Coping With Loss – Chapter 11 : Relationships

I am beginning to reach the peak of the Intimacy v Isolation development phase. Almost everyone I know is either married, getting married, or in a relationship of some sort. It is a tough time for someone who is struggling to figure out which side they will ultimately take in life. However, I feel as though I made the choice many years ago.

I have had nothing but bad luck when it comes to relationships. Most, if not all of them have ended on sour notes, and a majority of them are due in part to myself. I am a hopeless romantic; someone who will treat their partner right, loyal to a fault and not above things like cuddling and falling asleep on the phone together. That is, up until a certain point.

The biggest hardship I face with relationships is self-confidence. I lost what little of it I had after I got my anxiety, and since then I have been running on empty. It isn’t tough to lose confidence in yourself, especially when you know your own faults better than anyone else. While the same can be true for building your own confidence, I never manage to see my good side outweighing my bad.

I am selfish, quick to anger, appallingly thin, socially awkward, a habitual smoker, lazy and highly depressing. At some point, all of these traits begin to pile up on someone and ultimately causes them to make the rational choice in leaving. I don’t blame them necessarily, though the manner in which some left were less than ideal. Never the less, my weaknesses are far greater than my strengths, which can easily be overlooked. That list being; loyal, hardworking, occasionally funny, intelligent, creative and compassionate.

So the problem usually goes like this; I will take a significant other out someplace, struggling to not either succumb to a panic attack or complain about the boring nature of said date. I can usually pull this off rather well, though once returning home, it is quite likely I will ignore my partner for a random amount of time. Not out of spite, but mostly to make up for the time wasted doing something I didn’t enjoy. Surely this problem sounds easy to fix, do something I also want to do. Well, unless they truly have a killer personality, it is unlikely. I like to play video games, watch anime and hang out with friends, all at home. I don’t like playing games with people who are bad at them, I don’t enjoy watching anime with someone who isn’t passionate about it and I don’t want to hang out with friends that aren’t my own. This folks, is my first bad trait, selfishness.

The big question then is, why bother being in a relationship at all? Well, originally I had no plans to. Growing up, I practically ignored females. I was far more interested doing things that I enjoyed, rather than trying to impress someone I didn’t know for a chance to perform an act I felt was a waste of time. Of course as I began to get heavier into puberty I began feeling curious about it all. People I knew were getting into relationships, so maybe it wasn’t as simplistic as I made it out to be.

I started talking to girls; trying to figure out what ‘type’ I was interested in. I also tried to figure out what was considered attractive to me and exactly how you determine if you are in love. Incidentally, I quickly learned two important things; women generally have vastly different interests and impressing people is a bother. Granted this was middle school, so it wasn’t a surprise trying to find a cute nerdy girl was difficult. Even now it is one of the most elusive types out there, at least in my definition of cute. Anyway, I decided it was too much trouble and resumed ignoring females for my own hobbies.

Once I finally did find someone I was interested in, it pretty much all went downhill from there. Without taking too much time to explain every relationship in detail, I will break it up into a fairly easy list to understand:

1st – Cheated on her boyfriend with me

2nd – Cheated on me with someone else

3rd – Cheated on me with someone else

4th – Cheated on her boyfriend with me

5th – Left me without telling me why until weeks later

So you see my ongoing problem here, cheating is a constant occurrence. Granted the two that cheated on their boyfriends, I was highly aware of at the time. The ones that cheated on me, I was unaware of until they told me later. Ironically, the fifth was the only one I actually felt the emotion ‘love’ for. In some twisted way, it is better that the only one I loved, wasn’t one that involved cheating. In the end, I spent a total of several years on and off in relationships that ultimately was a waste of time and money. Through those relationships my biggest support was my mother.

Whenever I was broken up with, she was there to console me. If I needed to break up with someone, she always guided me on how to do it properly. Most of the times I needed any sort of relationship advice, she was always the one I went to, and the only one I trusted to give worthwhile advice. Though she never really liked any of my girlfriends, which is understandable, she was always supportive no matter what.

After my fifth relationship I inevitably called it quits. I packed up all the cares I had towards finding love or companionship and tossed it out the window. I admit that every now and again the small urge to find someone tingles at the back of my brain, but whenever I am faced with the opportunity to be in a relationship, I immediately run backwards. It might sound like I am afraid of commitment, but realistically I am afraid of wasting more time. After having those five relationships, I realized I walked away with nothing more than stories to tell and a feeling of disappointment.

Normally there would be some silver lining to this, one where I learn a valuable lesson and change my life for the better. Unfortunately there isn’t. To me, the concept of dating, marriage or anything in-between is a waste of time. I have no evolutionary desire to procreate, I prefer having a bed to myself, the feelings of others are far less of a concern to myself than my own and I have no intention of compromising anything for the luxury of companionship.

I have been single for over two years now, and my life has been no worse because of it. While having companionship might be the fuel that drives some, the calming quiet of isolationism is what keeps me going. I lived for over fifteen years of my life without a relationship and over twenty without sex. Neither of those times did I feel ashamed or depressed, and instead, were actually the fondest memories I have.

Feeling alone after the loss of my mother isn’t a problem that can be solved by a relationship, and it wouldn’t be right to be in one simply because of that either. I also have no desire to become like my father and sleep with countless women in a futile attempt to fulfill a feeling of emptiness by misguided attempts at companionship. I will continue to live my life as a bachelor, and while I may have idealistic fantasies of starting a family or finding love, I know it is not what I truly want in life.