I wish I could say that dating someone I can’t talk about is frustrating, but it’s been so long since I’ve felt comfortable talking to real people about what I get up to, that it no longer crosses my mind or causes issues. My sex life is my business and no one else’s. Of course, this is the main reason my blog exists. You have to talk at something and overthinkers need to get things out or they might explode.
I have kept most, if not all, of my love life separate from my family for 9 years now. Although they knew I had a partner for the first three years of that, they only met him once, and he was never talked about, so I am used to the general disinterest in my single life and the disapproval many of those around me show towards the men I do date. It became easier to shut up, and get on with it. No one needs to know.
I have rarely received approval from family or close friends for my partner choices because they have always been spectacularly bad or I dated people who didn’t align to my family’s ideals. The only people who would like to see me in a relationship are the friends who haven’t witnessed my spectacular downfalls.
One of the added problems with dating someone when there is secrecy involved, is the time spent apart and being unable to acknowledge when you are finding it tough (again, a reason for this blog). Feigning continuous singledom does make things a little easier. At least, it never invites prying questions and I never have to own up to my behaviour.
I could build a fake story around Leigh, but at some point I would probably start to trip over my own lies. I would make a terrible cheater. I bumped into an old family friend the other day and she asked how my love life was. I skirted around the issue by saying that I couldn’t imagine giving up my independence for anyone now. It wasn’t a lie, but then I vaguely admitted to having ‘kind of met someone’ and changed the subject.
The truth is, no one actually cares that I am single. In that respect ignorance is bliss for everyone. My dating style would horrify everyone I know. It’s not up for discussion in the real world. I don’t have to justify myself. I have also never been under any pressure to be coupled up. I’ve never been pressured into thinking about marriage or kids. I’m thankful that I’ve never had stereotypes of a woman’s role pushed onto me. But until six years ago I never really enjoyed the luxury of being single. I was still hardwired for a relationship.
These last few years have taught me everything I wish I had known 20 years ago but wouldn’t have had the emotional maturity to apply to my life. I was 42 when I finally began to sort my issues out. FORTY TWO!!!!! Now that’s not unusual given how many 40-something’s are now starting again post divorce, so I don’t feel bad about it and I certainly feel better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at me now. I am probably ahead of the crowd generationally speaking
I mention all this primarily because Leigh and I haven’t seen each other for more than four weeks. We both had work and family commitments which thankfully coincided, but it has still been tough. We don’t like the time apart. It’s one of the reasons communication is central to our relationship. We were under no illusion there would be challenges, and we compare diaries for potential ‘black spots’ so we are prepared well in advance. But he worries I am sitting around waiting for him, and I have realised he is the only thing in my life that is interesting. That’s something I need to work on.
For me, the longer the time spent apart, the less I remember. I forget his voice, how he feels, how being with him settles me. I take that as a blessing since it makes things less frustrating. I don’t grow more anxious the more time we are apart. The longing diminishes. I don’t fear him drifting away from me, and if he did, I couldn’t stop him anyway and that shows I have settled into this situation now. Although I do get lonely, I think it is more for the intimacy that comes with being another human being, than it is for him. The reunion, when it finally came was heady. Like that first time he came to my flat, and we finally got to take each other’s clothes off and that keeps the spark alive. We will never have enough time together.
It does create another issue however, which reared its mischievous head during our extended time apart. And that will become evident in my next post….