I find myself bound by all sorts of self-imposed restrictions in the love life department. To my mind, I have no business engaging in a ‘formal, full-blown relationship’ as defined pretty much anyway you’d like to define one. Here’s why:
1. There is much residual ‘damage’ yet to un-do where my children still living at home are concerned. Still much to resolve, self-esteem and confidence to repair, both my own and theirs.
2. For my part, I still feel overly responsible and regretful of having subjected them to so much ‘crap’ last time around that I’m super leery to expose them to anyone new or to upset our family apple cart before it’s fully upright from the last upset.
3. My finances are a complete mess and I would not dare to impose that mess on anyone. I feel very strongly that I should be whole, standing on my own two feet before attempting to blend my life and the lives of my children with anyone else’s. Too many fights over money have made me this way. I don’t want a savior – rather, I want a partner. But I must be a fit partner, as well.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist of my thinking here.
On the flip side, I rail against these self-imposed restrictions out of a longing for someone to talk to, to share not only the worry, but more importantly, the triumphs. In fact, this is and always has been my biggest regret of single-motherhood: no one with whom to share the joy.
Here is my favorite fantasy: one of the kids does something freakin’ awesome, and I look up and meet a pair of eyes smiling as wide as mine are, and no words are required because the feeling is conveyed and shared immediately. A distinct lack of explanation required. Someone who knows me so well I don’t need to explain why that something freakin’ awesome meant so much. It meant the same to him.
Back to reality.
There exists so such man in my life, and I suppose if I am really honest with myself, there never did exist such a man…though there have been a few imposters taking up that space.
Until recently…….that is.
There has been someone on the periphery of my life for a very long time, also otherwise entangled in a complicated life of his own, but circumstance has afforded us the ability to build a friendship through these many years – one based on mutual respect (huh? wow…it does exist) and a shared affinity for looking deeper than the surface. We’re thinkers, the both of us.
And now that we both find ourselves single again, yet still living very complicated lives, we orchestrate time together away from the prying eyes and opinions of everyone we know…we talk about things that matter to each of us, knowing that what bothers one, bothers the other – what makes one smile, makes the other smile, as well. We slowly, carefully step beyond the boundaries we’ve known for so long and expand this friendship into something we can’t quite put a name on at the moment.
The other night, he actually thought he needed to apologize for always touching me somehow when we are together. He said, “I know it probably irritates you…” and I laughed out loud. These are the kind of moments that catch me so much by surprise – how someone can know me so well, yet be apologizing for the very thing I’ve wanted so much for so long. How crazy is that? Of all the things I could imagine him doing that might irritate me, wanting to and actually ACTing on the desire to be connected through a simple touch is SOOOO not one of them.
Everything is different this time around. I’m calm, I’m cool, and for the most part, I’m collected. THAT is a big switch! And I don’t stress about the unknowns because I know him so well, and that is nice, too. Another thing that’s different is I’m not immediately fantasizing about getting married and living happily ever after. I’m fairly happy right now the way I am, so there’s not a lot of pressure to fill a void that happily is no longer there.