Besides the first few days back from my vacation, I’ve been feeling rather indifferent about men, dating and relationships. I date and I have a FWB that I see about once a month. And I feel pretty content with that even though the dating part almost feels like a chore and I could use more sex. Instead of day-dreaming about that first kiss or Mr. Right putting a ring on my finger, I day-dream about my next exotic vacation (alone) and having a lean body not with men gawking but while finishing my first full marathon next fall.
I have friends who have never been married and some who have never had a serious relationship. All they talk about is finding someone to love and love them back. I’m envious that they’ve had their entire adult lives to travel and do whatever they want while I have been in relationships that seemed to have held me down each time.
This is the longest I’ve been without any kind of a relationship or potential in 20 years. In highschool I had my first boyfriend at 15. We dated for a couple years. I guess the time between 17-ish and 19-ish I had a few boyfriends here and there but no one I’d say I was in a relationship with. The Ex was one of those “boyfriends” and during this time he broke my heart by dating me (and I was completely head over heels for him) then disappearing for a couple months only to resurface as married man. I was deeply wounded. Then I dated and lived with someone my last year or two of college. We got engaged, but that didn’t last. I had trust issues from The Ex and I still wanted him. It was a rebound. After we ended things, The Ex came back into my life, this time with two babies and an estranged wife. I didn’t trust him and being with him also hurt a little, so I continued dating and met someone who liked me more than I liked him. He swept me off my feet, but I was still in love with The Ex even though I knew a relationship with him was not an option. The Ex eventually disappeared with another woman. My boyfriend and I moved in together and got engaged, but things ended when . . . well, long story. I will have to save it for another time.
I moved away and was single for a few months before meeting my next boyfriend who was ten years my senior and recently seperated. (The Ex popped up once during this time, via email since we were thousands of miles apart, but his new, pregnant fiance — that I was not aware of — thwarted our efforts to reunite.) My boyfriend and I dated for nearly five years, with the first two years dealing with his impending divorce. It was filled with drama and I was stupid for sticking with it, and I think it set the tone for the rest of our relationship. The situation was difficult because of a business they owned together and to make matters worse, they worked together the whole time. We never lived together. We talked about marriage, but it never happened. In a way the relationshp was perfect because we did our own things a lot of the time and on the weekends we’d get together and do things we both enjoyed. He took care of me in some ways, being so much older and having a lot of money. And, I guess I grew accustomed to that. He didn’t pay my rent, but because he always wanted to get away and travel and I was young and broke, he paid my way which was often. Eventually we went our seperate ways after things just sort-of died and I moved and became involved in a non-profit organization that took all of my time when I wasn’t working.
I then met my future husband (online!). We were long-distance, but close enough to drive. He was damaged goods, moreso than I ever was. I was nearing 30 at this point and with the non-profit out of my system (after a five-year term I was ready to hand it off) I thought it was time to marry and have babies, so we married and actually tried to get pregnant for a short time before depression hit me like a ton of bricks. I hated being married, I hated where we lived, I hated the thought of having a baby and I felt trapped. That first winter of our marriage was the darkest time of my life. I slept nearly 20 hours a day and existed on popcorn and the occasional pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. These were the only foods my husband could get me to eat to keep from wasting away, otherwise my diet would have been coffee and Ambien. I lost a lot of weight and became gaunt and I wore the same clothes every day. I hadn’t found a job in our new town and stopped trying. I thought about suicide and even admitting myself into a mental institution as I was so desperate. I remember one day I went to the post office and being around people for the first time in awhile, felt like they were looking at me as though I were a street person. I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. I needed help. So, I got some and the talking only made me feel worse, but getting out of the house on a regular basis helped. Soon, I started going to the gym, and eventually I worked my way out of my slump. Then, I left my husband who was generally a good person but we just couldn’t make it work. And, hindsight being what it is, though I don’t miss him at all, I bailed out of a marriage that I could have made work. I should have tried harder but instead I gave up as soon as the going got bad and I didn’t feel like working on it any more.
I moved away (I do this a lot at the end of a long-term relationship and am struggling with the thought even now — hard habit to break, I guess) and started a new life, closer to my family and though I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, The Ex. I was pretty happy single at this point, but I was dating, too. In hindsight, these were probably some of the best days of my life. Then, I bumped into The Ex and made the mistake of jumping back into things with him. I thought he’d grown up. I thought he’d figured things out. I thought he’d changed. So, I moved in with him and we got engaged, but it was a bumpy ride the entire four years we were together. I stuck with it because I was trying to be a grown-up this time around, to weather the ups and downs of a relationship. And, I loved his kids and his family. In hindsight, I should’ve left him after the first six months. I won’t say I never should have gotten together with him because if I hadn’t there would have always been an underlying “what if?” because even though he did some horrible things to me, I always felt for him and carried a torch for him. He was sort-of my “ideal man” and I always believed his indescretions were my fault or had to do with timing, because that’s what he told me and he was very convincing. So, I’m glad I did it because now, I don’t have a “one who got away” or someone I pine over. Anyway, I ended things with The Ex this year, and now, here I am!
Maybe I just don’t feel like dealing with the BS. Maybe I am broken. Or maybe I’m protecting myself from hurt and disappointment. All I know is that part of me thinks I need to be dating and part of me doesn’t want to. It’s a constant battle. I feel pretty complete right now. And, with so many women my age wishing and hoping for “the one” I kind-of hope mine holds off awhile because I’m not ready for him.