So, Tuesday, the 16th, was the 30th anniversary of the day DH actually moved out of our home. The day passed quietly, even cheerfully, with work. I was surrounded by people who like and respect me and I wasn’t troubled by depression at all.
Late last week, however, I experienced a personal challenge which has left me reflecting on these years. I have spent more than 2/3 of my adult life alone, now. Emotionally, I have spent the whole of it alone.
When I was a little girl, I wanted a boyfriend, and to be grown up, and to be married and have a home and a family and the whole “white picket fence” scenario. I never was interested in a career, I never wanted anything other than to be part of a We. I got a good college education, later on (graduated age 32) and thought of going on for advanced degree, but being a mom was much more important and, furthermore, there was that hope in the back of my mind that I might marry and have a second family . . . so I wanted to be “flexible” . . . which never happened, and now I’m 60 and I realized, last week, it isn’t going to happen.
I don’t know whether being single is my actual vocation, or whether it has become my vocation by default, but here I am.
“Don’t give up,” says a friend. Don’t burn my bridges, he means. Easy for him to say, fond as he is of me — but when I think of what I want from marriage, how unlikely it is I should find anyone at this point who would be an equal spouse . . I have friends, yes. Good, decent men — but . . .
There’s that fundamental little trust issue. Thirty years — thirty damn years! — after I was “liberated” from the psychological abuse (okay, the “Free At Last!” day came later, with the divorce, but still – !), I still cringe at perceived disapproval. “Did I just blow that one to smithereens?” I’m still tormented by DH’s contempt. There are still scars and sometimes they sit on raw nerve.
I expect to be abandoned again, I expect to be emotionally betrayed, so I try to anticipate that crisis before I become too irrevocably invested. I love my friend — admire, esteem, even trust — but I push, sometimes hard. Because everything in my gut says the abandonment will come and let’s get it over with now before it can hurt more than it already will. I just don’t believe in someone being wholly committed to me. Even in friendship.
The odd thing is that I’ve never really worried about loving a gay man again. That’s not what has tormented me. It’s these other, more universal issues.