Well, I've done it. I have now had my first post-marriage relationship end. For 7 months I have been involved with someone I have sometimes referred to as the "anti-Steve". It was a relationship both exciting from the beginning as well as doomed from the beginning. I am told that statistically, the vast majority of relationships which are started right after the end of a marriage ultimately fail, and I am sure at some point I'll find that comforting. Not today, though. I'm too raw. I've always liked bucking the statistics, even though I never saw myself in a LTR with this man.
Do I regret the relationship? Not really, in spite of the intense pain I'm feeling today. I have learned so much - about myself, about interactions, about what I do and do not want. I met a powerful, engaging, charismatic, successful man - and found that I felt like his equal, not his subordinate. I met someone who called me on some of my bullshit, and found that I dished out more of it than I had realized. I met someone who would not give himself up to me, and learned that throwing myself at an un-doable job is a lifelong pattern I want no more part of. I re-learned I was sexy and desirable. I had fun, something which had not been part of my romantic life for a long time. I went to more restaurants, had more trysts and more adventure and more drama in these 7 months than in the prior 10 years - really! But that was not enough to sustain it, and last night I was dumped. This man who had refused to be in an exclusive relationship has decided to change his ways - but not with me!
I found this surprisingly similar to the one time I was fired from a job - a job and company I knew I needed to leave for a long time but just couldn't do on my own. In this case, I had broken up with this man twice already, but twice gone back, hoping that the reality might change, missing the good parts of the relationship and being willing to turn my back on the bad parts, trying to stuff them under the rug.
I'll miss him - his attention and affection, his advice and his knowledge, the shared people and experiences, and oh, those great wines and times in bed. But I won't miss many of his ways or his enormous deficiencies, and I know he's not the only one out there for me to meet. I wish him well in his trying to find love and happiness, but I really don't want to know what he's up to. Our relationship was way too intense to morph into friendship. To quote John Mayer, "friends, lovers or nothing". I choose nothing.
People have told me for months that I deserve better. As far as I'm concerned, that's not the salient point right now. This man was and is good in so many ways - but not for me. I know he thinks the same about me. I think that part of our issue was that in so many ways we appeared to be "just right" for each other. I was a willing participant/accomplice in this lopsided relationship and hope I'll listen to myself better next time.