult to hold conversations with her. It’s very reminiscent of my teenage years when I used to ‘fall in love’ every time the wind changed but charged the ‘relationship’ with so much importance that I could barely say a word to them in case I said the wrong thing. Thankfully my teenage years are long behind me but I do find my present lack of communication skills most frustrating. Oddly there is another woman I work with who I find very sexually attractive and yet have no problems talking to her at all – indeed we’ve had some pleasantly long conversations on the company clock which both of us have enjoyed a great deal. If only I could have these kind of conversations with the object of my emotional desire! Not, I suspect, that it would do any good. Everyone in the office knows that I like her a great deal. I’m sure that some of them are under the impression that we are actually in a relationship already as they sometimes ask me where she is if she’s running late or has a day off – as if I should know. Yet she seems blithely unaware of how I feel. Either she’s not picking up on things – and I’ve been fairly blatant about it – or (as I suspect is much more likely) she likes me enough to ignore my overtures hoping that I’ll get fed up and bother someone else rather than telling me to take a hike and sling my hook. It’s rather frustrating and more than a little perplexing. I have always had trouble picking up on ‘signals’. Subtlety is most definitely lost on me. I work best when I know exactly where I stand with someone and have in the past pushed and pushed at something until I’ve had a definitive response – and sometimes a very definitive response! It’s something I really don’t want to do in my present situation though. What I need to do, and have been trying to do in a half-assed way, is to give up on her. I’m sure that things would be better without the emotional attachment I have developed – which, when I try to analyse it, makes little obvious sense. The problem I have with this idea though is that, illogically as it sounds, I feel that this might be my last chance at something. It feels as if giving up on her is the same as giving up on love itself.
Thinking about it, this may not actually be such a bad idea. Love has not exactly been kind to me in the last 35 or so years. Maybe it’s about time I returned the favour by turning my back on the whole idea. Of course there’s a very small part of my psyche that thinks that as soon as I do this that someone will walk into my life to prove me wrong. The rational part of my psyche will inevitably have none of this. Do I want to live without even the possibility of love? Not really, no. I guess though that I have managed so far without the reality of love. I do wonder sometimes how my sanity has survived. If someone had told me in my mid-teens that I would spend the next 35 years in an emotional desert with only the occasional shower of rain and the odd oasis to sustain me I would probably have despaired (and actually not believed them). Fortunately I have, through necessity, become desert adapted. This does not, however, stop me longing for the passing clouds I see every day to pause in their travels and rain on me a little, nor does it stop me dreaming of an oasis I could call my own. Ah, the metaphors we live by! I can almost feel the burning sun on my back and the sand between my scaly toes. Time to burrow deep and wait for the rains I think. Maybe they’ll come one day and turn this desert into a garden. Stranger things have happened.