It’s odd how few people feel comfortable asking the things they really want to ask. It takes a brave person to do so. I mean, how often have you been in conversation with someone and in the back of your mind you have a question you would so love to ask, but you know it would likely be overstepping the bounds of good taste, privacy, or appropriateness, and so the question goes unspoken.
Interestingly, last week I had a conversation with a woman who dropped the pretence and asked me some of those questions. It caught me off guard, but nevertheless, I answered her as best I could. By way of background, she is married, does have children, and whether her marriage is ideal or not, I don’t know – I don’t know her well enough. Maybe that’s why she could ask me those questions.
She asked, “What do you miss the most?” I answered, “A number of things, intimacy will always be high on the list, but there are so many other things. Having a warm body to snuggle into when I am cold, exchanging a knowing glance about someone or something absurd, the warmth and banter of debate and discussion, silent companionship, having a reason to rush home … so many things.”
She asked, “What do you find the hardest.” I answered, “Simply adjusting. Sounds like a cop out but it’s not. The adjusting never seems to stop. I had to adjust to living alone, to living on less, to looking after everything – and I still am. It all takes effort, and it gets tiring having to work at things especially when you don’t have the energy or inclination to do it. The hardest thing for me has been adjusting: physically, mentally, emotionally.”
She asked, “Don’t you find it less stressful only having to worry about yourself?” I answered, “It’s not that simple. I still worry about my family and friends. I especially worry about my family; because I have had such an intense loss, it feels like at any time someone else could be wrenched from my life. That sense of grief is indescribable, and as close to unbearable as anything I’ve ever faced. So I do still worry. Is it less stressful being on my own? Sure, in some ways. I don’t have to factor in another person’s views, needs, feelings, calendar. It’s just about me, so that’s easier for sure, but I don’t consider this a glamorous or desirable state, because I didn’t ever want to be here.”
She asked, “Would you ever join a dating site?” I answered, “If you are asking – have I joined one, then the answer is no. And, for the future, I can’t see me joining one. Right now I’m not looking for a relationship, and I have plenty to keep me busy. I’ve heard so many stories, and from people I know, about the predators on those sites, chatting you up and then asking for cash. It just isn’t worth it for me. I know that there are some good, strong relationships that can come out of them and so they serve a purpose for some, but just not for me.”
She asked a few more questions but the conversation ended pretty soon after with me gently admonishing her. “The grass isn’t always greener – just like the saying goes. I bet your life is a little chaotic right now and by comparison mine looks pretty good. But trust me, I’d give so very, very much to have that chaos back. Don’t wish your time and love away.”
And I didn’t cry once through the whole conversation.