Half Hearted

Love will fuck us all up.

Not at first. At first, it puts a spit shine on the world. Everything becomes beautiful. During the first heady stages, I find that the sunsets are more vivid, the air becomes sweeter and life becomes more vibrant. It’s my experience that relationships follow a gentle curve. At first it’s giddy, gaudy and, frankly, amazing. You can’t drag yourself out of the bed and if you manage to, you can’t extricate yourself from them, and if you have to, you text each other. Everything is new and an adventure. Everything you learn about them is fascinating, and they seem to be the missing piece of your puzzle. Your friends are bored shitless because every conversation features their name, no matter what the subject is: “I love your bathroom taps, did you know that Robert’s uncle is a plumber?”

This eventually ebbs away to gentle contentment. It’s not as exciting, but it’s…nice. It’s easy. You exist together like two rocks side by side on the beach. It lacks the initial intensity, and the carpet burn no longer marks your knees, but it’s simple and secure. You have their back, and they yours. You know each other, you get each other, and you are comfortable in silence. Plus, you can get a bit lazy with shaving your legs, if you wish.

Then, of course, the downhill slide.

Quite often, I instinctively know when it is ending. I have never had a completely out of the blue break up. I usually don’t want to admit it, but I always feel the eerie sense of foreboding. It usually comes in a flash: a moment will pass which leaves heaviness in my heart. With my marriage, I felt this for two years. A thick grey cloth draped me through all seasons. I fought it. I clung to the notion that marriage is eternal. I told myself that this was just a phase. Those last years were a squiggly line of emotional ups and downs. There would be a rough patch followed by a huge fight, tears, several ornaments hurled across the room, a rational discussion, and a new hope. Things would get better, we would both try our best and issues would be politely discussed in therapist speak: “I understand how you are feeling but when you say that I feel…” Then, we would get lazy, go back to our old ways, and the problems would rear their head again, worse than before. Towards the end, if we had a day off together, I would rise early and take the dog out for a three hour walk. Yes, three hours. No, I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t want to go home because home was no longer a home. Home was the uncomfortable place. That house began to fill up with all of the things that we couldn’t say to each other. The air got thick and cold. I couldn’t stand it. I would walk until my feet ached because the blisters were easier to deal with than spending time together.

It’s my experience that these stages can last weeks, months, years. My ex husband and I spent years in the first stages of love. Thinking about our early times together still makes me smile. I may roast him on this blog a bit, but he isn’t a total dickhead, I wouldn’t have spent seven years of my life with him if he was. As far as our break up goes it’s a simple matter of: he fucked up and I fucked up. I could go into how, but I don’t want to lose you in the tediousness of it all. It just ran its course. Every relationship does, it’s just that sometimes we want to stay in the carriage after the ride stops.

It was suggested to me recently that I don’t want to be in another relationship at the moment because I am afraid of getting hurt again. I pondered this for a while, soul searching, staring moodily at the ocean with my collar turned up, The Smiths playing in the background. I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to be in another relationship just now, but it has more to do with wanting to be alone for a bit, for me, than self preservation. I don’t have my heart locked in an iron cage, waiting for Prince Charming with the correct key.

In romance you will hurt, and you will get hurt. I have broken hearts, and my own has been shattered. It’s the price that has to be paid. It’s the burn that goes with the inferno. Some people only remember the last stage and say to themselves, “fuck that”. Some people only remember the first stage. I try and remember it all. It’s not easy; in the end of my marriage I was hurting so badly that I couldn’t remember the times when we used to laugh so hard that I nearly wet my pants. The pain of what we were going through blurred the memories of the good times. But after several hundred kilometres, a few new sets of trainers, and litres of red wine, I began to remember. As soon as I began to remember I forgave him, I forgave myself, and I remembered how to smile again.

So, love will fuck us up, for better and then for worse. Is it worth it?

I think so. I don’t know if this paragraph speaks volumes about the type of person I am, but I would rather jump in headfirst and be consumed by the experience of it. I will happily cry rivers of tears when it ends, because the tears mean that I have given them everything I have. I don’t do anything by halves. I want someone who can make me laugh and cry in equal measures. I want that heady excitement; I want to feel so strongly about a person that I am dying to touch them when they are near me. I want to feel the insane hunger that is tempered by the starved longing when we are apart. I want the deep connection that means that an entire conversation can pass in every glance. I don’t care that every man who trudges beside me will eventually make me a sobbing mess on the floor. I don’t care that there will be times where I eat my body weight in chocolate while watching movies like Blue Valentine or Like Crazy. Because those times pass, and those times come after, and because of, the times when you are so happy you could skip down the street trilling, “I have confidence in sunshine…” To risk sounding cliché, or like a Hallmark card, to really love is to really live. I wouldn’t have it any other way. At the very least, it gives me a subject to bleed all over the keyboard about.

So, I think that the reason I don’t want a “relationship” is because I don’t have the time or the energy to give to it. I don’t want to limp through something just for the sake of having a warm body in the bed next to me. What’s the point in that?


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