03 September 2008
How do you be single?
I've just realized-- I am THAT girl. The girl that everyone hates, the serial monogamist, the girl who doesn't know how to be when she's not in a relationship. And what's terrible is that I have only just realized this, when a friend pointed it out to me. In the past four years, since my junior year of college, I've always been either in a relationship or mourning one that ended. (I can't date anyone when I'm still upset over a relationship gone wrong-- it is not fair to me or to anyone else.) My junior year I dated British Boy when I was in England, an intense four month or so relationship to which I did not know how to say goodbye-- so of course the aftermath/flirtation/mourning lasted until the next April, of my senior year, when I met Younger Guy. He was Mr. Fraternity, I was Miss Sorority, and I found his obnoxious cockiness to be completely irresistible. We had a brief but intense fling as I tried to compress my entire college career into a couple months, and then I mourned that relationship until early November. And then I met Exbf at the end of November and we jumped into a relationship (literally!) in the beginning of December 2006. A relationship that is only really just ending-- that tends to happen when two people can't let go of each other, even though things were difficult and complicated. He has been mine for the last year and a half, and I have been his. There has been nobody else. We still have so much love for each other...just a different type of love than it used to be. Not friendship love, not soulmate love any longer, just-- HollyG and Exbf love, unique to the two of us and stretching on, unending.
This weekend I feel like something did end though. A portion of our history-- the romantic part-- appears to have been clipped, and I worry that will change what we've had in the past. He assures me that it does not and will not. I sometimes call him Mr. Nonverbal, because like most guys, he has trouble giving voice to his feelings--so much as I know he loved and still loves me, it wasn't always put out there verbally. Something like that tends to make an overanalytical girl assume the love wasn't meaningful and that as soon as he meets someone else (which he may have already...but that's a long and upsetting story that I'm not getting into now!) he'll say something like "Sure, I thought I loved HollyG at the time, but now I know that's not true." But in my heart (and based on his recent words) I know I'm being paranoid. I know that he loved me and we were happy, and his friends and family knew it; I know that once upon a time I had that love I thought only existed in books, specifically Francesca Lia Block novels, and that the ending of our relationship was a little too much like The Way We Were; I know that just because a relationship isn't conventional doesn't mean that it's not powerful, life-changing, and real. And I know that not having him as my lover does make me feel a bit incomplete, although I'm ashamed to admit it. I know that we are not supposed to be together right now, but I wish with all of my being that things were different, that timing had been different.
This past weekend I sat in Central Park with Exbf, my head settled on his legs and his hand stroking my hair. I cried silent tears under my sunglasses and he wiped them away with his fingertips. I yelled at him for things he couldn't change, things that still pain me today, and he told me that sometimes he thought I deserved more than what he could give me at the time. We both struggled with the knowledge that we were changing and the fact that we still refuse to let each other go. So now we begin the process of trying to be friends, when all we know how to do is love each other.
Which brings me back to my main point-- I am THAT girl. I do not know how to be happy on my own, and I do not know how to find satisfaction from within. I grew so used to having Exbf as a constant comfort in my life, and before that other guys as sources of "fixing," that I have no idea what to do now that I lack those things. I do not want to be that woman who always has to depend on a man. And I am not willing to settle for just any guy from now on, because I've had the real thing, and it was the most magical thing I've ever felt. But at this point, when most of my friends are in serious relationships and I'm surrounded by diamond sparklers on left-hand ring fingers in DC, it is so difficult to not think that being single makes me less of a person.
How do I get happy with myself? Until I am I will never be able to be in a successful permanent relationship. I will also never be fulfilled. So, how do you be single, grow to be happy with yourself, and grow to be self-sufficient? And how do you then meet someone new, when you feel like you've already had the best? I have no idea.