One thing amazes me constantly these days, and it’s my complete lack of interest in anything resembling a commitment. Why is this amazing to me? Well, as I grew up in a dearth of love, my fondest wish was to find someone I mattered to. I wanted to fall in love in the worst possible way. I wanted to be married and make babies. Sure, I did that, with the exception of the plural on the babies. I kind of got the whole thing reversed, actually…three marriages and one child, instead of the other way around.
What I really, really wanted was to feel a love I didn’t doubt or question. Not from the other person, but within myself. I didn’t even realize that was what I was looking for. I thought I wanted that from him, not me. I wanted to be able to look at someone and feel that love for them in the deepest part of me; the very tiny part that I’d managed to protect from the horrors of my childhood, preserved deep within. I finally felt that way with my third husband. Don’t get me wrong – I did love my first and second husbands, but it wasn’t the all-encompassing emotion I craved. I fooled myself into thinking I felt it, and in doing so I fooled my former husbands, too.
Like anyone who misses out on love as a child, I looked for that love externally, thinking I’d find someone to “complete me” as the movies iterate. As I grew up I realized, consciously, that external validation does nothing, and that we never feel truly worthy of love until we love ourselves. Subconsciously is a different story. Suffice it to say, no relationships could complete me, and they always fell short of making me happy.
I got older still and started to change some more, no longer feeling I needed to be with anyone, but still craving love and companionship. Once my third marriage ended, however, for the first time in my life I wasn’t rushing right back out there to meet someone new. After a couple of years I went on a couple of dates, but nothing the least bit serious or intimate. Every once in a while a whiff of curiosity would hit me and I would wonder what a good relationship for me would look like. That’s when it finally started to sink in that there wasn’t one. I couldn’t think of a single plausible scenario where I would be happy to be in any sort of romantic relationship again. I don’t have anything against them, and I’m not mad about anything. I’m just so damn content, owning every part of my own life, that I can’t see a relationship as anything other than work and complications.
There is nothing about romance that I’m interested in these days. I have a million other interests, and I still feel emotions, so I doubt it’s any kind of depression. I have passion for the things that matter to me, but a romantic relationship is no longer one of the things that matter. The change from one way of thinking to the other is what amazes me – that anyone could become such a different person, with a brand new set of dreams.
Maybe all I needed to know was that I was capable of feeling that way about someone, and that I hadn’t been completely destroyed by the way I grew up. I didn’t let them win in the end. Once I got to that state of mind, though, I no longer needed to win anything. I was okay with everything I’d lived through, because it made me the person I became.