Thursday, March 03, 2005

i didn't really care . . .

as life goes on and i grow older, i find that i spend more time analyzing my decisions, my attitude, and my goals in life. i'm considering the possibility of a relationship, or i guess i should say i'm considering whether i want to enter into a relationship. the possibility is there, and a specific situation is fast approaching that will require a decision of some sort -- interested, not interested, maybe interested, don't know if i'm interested, unsure if i'm capable of sincere interest, etc. i don't mean interested in this particular person, but just whether i'm interested in the amount of commitment and responsibility associated w/ relationships. well, that and the consequences if the relationship doesn't work out as planned (hoped) by the participants.

since i have 2 failed relationships in my adult life, resulting in 2 divorces, the relationship issue is a serious consideration for me. it's hard for me to deal w/ in that i'm not used to being a failure at something. don't take that wrong, as i'm not looking for a pity party. i am responsible for my own actions, and i am partly to blame for the failure of 2 marriages. maybe that's the problem -- i am willing to accept responsibility for my actions. after all, if i could just do as some people and say, "well, it wasn't my fault." then i could easily move on. but i don't feel i can truly move on in the world of relationships w/o taking a good, hard look at what went wrong and how i could prevent that from happening in the future.

probably the easiest way of preventing the failure of a future relationship would be to just not enter into one. yeah, i know. that's the coward's way out, but it's looking pretty good right now. there are some other options available, though, like finding someone that i love more than life. right now, that's not looking like a strong possibility. after all, i'm just about to reach that point in life where i have some personal freedom. my baby will turn 19 this month, so my parenting responsibilities are fairly minimal right now, but soon to be even less. by not having a significant other at this point, i'm not tied down by that aspect on any future choices that i have to make. i think if i were to meet someone now i would find myself weighing them in the balance against personal freedom. i could see me w/ the mental picture of "the scales of justice," w/ my personal freedoms and desires stacked up on one side and the person on the other, adjusting it this way and that way to see if it was acceptable. i can just imagine my thought process at that time -- "ok, so this has to go to balance out that . . . uhm, no. ok maybe this could go and i could move that here . . . h-m-m-m . . . uhm, that's not going to work either. well, maybe if this is here and that is there and he would be willing to (fill in the blank) , possibly. oh, yeah, that's probable. almost as probable as winning the lottery! so then what if i this, and what if he that? . . . no, i don't really want that. you know, though, if i could just scoot this here and move him there, . . . that might work . . . or maybe not." the next move i could see me making is just scrapping the whole thing then because i didn't see a feasible way for it to work. to justify this action, all i would have to do is look at my past to see that it didn't work in the past, so it probably won't work in the future . . . and then i don't have much motivation to pursue the idea that i'm interested in a relationship.

the other important factor is finding someone who is as committed as i am. i know that sounds comical, as i don't "sound" committed at all. after all, i'm pondering the idea of whether i even want a relationship to begin with! but i mean finding someone that is as committed in making a relationship last once we decide we're actually interested in the relationship. i'm not willing to settle for less than i want just to have a relationship. i don't want a relationship so bad that i'm willing to enter one even if it feels wrong. i'm only willing to enter into a relationship where both people are ready to invest all that they have and all that they are to make it work. a soulmate, a best friend, a confidante, a support system, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a partner. a full partner. someone who i can trust w/ all that i am and all that i have and all that i will be. i think i want that, but i'm just not sure.

so now that i'm looking at whether i'm willing to invest in a relationship and, if so, how much am i willing to invest in a relationship, i've made a couple surprising discoveries about myself. i might have already known these things, but it's different when i acknowledge something rather than sweeping it under the carpet. probably the most obvious, but still rather surprising, is that in the past -- i just didn't care. really. just didn't really care enough to work harder on the relationship overall. when chris and i met, i liked him well enough and he was easy to be around. we dated for a while and spent more time together, and things seemed "ok". i didn't really have any reason not to see him, but no driving inspiration to further the relationship, either. we dated for 3 years when he gave me a ring and asked me to marry him. i said, "ok, but not right now." maybe that should've been a major indicator to me that this was not the right thing? guess i missed that! i had all kinds of reasons for stalling -- money, children, career, differences of opinions on different topics, etc. but none of these were probably the REAL reason i wasn't interested in marrying him -- i didn't truly love him. translation ==> i didn't really care.

the other important thing that i'm forced to acknowledge is that i just didn't need someone else. really. just didn't really need someone enough to work harder on the relationship. i didn't need someone there to tell me what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. i didn't need someone else's advice on how to run my life, how to spend my money, how to manage my career, or how to raise my kids. i wasn't willing to feed someone else's ego by asking their opinion of this or that before i made a decision that affected my life. or maybe i did ask the opinion, but i didn't feel like i had to take the advice that was offered. i didn't need a cheerleader to get things done, as i'm a self-motivated person to begin w/. i didn't need to drag a 250 pound live carcass through my life just to have these things that i didn't need to begin w/. and then tie the emotional baggage to the carcass -- the idea that i didn't need him. that was devastating to him, even though he knew it before we married. because of my previous situation where he threatened to kill me when he couldn't control me, there was no way i would allow myself to be in a relationship where i would "need" someone. WANT is a different story, but need was a definite no-no in my world. chris found it insulting that i wouldn't admit to needing him and i truly believed that i shouldn't need someone and i shouldn't be asked to admit that i did.

i'm not going to list out the individual problems, as that would seem petty and pointless, but suffice it to say that when the going got rough -- the weak ran away and the tough moved on. i realize that we both had our own personalities and our views on subjects -- and these 2 just didn't mesh. we both made choices and mistakes and now we must deal w/ those consequences. when chris decided that he "wasn't sure if he wanted to stay in this relationship," that told me that he didn't have the level of commitment that i was expecting. why negotiate or try to work things out w/ someone who was not sure that he wanted to be in the committed relationship? so i said, "fine. how soon are you moving out?" i didn't try and stop him, didn't try to convince him otherwise, didn't tell him how i felt about it. if he was looking for me to make a statement or demand of him, he was expecting the wrong thing. i don't play into being manipulated and i don't make declarations upon demand. after knowing me for 7 years, he should have known better than that. all of the divorce was very amicable, as we had nothing to fight over really. after all, to fight over something -- you have to care to a certain extent. i guess "certain extent" would be the telling words there, as they only extend so far and are not unconditional. chris moved out w/o most of his belongings, w/ the promise to collect them later when he had time and the space to store them. after a year of living separately, he told me to dispose of his property as i saw fit -- keep it, donate it, throw it away.

the remnants of my 2nd marriage are stacked in a few boxes in the garage or in various bits and pieces of memories around the house. the items in the garage will go to the church garage sale to help out someone in need, and the various things i find that belong to chris are being collected to pass on to him when it's convenient. other things that are mine, but from the marriage, are staying just like they are. the weird thing that i noticed recently is that people that i know well and had quite a bit of interaction w/ chris and me while chris and i were dating and married have already forgotten him. almost as if he didn't exist. i recently mentioned his name to one of my best friends and she said, "who?" and i had to tell her who it was. it just floored me, but i have to admit that i have been guilty of "forgetting" him at times, as well. it's not that he's a bad person or that i think poorly of him now that we're divorced. it's just that his personality and his total being were not vibrant enough to really intrigue me, to interest me, to captivate me, to make me yearn for his company, and to make that lasting impression. when it was time for him to go -- the parting was fairly easy. at least it was for me. and if it wasn't, no one would've known that anyway.

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