now playing: counting crows, “goodnight elizabeth”
it seems like a couple of months ago or so that i sat down and started writing a post about how easy it is to confuse so many other things with love, and how a popular method of that confusion was to mistake familiarity and comfort for actual affection.
as i’m coming to the end of my first week of post-cohabitation, a number of things are occuring to me along those lines – in terms of wondering if perhaps similar mistakes may have been made in my marriage.
before we jump to the obvious conclusion that a statement like that begs, i should make it clear that it’s not me that i wonder about so much, in terms of confusing emotions…but my partner.
i’ve done quite a bit to alienate her, to minimize her feelings, and the like – and i’m first in line among those who would wonder why she’d feel as though she wanted to explore a future that included us as a couple. perhaps that’s why, now that she’s gotten a taste of living within the walls of her own environs, it’s been rather difficult to see any trace of the wendy from some weeks ago – the one with whom many lengthy discussions were held regarding the previously mentioned future. almost from the moment her parents arrived to assist with the move, there was a shift of sorts – and it’s lasted pretty much right up until now, and shows no signs of shifting anytime soon.
so this leaves me to wonder – did she perhaps want our relationship to evolve differently before our living situation changed than she does now?
if so, she’s not talking – she insists she loves me, yet doesn’t deny that things are significantly different now than before…but offers no solid reason as to why. last night, i brought up my theory as to why i thought this was happening, and she walked her customary wide circle around it and changed the subject – and the conversation was over not long afterward.
so, to the crux – would this be a case of perhaps mistaking love for familiarity? could it be that wendy wanted to maintain a connection and ponder reconciliation because i was a known factor (albeit less than ideal, in her eyes)? has the brief time that’s passed since she set up house at her own address shed some new light on what she wants, where we’re concerned? is the prospect of being alone less daunting than it was before it was a reality?
whether any of these things turn out to have origins in truth or not remains to be seen…but there is a modicum of circumstantial evidence to support the theory. the challenge for me will be to remain open to whatever evolves between (or in between) us over the course of the immediate future…my instinct is always to slam the door shut before someone else beats me to it, and that’s usually how i handle these situations…and i’m inclined to do the same here. i mean, the hard part is already done – she’s out of the house, the bills have been separated, everything’s done at this point but the paperwork. so if we were to agree to cut our losses and agree to disagree at this point, it’d fall within the usual protocol for this kinda thing.
i’ll certainly plead guilty to thinking that things were going to proceed differently from here, though.
uncertain. things at this point are very uncertain.
and there’s certainly no comfort in uncertainty. plenty of insecurity, but no comfort.
there’s a scene in cameron crowe‘s movie, singles, where steve and linda are washing dishes in steve’s apartment and having the mandatory “ex” discussion…and linda brings up andy, the Sensitive Ponytail Man – and how he thought that passion wasn’t as important in a relationship as comfort and security.
steve promptly replied, “that’s bullshit.” – and linda answered, “i know.”
(and then steve says, “why did i have to meet you in a club?” and linda says, “i don’t know..” i could go on – it’s one of my favorite movies.)
but i think that some people honestly feel that way – that comfort, stability, and security are more important than whatever actual connection you might share could possibly be. but the other angle, i think, is the familiarity angle. i think that some people get to the point where they wake up in the same house with someone enough times that they don’t know what it would be like to wake up somewhere else. or someone manages to intertwine their life with someone else’s so much that they wouldn’t know how to function without that person in their life. it has nothing to do with a romantic connection, or chemistry – they’re just there, and their partner comes to expect them to just be there, without making any other demands of them or expecting anything better for themselves. sure, it’s not the love of a lifetime…maybe it’s not even love at all – but it’s reliable, it’s always there, and it’s a barrier between them and The Barren Wasteland Of Single-Ness. because being single must mean being inferior, right? that’s why we all fear it so much, isn’t it?
certainly, the familiarity of someone with whom we share a degree of history (but no real romantic or emotional connection) must then be preferrable to the absence of companionship…if this theory has any merit.
and i think that whether or not it has any merit is up to the individuals involved. there’s no Right Way or Wrong Way to do it.
i have a friend whos’ had loose ties to someone in a situation similar to this for almost five years now – she’s acutely aware of what’s missing from it, and she’s acted on it to an extent – but she’s still gone from living with him to not living with him to living with him again…and she’s literally the last person on earth that i would’ve thought would be accepting of something that emotionally basic. but it works for the two of them on some important levels – they’re quite functional as a couple, and her son adores him, and they provide a great deal of support for one another. her life wouldn’t necessarily improve if he wasn’t around, and it would take on some significant difficulties if they actually did a clean break…so who’s to judge what is important or necessary between two people in order for them to have a productive relationship? those judgements have to be made by the individuals participating in the relationship itself – outside looking in is irrelevant.
so what contitutes enough?
specifically, what constitutes enough for me?
and does the potential exist within my current set of circumstances to get what i need?
further, knowing the answer to that last question – is there a realistic chance that the situation will evolve?
or will my personal definition of enough erode until it’s consistent with what i’m getting?
we all have to sacrifice
but it’s a lonely price i’ve paid
in cutting these dreams down to size
to fit into the life we’ve made…
– from brand new distance (on our mutual angels), 1997