Scared to be lonely?


Sarah’s coming out from under the bed every single day now. She meows loudly to announce her emergence, then slowly pokes her head, then paws then entire body out. Tail in the air she’ll saunter over to me (or anyone else who happens to be standing beside me). However, the moment you reach down to pet her, she skitters away and will sometimes run back under the bed entirely, gone for the rest of the day/night.

She’s made such huge progress in the past weeks, it makes my heart swell, and has even brought a tear to my eye when she gets really into it and head butts and purrs up a storm. But it also makes me wonder if Sarah’s really learning to trust me and wants to be near me or is it just that she’s tired of being lonely?

I’ve come to realize that, besides my parents (who just celebrated 25 highly dysfunctional but also kinda fucking amazing years of marriage together), no one around me is in a relationship they REALLY want to be in. Everyone is so goddamn unhappy on some level, somehow. And yet, they stay together.


Hang on. I know this answer. I know I do.

Going on my fourth year out of a marriage, and without any significant portion spent in a “normal” relationship with someone who was in the same country as me, when it comes to thinking about being in a committed, see-the-same-person-every-day-in-the-morning-and-at-night relationship freaks me out ever so slightly, only because I believe (finally) I’ve become rather independent and quite happy to be on my own and spend time with ME.

That aside, I still remember what it’s like to be in that committed, one-person scenario. Still have small memories of what it meant to compromise on decisions and put myself second (or 20th as the case often was with me, and 100% of my own doing), how it felt to plan for evenings out together (tedious as fuck), and weekends away, decorating together and sharing daily trials and tribulations over dinner.

And I also vividly remember that when (on some deep level) I knew I was done with it, I still couldn’t and didn’t walk away.

Kids and living arrangements and circumstance are great excuses to stay with someone and in a situation you don’t really want to be in. Shit, that was definitely at least one of the reasons why we stayed together as long as we did. And how often do you question a spouse on why they stay with their significant other when they clearly loathe them; and as they bounce the sleeping child on their lap or play with the puppy at their feet they just bought together or twirl the car keys for the brand new model they just bought, they respond, “We can’t just split up, we have too much together.”

Well, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s more than that.

People are scared to be alone. Petrified of being on their own. Just like Sarah. She doesn’t “love” me in the traditional sense, she just gets so excited when I come back from work or from being away from the condo for a few days because she’s no longer alone. That fear of being the ONLY ONE: It’s fucking terrifying.

I know.

As contented as I am on my own without obligation to anyone (besides my son who owns me entirely, and my God does he know it), I’m also ridiculously fucking petrified that I will be alone. For a long, long time.

I’ve asked friends in troubled relationships why they just don’t leave and make themselves so much happier. Why torture themselves if they are so unhappy every day they step through the door and spot the person they should love, but don’t? And they usually respond with something along the lines of, “Oh, I know it’s not all bad” or “But deep down I know she loves me” or even “I’ve never been with a man who was as committed to me before.”

But is all that worth losing your own personal happiness over?

In my oh-so-single brain, it’s deifnitely not. Not one bit.

No relationship is perfect. I know this, trust me. I do know. But, I’ve also started using the pros/cons scenarios with friends in troubled relationship spots. As in, do the pros outweigh the cons? Do the number of times he’s made you laugh and smile outnumber the times he’s made you cry and scream in anger?

Because if the good doesn’t outweigh the bad, there is no fucking reason to stay. Not for one more second.

Life is short, so short. We all have a limited amount of time on this Earth, some much more limited than others, and we never really know what that time limit is until it’s too late, right? So why waste it? Because society says you have to try? Because your mother will be disappointed? Because you think it’ll be too hard and they’ll cry too much when you tell them they no longer make you happy? Because you just bought a house and it would suck to look for an apartment again? Because you kinda really like NetFlix, but the account is under their name and you’ll miss it too much when they’re gone?

Or is it because you’re scared to be alone?

I am. I’ll openly admit that.

But here I am.

I’ve managed to survive, thrive even. And in all my “loneliness,” I’ve learned that no matter what, I will no longer stay in a situation (partner, friend, work, line at the grocery store…) that doesn’t benefit my happiness, and in a big way.

I don’t mean a smile once a week and looking forward to once a month date nights, oh no, it’s got to be so much more than that. I mean a snort-inducing laugh in every conversation, a grin on my face every time I see his (even first thing in the morning when we both look like swamp monsters from the deep), excitment when doing run-of-the-mill shit like groceries and washing dishes, epic orgasms (for both) and a freedom to explore without judgement between the sheets, and an ability to be happy for one another when we lead our own lives outside a relationship we’re both thriving and evolving in.

Sounds like a bit of a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

At this point you all realize I am far from a relationship expert. In fact, I think I’d wager I’m more of a warning label for dating and relationships. Like a, “Look at her kids, this is what NOT to do if you want a long, healthy and happy relationship with a partner.” And I’m well aware and make no alusions to being anything else.

But in all my failures and shortcomings, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and human interactions as a whole. We’re all pretty fucked up and broken. ALL OF US. No one gets to be shiny and new and undamaged, it doesn’t happen. We all have history and baggage and bullshit that’s what makes us unique, what makes us attractive to the other sex (shockingly enough), but it’s also the reason we put ourselves in situations we aren’t really happy with because it also makes us afraid.

Afraid to share that damage and brokeness again; afraid it won’t be accepted; and afraid that it will all lead to the same conclusion: loneliness.

So, we stay. Stay where we don’t really want to be. Stay so that we can be “loved” in some fucked up way because the idea of being alone in a world that’s already so oddly isolating despite the gobs of communication and interaction tools available at our very fingertips is just too immensely terrifying to consider.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on July 20, 2017.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: