Love makes me stupid. I have made a handful of life-altering decisions while in that initial giddy state of passion. Most of these were situations I came to regret. A few ended badly because I did not take time to consider the practicalities. This is an enormous, rather forceful instinct, a human failing of biology. Like other species, we have imperatives to attract and be attracted, to reproduce or have fun trying.
There were a few who got away and a couple with whom it ended gracefully. One I just ran from, only to rekindle later, then quickly recall why it didn’t make sense the first time. There is the one who was the man of my dreams who eventually dumped me in a hideous way. I wandered in a very dark and dangerous place for a time after coming unglued in the process. Finally there was the disaster of marriage between two people who were ill-suited, tried to pretend it was normal to be toxic, and lived with it for too many years.
The husband was my age, and far too young emotionally. The more successful partnerships were with men some years older.
But I am no longer a young woman. I am still vibrant and attractive, and capable of companionable behavior. But the reality is I am midlife, and by choice alone. Lately I have been considering if this isn’t the best way to live out my maturity. I have responsibilities. I have certain duties and projects to occupy me. At the end of the day, I no longer wait anxiously for the husband to come home, obligated to listen to his drivel and neuroses. He of all men I’ve been with had the most distinctive defining character of a high maintenance housemate. I feel relief.
I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I don’t want to live with a man who keeps tabs of my failings and throws them at me when he is upset with himself.
There are other considerations. Can I afford to live alone? Will I end up homeless and destitute. Not having supported myself (although contributing from odd jobs and volunteer work) in over twenty years, will I be able to carve enough of a living to make it?
When I become conscious in the mornings, my first thoughts are always a flood of anxiety and despair over these frights. It is the smell of fresh coffee, the machine responding to my programming, that breaks through the haze.
Do I believe in fate or chance or serendipity? Fairy tales? Not any more. For this reason, I am wary. Men always show up when you are not looking for a relationship.
I truly hope I have gotten over being stupid.