succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ways in which I'm not Particularly Good at Relationships

PC is right when he says I'm a little too good at spending time by myself. The other day I was downtown running an errand around dinner time and decided to grab a seat at the bar at a local restaurant. Treated myself to veggie curry and two glasses of wine. Had a lovely time. Was totally fine by myself. I had a book to keep me entertained. Made small talk with the bartender.

The last post, about work, was me starting to think through these things. Because often I'm thinking of work when I should be, could be, thinking about someone else (though these days, I'm just as often thinking about someone else, too). I started seeing someone new. This is, honestly, embarrassingly, the most consecutive dates I've gone on with the same person in a really, really long time. Because I pretend like I'm out there, like I'm flinging myself into the dating pool, but in most cases I haven't been giving it an honest try. A few dates, a good time, but there are other ways I'd rather be spending my time.

But this guy...this guy caught me off guard. Called my bluff on my busy schedule and worked himself into it, multiple times a week. And things are good. I'm freaking out, of course, and practicing some self-sabotage, but in general, things are good.

Though tonight I'm kicking myself. He's genuinely stressed out, for good, grown-up reasons, and practiced a little well-earned self-medication via booze after work today. He called me up, all sweetly tipsy. And I'm genuinely stressed out too, for good, grown-up reasons, but my reasons are less good and less urgent than his. But I was all distracted on the phone, fixated on the code I was trying to debug, preoccupied by my upcoming trip, whining about details that offend my neurotic personality but will inevitably work themselves out. I wasn't there and I wasn't supportive. I was all about me.

I've waxed philosophical before about how luxurious it is to make selfish decisions. To take a job on the other side of the country without consulting anyone else. To take a job that includes a lot of travel and know that you don't have to coordinate that with anyone else's schedule.

Sometimes, this is referred to as stuck in your ways. When you reach a certain age, and have spent the majority of your time alone, you get stuck in your ways. What this really means is that you get comfortable being alone, being master of your domain. Of course you do.

I spent a lot of time in therapy with Becky, sitting with the idea that I want a partner. Just sitting with it. Just getting all warm and fuzzy and cuddly with the notion that I'm lonely and want someone to share this life with.

Of course we get stuck in our ways. Of course we get good at spending time with ourselves. Because if we keep that loneliness at arms' length, if we don't cuddle up with it at night, the idea that it might just be us forever into the future is bearable. We have coping mechanisms. We have books. We have ways to go out alone.

But when we sit with that want, when we throw open the door to the possibility of failure and loss and loneliness...well, good grief, of course it scares the shit out of us!

Of course we retreat into the royal we.

Of course, I'm rounding on 30 and not very good at putting aside my own petty concerns and being a partner and listening and being patient and being there. Hopefully I have the time and opportunities to practice a bit more.


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