Monday, January 18, 2016

Relationships Revisited

I've visited this topic before but now feel I need to revisit it as a relationship I was involved in has disintegrated into ashes. As a result of that disintegration, I was recently asked if I even saw myself in a relationship maybe down the road sometime in the future.

I do.

Yet, I don't. 

I do, because I admit I'm lonely and I think the companionship would be nice. I'd have someone to talk to who'd respond. My plants aren't quite as responsive. They're lovely and relatively maintenance free, when not being attacked by spider mites, root rot or some other unidentifiable problem.

A pet could ease the loneliness. But, I don't have a lifestyle suitable for a dog as I'm gone almost 10 hours a day when I'm teaching and that would not be fair for the dog. I've considered getting a cat, but many of my plants are on the ASPCA toxic list which could injure the cat (or dog), and cats (and dogs) are notorious for eating plants. Then there's the vet visits and subsequent expenses.

I've thought about a roommate, as she/he would also be someone to talk to, and maybe socialize with. But, there are too many other considerations. The roommate would have to:
  • be comfortable with my being gay
  • not be into drugs or heavy drinking
  • be financially stable
  • be emotionally stable
  • be generally compatible with me
  • not smoke
  • be trustworthy
Plus, I would have to seriously want to allow (and be comfortable with) someone else in my house, when I'm not here. I'm not sure I'm there, yet. I just finished removing all traces of my ex making the house mine, and now I'm thinking of sharing it?

If I were in a relationship, I'd have someone to take day trips with. Plants don't travel well. Dogs do, sometimes. Cats can be finicky when it comes to traveling.

If I were in a relationship, I'd have someone to share the responsibilities of the house. 

Yet, I don't see myself in a relationship due to my current state of relationship-fatigue. I don't feel I have the energy, desire or drive to take the time to figure out what some other man wants or needs. I find the idea of coming up with ideas for dates to be daunting.

Right now, I find the maintenance of the relationship to be overwhelming; the calling or texting, letting him know I'm thinking of him, as well as his letting me know he's thinking of me seems to send shivers up and down my spine. Setting boundaries and trying to figure out what he wants/needs/means while I'm trying to figure out exactly what I want/need feels daunting.
I've been alone now for a while and am used to doing things my way, on my schedule, and having someone underfoot would take some major adjustments on my part. I've discovered I have a huge tendency to just give in to avoid conflict, and now that I am more set in my ways, I see some more adjusting to do.

It's also very difficult to even want to date when many of the articles I come across have titles like How to Spot a Narcissist, or Are you Dating a Sociopath?

Or my newest personal favorite, Yet Another Problem for Older Gay Men: "Internalized Gay Ageism." The article describes how the gay male community, more so than any other community, focuses on youth and beauty, the young virile male. As gay men mature, we develop an innate sense of uselessness, of unattractiveness simply due to our age because we see the focus in gay media on the handsome, the muscular, the barely legal young men. And our bodies don't necessarily look like theirs.

It becomes very difficult not to internalize this sense of unwantedness as we grow up seeing it, living it, and therefore adding it to our already internalized homophobia.

The article does offer hope, or at least a way of not feeling so hopeless. It suggests finding a sense of "mattering". Find a way to feel that you matter to someone, some way that you make a difference. For me, that might suggest focusing on my teaching, internalizing that I matter in the education of my students. I could focus on the readership of this blog, hoping that somehow, someway, I am making a difference in the life of someone somewhere.

Evidently, I'm in a very non-trusting state. Some may say it's because of the deterioration of this last relationship that has led me to this state. I disagree. I was feeling this way before this relationship began to take off. This relationship opened my heart to wanting to explore the possibility of one with this young man. Now that it's over, I've returned to not trusting, and therefore, not wanting one.

And yet, maybe it's just the right man, at just the right time, in just the right place with all the planets in alignment that just might somehow possibly change my mind.

And my heart.

To read the entire article on older gay men and ageism, click here.

To check out the ASPCA toxic and non-toxic plant list, click here

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