Not to fall back into my melancholic meanderings but something has been poking at me lately. Namely, even accepting that truth is a malleable concept, how do you know the truth about yourself?
I’ve had three serious relationships in my life (sort of four, since I dated the same guy twice, with a big break in between). Obviously, I can’t help but look back at the others as I grapple with SG’s exit from my life. While I may fault the gentlemen for saying the words that ended our relationships, I’ve always been willing to accept my culpability in the dissolution, given some time and distance to mull over the big picture.
I do wonder if there is something broken in me. It’s easy, with some perspective, to see how I failed miserably in every relationship but the first one. It turns out, while the guys have the same script, I have the same modus operandi. I’m good for roughly the first two years; then I seem to fall into a slow and steady spiral downward. I begin to pull inward, I lose interest in the physical side of things, my enjoyment of life flattens out. I’m conscious of it all but in a distanced way, if that makes sense; doing anything about it is beyond me so I just keep pushing forward. Then, right when I’m starting to get my equilibrium back, the guy ends the relationship.
It’s hard for me to parse my first serious relationship, in part because I ended up with him again years later. My second span of years with him has influenced my understanding of the first span, so I’m not as clear about how that ended – or, I should say, how I was functioning when it ended. All I remember is the pure misery when he broke it off, feeling like my world had literally crumbled around me. I cried for days, constantly, incessantly. I would talk to people without realizing that tears were running down my face – imagine that scenario while I was counselor at a summer camp (good times…). I was out of state when this all happened and he was supposed to take me home at the end of the summer; his best friend volunteered to take me, and I cried for the entire six hour trip (that poor boy).
I’ve always thought that young man broke something in me. We use the term heartbreak without thinking that it might be a literal explanation of what’s happening inside us. I certainly changed after that break-up; in many ways I became harder, less able to find the happiness in life, more withdrawn.
I had relationships after that, obviously, but they’ve all led to the same conclusion. I’ve taken my friends seriously – IRL and here – when they remind me not to let SG write my story for me. His issues were his issues, just as the ones before him had their own issues. But I have mine, too. And I’m not sure I know how to fix them.
I don’t like the imagery of being broken. I’ve gotten through cancer, I’ve managed multiple back surgeries, I’ve lost people I love, I’ve left my home, I’ve distanced myself from my family; my life has had some very shitty turns but I’m still standing, scars and all. I know that I’m not a fundamentally unloveable person; my friends and family prove otherwise (and children love me, and they always know). But is there something broken in how I function in relationships that writes the ending before the first act is finished? Is there something bent in how I connect to men I believe I love?
I’m musing, because it’s late and my mind has been wandering down these paths lately. I’ll probably continue musing, even if I’m not writing about it. I’m quite sure there is no easy answer to any of my questions, perhaps no answer at all, but I still wonder.