When I first began writing, I wrote about what I think love should be like: madly passionate, takes my breathe away, far above the realm of mediocrity. I believe that. And when I wrote about Aaron* and supernovas, that is what it felt like to me, at the time. But I also believe that love should be steady, and familiar, too. In my short time here on Earth, I have experienced a fair amount of loves. Burning, crazy, frantic love, as in the supernova kind I experienced with Aaron, my son’s father, and one other person whom I have yet to share with you; the love of a parent for a child; short-lived love; soul-similar love, as when you meet someone you know is similar to you in many, many ways and you’ll be there for that person no matter the time or place; comfortable love, like wrapping yourself up in a warm blanket all cozy on a winter’s day. I suppose if there is a thing akin to true love, other than the pure maternal love I have for my child that is, rather true love in a romantic sense, it would be all of these loves all at the same time, but I think I have yet to experience it. Some days I feel I might not ever get to, but I plan to hold out for that, though I also plan to just experience what life has in store for me these days.
I said before that one short year ago, I was not as mature as I am today. It is hard to imagine that one could change so much in such a short time, but I promise, it is true. What started the change was huge! Heart-wrenching.
I was in a four-year relationship with my son’s father. At the best of times, I cannot say if our love was the comfortable kind or the supernova kind, but through out the course of our tumultuous relationship, we ran the gamut. We were that terrible couple nobody likes to go out with because he reacted jealously whenever I spoke to any other male, and we both picked fights in public places because of it. I seemed to be under the impression that fighting was a sign of things working because, I mean, we were “communicating” after all. I blame romance novels for setting up the expectation that after a big fight, people will make up and live happily ever after. Now, I know that is not the way it works, but this was the me of four years ago, who still thought this way last year, apparently.
He broke up with me New Year’s Day, 2008. I was utterly destroyed. I cried uncontrollably on my bathroom floor for almost an hour; I couldn’t catch my breath. I should never have been surprised that that was coming; as I said, we fought. A lot. For six months after that, I tried to move on, but he had changed HIS mind again and again, alternating between loving me more than ever, and then hating me for hurting him. It came as a surprise that I would not take him back right away when he had been the one to let me go.
But we did get back together, and it was comfortable love after that. Like pulling on my favorite old sweater. It fit fine, a little baggy, but toasty and warm. Comfortable. Time passed; we had our son. It was the culmination of all of our kinds of love, born in a 9 1/2 pound human being that neither of us could love more if we tried.
Unfortunately, we lost track of our love for each other; and no matter the love for our child, I was unable to reconcile myself to a loveless life. You CANNOT force yourself to feel something that is no longer there. And believe me I tried. I spent multiple nights trying to justify staying, trying to force myself to feel, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. But you know what? There was nothing wrong with me. It was quite simple: I was unhappy because I was no longer in love. I was in a relationship that was not a relationship any longer. I had a roommate whom I happened to have a child with. Our paths crossed for important events: birthdays, holidays, trade-off times for who was awake with our kid, but we did not do anything TOGETHER anymore. Watching TV doesn’t count, seriously people.
The hardest thing I have ever done was coming to the decision to not be with my son’s father anymore. For months afterward, I second-guessed myself. He had said many hurtful things to me. About how I am selfish, a terrible person, I was doing the wrong thing because I was always supposed to put my family’s happiness before my own, including his. [For the record, I will always put my child first, but I will never compromise myself for someone else, other than that. To ask that of someone, that’s not love.] When I looked into the future with him, all I could see was a dark tunnel of unhappiness, but when I looked into the future without him, I could only see uncertainty and possible financial hardship – but the trade off was happiness for myself, and as a result, for my child, too. [I am firm believer that if the parents, or parent, is unhappy, so too will the child be unhappy; no matter how good you think you are at covering that up, you’re probably not as good as you think. Children are smart.] I couldn’t do it.
It has been a bit over one year since I made that decision, and I feel… fine. It has taken hard work, and yes I cried while writing about this, because it will always be close to my heart, but I am there. I am okay, and I know I made the right choice for all of us. We get along, because we love the same little human being we created, and because we love our Q, we respect each other, and it is okay to be apart and raise a child.
So to sum it up, at first I was all:
“Regrets collect like old friends, Here to relive your darkest moments. I can see no way, I can see no way…And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’tSo here’s to drinks in the dark, at the end of my ropeAnd I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hopeIt’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat.”
But now, I am all:
Yes, they are over.
I am pretty sure Florence has a song for every feeling I have ever had.
*Remember how I changed his name for anonymity’s sake?
**I am betting R remembers it differently, maybe she’ll share her take on it someday.**