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Posts Tagged ‘meeting someone’

Loneliness

We get hungry so that we remember to eat. The species would not have survived if we didn’t. We would have starved and never known what hit us. Pain causes us to seek a remedy.
The same is true of loneliness. Living our lives in concert with others is challenging. Given the violent and conflict spattered pages of our history, people seem ill-suited to live together in society. But for loneliness, we’d all be on our own. As it is, human relations are fearful, guarded and distrustful at every level.
We all agree that love is the best thing that ever happens to us, yet it characterizes almost none of human affairs. Imagine banking or even something obvious like medical care predicated on love.
We are together because we starve for one another’s company.
Being human, I have spent a lot of my life starving for companionship. For whatever reason, I have always been single. Add to that the fact that I’m apparently more than a little odd and possessed of a near complete lack of concern for approval. For this or whatever reason, my connections to others have been what might best be characterized as tenuous.
It’s been a painful condition, at times. I’m still human so I get lonely. I have the same longings for pair bonding as the next fellow. But at the same time I seem to lack either the physical or character traits to attract people into my life in a more meaningful way. I’m not even sure what those traits might be, but I cannot deny my results.
That great irony of this is that I have a host of friends and acquaintances, and a rich, full and joyous life. I’m very social. I have a good time at most parties and social events. I can’t imagine what anti-depressants would be for. I get on easily with almost everyone. Auto mechanics, to medical professionals, to folks at the dry cleaners light up when I arrive. When I had my wisdom teeth out a couple of years back, the folks at my local grocery store grilled my friends for details of my recovery. When I returned to shop, staff members actually left their cash registers and checkout lines to meet me at the door, welcome me back and inquire after my health.
So, I live in a world where I’m beloved literally wherever I go and where my phone doesn’t ring on the weekends. People seem to adore me. Yet, I have only been asked on a date four or five times in my whole life. I’ve done a lot of my own asking and the most common response is flight. Apparently my sexual interest must be something fearsome.
It’s a puzzle.
I spent years staring in the mirror trying to discover the fatal flaw that separated me from the rest of the world. I’ve tried to contort myself into some shape or form that seems to be what people are looking for. I’m clueless.
And then I made an amazing discovery.
A couple of years ago, on book tour, I met a man. He had not come to meet my famous writing partner, as most everyone else had. He had come to the signing to meet me. I was a little startled. My writing partner actually got his number for me. I called. He was visiting from out of town. I asked him out anyway. He agreed. It was a nice enough first date. Not the most amazing thing, but I had a good time.
He left the next day but stayed in touch. We spoke on the phone frequently. He seemed interested and persistent. Oddly, he never called me from home. Every call he made was placed while he was in transit somewhere else. He went on a business trip to New York and called while walking back to his hotel. He never answered the phone when I called. He only ever called back or on his own. He went missing without explanation.
“He’s married,” my writing partner pronounced when I told her about how it was going.
So, I asked him. He assured me he was single and that he would try to do a better job.
I took him at his word. Things improved. I was going to my parent’s home for Christmas that year and suggested making plans around seeing him for New Years. He was near enough to mom and dad for me to schedule flights the connected through Atlanta, where he lived. We talked about planning it. He agreed. Then he disappeared. I called to get his take on various plans and timing. No answer.
I was going to my parents anyway. I gave him their phone number so we could plan New Years. He was in retail. I knew Christmas would be tough for him. I tried to be understanding. I figured we’d talk after. I went to Mom and Dad’s. I had a great holiday with them. The guy never called.
My first instinct was to go to Atlanta and try to make things work. He seemed great. He said he was single. It wasn’t like I had any other offers. You can’t win if you don’t play, right?
And then it hit me. I want to spend New Years with someone who wants to spend New Years with me. What’s more, if no one does want to be with me at midnight on the 31st, then I’m just fine on my own. It was possibly the most freeing thing that’s ever occurred to me. I understood Gloria Steinem’s “fish without a bicycle” concept in whole new way.
I love my life. It would be great to find someone to share it with. But it’s going to have to be someone who actually makes a great addition to the life I already have.
I don’t have to examine me in the mirror, beyond regular care and maintenance. I’m just fine, thank you. I hope to meet someone who thinks I’m the cutest things since pigtails and the hottest since Tabasco. No more trying to shape me into what appears to be the object of others’ desires.
I want to be amazed, or I don’t want to play.
Hell, I’ve waiting this long. Right?
Meanwhile, I’m not starving. In my own weird way, I am surrounded by people who love me. I have great friends and a family I’ve learned to love people for being exactly as they are. I’m not lonely. And if who I am never qualifies me as husband material, then I get to have the wonderful life I’m already having. That’s not a sacrifice.
Best of all is knowing that I’m not single because there something wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with me because I am.

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