Relationships are tough under the best circumstances. Imagine finding yourself single for the first time since you were 17 years old. Now imagine that you’re 48 years old. That’s where I find myself after a 17-year marriage and a subsequent 14-year, long-standing relationship.
I was recently told by one of my regular readers that what I write carries a theme of ambivalence. She was absolutely correct. I think there’s no way to avoid being ambivalent when something that caused you heartbreak in the past is what you always hoped you’d have as you grew older. We all dream of having a soul mate in our golden years, but when the person you thought would be that soul mate taints your current outlook on love, you have a tendency to frown on ever falling in love again. Oh yes, ambivalence is exactly what I feel.
Ambivalence is a good learning tool. Cynicism vs. a positive outlook can be sort of a coat of armor – a protective shield that helps you pay attention to those relationship red flags that you didn’t pay attention to when you were a little younger. I suppose because you aren’t a little younger, you’ve realized you’re not immortal and time could run out.
When I first became single, I didn’t plan to get involved again for a long time, and I didn’t. This was the one time in my life when I decided to take some time to get to know me and nurture what had needed to grow for a long time. That was the wisest decision I ever made. It didn’t really help much in deciding whether or not I wanted to pursue a relationship, but it did help me in understanding myself and learning to be true to myself.
Being with the right person doesn’t always mean being with someone you love or being with someone who loves you. That’s a pretty important part of the big picture, I’ll admit, but it’s not all of it. I am learning now through dating experiences how to look at what kind of reaction our separate lives have to being together. Relationships should never hinder growth no matter what kind of relationship it is. I believe a good relationship should challenge us every day to make strides of personal growth as well as growth within the relationship.
As I move forward in this dating experience of mine, I’m finding every day that even though I long for that special someone, I’m not willing to compromise the big picture for a few pieces of a good time. I have found that not being sure of what I want, or even being ambivalent, is okay for now.