Archives for category: relationships

I touched on relationships in the previous post, but I’m going to go into more detail here, mainly because of this….

It is so tiring sometimes, and yet it’s also exhilarating, which is where the problem arises. I am used to it, but I also sort of like it. I want to stay somewhere for longer than six, ten, twelve months, but I’m afraid if I do I’ll just get restless, and want to move on, see what else is out there, keep the movement going, not stagnate.

As I was writing that it really struck me that I was also writing about my relationship issues.

(I say issues, but if I’m honest I don’t like that word. It’s used a lot, in relation to mental health, relationships and sexuality amongst other things, and the negative and often dismissive associations aren’t always a good thing. It doesn’t allow for any understanding, it’s always just ‘issues’, unexplained, but easily used so we don’t have to look any further.)

When I get into relationships I tend to throw myself at them, it’s all intense and full on, mainly because I’m trying to fight against the restless urge.
My slightly haphazard thinking being what it is, I’m all like if I get involved hard at the start it will make it harder for me to disentangle myself, and thus less likely that I’ll want to as well.
I’m sure you’ll all agree this is the best plan ever.

I’ve done this quite a bit. I did it this year, along with the classic

this is my last chance at a relationship so I must throw myself into it at all costs

and that golden oldie

You’re looking like I’m being too intense so I’m going to play it cool and then be even more intense every time I do see you, to make up for all the times I’ve not seen you.

Yeah, I’m a real keeper, I know.
Thing is, I know I do this. Like I’ve said before, you do something enough, it becomes a pattern, a pathway. Your brain knows it, and will happily retread that route every single time, even when you know it’s not helping.
So, what can you do?
If I was all down with my inner wise guru I’d probably say something about change being hard but worth it, and how through self retrospection we can discover hitherto untold truths about how our minds work. This would all be true I guess, along with obvious, and a little patronising.
Instead, I think I’m just going to be a little more aware. More aware of how I come across and more aware of what I do.
Maybe I’ll stop every now and again, and just enjoy the moment.
I’m guessing my inner guru would be saying something about little steps making big changes. There’d probably be something about butterflies making hurricanes as well, because that’s solid gold happening right here when it comes to wise words.
Of course, despite being obvious, and meaninglessly profound, there is a truth in this all. Small changes do often start something.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.

I sometimes have a warped view of relationships, and by sometimes I possibly mean all the time.
You see, I want a relationship, but at the same time, when I’m in a relationship, I also sort of don’t want to be in one.

I think part of the problem I have when I’m in a relationship is that I can’t appreciate the present with it. That’s confusing isn’t it?
What I mean is that I’m constantly thinking about the future, things like ….
Will we still be together in a years time?
Am I going to say something really stupid soon that’ll piss you off?
Will I still like you next week?
Will you still like me next week?
How long will it be before we run out of things to say?
How long will it be before you realise I’m just like everyone else?

Obviously, if I’m loading all of this onto every relationship I get into then that’s not going to be ideal. You might even go as far as to say that it’s kind of doomed from the start.

Living in the present sounds simple, after all, we constantly live in a moment, but I think there’s a difference between living in the moment, and appreciating the moment.
Appreciating the moment takes skill as it means you have to let go of potential futures, it means you have to learn to stop worrying about what if, and start noticing what is.
That my friends is hard. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I want to know what will happen, I pre-empt, I predict, I control and twist the future like some sort of obsessive, flame haired soothsayer.

This isn’t good for me, because it stops me seeing what I have, and makes me seem either too full on, or such a closed book that it becomes impossible to get close to me.

I am getting better at not seeing every future, at not worrying about the what ifs. Every time I get close to someone and manage to appreciate just being there, in the moment, every time I think this, right now, is enough, I give myself a brain thought high five.
It means that I can think back now and remember that time we sat on a bench and watched the sun set over the sea, and really smile.
It means when I think about that time we stayed up all night playing each other our favourite songs, because it is the only real way to get to know someone, I think of warmth, and joy.
And best of all, it means that moments are retrospective. I can live in the moment of something that has been and gone, and appreciate it for just being that, a snapshot in a journey, a moment of peace and warmth.
If I can do that with the past, then I can do that with the present, and maybe even the future.
The wiring is all there, I just have to plug it in.

I’m going to level with you here, I make bad decisions when it comes to relationships. I know, we ALL make bad decisions when it comes to relationships, but honestly, I’m really, really good at it.

Now I’m bi, so you’d think that this would give me more options, and thus less chance to make terrible choices, but sadly the opposite is true, in that it just gives me greater scope to make bigger mistakes. Oh yes dear reader, give me all the choice, and I will chose the worst possible option for myself.

I’m probably painting a picture that’s a little doomy. You’re no doubt thinking Just stop making bad decisions!  and, lets be honest, you’d be right. Thing is though, it’s really hard to not do this.

One of my weak spots is people who are in some way broken. I say broken but that’s not really the word I mean. What I actually mean to say are people who leave a trail of broken hearts and emotional destruction behind them. I mean people who have issues with “being tied down”, I mean people that I want to try and fix.

And that’s the crux of it. I want to mend people who are ‘broken’. I want to be that person that makes a difference, that they’ll change for, because I’m that good. Except I’m actually not that good.

In my head, because I myself am broken, the only way I can make someone love me, make someone need me, is by making myself indispensable to them, by being that rock, that person, the only one that can save them from themselves. As you can imagine this never ends well.

By understanding this process I am making better choices, but I still sometimes wonder if being in bad relationships is better than not being in any at all, because the thing is, once I start deciding not to fix people, then I’m also deciding to not to date the people I fall for most easily.

Relationships are tough, and making good choices is tougher again, even if it is exactly that, a good decision.

I’ve been in a few relationships, and they’ve been okay, I’ve had a good time, but quite often I haven’t been especially happy. Yeah, there’s been some highs, but those lows, oh those lows. I’ve been single for awhile now, and although there’s been some low points, most of it has been good. I feel happy most of the time.

This makes me think, did being in a relationship make me unhappy? If it did make me unhappy why do I still think about being in another one?

I guess there is still a need to be wanted, to be found beautiful by someone. I personally know this to be true of me, there’s nothing more lovely than knowing someone finds you attractive, and on the occasions I’ve noticed someone checking me out i get a proper little buzz of excitement, which is a joy for sure.

But then, at the same time, i also absolutely love the freedom of being single too. I come and go as I please, I have no one to answer to except myself. Its a heady drug, and its pretty addictive.

Is there a middle ground? Can you have the relationship and the freedom? Would it even work? Or am I destined to flit from one thing to another, single until I get too lonely, then relationship-ed till I feel too trapped?
Maybe it’s just me, I look around and see everyone in relationships, and they don’t look trapped, they seem pretty happy, they seem in love.
Maybe that’s the trick I’m missing, maybe love makes not being single okay.

I am pretty good in my own company. I like time with myself, and am comfortable being alone. Sometimes though, just sometimes, I’m less so.  These times come and go, and don’t follow a rhyme or reason, and they inevitably lead to introspection.

When they come, I often wonder about the reasons I get into relationships. I don’t think that relationships are actually great for me. They rarely end well, and tend to leave me feeling trapped, frustrated and controlled. Melodramatic, I know, but that’s they way it seems to go with me. So why do I still get into them? why do I rush headlong into living with someone, like there’s no tomorrow?

Some of it I know is the desire to fit in, to be normal, and to act like everyone else does. This isn’t, as you probably can see, a good reason to make such a commitment. Thing is, It has played a part in how I deal with relationships. I do tend to fling myself into them headlong, because I feel they’ll fix what’s not right with me. Be with someone else, settle down, stop being wild, have kids, do what everyone expects you to do. This is how I’ve seen things. I forgot to see things for myself, I forgot to do things for me, and to do things that are good for myself, not everyone else. Until now that is.

Now, after 38 odd years I really can see that the buck stops with me. Only I can decide what I really want, not family, not friends, not society, just me. I used to think I was broken, now I know I’m not. Yay me.

And loneliness? It does get to me a little sometimes, but I’d rather feel that, than what I felt whilst in my relationships.

I haven’t been on a date since my last relationship broke up. It’s been like 6 months now, but I sort of don’t miss dating. I also sort of do.

I guess the solution is to actually go on a date, which is all fine and dandy, except erm… I have no-one to go on a date with. Everyone I know, with a couple of exceptions is in a relationship. A few years ago it was the opposite, where I was in a relationship and everyone I knew was single, but the universe has flipped the cards again.

The people I do know that are single, and possibly interested in me, I don’t actually find attractive anyhow ( Dating rule #1 find them attractive ) and anyhow, if I was to go on a date, I’d like them to be totally new to me ( Dating rule #2 don’t date friends ).

The thing is, life is great at the moment. Being single is a lot of fun, I come and go as I please, I do what I want, when I want, I am totally my own person, which is very very important to me, so maybe it’s not the right time for me to be dating anyhow. And yet, there is still that little part of me that’s you need someone, everyone else has someone, that’s what normal people do.  I don’t like that part of me, and I do discount it most of the time, because what’s normal anyhow, but you know how these things go, sometimes they get more of a hold than they should.

I guess if I was too start dating again, and I want them to be new, so to speak, then I could always do Internet dating, although that comes with it’s own risks ( Dating rule #3 when doing Internet dating, make sure they’re not serial killers or people you’ve already dated, which in turn leads to Dating rule #4 never go back, there’s a reason you broke up ).

On the plus though, it could lead to many amusing tales to tell……..

4SNE4PJZZT6P

You know what’s hardest thing about breaking up with someone? What keeps me up at night if I think about it?  Even though it was for the best for both of us, even though I know it was the right thing to do, the fact that I hurt someone really, really badly is the worst thing I know right now.

 I think I know it’s the worst thing because I’ve been there and I’ve felt that hurt. It rips through you, it crushes your heart and it seems like it’ll never go away. And as much as I can compartmentalize it, every now and again it pops out of the box, and I realise I made someone feel like that because of something I chose to do.

Reading this it probably sounds like I regret breaking up with my ex, but I honestly don’t regret it, it was the right thing to do, I just wish it could of happened without her feeling like shit, and me feeling like a complete asshole.

I know time does it’s magic, and makes us feel less about things we felt more about once upon a time, and that is the way things should be, a world of lovesick people would be a very, very bad world indeed, it’s just it would be good if we could fast forward a little, to the time where they’re okay, in a relationship, moved on, and I’m not feeling guilty about something I had to do to save myself.

There will be times when I feel differently, but sometimes, in the dark night, or the early morning, I’m not so sure I want another relationship……..

So, being the Dumper is a different world. In the world of the Dumpee you have no choice, you future is dictated to you by another. In the world of the Dumper though, you make the future.

It sounds exciting right?  Changing the future, rushing headlong into new adventures, exploring new territories, living the dream. And it kind of is, but there’s a price. As always there’s a price.

In my case, and I imagine many others as well, that price is making someone else, someone you cared about, someone you may still care about, feel terrible. We’re talking making them feel rejected, ugly, empty and torn apart. It’s not an easy one to take. Being told by someone that they wish they’d never meet you,  that you’ve destroyed their faith in people, that you’ve broken their heart kinda sucks.

Dumping someone is hardcore, everything is tougher, the guilt, the trying to stay friends, the actual dumping. The being the Bad one, even if you know you’re actually not.

Saying all this though, if you have to do it, then you have to do it. After all, at the end of the day, the only person you’ll spend every waking hour with, for the rest of life, is you. And if you’re not happy then that’s going to be one miserable life. Without getting too theological about it, what if this all there is? If this is it, and then you die, you’d really kick yourself if you spent it being stuck in a relationship that was broken just because you didn’t want to hurt someone.

I dumped someone. I felt pretty shitty about it. I still feel shitty about it. But despite this, it was the right thing to do, because i’d feel even more shitty if i’d stayed.

Part of breaking up with someone is what happens next. You go from one relationship with that person, into another, very unlike the one before, and it’s disconcerting to say the least.

I’ve been the dumper, and dumpee, and both times we actively agreed to stay friends. Which is not easy. In fact its confusing, tricky, complex and awkward. It’s also totally worth it.

The first time I was the dumpee, in a mutual sort of way. It was a long long term relationship, we’re talking double figures years wise, and it was also my first relationship, so double wammie there as well.

It kinda had to happen, we wanted different things, blahdy blah, you know the story, it’s been told enough times, but anyhow, even though we couldn’t be together, we still wanted to remain friends. It was hard, especially as she went into a relationship fairly quickly after the break up, whilst I stayed a singleton. Meeting at first was awkward. Do we kiss? If we do, where is okay? ( okay some places are obviously not okay, but I’m talking lips, cheek, air above the face, hand? ) How about paying for food? talking about current relationship status-y things? hell, talking about our relationship? What’s okay?

Anyhow, once you get past that bit, it’s okay. It seems, to me anyhow, such a shame to loose someone who once meant so much, and as long as you both can get over not being in the relationship, and get into being in a friendship then it can be a great thing. I guess, like everything it needs time, willingness, and work.

And the other relationship, where I was the dumper? That’s a different story again, and one i’ll go into more in the next post…….

Freiya Benson

Writer & Photographer.

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