(swimming through relationships)

lately i’ve been thinking a lot about intimate relationships.

i’m sure there’s a number of reasons for that, including the impending cold weather, my aforementioned guy friends’ newly budding love interests, and the fact that this holiday season will be notably without the girl i was dating during the three prior winters. that list probably also includes the fact that i read a lot of blogs, mostly written by females, and you women love to write about relationships, if i may generalize.

at a bird’s eye view, it seems like i’m in a strictly contemplative state with regards to my own heart. i seem to have a comfortable grip on my past, which is an important step in really moving beyond an old and meaningful relationship…especially one that ended on relatively good terms, and for relatively nuanced reasons (as opposed to finding your loved one in bed with someone else, or something concrete and final like that).

i say ‘strictly contemplative’, because i really, in no way, feel a ‘need’ for that next relationship. in fact, i’m arguably doing very little to actively seek out someone meaningful lately and i’m certainly fine with that, because i know that not only will it take someone very unique to catch my eye, but i will always tend to operate under the assumption that the world will bring that someone into my path on its own. that approach hasn’t failed me yet.

now in thinking about all this, and experiencing a more lucid state of alone-ness*, you inevitably start mulling over your assessments of what other people in your life are going through. who they’re involved with. the decisions they’re making. with some of my closest friends, there’s deeply intimate discussions about their relationships and what they’re experiencing…anecdotes, advice, fears, and the rest. it’s worth mentioning that most of my close friends are in an early stage of their respective relationships.

i don’t claim to know a thing, but these thoughts have popped into my head more than once as of late:

– happiness is the only end result i wish for when it comes to my friends and family. i don’t question the people in their lives unless i can find happiness in their eyes. that’s different than assuming that someone has someone in their life because they make them happy. i want to see it. feel it. be convinced. if the world can tell you’re happy, you probably are.

people are afraid to be alone. some more than others, some hide it well, but every one of us has a level of discomfort with taking on the world with no one to support us. for someone with a reliable group of close friends, this fear is usually less pronounced, but it’s there. it affects the way we deal with unhealthy relationships in a very meaningful way.

– the late 20’s is a turbulent time for a love life. it’s an inopportune time to find yourself alone, as more and more peers get married, and the dreaded 30 year birthday approaches. it’s also the time when most people dive into their professional lives, a naturally selfish endeavor in most cases. the push and pull of that dynamic can wreak havoc on a relationship…especially if two people are in different stages of these aspects of their lives. timing is everything…or a lot, anyway.

– relationships are like a game of sharks and minnows.** everyone starts out on one end of the pool, emotionally and practically unattached. getting to the other end of the pool, into a forthright, open, and stable relationship, is tough…and sharks may get you somewhere along the way. not every relationship’ll make it. but nothing’s harder than jumping back into the pool after spending time on the far end of the pool…falling back into that neverland between together and alone, treading water again and hoping to find your way back to the relationship you once had. it’s as if you jump back in, and the water gets deeper and the pool gets twice as long. no matter what, the reality of it is this; you have to get to one side or the other to survive. start swimming.

all of this might read like a warning label for your heart, but relationships are challenging. i’m watching them challenge the people in my life, and i feel the long journey my own heart has taken over the past year. i guess i have no problem with the optimism…the upsides and the fun stuff. that stuff comes easy, and it’s the reason we all play the game. after all, when it’s good, it’s usually great, right?what i seem to be considering a lot lately is the hitches…where things get tough and the difficulties i see close friends and family go through.

maybe you’re going through some of that yourself. i know i’ve certainly gone through all of this myself at one time or another.

*lucid state of alone-ness? what is this, psych 101?

**write that down.

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