This one, by the way, is gonna be personal. Not all personal, and I’ll try and keep specifics out of it since the personal things aren’t just about me. Also, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with things getting somewhat confessional here. But I do want to write about this.
Me and the ELO* broke up, a little over a month ago. As is often the case with these things, this situation is.. difficult. Actually, ‘difficult’ is probably the wrong word. It’s fraught, it’s confusing, it hurts like hell, once in a blue moon it feels fine for a little while. I suppose that’s almost always how it goes. And I’m doing all the usual things that a person does at times like these, from impulsive haircuts to spending hours on end watching Veronica Mars to learning ukulele and reevaluating my entire damn life. I figure that’s almost always how it goes, as well. Is it just me, or do LTRs sometimes feel a little like eras in your life?
And then I saw Chally’s post The Deficient Single Woman. Ohhhh boy, that one got me thinking.
Here’s the thing. Part of grieving for a relationship is simply missing the person themselves. Or being angry at them. Or, I guess, just dealing with whatever complicated feelings it is you have for them.
And then, I’m finding, there’s the other bit.
You see, for me, this whole process has as much been about dealing with finding myself single as it is about finding myself no longer involved with ELO. And those are two very distinct things. Being single, as Chally rightly points out in her post, is a social status. It’s a social status that’s seen as lesser- check out the post above for her discussion on that.
Here’s the thing. Dealing with being single means dealing with possibly ending up single. Every time you’re not in a relationship, there’s a perfectly reasonable possibility that you’re going to stay that way. It happens. For as many reasons as there are people in that situation.
I don’t know how to unpack the parts of that which are scary personally, and which are scary because I live in a world that sees ending up single as, well, a deficient way for a woman to be.
I know that the idea of living alone seems awfully lonely to me. I know that I’m at my happiest with someone to come home to, someone to share my space with. Someone to get to taste whatever it is I’m cooking. Someone to talk about my day with, go grocery shopping with. Someone to wake up next to in the morning. A window lit up when I’m walking home that quickens my step and puts a smile on my face, every time. Someone who’s the first person I call. Someone who knows I can be the first person they call.
That stuff is good. It’s also something I always somehow assumed I’d have, in the end.
And while right now there is no way I want to seek out all of that with someone new (after a reasonable amount of time flopping about in NRE-induced idiocy, natch), the idea that that might never happen for me leaves me cold.
And that’s where the unpacking comes in. Because how much of that is because it seems like it’s always assumed that all of those things happen in one kind of relationship? And how much is because I genuinely really want primary romantic relationships? How much of it is not seeing any alternatives? How much of it is my own desire, and how much is what I’ve always been taught to desire? And- more urgently- how much of it is my own fear of never attaining what I desire, and how much of it is my fear of not measuring up? How much of a fear of loneliness is also, or really, a fear of failure?
If, as Chally pointed out, we live in a society where ‘singleness is treated as something to be fixed’, then how are we to tell the difference between what we really want, and what we’re scared of?
*Entirely Lovely Other, who has showed up in a post or three before.
**I always get my hair cut at times like these. Always.