The thing about break-ups is that they throw you, very suddenly, back into the life that you were once quite comfortable with – so it shouldn’t be too big a deal, right? Only now you’re not used to it any more, and it can be a really huge transition to make.
When you’ve had someone with you every day, it can be quite disconcerting to find yourself minus that person all of a sudden. Think about it – if you’ve got a partner now, try to imagine suddenly being without them. When you see something funny, something you’d immediately store in your mind to tell him or her later on, what do you do with it? When you have a bad day, who do you go to for a cuddle? When you read something interesting online, who do you send the link to?
These aren’t things that ever bothered me in my 4 years of singleness, because not having that special person is very different from having them and then suddenly losing them. If I saw something funny, I didn’t have one specific person I’d share it with – it might get mentioned on my blog, or in a later conversation with a friend, or even in a text message to whoever I thought might appreciate the humour factor most. If I felt down, I was used to dealing with it on my own or getting a hug from a friend if things were really bad.
Long term Singletons have their own little systems, and while I confess that I did regularly have lonely moments where I wished I had Someone to share the little details of life with, it was only an abstract desire. For the most part, things were fine as they were. But once you’ve changed all that… once you’ve made someone, well, “Someone”… going back feels totally different. You have to get used to being one rather than two, and it’s difficult.
And then I think… what about the people who’ve really lost someone? The ones who have been married for decades, and have had to carry on alone whether due to divorce or death? When a person can become such a huge part of your life in the space of a year or so, when it can be such a struggle to adjust to being without them even though they’ve only been in about 3 or 4% of your life in total, how on earth does it feel after 40 years? I can’t even begin to imagine the pain.
It makes me afraid. I’ve always been scared of entering into relationships because I know how it affects me when they end. This sounds silly. You’ve got to trust that they won’t end, of course, but as a Singleton I’ve always had the wry but valid question of Rachel from Friends running through my mind: Have you ever been in one that hasn’t? I don’t go looking for love, because I’d rather not have it at all than have it only to lose it and go through the pain again. I am a firm non-believer in Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
But I don’t go running when it happens. I’m a romantic, and despite my fears, I love to love and be loved. I just live in fear of The End – and if anything, I see it as better for me when it comes after a year or two rather than after decades. Funny. I want to believe that there’s Someone out there for me. Someone who’ll love me, Someone who’ll make me happy, Someone who’ll share his life with me and with whom I can share mine…
And yet I hope, deep down, that I never meet him.
*This post should have come with a warning, shouldn’t it?! I know it’s not the type of piece I usually write here, and I hesitated over publishing it. But it’s honest, and it’s real, and that’s what I’m trying to be, after all! However it may sound, it wasn’t written out of depression or sadness. I’m doing better than I thought I would, and making a big effort to adjust to singleness again by finding new people to share things with, and by replacing The Ex with lots of friends, old and new. I’m really fairly happy, and getting happier each day. This is just some good old-fashioned angsty musing. I’m a writer, that’s all!