I don't want to give up on people or myself: how do you deal with persistent impermanence?
November 15, 2010 3:17 PM Subscribe
After 15 years of disappointing dating, how do I hold on to my optimism and avoid apathy in my relations with others?
posted by everydayanewday to Human Relations (17 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I've recently come out of another in a series of semi-long term relationships (2.5-4 years over the past 11 years) and feel extremely unhopeful about myself and my future. Up until the last one, I always maintained hope that if I just kept looking, I'd meet the right person and it'd happen - I'd find someone to share things with, have children, etc. But now I just feel.... empty. As in, getting over the breakup with my last ex was so easy. I'm now very adept at separating my property from someone else's, sort out unpaid bills, cancelling upcoming events, knowing how long to expect to mourn and consider that unremarkable, see every desperate after-the-fact communication for what it is, I go through the motions and just feel numb. I was worried something's wrong with me, that I am emotionless, that I'm becoming some sort of sociopath. (In fairness it could also be because he was a lying, cheating lowlife who smashed up my flat).
I feel bottomlessly sad that I have nothing and no one permanent in my life. The relationships never work out. I live in a large, metropolitan city and my friends typically leave for good every 6 months or so. Now I have 2 friends left that I've known for more than a year and a half. I just don't have a long shared history with anyone, and I feel almost like I don't exist, or may as well not. Nothing and no one ever lasts. I keep in contact with people on facebook but it's not the same, and I'm almost at the point where I can't be bothered to do the dance of making new friends and going on dates. I'm exhausted. And I'm worried that I'll never have any meaningful friendships and no one will ever care for me. All of my friends (who now live far away) are married and have children and navigating the normal ups and downs of everyday life so many people talk about 'escaping' from. But to me it's this wonderful thing I yearn for but am beginning to realise I'll never have. This thought is so painful I'm having a hard time just getting myself washed and fed at the moment.
I'm struggling to know how to mediate these experiences in a constructive, positive way, in a way that won't turn me into a bitter hermit with no empathy or real emotional reactions to people anymore. What can I do? I suppose what I'm saying is, how do you not give up? I'd really appreciate any advice.