I am lonely.  I’ve been lonely for a very long time.  The one desire of my heart, the desire that has refused to die, refused to lessen, refused to be numbed, has been the desire to be known, loved, and wanted by another.  To be able to share my heart and soul with someone else.  Someone who wants to share their heart and soul with me.  Someone who wants me.  Who thinks I’m interesting and worth knowing.  Who wants a deep connection…with me.

While I was married, I was still alone.  But I couldn’t look outside the relationship because I didn’t want to betray my husband, even though he betrayed me in many ways and on many levels.  I wanted to honor the commitment I made to him, even if it killed me.  It very nearly did.

Especially when, after 22 years of hanging on, he cut the rope and dumped me.

I’ve been alone ever since.  Painfully alone.  With little hope of that ever changing.

Recently, at a temp job I’ve been working, a fairly nice looking man I work with who is in my age bracket started flirting with me.  Obviously flirting.  Signaling interest.  Nothing crass, but he has let me know he thinks I’m attractive and he would like to get to know me better.  It’s been kind of scary and fun at the same time.  I haven’t dated since I was in my 20’s, so the reason it’s scary is fairly obvious.  The flirting leads to the possibility of going out for coffee and having some conversations.  Scary makes sense.  But it has given me a little droplet of hope as well.  Hope that perhaps, there just might be a guy out there somewhere who would find me to be worth knowing.  Hope that I might not always be alone.

Then he dropped the “M” bomb.  You know…as in, married.

I guess he could have led me on longer and made it harder to bring the relationship to a halt.  I’m glad he didn’t drag me further down that road.  He confessed in an e-mail, telling me about his awful marriage, the deadness of it, how he’s only staying for his daughter, how they haven’t had sex in 9 years.  How it’s just a piece of paper and shouldn’t matter as far as us having a relationship. Blah, blah, blah.  God, I wish I could say I haven’t heard this story before, but I have and it makes me want to puke.

My ex probably told the woman he “fell in love with” a similar story.  About how he didn’t love me and how dead the relationship was, how I was such a disappointment, how he was only staying because we were Christians and made a commitment before God, how there was no connection. 

I had a friend who also told me the same sordid story about his marriage not too long before he told me he was in love with me and felt we were destined to be together.  I knew he was married.  We were friends long before that and I was at his wedding.  But I never expected the direction he was going to take our friendship, though I cared for him greatly.  I had to totally disengage to maintain my integrity and it was painful.  But I also knew, had I allowed the relationship to continue, it wouldn’t be long before he was disillusioned with me as well.  I wasn’t the perfect person he erroneously believed me to be.  At that point, I represented a fantasy.  And that fantasy wouldn’t last.

Why do you suppose “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” comes to mind?

It’s harder to work at a relationship and form it into something worthwhile than it is to “fall out of love” with your current partner.  It’s easier still to “fall in love” with a new (and therefore, exciting) person who is, as of yet, unexplored.  They seem so much more interesting because we don’t know them…yet.  They’re on their best behavior and so are we. Their defects aren’t so glaring.  That comes later.  It takes a great deal of work to keep a marriage alive and vibrant once the shine wears off.  There are always plenty of offers to entice a man (or woman) away when they decide their current spouse is too flawed and dull.  It’s easy to justify looking in other places.  The grass is always greener.  The unexplored is more titillating.

Dammit.  I refuse to be greener grass.

Because I know I won’t be “greener” for long.

They’ll get to know me better.  All the newness will wear away with time.  They will have heard my stories; the ones I tell the public and maybe a few I haven’t told anyone except God and a therapist.  They will have discovered my failings and imperfections.  They will know what movies are going to inspire me and which ones are going to cause me to roll my eyes and gag.  They will truly understand that I’m a horrible cook.  They will begin to fully realize my dogs are my kids and it just might drive them a little nuts.  They will have been told generalities about the abuse I suffered as a child and what it did to me.  In general ways.  Suddenly, I won’t be quite so exciting.  I won’t be shiny for very long.  I tarnish fast.

Most of us do.  Tarnish fast.  For various reasons.

If they are willing to quit without fighting for their current marriage, they will certainly be more than happy to jump ship once the realize I’m not a gorgeous, sexy, ocean-going yacht, but am instead a broken down derelict flat-bottomed boat that is taking on water.

So, the guy I thought I might meet for coffee, conversation, and some companionship is married.  Trawling the waters.  But married.  It’s so disappointing.  Got my hopes up a bit and that hurts.  But I’m not interested.  He can trawl all he wants.  This is one old, flawed fish that isn’t going to take the bait.  Even if it means I’ll always and forever be alone.

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