Relationship Blues

It's my dream guy, Billy Idol!

It’s my dream guy, Billy Idol!

I don’t know what an adult relationship is supposed to look like.   I married my high school prom date.   Maybe we never changed, or if  we did, we changed in ways that worked together, as I moved through college, then law school, then practicing law, then quitting to be an unemployed slacker.

A few of my girlfriends believe in visualization, picture the guy you want and he will appear, apparently materializing form the ether, a dream bachelor emerging slowly from a deserted cornfield.  (Have you ever watched Children of the Corn?  It’s terrible).  Another friend said compile a list of all the things you want in a man, and from this clarity, you will meet the right guy.  And people always say the right one will show up when you’re not looking.  I’m a writer, I sit at my computer all day, I don’t think I’ll find much in the way of guys unless I take up internet porn.

I ‘m actually in a relationship.  Sort of.  It was supposed to be a fun,  temporary, teenaged sort of relationship. Based on the guy, even though he’s chronologically older than I am, all it could be is sort of teenaged.  But, then again, I’m not sure I’d recognize a grown up, mature relationship even if I found one.  I think it involves barbecued salmon, I’m just not sure why.

Despite all the romantic comedies, I don’t think that men can be trained like dogs.  I can’t change my guy.  He can’t change me very much.

I don’t want to date again. I haven’t the energy or the patience.

I’ve met so many guys where all they talk about is themselves.  I ask people questions about themselves to draw them out, but it makes things worse when you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t ask about you.  They’re already drawn out; I need to push them back in.  Or just back away slowly.

Or they’re so emotionally careless, taking shit out on you when they’re in a bad place themselves. George didn’t take things out on other people.  Even after all day chemotherapy. But some of the guys I dated did just that.  Like its a test to see if you’ll still want them after they act like spoiled babies. I dated a writer/artist like that.  It was painful.

Here’s a couple of my last lines I’ve said to the guys I’ve dated.

“I’d like my thong back.” ( I never got it).

“This many complaints in an incipient two month relationship has convinced me that I am not the person for you.”  ( I was trying to  sound mature and not use the word dickwad)

“Ok, if you want real intimacy, how about this. I don’t want to be alone on Thanksgiving. Can I join your family?” (Nope on that one and I dumped him, but he was the one who’d wanted me to stop seeing other people. He just didn’ t want his parents to know we’d met online.)

So, what to do?  Keep my teenaged relationship? Accept being alone until I want to date again (which may never happen.  I can put on a good act, but really, I’m a cranky curmudgeon).

How do you decide when to stay in a relationship and maybe work on it, or decide to end things?



  • Bob H says:

    “How do you decide when to stay in a relationship and maybe work on it, or decide to end things”?

    Lessons: I”m 53 and helped destroy a relationship with my best friend and Mother of my child, then, I quit drinking, found my center point and then married someone that I liked being around and I was happy again, but, she died. Well, what does one do, lets do on line dating because I work from home and you suddenly realize you’re not the only crazy one out there.

    So, here is your answer: Its called the Ying and Yang relationship affect. You ask what that is, well once you enter the vortex of the spinning out of control relationship where one’s emotions play upon the other person you thought could be the one and vise versa, you’ll know your done. Run as fast as you can and start reading up on being A-Sexual. Life is hard enough, find someone that makes you smile when you feel like shit, then you know your there.

    • Debbie says:

      Very practical advice, Bob. I’m so sorry for the loss of your wife. I know what you mean about the spinning out of control emotions. Maybe my next post will be about asexuality.

  • Susan says:

    This piece is similar to something I could have written. I am giving up the dating sites, letting my current long-distance relationship drift away, and coming around to the fact that, as much as I loved my husband, life alone is actually fun and rewarding. There are downsides to it but there is much to appreciate and enjoy.

    • Debbie says:

      You make a good point Susan. I too am starting to enjoy being alone more, but I need to work on appreciating it more.

  • Jacqui says:

    Very interesting piece, Debbie, and great advice from Bob. I think I may be done.
    Going on holiday alone next month for some thinking time, along with early morning yoga and a choice of courses, I think I’ll do windsurfing, story-telling, bangra dance, maybe the self development option about “Your best year yet.” (Really? I shouldn’t be negative, but I may have had that when my husband was alive! Just can’t imagine anything besting my time with Paul.)
    I think I may be better off alone than in my current relationship or one that doesn’t work. It feels sad to again contemplate not sharing life with someone who is easy to be with and totally gets me.
    Silly, but these song lines keep going through my head:
    “….I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
    But don’t think twice, it’s all right….
    You could have done better, but I don’t mind –
    You just kinda wasted my precious time,
    But don’t think twice, it’s all right.” (Dylan)
    and Fairground Attraction:
    “I don’t want half hearted love affairs
    I need someone who really cares.
    Life is too short to play silly games
    I’ve promised myself I won’t do that again.
    (Chorus) It’s got to be perfect
    It’s got to be worth it
    Too many people take second best
    But I won’t take anything less
    It’s got to be
    Love, Jacqui x

    • Debbie says:

      Dear Jacqui, we’ve chatted some and you are lovely and wonderful. If the guy doesn’t get and appreciate you, what a fool he is! I get the same feelings, that life was just better with George. I can’t best it or even match the feelings of love and security. I do more and different things now, but it’s not the same. I’m doing a trip on my own in a few months and, my boyfriend doesn’t get it, but he’s so much trouble. I have been wondering if dealing with widowhood isn’t recovery, but transformation into someone less accommodating, but more independent. Love, Debbie xxoo

  • Gary L says:

    On most things I have little to add. My wife and life partner of 32 years died of cancer 8 weeks ago. The loss and grief are too raw for most rational thinking. But on the question of whether a couple can change each other my view is not clouded by the passage of time. Based on my experience we can only intentionally change little things about our partner, things like put the toothpaste cap back on. But in a true relationship both partners change without being asked. Looking back we definitely changed each other without overtly articulating “You need to change (fill in the blank)” because it made life better for each of us and as a couple. I definitely became a better person and hope to carry that forward. Gary L.

    • Debbie says:

      Dear Gary,

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Your comment about change is so eloquent and describes how my husband and I also changed over our (odd coincidence) 32 years together. It was just organic. Take care, Debbie

  • DJ says:

    Great post, great comments.

    It’s been almost 3 and a half years since I lost my wife. Finally I am discovering that I actually enjoy living alone. It took long enough.

    We met at age 23, still children as I see now, and we grew into our adulthood together. So many firsts with my girlfriend/lover/wife. First time living with a lover, first time truly unconditional love, first joint bank account, first (and only) time getting married, first time buying a house, first time conceiving a child, and second, first time raising a family, and schools and sports and extracurriculars for kids, first time getting a real job, first time growing into a career, first time planning for retirement. She and me, both doing everything worth doing, together. I lost her 30 years later, completely unexpectedly. I never saw it coming. I felt like my guts had been ripped out. I see now that we had each molded ourselves around the other, as we grew and matured and became who we became. There will never be anyone like her in the universe ever again. I will always love her, unconditionally.

    After losing her 3 plus years ago, I have dated, I have fallen in love again, I have wanted to give myself unconditionally to another woman. Something made her back away and leave me. I really didn’t understand. And that has now happened again. Is it me?

    It’s not about living in the past. I don’t do that. I never dwell on my lost love. That is tragic and in the past and not something that defines who I am today. I look to the future and new beginnings in everything I do.

    It’s not that I am overbearing or needy. I have tried very hard to be attentive to my new loves, but have also tried to give them space and let the new relationship grow in its own time and space.

    It’s not that I am searching for who I am. I know exactly who I am and where I am going and how I got here.

    It’s not about my appearance or fitness or financial security. They all seem to like those things about me 😉

    Dating in your 50’s basically sucks. Everyone has grown into their own adulthood with someone else, with the result that none of us can stand living with anyone else.

    I am so tired of dating…but there is a bright spot. I have discovered that I enjoy doing exactly what I want whenever I want, all by myself. I have taken care of my children and my wife during her illness and my parents and my siblings. Now it is my turn, and I love my life and where I am heading, alone.

    Maybe love will find me when I least expect it, and that will be welcome if it comes to pass, but I know that things will be fine if it doesn’t.

    • Debbie says:

      DJ, Thanks on the post and comments. Really great lines “everyone has grown into their adulthood with someone else…so we can’t stand living with anyone else.” That makes so much sense. I’m starting to wonder in my own experience if we can’t love or care for someone new that we didn’t grow up with the way we cared about our prior person. I’ve certainly dated guys who say they want emotional intimacy or real love, then act like we’re just “dudes” hanging out together or I exist to be their sounding board. I’m working on being alone as a perfectly fine way to be.

  • Gary L. says:

    Good observations. We met in our early thirties. We had life experience, but didn’t really grow into life until we were together. Can’t imagine dating in my sixties, yet the sound of quiet is overwhelming. We didn’t have children and have very little family left so I am also trying to get a handle on aloneness. Based on what all you write that is going to take time. Thank you, reading from others who are going through this helps.

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you of letting me know you can relate. I too have little family. The loneliness has been my biggest problem and foible. I actually wrote about it in a magazine article. ( I cite to it on my FB page).