last weekend i took pictures of the l.a. marathon--it was rainy, but of course that didn't stop anyone...
so in my last post i began to talk about how my blog friend jim wrote to me that it might be easier to either stay in los angeles, or leave it, if i had a partner to share the ups and downs of decision making with, among other things. this is not the first time it has been suggested to me that life might be easier if had someone to "share" it with. and believe me, i know that these comments come from a place of caring, and they have caused me to give a lot of thought to the reason that i seem to like being alone.
every so often, i see couples as part of my internship. as you can imagine, by the time they come into the counseling center for therapy, the "sheen" has usually worn off of their relationship, in a manner of speaking. in other words, i get to see what happens to couples who turn on each other, or who are about to. much like what happened in the excellent film from this year, "blue valentine", with ryan gosling and michelle williams. and as you can further imagine, the exercise of seeing love tarnish in front of me has a certain, uh, effect on me from time to time.
for a while, in fact, i decided that i did not want to see any couples, because i did not want to be negatively affected by what they were going through. (for some reason, i am not similarly vulnerable to what my individual clients are sharing with me.) mind you, it was also during a time when i was having some "difficulty" negotiating my own dating experiences. but i think i see things somewhat differently now--thanks to some time passing and the information i have gleaned from a few well written books on the topic of relationship. (these are not of the "self-help" variety, which i generally scorn; rather they are based on psychological theory and brain research--the real nuts and bolts, instead of "feel good" machinations by authors trying to sell quick fix books.) the nutshell: relationship is about "attachment", and when things go wrong in a bad way, it is often because the attachment bond is ruptured, or at the very least badly damaged, and the potential for repair depends on the state of trust, safety, and response-ability already existing between the two partners. super distilled nutshell: if you don't build a strong base, the slightest wind will blow your house down.
when i read jim's posts, i get the strong sense that his relationship with his husband is built on a very strong base--there is an ease in the descriptions that actually make me smile when i think about how they must support, comfort, and provide companionship for each other. i don't think i am making this up--jim has a way of talking about his husband ron that clearly demonstrates respect, care, and enjoyment. i even feel that when he talks about his dog sophie! i suspect that this is because jim is a respectful, caring and nice man, and i hope to meet him someday. but beyond that, i marvel at the opportunity to read about a relationship that appears to work, easily. (granted, they probably have their "stuff", but who doesn't? it is not the stuff that knocks us down, but how we deal with it.)
anyway, before i go on about jim to the point where he gets concerned and stops following my blog, i will explain that the reason i use his relationship as an example is to let you know that for me, when it comes to being with a partner, i have never had what i suspect jim has. don't cry for me, blogentina, because i have had some decent relationships, but i have never felt safe in any of them. never. so...when it comes to feeling safe in the world, i have found that i have gotten really good at doing that for myself.therefore, in a strange way, the idea of a relationship, to me, is not all that comforting.
sometimes i wish it were.
two runners, apparently supporting each other
but we all have to play with the hand we are dealt, to a greater or lesser degree. i have come a far distance from where i was, relationally, five, ten, twenty years ago, and i will travel further still. but right now, where i am right now, is still pretty close to where i have been all my life, which is being able to take really good care of myself and my needs.
so as much as i value jim's comments, i also recognize that they are coming from his point of view, and that this does not exactly match mine. (but keep 'em coming, jim!) for me, decisions are not more easily made with someone--i can do that myself. it's not so bad, really. and i am open to having that change a bit.
a slick hollywood walk of fame on marathon sunday
and until that changes, i suspect that i will continue to attract, and be attracted to, similarly self-caring individuals who, on one hand, connect very easily and willingly, and on the other, only go so far with that. at least that is how it goes for me here in los angeles.
a rather lonely, but beautiful walk