Friday, 14 June 2013

Aloneness and togetherness

Sometimes you read something and the truth of the idea and its relevance to you sings out. It's a moment of epiphany and clarity.
"Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape." – bell hooks
With distance comes perspective. As space opens up between Virgil and me I think a lot about what went wrong in our relationship. I'm not sure whether my tendency to, as bell hooks says, use Virgil as a means of escape is what did for us, or whether ultimately we are incompatible.

I alternate between thinking "Come back, Virgil! We should try again. I'll stop doing this and things will be good for us!" and coming to an understanding with myself in which I accept my vulnerabilities, value my needs and take a lesson in what I need to do now. Move on, in other words. Resolve to do better next time.

For now I have no choice. I have to go with the latter option. It's the right thing to do anyway, whether or not Virgil and I ever try again. I'm unhappy, with or without Virgil. My so-called career and work life is ridiculous; I neglect my family and social life; I want to explore BDSM more. There is so much to work on without putting energy into a relationship.

And this is confusing, because I have always worked with the notion that relationships provide security and support, a base from which to brave the world, like a harbour in a stormy sea. Perhaps my thinking on this is the problem and sets me up for disappointment. Perhaps a long-term relationship is, on balance, just another thing to be worked at. Especially a long-term open relationship.

I am a misanthrope, if it's not already obvious. I'm depressive and my tendencies are toward isolation and introversion. Especially when I'm sad, I find people hard work to be around. At the same time I get lonely, so I'm not a happy misanthrope like Virgil. One of the things I miss most about Virgil is his company. One of the qualities that drew me to him was his self-confessed misanthropy. It meant I didn't have to be ashamed of my own unsociable nature and I didn't have to be alone.

That formula mostly worked except when Virgil wanted to go off and 'be' with someone else, like Sarah, at which point my aloneness and fear of abandonment were awful and the house of cards fell down.

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