What I learned in 17 years: You can love someone without them being
what you want. And when a relationship starts that way, it'll likely end
I love my ex-wife; to this very day I love her with all my heart.
Lizzy is my dear friend and always will be. When we met, she went head
over heels for me. Who can blame her? I was a cool motherfucker. I
wasn't interested in her that way, and I was casually dating several
other girls. Lizzy was just a girl I knew and joked with and
occasionally teased. But to her I was more. As a regular hangaround,
she took every available opportunity to casually sabotage every
prospective date I had with another girl. After a few months of this, I
called her on it and joked that if she wasn't going to let me have a
girlfriend, then she'd have to step up to the task. She had mousy
blonde hair, so I teasingly told her I was only attracted to redheads
and girls named Lizzy. Corny, I know. But I think literally anything I
said would have gotten me a date with her, she was just that smitten.
We dated for a while, broke up, dated again, and eventually got
married. I wish there was a better story than that, but that's it. She
is an amazing person, and the best most trusted and loyal friend and
lover a man could ask for. Funny, smart, sweet, and patient. And she
was never my type.
Looking back, I'm an asshole. I loved Lizzy for exactly who she was,
and I never wanted to change her. Regardless, I never quite felt
satisfied in every facet of our relationship and young, stupid me
thought you HAD to be. So over time I tried to change her anyway. She
never loved motorcycling the way I did. She dressed conservatively.
We were never quite sexually compatible. She always joked that she had
no idea why we were together because she was nothing like the women I
found most attractive. And my fucking dumbass never contradicted this
or made efforts to reassure her. Looking back, I can see that this
caused her pain. But at the time, I was so close to her and she was my
best best friend who knew my innermost being like no other. When I
talked to her, I talked like I was talking to myself. I joked and
downplayed and never had empathy for how she almost certainly must have
felt about it. She had to have felt like she wasn't good enough. She
had to feel like I didn't really want her. And I had no fucking empathy
at all. For anyone, really. Empathy is a relatively recent
experience in my life.
So it's no wonder that she got depressed over time, years and years
of not being what I wanted, not knowing who she really was or what she
really wanted. It's no wonder at all that she became unhappy and began
to question whether I was what SHE really wanted. Looking back, I don't
blame her for leaving. Roles reversed, I'd have left a LONG time
before she did. She loves me even now. I love her. We're still
friends, connected in ways that no one else will ever understand. We
have a child together. We're permanently bonded. But we're neither of us
suffering under the delusion any longer that the other is the person we
want to be with. Well... she's not anyway. I'm still a little stuck
at times and I miss her sorely. And so it goes.
She called me to talk the other day, telling me that she's just
committed to a guy she's been dating and wanted to talk about that
situation as it pertains to our daughter. She's such a great mom and so
respectful of everyone's feelings, even mine. She's a goddamn
treasure. And I'll always value what we had, and what we still have.
I'll always love her. And maybe I've learned something. Maybe I'll be
so picky and selective about my next mate that there won't be a next
mate. Or maybe I'll meet the perfect woman for me. Better still
maybe I'll learn to love and appreciate people for exactly who they
are. If so, hopefully I've learned enough not to obliviously hurt
another person I care about so deeply.
With all the nice truth out of the way, there's also the ugly truth to face.
I'm raging with jealousy right now, but it's under my concious
control. Actually, it's not really even jealousy at all. It's envy.
When Lizzy left, she said she didn't want anyone else and only wanted
to be alone for a while. I on the other hand, have been grasping and
clinging, lonely, and desperate to connect with someone else; that
desperation has shone through in my interactions and I've not had much
success except to scare off potential dates. And here I am, still
flailing. Longing. Dying for human intimacy. And she's met this guy and
they're connecting and spending time together and committing. And my
self esteem is in the fucking toilet. The dates I do have end up
fizzling with unbalanced attraction. Or flaking out entirely. They stop
answering texts. I don't blame them. Who needs my shit?
Lizzy tells me I need to learn how to be alone. My best guy friend
says the same. They're right of course, but I'm not wanting to face
the prospect of trying to find myself. I'm not ready to find peace and
contentment in isolation. I just want someone to want me. My higher
sense says that it's not fair for me to burden another person with my
need and expect them to fulfill me. I know I NEED to become content in
myself before I seek to share life with someone else. But I don't want
to right now. I just want someone as crazy as me, right now, to want
me. And to obsess over me. And to fuck my brains out.
Does this get easier?
UPDATE: October 2017. It does get easier. In October of 2016, I found someone as crazy as me to want me, obsess over me, and fuck my brains out. And it lasted 5 months. It was just what it was. It wasn't fulfilling. And then I got my feet under me and dated about 50 women, dates night after night for a while. And that wasn't fulfilling either. And then I learned how to be alone and got myself back. Found a happy place. And just met the most amazing woman and I have butterflies and I feel hopeful about the future again. Such is life I guess.
UPDATE: October 2021. That amazing woman who gave me butterflies 4 years ago became my wife last month. We have a toddler together and another little one on the way. My oldest daughter and her daughter are truly sisters and our family is full of energy, chaos, and love. Life just keeps moving forward and love just keeps growing and I'm the best me I've ever been.