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Relationships and Stolen Rum

January 17, 2012

I’m full of shit.  I’ve been aware of this for some time.  Anyone who knows me in real life is undoubtedly not surprised.  I talk all about ‘others.’  Helping ‘others.’ Putting ‘others’ first.  Being with ‘others.’  When, truth is, I don’t really know how to be with one other person.

Also, rum … for some reason seems oddly stronger than whiskey at this moment, my preferred drink of choice.  Whiskey, that is, not rum, for what now seems like obvious reasons.


I am seven months into the first serious relationship of my life, odd as that seems for a thirty-one year old to admit.  When we’re together, I think this is right.  But when we’re apart, I think that is right, too.  I feel comfortable being a couple.  But I feel comfortable being by myself.  And the one makes me doubt the other.  It feels good to be together, and somehow easy, even when we disagree.  But when I’m alone, I wonder if I’ve been too critical, if I’m just playacting at a relationship for the sake of the experience, if this will last.  When we’re together again I feel reassured by how well we get on, how much we love each other, and I wonder why I ever worried.  Sometimes we talk about our relationship.  I try to check in to make sure I’m not missing something.  Sometimes we don’t.  But this cycle keeps repeating.

The hardest part is the future.

I’ve always been able to live my life the way I wanted to.  I have a plan for the future.  The plan changes, sometimes drastically, but I always have a plan.  What to study, where to work, where to live, how to live, and so on.  These plans have always been risky and I’ve accepted that.  After all, any failure was my failure.  Any pain was my pain.  I could rearrange my life freely without having to wonder how my new direction would impact anyone else.  That is no longer so.  I realize now the plans I’ve made are not only risky, but also require serious sacrifice and commitment.  And it’s no long just my sacrifice and commitment I’m asking for.  That’s scary.

Sometimes those plans are nice.  We both like the same kind of places, small cities in cool climate with real trees.  But I fear I’m going to take too long getting there.  We’re already thirty (ish) and I’m looking at the Navy and then a PhD who knows where.  That’s a lot for any one person, let alone two.  He has a definite wish to live close to his family.  I understand and respect this.  But what about my family?  What about my plans to retire to a little ranch in the Sandhills and write books?  And his plans to live next to the ocean and learn to surf?  Is there enough in me to compromise?  To figure it out?  To work at it?

And what about all those stupid romantic myths that say when you find the right one you’re just supposed to ‘know?’  I never ‘know’ anything.  I doubt everything.  That’s why I’m a freakin’ Buddhist and not a Bible-thumping Methodist.  It’s in my nature to question.  Does that mean I’m relationship handicapped?  Or is all that ‘soulmate’ crap really crap?  Or is everyone different?  I kinda figured relationships were work and if you decided you wanted to be in one you damn well worked at it, soulmate or not.  But sometimes I wonder if I’m too selfish for even that.  I want my Navy, my PhD, my ranch in the Sandhills.  But I want to give him what he wants, too.  I want the compromise, but I don’t know what that looks like.  Where’s my freakin’ plan?!

So that’s why I’m full of shit.  And rum.  Not even a lot of rum.  Like, less than two fingers.  And yes, I stole it from my housemate.  Sorry, Harry.  Why do you have that much alcohol in the freezer?  If I’m too selfish to handle really being there for even one other person, how an I supposed to help the other six point seven billion?

Anyway, I don’t know what to do about it.  Just keep going I suppose.  Keep my eyes, ears, mind, and heart open.  Are all relationships like this?

Disclaimer: Written on rum.  Posted while sober.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric Blaydes permalink
    January 18, 2012 10:33 pm

    “my life the way I wanted” – there’s your problem right there. Also “stupid romantic myths” there’s number two. “even one other person, how an I supposed to help the other six point seven billion?” We’re seven billion now, and we’re waiting for you to change your mind on a few things. Good luck ! ;)

  2. January 21, 2012 4:53 pm

    In my limited experience, the way to look at a relationship is to see it as Dharma practice. So there are going to be periods of ease, and times of doubt, but you press on. Use the relationship gauntlet to polish and refine your Practice. I’m probably in a bizarre minority but I consider my husband to be one of my Teachers. He absolutely pushes all my buttons, forces me to think behind my owns wants and needs, and is forever challenging me on my bad habits.

    p.s. it doesn’t get any easier with time.

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