Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I Miss: Feeling Loved

I was someone's girlfriend for the better part of ten years.  Some of my friends never knew me before I had a boyfriend.  I have clear memories of NOT dating him, but at some point he just became a fixture in my life as much as anything else that is part of your daily landscape.

It's been about six months since he's moved out, and about a year since we started this whole process.  (Word to the wise--although breaking up over a period of 7 months gives you a lot of time to adjust, it also DRAGS the process out.  That said--I'd do it again.  It certainly gave us time to work on our newfound roles in one another's lives.)  Some parts of the transition were easy.  He and I always had separate lives--our own friends, hobbies, interests--so that didn't change.  Some haven't been.  Despite the fact that it's been six months, some habits are hard to shake, and as much as I'm enjoying my suddenly (or really, not quite so suddenly) single status, there are things that I miss.

I miss the unconditional love.  Now, hear me out.  We fought.  A lot.  Some couples had mutual interests.  Ours was arguing.  We were professionals.  They would go on for hours, leading us both into sleepless nights and unintentional exhaustion.  Usually they were about seemingly innocuous things.  (Seriously.  Once we had an argument about a tortilla.  No, I am not kidding.)  We would argue, but at the end of the day, we always resolved our problems.  We had, or rather, I had a "don't go to bed angry rule" which meant that no matter how bad the argument was, we always got over it before bed.  Usually by the end, we both realized we were being ridiculous or irrational, and we could laugh about it.  While I don't miss the arguing, I do miss knowing that no matter how bad the arguments got, he still loved me.  That no matter how upset I was, or how angry he was, we would fall asleep in each other's arms, whispering "I love you."  Whether it was my best self, my worst self, or something in between, he was going to love me and laugh with me and be there for me.  Since we've split, I find myself censoring myself around my friends and family.  I can't be as upset as I want to be--or angry or silly or happy for that matter--because there isn't that guaranteed promise of love and acceptance.*  He loved me when I was sick, when I was cranky, when I was being ridiculous and silly.  I knew that I could (and still can) go to him regardless of the state I'm in.  Maybe I should have been on my best behavior more often, but sometimes it's nice not to be "on."  There was a safety that existed between us, even in those horrible moments.  We knew we'd get through it, and be forgiven, and move forward.

Our relationship was never easy by nature.  In fact, I think we had to work far too hard to coexist, which may be the reason we're not together anymore.  But even still, there is an ease and familiarity that comes with dating someone long distance for the better part of five years and then living with them.  You learn how to circumnavigate the difficult parts.  You develop patterns and routines.  You know how conversations are going to go before you have them.  Even now, when there is tension and difficult between us, there is also an ease.  An ease of knowing that it's ok to be honest, an ease of knowing that you can shoot down the suggested dinner location, and ease of fitting together when you hug goodbye.

This part of my life is new, and I'm excited to see what happens next, but sometimes, I miss the ease.

*I have amazing friends who are there for me in every way a girl could ever dream of.  This is by no means a criticism so much as just learning how to navigate these new waters for me.  My friends have seen my cranky side too.  Lucky them.

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