Monday, April 9, 2012

Playing the Long Game

[As a reminder: I write very similar entries, since there are a relatively small number of things that I'm really working on/that affect me emotionally. Part of writing so many similar entries is a catharsis and part is to keep a record of how things evolve and change. And this entry is definitely more evolved than some in my past]

My anxiety, in a nutshell:

1. I want to be in a relationship.
2. I am not.
3. My father is the most miserable person I know, and perhaps his most fatal flaw is a lack of introspection and action to try to make his life better.
4. I am terrified of becoming unhappy like my father, so I take personal responsibility for the things going wrong in my life, such as being single, and constantly strive for ways to remedy the situation.
5. Every moment I am single is *my fault* and evidence of *me not doing enough,* yet another step in the long, hard path towards becoming my father.
6. Anxiety.

Five of my six clients are in relationships. Most of my friends are. And, on the face of it, it really makes me wonder what, exactly, is wrong with me.

Of course, talking to my therapist, she points out that most of the folks in relationships she knows aren't exactly happy and healthy. She herself had a 25 year marriage, only 10 years of which were any good. And those ten years were mainly products of drugs and alcohol. I'm at the stage in my life when people start getting into significant long term relationships, but there will likely come a time when the nasty divorces and perpetual dissatisfaction and feelings of being "trapped" and "settling" start to arise for many too.

Indeed, I tell myself I'm playing the long game. Short term patience for long term results. I'm not a serial monogamist, my loneliest does not prompt me to force things that I know aren't right. I've only really felt comfortable as Juliet since last July (nine months), and I didn't fully get over my last star-crossed love until probably December, if then. Since August, when I started internet dating, I've talked to two people significantly and had sex with/kind of dated one of them for a few weeks. For some people in bigger cities with better queer populations, that's not much, but it's not nothing for a neo-lesbian in Knoxville either.

And truly, increasingly, my angst is not a matter of "am I good enough." I incrementally believe more and more that I'd make a really good partner for someone.

Instead, it's mostly a matter of finding someone I fit with. I've written before that so much of this anxiety is about the uncertainty. I've asked myself "if I knew I'd meet someone and fall in love (not a "forever" but at least a "love now" kinda thing) in a year would that be ok?" In two? In four? Is this a matter of faith and patience?

And, so too, there are questions of whether I'm putting myself out there enough, of whether I'm going to the right places and doing the right things. Is this a matter of approach?

I think I know the answer. I'm one of the more active people I know. Dating is slow, but it's not nonexistent. And sometimes it just takes a really long time before you meet the right person. But staying open to her and being honest about one's self are the best ways to find each other when the time's right. In other words, it's faith. Something of a gamble, certainly. But I think the reward's too great to not bother playing.

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