Last year, when Austin fell apart, I suddenly found myself in a place where I had to make some decisions. Up until then, since the break-up, my life had sort-of been in flux. Joe and I hastily moved into together. Then, less than a year after that, we decided to do that whole Austin thing, so, when he moved, my life was kind of in this temporary phase until I could move to Austin too. Then, Austin went up in flames and I had to figure my shit out. Where was I going to live? Was I happy with my job? Was I happy in Seattle? And what about relationships? Since the break-up, I was able to avoid really thinking about relationships because, well, first, I wasn’t ready. Then, I was moving, so anything serious was out of the question. The Austin fiasco took away my excuses.
Things with my condo started moving rather quickly after that and that cemented my housing, job and location questions. So I was left with this huge, scary thing: relationships. Where to even begin? I have never dated in my entire life. It terrifies me. Not to mention, I have a ton of hang-ups surrounding relationships. All of my relationships have been unusual. From married men to kissing strangers on the street, none of my relationships or flings or whatevers had ever been what people would describe as “normal”. Relationships became a huge part of therapy—something we were constantly discussing and dissecting. I had no idea if I wanted to be in a “real” relationship. At the time, I was sleeping with someone I had met pre-Austin, both of us not wanting any sort of commitment, for our own reasons. AKA—a not “real” relationship.
As the months went by, it felt like I was becoming more and more “grown-up”. I was about to own a condo. I had been in therapy for 2 years and had figured some shit out. And the more we talked about relationships, the more I thought “huh. I guess I should get me one of those”. It felt part of the package. I felt “hey, it’s been 2 ½ years since the break-up, maybe I can move on”. Thus began 8 months of emotional turmoil as I broke up with and got back together with pre-Austin guy at least 3 times.
I know myself well enough to know that I am not exactly an open person, in general. Forget about the idea of being open to a relationship or meeting someone. Especially if I am getting really, really good sex elsewhere. So, I thought I had to break-up with pre-Austin guy so that I could be open to a “real” relationship. However, at the same time, I was just kind of dealing with the nightmare that was buying my condo from Michael. It wasn’t a nightmare because of Michael (ok, a few things were his fault), but just because home buying is hard. Short sales are hard. I cried at work. Tom had never, in 10 years, seen me cry, but buying that condo made me cry. A lot. So, breaking up with the guy who I had really good sex with just seemed like an unnecessary hardship. And that was fine, for a while. But, as soon as I closed on the condo, that nagging feeling that I had to break-up with him in order to be in a “real” relationship reared its ugly head.
There was a lot to it. I was afraid to find myself, 5 years from now, in a not-real relationship and regretful that I “wasted” 5 years of my life. Especially because I had this lingering feeling of “wasting” my 20’s in a relationship with Michael. So, I broke-up with pre-Austin guy. Again. Then, shit really hit the fan when I had a friend die, another friend have a heart attack and I received some disturbing family news. In one week. And, as I had done in the past, I forgot about the break-up and turned to him for comfort. He’s good at the comfort.
And so it was. Since March. Yes, I was still thinking that I should break-up with him for a “real” relationship, but I wasn’t thinking too hard. I had the realization that, whatever happened, it wasn’t “wasted” time. Tyler Lyle (duh) has the lyric:
“Time is not the enemy / I am, I think” -Tyler Lyle, Medusa
I have applied this in so many places at so many times in my life. But here—here it made me realize it isn’t “wasted” unless I spend the whole time thinking that. It’s my time. It counts. And sometimes, things count differently that you thought they would. As long as I’m happy, it’s not wasted. Stop being my own enemy.
Then, in May, he broke up with me. And it fucking sucked. And I was really unhappy. I no longer wanted a “real” relationship, I wanted what pre-Austin guy and I had. But I didn’t want that with some other schmuck. I wanted it with pre-Austin guy. But, I couldn’t have it. I was mad at myself for going back and forth for months. I was mad at myself for be the instigator for him to break-up with me. I was mad at myself for spending so much time telling myself I needed to be in a “real” relationship, when, the reality is, I am a weird person! I am. I don’t like or want things woman traditionally seem to like or want. And that’s OK. I had always been OK with it. Why was I suddenly not? See: all of the above.
So, when pre-Austin guy texted me because he wanted a lil somethin’, somethin’, I was ecstatic. And then, immediately deflated. I had spent a month+ mourning my loss. But, I figured a lil somethin’ was better than nothing. Still, the next day, I texted him and basically told him that what he and I have is good and we shouldn’t mess it up. And that I knew I spent the last 8 months doing a great job of messing it up, but I was over that. I liked things exactly as they were. And, much to my surprise and delight, he agreed.
And man, oh man, have I been happy. It’s kind of exhilarating to know what you want, ask for what you want and then actually get it.
Maybe one day I’ll have a “real” relationship. For now, what I do have works and I’m going to stop fighting it.