Ready or Not?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
Iâ€™m ready for a new man in my life, but something holds me Â back. Â I knowâ€¦itâ€™s Â me. Â The Â fox Â walks Â halfway Â into Â the woods and every next step after than is one coming out of the woods. But what exactly is it that keeps me from taking another step?
From the one who jumped from new girlfriend to new girlfriendâ€”or more precisely, from bed to bedâ€”I heard that women Â grieve alone but men grieve with another woman. I guess each of those women eventually tired of hearing his pining for the woman who left him. Yet, with each woman, he threw himself wholeheartedly into Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â the relationship, proposing â€œforeverâ€ to this one and that one and then backing out before the Â wedding. Heâ€™s still aloneâ€”even if his bed is warm every nightâ€”andÂ Â thatâ€™s Â his Â worst Â fear: Â he Â equates Â â€œaloneâ€ Â with â€œlonelyâ€ Â and Â is Â never Â comfortable Â with Â just Â himself, Â never happy, and can be happy only if Â heâ€™s Â with the perfect woman and feels as exhilarated in her presence Â tomorrow as he does today. He uses romance as a drug to get through his loneliness. He is not a whole person, and I pity any woman who falls for him.
My other friend told me that he thinks sometimes heâ€™s ready for a love relationship. Then again, heâ€™s doing fine by him- self and doesnâ€™t need anyone.
I chuckled when he said that. I think heâ€™s well on his way to Â being emotionally healthy. How grand for him that he doesnâ€™t feel he â€œneedsâ€ someone and that he can stand alone as a whole person without needing some â€œother halfâ€ to complete him! I thought it was a good sign for him and far healthier that he would wait and seek a relationship when he didnâ€™t â€œneedâ€ it. I would pity any woman who falls for a man who Â needs a woman, just needs a woman, any woman.
Then our conversation went on to his wondering if itâ€™s possible to have a partner who doesnâ€™t squelch your identity or become so domineering that you canâ€™t breathe. Is an equal partnership possible or are Â we just biologically damned to getting into dominant-passive dynamics?
Then we hit on a topic thatâ€™s been giving me hell recently. Though my friends at first wanted me to wait, wait, wait to date and now, almost a year later, theyâ€™re worried that Iâ€™m not planning a wedding, some still tell me that I donâ€™t need a man to complete me. Well, duh. I know that. Â Since when does being ready for a relationship mean a person is incomplete? Canâ€™t you be a whole person and just ready to move forward with some- one new? I may still be analyzing relationships to see what went wrong and how to keep it from occurring againâ€”analysis is my scarecrow!â€”but it doesnâ€™t mean Iâ€™m incomplete. Iâ€™m just trying to learn and the more understanding I have, the better I can deal with my own fears for the future.
Ah, but now I have it. Whatâ€™s holding me back, that is. I donâ€™t want to get into a â€œrelationshipâ€ with just anyone and if the guyâ€™s really special, I want it to be more than a relation- shipâ€¦I want it to be â€œforever.â€ Only there are no guarantees of forever, whether a commitment comes of it or not. And thereâ€™s no guarantee either of us will feel the same in a year or a decade or at the end of our lives. Thereâ€™s no Â guarantee that he wonâ€™t stray or turn gay or lose his mind or be abducted by aliens. Or that he wonâ€™t crash and burn in a speeding accident. There are no guarantees of anything, and to call it a â€œrelationshipâ€ intimates that itâ€™s just a placeholder for something better to come along. And to call it â€œforeverâ€ is unrealistic.
The fear is simple: that my next love relationship will turn out like my last, no matter how different the men may beâ€¦ that the human race is damned to thisâ€¦and that even the perfect man for me might not be perfect longer than a few months or a few years and Iâ€™ll be heartbroken again.
Whatever that next love relationship is for me, it wonâ€™t be like anything Iâ€™ve known before, but I donâ€™t yet know how to define it. If itâ€™s too defined, Iâ€™ll find it too confining, also. And if itâ€™s not defined at all, then Iâ€™m afraid Iâ€™ll let the insecurity of the future stir up my worst fears. So nothing Â fits, and most men want either something totally loose or totally defined Â and Iâ€™m not looking for either.
So like the little fox in the woods, Iâ€™m walking in the for- est and never know if itâ€™s dark woods or enchanted forest ahead. I walk step by step, Â stopping every so often to gauge the distance in or the distance out as I have in the past two months. I walk in the present but fully aware of Â whatâ€™s around me and whatâ€™s behind me and as much as possible of whatâ€™s ahead of me. I do just fine walking alone, but I do sometimes Â think it would be fun to share the adventure with a â€œforeverâ€ kind of companion.
Even if he walks with me for only a little while.