Who are we that we no longer yearn for deeper connections? Or so that’s what the mainstream media, and maybe even dating app experiences might have you believe–that we’re so far removed from our true emotions that we can no longer build meaningful relationships. That being with one person for longer than a few months (mere moments, if you ask me) is frightening! It’s almost as if our devices have taken hold of our attention spans and replaced what makes us most human; always looking for distractions.
Or maybe I’m projecting.
I have to admit, it had taken me some time to really get to the root of why I had a hard time with past relationships. I have played the fool, I’ve been the one to play others, I’ve had my heart broken many times, and have broken some myself. For all of these missteps I had taken in my path, I never thought I’d get to a point in my life where I felt connected to someone who could so easily disconnect themselves from me. I may sound strange for this, but I could feel the struggle, like a tugging of a string or a plucking, threatening to undo the binding between us. And it’s not that they did it, but that it took such a short time to get there. When it was happening, I tried to deny it. I tried to fight it away, knowing that it wouldn’t be much help. It seemed I was the only one between us living in our feelings, willing to let the other in.
Dating was never my thing, I think a lot of people would agree with this sentiment as well. The dating landscape for women is sad, for women nearing their mid-30s it gets sadder, and for women nearing their mid-30s with a child/children… well… that’s a scary place! I’m no different. Which is why I swore off dating apps or trying to meet anyone. I had deleted my app but met someone as soon as I was trashing it and deleting it from my phone. What followed was, in my mind and heart, beautiful! It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about it. It sounds whimsical but it was like meeting someone familiar, like someone who was inside of me and could bring out my true self. It was so easy together. Sharing stories, laughs, terrible jokes, and traumas. Effortless connection. It was what I thought I’d never find.
A few months passed, and began that feeling of anxiety that chases away everything good. But for me, it was more my intuition than relationship-ending anxious feelings.
My body told me what was going on before I knew it, before he would even admit to what was going on. When I asked him about the distance, he admitted that he was having a hard time with stressors and needed space. I understood. But it happened again soon after, the space. Although there was still communication, the “space” between us began to feel like two islands across an ocean, and the ocean between was widening. I confronted him about this, and by confront I mean reasonably shared that I could feel what was happening even if he didn’t want to say anything.
I had learned that to be silent when something was going on would mean that I’d never hear the answer to an unasked question. I decided to ask. I received an answer. It wasn’t one that I wanted, but it was at least honest. It didn’t save my heart or my feelings from hurting, but I felt better for knowing. The not knowing or pretending that it wasn’t happening was killing me. I know I’m not the only woman or man to experience this; the other person’s fear or inability to be vulnerable. That’s what he told me. I took note of his ability to disconnect when things got too deep, and it really was like taking a blow to the chest.
Even with that, it brought me to understand that I am not afraid of that, not anymore. I’m not afraid to feel something for someone and really LIVE in it. To breathe them in and have them breathe me in. To connect on a level that’s unreachable by many, and wasn’t meant to be reached unless that person was willing to dig and find that level with you. Together. Despite what the media and dating horror stories will tell us, I know a deeper love is out there, even if it’s just the love for yourself.