Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Begining the Quest. (Being Single Pt. 2)

We last left ourselves healing and confused. Breakups are difficult, but most people manage to survive that garbage only to find a lack of direction....

Sometimes our choices are suspect.

So you're (mostly) over your ex now. A lot of people use this as a catalyst to try to change things about themselves that brought them to where they are today. Some people seek out a gym membership, or maybe a new job. I've done both and, let me tell you, not always a good idea.The regret you feel will fade, but the gym will always be filled with enormous douchebags.

He doesn't know where the G-spot is.

It's a normal impulse to want to "fix yourself", but you are an amalgam of millions of decisions and billions of organisms, and odds are you're not going to change by much, but this is still a healthy part of the process. What you are doing is separating the BEFORE from the AFTER, this creates a nice little emotional barrier and helps to create some distance for us. Sometimes this really can motivate us to make good decisions, for instance finally finding the motivation to pursue your career, but at least we're out of the house and not at home in the dark freebasing Ben and Jerry's.

This isn't a bad thing, your previous life was defined by another person, and you probably have a fuckton of time and energy to spend on something, so why not yourself? I like this phase, it's about renewal and moving onward with life. It can be difficult to get started, but change can be a good thing, you just have to make sure that it's in the right direction.

But here we have a pretty big obstacle. Our minds have evolved to recognize patterns and it is really easy to start finding reasons for things that may not have the influence over your fate that you think it does. I'm sure that for every glaring personality flaw that you think that you have, there's somebody out there with a fetish for it. I am personally attracted to outspoken and aggressive women, but I've known tons of women to complain that it's a real turn off for guys. So? Who gives a shit what those guys want, it sure as hell isn't somebody like you, find somebody without self-esteem issues. It's also easy to start to look for attributes in our respective mates, for instance being bossy and bitchy (see what I did there?) that may have assisted in the downfall of our relationships. The fault doesn't lie with them, or even our attraction to that personality trait, but in our realistic understanding of ourselves and our limitations. And for this you need the perspective that only distance can provide.

I can see my faults from here!

I don't recommend this for everybody, but I typically enjoy a long period of celibacy after my long term relationships. I've always been one of those people who transition very easily into serious relationships, apparently I make women comfortable, and the only way to keep from being one of those unfortunate serial daters locked into perpetual habits, is for me to completely abstain. This isn't even an intellectual decision; right now, and for the next several months at least, the idea of being intimate with someone kind of repulses me. Ew.

I'm entering into this phase now. I've been through enough serious breakups finally to have a pretty well constructed road map. This is probably the only time in my life where I feel comfortable showing weakness and I like to take advantage of it. I got to stop by the old house a few nights ago and, after my ex left for work, I walked around the house simply saying goodbye to things. I walked into each room, touching places that really meant something to me and just held our dogs for a while. I woke up the next morning feeling baptized, reborn even. So here I am now. What to do?

I decided to go back to one of my old loves.

There she is.
Microstory: I was an angry kid. In elementary school I used to knock over my desk and throw my books at the teacher, stuff like that. I was constantly challenging authority and getting into trouble. Idaho always dealt with this the same way, by putting me with a masculine teacher who would have me run laps around the field to "burn off my energy" instead of trying to solve the root cause of the problem. I'm pretty sure this is how a lot of inmates are made. For two years we lived in Washington state and it didn't take them very long to hook me up with a child psychologist who had me making model airplanes and talking about my relationship with my parents. This was probably facilitated by me getting kicked out of gym class and deciding to walk home when I was 9 or 10. The teacher freaked out, I vaguely remembering someone mentioning that she thought she was going to get fired for losing one of her students, but Washington state decided to find a solution to my issues and not to just agitate me. Now that I'm an adult and know that this was just a difference in policy, it still doesn't change how my inner child feels about the first society of adults who actually treated me like a real person. It's silly I know, but most of my vacations have been to the Emerald city, and I always feel at home there, so that's where I'm going. I've decided to take a few years off from this normal life thing and chase the only thing that I've ever been good at, being moderately funny on stage in front of groups of strangers.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Cycle Begins Anew. (Being Single Pt 1)

Several weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me to write something about being single. Despite the fact that I had been in a serious relationship for over two years, I still had a lot of strong opinions on the subject (shocking, I know), so I agreed. But I quickly got distracted by life, primarily the organizing and implementation of our annual Halloween party, so I procrastinated.

The next week my girlfriend broke up with me.

I am a prophet when it comes to costume selection.

So, now that I have a lot of free time and the subject matter is once again fresh in my memory, I thought I'd write a series of posts, starting with the beginning of the cycle: the end of the last relationship.


Unless it's your first time around the block, your entrance into the single life is usually born into chaos.

The occasional thrown cookware might also have been involved.

In many ways this is a newer version of you, a rebirth if you will. Technically you're still in the last relationship, emotionally if not locationally, and you will spend a considerate amount of time reflecting on everything (mostly who they're sleeping with already, even if it isn't true). This is a real sweet spot for meeting someone. Many of my serious ex's started their next relationship in this phase of their newly acquired singleness. It doesn't always work out, every relationship starting during this time period will have it's own challenges, but you're used to being WITH somebody and the transition is pretty easy to go from serious relationship to serious relationship. Granted, you'll be burdening your new partner with insecurities as you talk about your ex incessantly, but it sure beats crying by yourself amiright?

I sure as hell don't do it like that, but some people are more lovers than fighters, it's best not to judge them for what the rest of us consider a severe character weakness just because there's nobody around to pick up the pieces when most of us get broken up with.


For the rest of us poor bastards, it means trying to find a balance between the past and the present. Depending on how the last relationship ended, my recent one has been very amicable and mature, there might still be fights with your last relationship, like emotional aftershocks, as both of you adjust to the new reality and still have blame laying around that has to go somewhere.

Then comes the silence, and it comes quickly. Phone calls, usually frantic and common at first, tend to peter off as you don't really have anything new to say to each other and every third time you hear their voice you feel your throat tighten up, so it just isn't worth dialing the phone anymore. Sometimes you'll forget that they aren't there anymore and you'll want to call them with something exciting or funny, or you'll actually reach for their warmth in the night, and that is one of the worst sharp, emotional pains I have ever experienced. In one breakup this phase lasted so long and was so powerful that I used to hear her voice in every crowded room, I almost gave myself whiplash every other day. After that, especially when you let your guard down, is when you really start to notice how quiet things have gotten.

Shouldn't somebody be making me a sandwich about now?

If your last relationship had any legs to it, especially after a couple of years or if there's children involved, every decision you made, most moments of your day, were highly influenced by the presence, decisions, and the noises of the people you shared your life with. Suddenly you wake up one day and it's just gone. No more drinking coffee while playing fetch with the beagle every morning, no more bouncing your random thoughts off of somebody you know and trust enough to share with, no more private jokes or shared secrets, and certainly no more of the casual touches you've become accustomed (addicted) to.

And this is hard. There is no shortcut through this process, if you ignore it your memories will ambush you when you least expect it and, I don't know about you, but I have a hard time thinking up excuses for crying during a haircut. Some people never leave this phase of their last relationship, pining for their loss like dog sleeping on their master's grave. A lot of women handle this phase a lot better than most men, most women having something of a social safety net which helps to absorb the blow, but the secret here seems to be to keep active and to set new goals for yourself*.

I would recommend writing it down, it helps.

Eventually your friends adjust to your open schedule, you fall back into the things you loved to do that you stopped doing for one reason or another, and you put your gameface back on for the next phase of your singleness: Lying to Yourself. This is where things get interesting...

(to be continued...)

*- I'm currently focusing on my eyelash growing, but I think I might take up competitive napping.