I had reached a point where I had forgotten why being in a relationship was a good thing.
I know, right?
In all the chick flick movies and in real life I suppose, women are always whining about how they can never find a man and how life will be great when they do find a man and blah blah, you complete me, Tom Cruise.
But dates happened and relationships developed and then fell apart and I was always “not committing enough” and “never fully there” and tears were shed and sobs were choked back and I ended up alone listening to too much Damien Rice. Eventually, something in me shifted, a perspective I guess? I stopped looking at men as my answer and as necessary to my happiness. Mostly because they were mainly contributing to my misery instead. I was alone. And I survived. And it was unbelievable and it made me feel strong.
This was important because I didn’t start dating until rather late and so when I did, I bounced from relationship to relationship with barely anytime in between. I grieved the last relationship while in a new one. And let me tell you, kids, THAT NEVER WORKS. Unless you are J-lo. So. I WAS ALONE! AND PROUD! AND LIVIN’ IT UP!!
But things got fuzzy then because along those same lines of “I don’t need a man to make me happy”, I stopped looking at men as something good. I went from being sustainable on my own to questioning dating someone ever again. Complacent to cynical. I started wondering why on earth people dated in the first place. (I asked my therapist this point blank and he said, “For companionship, for fun, for sex.” I found this inadequate at the time so I just blinked a few times.) But the fact that I had asked the question to begin with –WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN DATE?!?!? This I think, is somewhat extreme and sad since I think it makes me sound jaded and hard, neither of which I’d like to be.
Over the past few months and maybe even years, the thought of being in a relationship was synonymous with being “stuck” with someone, with having someone to answer to, with having someone to cramp my style and get in my way and make a mess of things. (Welcome to Laura’s Brain, 1% Girl, 99% 35 Year Old Manhattan Bachelor.) Men were not only seen as a hindrance and a cause for heartbreak, they were now being seen as completely avoidable and unnecessary for all time.
Girls being in relationships started to annoy me, not because I was jealous but because I didn’t get it. And this is so ironic because I just blogged about how I always think the best of my ex’s and remember only the good times. I guess when I’m reminiscing and feeling lonely, I do think of all the happy times. But thinking about the future, I always think of the crap.
My apathy scared me.
My spinster “Why even BOTHER?” freaked me the hell out. (Why even bother, Laura!? Really?? Did you forget all about the tongue-kissing and having someone to take to a movie?! UGH! CYNIC!)
I was starting to feel as if maybe I did have a cold black frozen heart that was impenetrable. Maybe my ex was right when he told me I would never settle down enough to have a baby. Would never have the capacity to open up and let myself fall. I tried to justify this. Hey! Maybe there was a medical answer, maybe I was missing the “in love” chemicals! I just DON’T HAVE THEM. Maybe I really was an embittered, disaffected girl incapable of loving anyone at all.
And then last week, I saw an engaged couple at an audition and they were talking to a mutual friend.
“What are you guys up to?” the friend asked the couple.
“Well,” said the man, indicating his fiancée, “She has to go to work now and I’m going to stick around here for a bit.”
And as he was talking, he was behind her, helping her get into her coat, holding it up for her arms to slide into the sleeves, adjusting the collar in the back.
And I felt a pang in my heart, an ice cube melting.
Why do people even date!?!?
And suddenly I remembered.