February 14, 2012

The Not-So-Confirmed Bachelor

My brother's last guest post was well-received and, as he's still on a writing kick, I wanted to share another offering from him just in time for Valentine's Day/Single's Awareness Day (whichever works for you). I kind of like this turning-the-writing-over-to-someone-else-and-just-editing-their-work thing! You know, for now.

So, I have something to get off my proverbial chest...

There are some people out there who say as I approach age 40 and find myself never being married, that one of the following is true: A) I probably never will marry, B)I am in the closet, or C) I am afraid to commit to a long-term relationship. Naturally, no one besides me knows the full story, even those I date or have been close to for years. Hell, I don’t know that “A” isn’t true, but deep down I know (I hope!), it is not assured at this point. This is my retort to the skeptics and an affirmation to myself.

I will dismiss “B” and “C” right off since they are very easily explained away and are not really worth much attention.

If someone ever says to my face that they suspect I might be gay, I know exactly what my reaction would be without even having to think about it. “Have you ever met me?” would fly off my lips faster than a particle smashing in CERN’s collider. This is not a denial or any commentary on that lifestyle, it’s just who I am. I love women and have only ever found myself attracted to them. There is little that I actually do or say on a regular basis to make any rational person think I come across as a charade or that I am anything other than a straight up hetero (no pun intended...ok, maybe a little...) If you ever spend time with me you will find I genuinely love the female form and only ever see myself being with a (naturally) female partner. Anyone who seriously postulates such a theory would only make me question their orientation. Deflection isn’t just for shields. I’m just sayin’...

Next then...I’ve often heard, mostly from one person who was emotionally invested in the discussion, that I am afraid to commit. In only one small respect was she right. I am afraid to commit...to the wrong person. Sadly, this particular woman was the wrong person for me. I took a long time to discover I didn’t want to marry her, so I could be sure of that decision. I do not want to marry more than once and spending my life with someone I know is wrong, for any reason, is just not how I choose to spend the rest of my days. In traditional terms though, I am not afraid of commitment. Quite the contrary as I spent nearly ten years with this woman. I was always faithful to her and invested all of myself in our relationship. For a lot of that time I had my doubts and I spent heaps of time trying to figure out how to make it work. A significant part of that was dedicated to deducing what was wrong with me that prevented me from walking down the rose petal-lined aisle. I thought maybe she was right for part of the time, but even though I knew I always wanted to be married, ultimately it just was not to her. Suggesting, then, that what I sacrificed and put into the relationship was anything short of commitment is highly insulting and plain wrong.

Ok then on to “A.” This is the most agonizing and depressing possibility for me, honestly. I am also convinced with every passing day that it may very well come true.

One thing I can admit to myself now is that I don’t like how I am outside of a relationship. I will do just about anything to be in one, except settle. I am not entirely sure why I do, but I do believe in getting myself a traditional marriage. Most do not appear to work these days, granted, but it is thing I aspire to someday. It is rather shocking how much I am surrounded by friends in divorce. Some of them are marriages that I never imagined would dissolve but they have, sadly. It is scary, intimidating, and demoralizing when I think of them. I’m pretty sure my parents’ marriage would have ended in divorce if my father had not died shortly after my mother separated from him.

Hollyweird marriages or ones of convenience I can accept failing. However, people I knew for years and never saw a hint of trouble telling me they are getting divorced really rattles me. So then, it would be so easy for me to look at those getting divorced and say, “Whoa, maybe I don’t need to get married.” I would be right; I do not need to be. The difference here is I want to be married. What is strange is even with my dogma, I couldn’t evoke a cogent argument in support of marriage when my best friend challenged me to convince him why he should ever get married.

Notwithstanding all the negative evidence, one fact remains that I don’t question (which for me is quite an achievement): I plan to get married someday. So doubters hit the road. The willingness, the means, and the desire are there. I will admit that there is one thing consciously holding me back; I will not settle for anything but the right woman. I am not a player, completely dysfunctional, or romantically challenged. I am simply highly selective and perhaps too romantic. I hold out hope for “the one.”

I could so easily settle for the next random girl that agrees to a date or conceivably even acquire a foreign bride. I do often feel despondent enough to cave to such actions. In the end though, my principles and better instincts prevail to keep me looking for “the one.” However, it is important to note that I am not just sitting around waiting and hoping for my princess to fall in my lap (literally or figuratively).

Recently, I took it upon myself to look at life differently and work on growing myself after I came to a realization that there were things that I could improve upon in my interpersonal relations. Some extraordinary interactions with friends opened my eyes to the fact that perhaps I had some things to learn before getting myself in a relationship again. Just finding Ms. Right was not the only solution. Mr. Me needed to get in shape and not just with his P90X DVD.

To that end, I am launching to Sean 2.0. Here’s hoping dreams really do come true!