About Me

My Photo
I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thinking About: Romance


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.

8 comments:

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Poor CK, I know your position well, having been on both sides of it in the past. As a woman, having had really great friendships with men who I was not interested in romantically, I think I can explain. At first, because there is no romantic interest on the female side, any hints from the male go unnoticed because it's not even a possibility in the female's mind. Then, when the hints are undeniable, the female will consider the possibility, ponder how the relationship might go, and even think about the physical aspects. If there really is not even the remotest spark of romantic interest on the part of the female, the thought of physical intimacy seems wrong, like having an intimate relationship with a brother. If there is a spark of romantic interest, the female will likely play out all her previous relationships with jerks and how badly they ended. The female will not want to lose her best male friend by getting romantically involved with him for fear it will all end up in a messy breakup. If the friendship is a really good, solid, happy one for the female, she will try to ignore any further hints, because openly rejecting the advances might jeopardize the friendship too, and the loss of such a good friend is unthinkable to her. This does not help the guy in the least, but I thought I'd give you some insight into the workings of the female mind. I still miss my best friend of my teenage and young 20s era. I just did not feel the way he did, and I guess continuing to be friends after I rejected his advances was too much for him. Also watching me go out with idiots when he was Prince Charming waiting in the corner must have been pretty irritating for him too. There's no accounting for who you're attracted to. I think I couldn't have been attracted to any decent guy when I was younger because some part of my psyche was convinced I didn't deserve a decent guy. Okay, all that aside, have you tried Internet dating? I've got a bunch of friends here who have been successful and are either now married or about to get married, including the tall lady I previously mentioned to you. She's in her 40s, beautiful, educated, and by all accounts should have been snatched up at a young age. She wasn't though, and over the years, her desperation became more obvious, which sent men running. She finally chilled out, accepted it wasn't going to happen, began considering in vitro to have a child and create the life she wanted as best as she could, then she met the man she's now engaged to. Another thing I've noticed, is sometimes you're too familiar and ordinary to the people around you and if you step outside your area, you're more attractive. My best friend who liked me, couldn't get dates with any of our peers. He was too cerebral, his face too pock-marked, and too normal. He eventually met a woman from South America who loved how different he was from all the men she knew. They've been married now for about 25 years. Don't give up. If you have that many female friends with great conversations, you're definitely a good guy. You just need to swim in a different pool to catch a female that's right for you.

dbackdad said...

Women are dumb. :-) (only partly in jest)

Reading your trials, I was very much reminded of all the same feelings that I went through back in the day. I've been happily (and luckily) married for almost 17 years, but my college years and early 20's careened from loneliness to anguish to embarrassment to entirely too many platonic relationships. And I wouldn't trade a single second of it. Being an atheist, that's what this life is about ... experiencing things. Love, loss, pain, joy. I'm firmly in the camp that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. It's better to risk embarrassment and tell someone that you care about them than to leave those feelings unrequited. This is the only life we have and we better not waste it on regret.

Sadie Lou said...

Hi!
I have to admit, I never thought I would have seen such a vulnerable post from you. I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm glad you haven't completely abandoned the idea of ever being in love because I think that would be a little sad...and in the early part of your post, you said you don't have a partner-shaped hole in your life, but sounds a little bit like by the end of your post, you would be happy with the idea of having a partner?
Perhaps at this point in your life, you're looking for a companion? (with bennies?)
Like Lance, I have been happily married for almost 15 years but I can still empathize with your situation because my husband and I have so many single friends. I enjoy hanging out with our single friends and having them to the house for dinner because I feel like many of them grow really weary of eating alone and being alone at night. There is something about eating meals that feels like a community activity. Yeah?
I wish you lived nearby, you could be in our regular camp of dinner guests.
Who knows CY, maybe when you're not looking for anything, someone will surprise you-?
~S

CyberKitten said...

V V said: Also watching me go out with idiots when he was Prince Charming waiting in the corner must have been pretty irritating for him too.

Oh, I have *so* been there.

V V said: Okay, all that aside, have you tried Internet dating?

No, but meeting new people is not the issue - it's forming meaningful relationships with women that's the problem. I'm meeting new people on a regular basis - it's actually part of my day job - so I don't feel the need to meet even more.

V V said: You just need to swim in a different pool to catch a female that's right for you.

I believe I've swum (is that a word?) in many different pools over the years... and in none of them could I have been descibed as normal or ordinary.... [grin]

dbackdad said: I'm firmly in the camp that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all.

Indeed... Or as I like to say it: It is better to have loved a short person than never to have loved a tall.

sadie said: I have to admit, I never thought I would have seen such a vulnerable post from you. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Suprised that I'm a human being or surprised that I admitted it? [laughs]

sadie said: Perhaps at this point in your life, you're looking for a companion? (with bennies?)

Presumably you mean benefits rather than Benzedrine? By benefits presumably you mean sex?

sadie said: I wish you lived nearby, you could be in our regular camp of dinner guests.

Oh, I can just imagine the conversations! [rotflmao] I'm sure that some of your guests *really* wouldn't know how to take me....

sadie said: Who knows CY, maybe when you're not looking for anything, someone will surprise you-?

It seemed that happened last time I 'gave up' on the whole deal. I think it's unlikely that lightening would strike twice though - not that it was exactly all roses last time [grin]

Sadie Lou said...

"bennies"--yeah, a friend you have sex with.

"Oh, I can just imagine the conversations! [rotflmao] I'm sure that some of your guests *really* wouldn't know how to take me...."

Oh trust me, we don't just surround ourselves with people who think the same as we do. You'd fit right in.
:D

CyberKitten said...

sadie said: "bennies"--yeah, a friend you have sex with.

Cool. I like that idea.

sadie said: Oh trust me, we don't just surround ourselves with people who think the same as we do. You'd fit right in.

So I wouldn't be the only life-time atheist and skeptic in the room then?

dbackdad said...

I hope your dinner parties aren't a twist on the 90's movie The Last Supper where a group of liberals would invite a rightwing host to dinner and then kill him. Don't be surprised, CK ... you might be on the menu! bwa-ha-ha-ha!!

Sadie Lou said...

"So I wouldn't be the only life-time atheist and skeptic in the room then?"

Nope. Have I told you my sisters are atheists? I was an atheist, once. I love atheists...for dinner.



LOL