Thursday 11 October 2007

Relationships and the Comfort Zone

None of us truly likes to be alone.
Human beings aren't meant to be that way.
We are meant to love and be loved, to receive affection and give it.

So that's that. Simple really.
Or is it?

James is of the opinion, that marriage is the ideal we should all strive for, that anything less is unfulfilling, and I respect the strengths of his convictions here.
Indeed, I'm not saying that people SHOULDN'T do it, if that is what they want.

But I think it's a little stark a choice to say that you HAVE to give a commitment to be allowed to receive affection, to be spared waking up in the middle of the night alone, yearning another human being beside you.

Sleeping alone is not the way we are meant to sleep. At the moment I do sleep alone, and I don't really care for it. I don't sleep properly that way. I've always slept better with someone else there, since I first got used to it.
When it comes down to it, if you asked me what I disliked about being single, that's what I'd say- that being single, you may sometimes have no choice about sleeping alone.

In fact, some nights I sleep with a soft toy, if I'm feeling really down.
His name is Cedric- my Mum give him to me as a kid when I had chicken pox.

Love really is great, and contrary to what people think, on one level, it's not hard to find. I don't just mean the sexual level.
If you look for the good in people when you meet, you can find the part of them that is truly beautiful. There is a real poetry to it, it is magical, musical, euphoric.

You sing in the rain.
You sigh at your desk.
You feel...alive.

Love isn't about sex, though in principle sex is best when it is about love.

Love is about two souls dancing in the clouds, colliding like lightening bolts in an eternal rhythm only they can hear.

It is powerful stuff, for sure.
But dangerous too.
Because lightening can kill.

I first fell in love properly at nineteen. I'll never really forget her.
She was unique. She was pretty, rather than beautiful, caring as opposed to philosophical, would sleep with any man who got her drunk, but she was so incredibly loving.
I hated the men who had taken her advantage of her, but being young and judgemental, I couldn't handle the thought of her having had all those men. It eventually drove us apart and drove me to drink and drugs.

A part of me died then.
Joanna, if you ever read this, please know I never stopped thinking about you.

You always were the icon on the pedestal that I have spent my life looking to find the like of.
I only stopped carrying your picture in my wallet last year.

At that point, I changed. I found love easily, but always held something back. And as time moved on, I found myself able to give less. Yet as time progressed, the demands got more, each time.

I was engaged at twenty-two. The girl loved me very much, and I guess I thought I'd grow to love her the same way over time. I DID love her, I cared about her very much, but maybe not the way she did me. Joanna was still in my heart then and I was fooling myself that her place could be filled.

Over time, it became Hell. I hated not being in sole control of my living space. I hated being expected to come home every night. I wanted to spend more time with my friends. I wanted to do so many things, without her being a part of them.
I felt my identity was becoming merged with hers, and I hated it.

Also, I realised over time, I wasn't making her happy. She wanted more from a man than I could ever give.

I'm not going to dwell on how it all ended, because it sent me into a downward spiral it took long time to climb back out of.
But I did realise, I couldn't go through that again.

As a Catholic, marriage to me would be for life. If I did it, it would be serious. But the evidence suggests, I wouldn't make it.

I'm too cosy now.
The flat I live in, is in my name. The bills are all in my name. Sure, I have a flatmate. But I hold all the cards- I'm safe.
I pay for my lifestyle out of my earnings- and mine alone.
I come and go as I please, am accountable to no one, can go away when I want, watch what I want on Television, play what I want on the Stereo, meet who I want and spend my money how I want to.

When the key turns in the lock in the evening, I am entering MY territory. I'm sitting on MY sofa. I blog on MY PC.
Nothing can threaten MY ownership of MY comfort zone.

And no one can claim any right to my time. It's mine to give, and I give it generously in fact. I don't live alone, and most weekends I either have friends round, or stay with friends. I go out most nights in the week as well.
But I have freedom to allocate that time, as I choose.

Selfish? Maybe.
But I know I can't be happy without that comfort zone, that independence, that sole control over my life and what decisions I make.
Some would say I want to have my cake and eat it.

I can still remember listening to this song over and over when a relationship ended.

No, I don't really want to die alone.
But no, I don't want to lose my comfort zone either.

Surely there must be a way?


Anonymous said...

Wow babe, some pretty deep stuff here. I know about a lot of the Joanne stuff obviously, but I am surprised you've opened your heart to the virtual world with the story, even though you've not gone into the finer points.

After reading your thoughts etc about love and relationships, I just wanna give you a massive hug hun. You deserve it, even though you'd simply brush it off knowing you lol. And you know I know where you're coming from with the whole ownership thing. Twice now, as you know, i've made the mistake of marriage. Never again!

Yes, as you well know, i'm still an idiot for my emotions etc, and probably always will be, even though you can't stop nagging at me about it lol. Maybe, one day, I might actually listen!

Anyway, this is a very impressive blog, and no doubt we'll talk more about it when I see you in a couple of weeks.

As regards to the other comment on this thread, I don't doubt for one minute you did what she's saying you did, begging for her to move in etc, but then as you've said, you thought it was what you wanted.

What poeple don't realise, is that a blog contains the thoughts and feelings of the writer, and those who choose to read the blog, are reading the writers inner most thoughts and feelings, and although it might upset the reader, or might be a little too close to home on occasion, it's still not really for them to say, no matter how it might hurt them, because the writer has freedom of speech, therefore if he decides he wants to talk about times which have upset him, then he is entitled to do so, because he is just releasing his inner most thoughts, to relinquish himself of some past pain, to overcome the past, and to move on.

We all have this need to do this. Whatever others thoughts, however negative they may be, regarding these comments, they must realise that he is just emptying the filing cabinet in his head, as i'm sure you would have done to your friends at the time when you both split up. He thought he loved you enough to marry you, but he later realised that he did not.

The same happened to me, only I went through with the marriage and afterwards realised i'd made a mistake. Would you have wanted him to make that choice after you got married or before? Even though it obviously hurt, it's best to have done it before, instead of afterwards, because believe you me, it would have hurt a damn sight more if he'd have done it after you'd said your vows!

Anyway mate, thanks for the link to your blog. See you soon, and keep up the good work xxx

Anonymous said...

The more I read your blog, the more I can see myself in you (not the political stuff though, most of that I think goes way over my head :)). I hate sleeping alone, I have a wee rabbit that I got from my parents when I was born. He's called Bunny and his body is wrapped in a sock. He's falling to pieces but he's always there on the lonely nights.

I fell in love once when I was 17. It wasn't a particularly healthy relationship I don't think but I was head over heels. I didn't recover well from the break up and have never had a 'real' relationship since. I crave affection more than anything now in my life, I want the intimacy of a lover but you have to give so much of yourself I don't think I can do it. I need my space and I'm very jealous of my time. I don't want to have to forgo one to have the other but is there any alternative?

You either open yourself up and enjoy your life with another, or you end up the smelly cat lady :D

Anonymous said...

Great post. I have been on both sides. I was once married and had my world all about US as a twosome.
Now I have my life as 3 kids...which is leading a different life to yours of nights out and friends over and having time for yourself etc etc.
But the premise about being lonely is the same. It still all comes back to me, on my own, and I might actually die this way without ever marrying or partnering anyone again.
And I'm not sure how I feel about this. In a crazy way, I wonder if I am being greedy, wishing another chance at marriage again. I had my shot, and I chose badly and that is that.

All I can say is none of us know what is around the corner, good bad or indifferent. Or just more of the same. Who knows where you will be in ten years time?

Anonymous said...

Crushed, nobody forgets their first love. Nor gets over it easily. Even more than 50 years later I remember mine so well.

You can give and receive love and affection and have a sleeping companion without commitment. But usually one or both want more eventually.

I've read all these posts but I don't really think you have met the person to whom you feel you can fully commit, so that you want to be with them totally, yes even in your own space. But one day I hope you will and you will know when it happens.

I think that one of the most important things in a commitment (or marriage, in my case, for I'm catholic too, 46 years now)is freedom for each party to be a separate identity. To do things sometimes on your own. To pursue interests that the other doesn't necessarily have. But on the other hand friendship is also important and no doubt you will have interests in common.

When you are ready to make a commitment you won't want to go out every night with your friends. Sometimes of course, and never let your friends go when you have a relationship. But you will be happy to be in your own space with this person, you will prefer it.

Surely there must be a way?

Yes there is. You are just not there yet. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

What a tender post. Do you really sleep with a soft cuddly toy? You're right, there is something so complete about going home and cuddling up next to someone you love and then going to bed and holding each other.

Love makes the world right and when it's not there, the world is a cold and lonely place.

Anonymous said...

SS- Good God, my first RL commentor!

I can trust you, I'm sure :)
Drawing huge veil over your marriage...
Matbe I'll be on time for the next one!

Oestrebunny- You sum up pretty much the way it is for me, though I have had several 'serious' (but ultimately) disastrous relationships since.
Time is my main constraint. I find relationships demand time and stress I just can't really spare.

Yes, it is the intimacy you miss, but the price is too high.
Thing is, one gets bored of meaningless sex too.

Betty- I sleep with the door open, and so does my flatmate. This creates the feeling that someone is there, so I at least sleep secure.

The question is, as your twenties draw to a close, do you have to face the fact that you really can't handle commitment?

I think you on the iother hand, will meet a special someone :)

jmb- We did get in contact a few yeas ago and talked about what happened and excorices our demons. We both still loved eachother, in a wierd way, but accepted that there was so much water under the bridge.

I was amazed how soft she'd stayed, but how hardened I'd become.

I can be adiffficult person to have a relationship with, because my mind is usually on other things; If I'm not at work, it'll be on the sorts of things I post on.

I also need a LOT of time with my mates, always have done

I wish there WAS a way.

Alexys- Cedric never says a word- he just understands.
he's cool.
A bit grubby, and his tie is a disgrace- the dog mauled him when I was younger.

It's rare he comes in to the bed- a few times a month maybe?

It's a big bed and I am a small person.

Anonymous said...

Quite honestly - I am the only one as ever with sensible practical suggestions;

1. Get a fuck buddy.

2. Buy a blow-up doll.

3. Rent another flat for a few nights a week

There thats solved everything. Next question please!!

Anonymous said...

one gets bored of meaningless sex too

So true. Except its not that it's not just boring. It reinforces the feeling of being alone.

Anonymous said...

humans are social beings... being alone or isolated is unhealthy, but time for solitude is healthy. i'll never forget my first "real" love. she was my world, my everything. but it wasn't meant to be. i realized when i was in love (whatever "love" meant to me at that point in my life), that my comfort zone sorta included her in it. there was nothing i didn't share with her. for me, real love is when you aren't afraid to be yourself, be honest and open, and vulnerable. basically, that comfort zone moves inside you and your lover can figuratively "be" inside you.

regarding marriage, i've become disillusioned regarding the institution. despite my parents being happily married, i've had too many family and friends that didn't survive the test of time. if it's to be a life-long commitment, i don't see anything wrong with being loyal, committed, and sharing my life with someone... even having children... out of wedlock. my religion would never condone such things, but then again, people get married in churches, then divorced in court... a bunch of bullisht. to me it's mockery.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart honey! I think I have a crush on you now! I know how you feel though. I am the same way about my space being mine and mine alone. I had a hell of a time after the Rat Bastard and I split up staying in the house we had been in together but I owned it and still do. I had to purge a lot to get him out of there and now I don't think I want to share it with someone else other than my roomate of course.

Anonymous said...

Mutley- The first of your suggestions is the one I tend to follow. It can be a pain when they find real boyfriends, and girls who can stick at it are hard to find.

Of the others, the first has always seemed a little sad, the second, out of my price range.

Oestrebunny- Yes, yes it does. You are right. There is something a little empty about the post coital cigarette sometimes.

Raffi- I'm inclined to agree with you.
However, my comfort zone is something I guard closely. By letting diffeent people into different parts, no one but me has complete access.

Poody- :) That unfortunately, is one of my positive/negative qualities. I have sadly left a trail of destruction behind me in some ways, because I have those boyish yet self-assured qualities.
But I can be a total bastard to people who try to get too close without permission, in ways which can seem ruthless.

Thing is, I don't do it to hurt people, or just for a laugh, or to get off on it. It's a kind of an instinctive self defence mechanism.

Anonymous said...


A hugely honest post - thanks.

What you write is based on logic but love is not logical. Therefore, regardless of how strong is your current argument should love drop its cloak over you and another there is nothing you can do. You will be in love and your logic will be as nothing.

Will love drop its cloak over you? Who knows? Certainly not you.

Anonymous said...

Moving. You presented it very well; can't we have companionship without commitment? I think not, unless you find a like-minded person... and then someday, picture yourself depending and trusting that person, but them walking away (since they're not committed). I guess that's why we guard ourselves; without commitment, we withhold our companionship, reserving it for someone we can trust who won't walk out. As you said, we consider the price of caring, of sharing ourselves; for when you share yourself, you become vulnerable. I guess the way I see marriage is as a sort of protection; a guarantee that they;ll be there, that you can trust them (as long as one's spouse doesn't subscribe to the divorce theory)...

Anonymous said...

Crushed, with that attitude you are in severe danger of running into the Love of your Life. Don't blow it :-)

Anonymous said...

When you give all of your heart, commitment is not a problem. You just have to give it to the *right* person, to avoid the horrors you speak of. You have to make mistakes (usually) to discover that. I didn't meet Mr Right until I was 40. And I wasn't looking for him because experience told me he didn't exist. He lets me be. I let him be. We love each other. It's easy.

Anonymous said...

Calum- My general approach to anything, is not to trust what cannot be objectively analysed. I like to know my own motivations.

Love is one thing- giving up everything of importance is another.

Eve- It's not about them waking out, it's about them being IN your space.

It's about them trying to gain control of you, merge you into them.
That's what I really don't want.

I want to retain my freedom and not have someone take me over.

Protection for me, is keeping everything under my control.

Lilith- That does sound nice, I'll admit. To be honest, I've kind of given up, because I just find that 'relationships' tend to end up as pure living hell, but I try to remain hopeful.

But I still don't see how the balance can be struck, or it hasn't worked yet.

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean, CBI. :-) It's the woman that clings 'cos she's needy, and the man that doesn't want to be held too tight. Someday, then, I hope that you'll find someone who fits you, if that's what you really want. Nothing wrong with singlehood either, though :-)