Wednesday, May 04, 2011

There was never a right time to leave her.

I wanted to, for years. There’s the absurdity of it, it took years even though it was obvious to both of us, almost from the start, that things weren’t going to work out.

Our relationship then rapidly became one huge delaying tactic, one crisis after another in which there was the implicit plea; not just yet, let me get through this first, this job interview, this course, this new position in work, this next trip.

She kept me busy, bound up in these crises with twenty texts a day and emails, demands, questions, requests, anything to stop my mind wandering off onto the basic fact of our unsuitability to each other.

I could never devote enough time or thought to her concerns, her crises. There was a central, gaping hole at the core of it all, the fact that I didn’t love her and that neither of us were ready to accept that. She demanded proofs of love, tokens of love, not material things but focus, attention, involvement, concern, but in the absence of the spontaneous and natural pleasure we should have taken in each other, the freely-given sense of fullness, we had only The Demand and The Void.

Nothing could fill that void, no amount of running about, no quantity of time given, it was a black hole into which we were both slowly and inexorably disappearing, sometimes it felt as though the whole house were imploding.

There were other factors mixed up in all this of course, all that family stuff for her, my own cowardice and doubt, our lack of self esteem, scepticism about love, past disappointments that weighed on us.

It’s hard to feel that your essence is not in some way celebrated, that what you are is of delight to no-one. Then, no matter where you are, you’re not at home, no matter how well you do you lack comfort and security. Whereas to be loved and to be in love is to have a home anywhere, to enjoy a basic freedom, to have trivial daily fears and concerns seem surmountable, secondary.

Some people have never been in love, I suppose and have told themselves that it doesn’t exist. I know quite a few, some of them get married thinking that a reliable husband who’ll bring in money for the kids they want is the best you can ask for, or that nights out with the lads, maybe a few one night stands, visits to prostitutes on Stag weekends, or at the very least porn will get them through it. That’s how life is. These people tend to be in their early thirties.

Some people fall in love once, it goes wrong, they never recover from that and then they drift into realism and a refusal to risk anything. Give me someone who has been as disappointed as I have. But two disappointments don’t always cancel each other out, won’t add up to satisfaction.

Equally of course I know lots of couples who have been together for years and are happy, and whose love for each other I don’t doubt. But you need love, without love your relationship is just one more thing you have to manage, one more negotiation between your fear and need, one more drain on your spirit, one more cost/benefit analysis. It will weigh on you, you'll begin to steel yourself for your partner’s return home from work, find you're hyper-alert to every nuance and tic of their mood, feel your heart sink when the phone goes and it’s them.

Call me naïve, tell me: give it time, come back in five years and tell me the same. But you can trust me, Ive already been there numerous times and that’s not the point, even if it all goes wrong, I’ll still stand before the Lord of song, with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.

As my close friend Mr Cohen has so wisely and rightly put it.


W. Kasper said...

"It will weigh on you, you'll begin to steel yourself for your partner’s return home from work, find you're hyper-alert to every nuance and tic of their mood, feel your heart sink when the phone goes and it’s them."

- How hideously familiar. End up 'making up for it' with little more than simulated one-night stands with each other (because you were both interesting and mysterious once). Denying that spontaneity is long gone, and fun can be negotiated ("We need to talk about where this is heading." - "Er, we're already there.").

Then one of the greatest singles ever comes to mind:

Unfortunately as you get older, you're more likely to think of early Swans albums...

Dominic said...

Well, yes, that is how it goes. Focus, attention, involvement, concern are difficult to produce on demand; one of the joys of love is having someone draw them effortlessly out of one, lifting the burden of self-involvement...

agata pyzik said...

yes, love is lovely, when you love, things like concern, focus, attention, involvement just go naturally out of your noble inside and you just never feel any selfish, self deprecatory or unglamorous feelings. well, only it's just not true, at least not all the time. we know it's not so easy. you know it yrself Carl, and you were, as I recall, writing once about waiting all they for 'her' to say she loves you, and when she finally did, it wasnt so emaningful. because people are moody, neurotic creatures, sometimes erratic, sometimes generous, but still bit unpredictable. especially in those times and especially in certain circles. and the most genuine, authentic love can be sometimes put into hard times by our neuroticism. we want good, it turns ut bad..but we love each other, so it doesnt matter, does it? precisely, the fact we had previous dissappointments, we are wary, we are weary, we dont want to get hurt, and with two neurotic individuals it gets even more difficult..

im just saying that love isnt ever just lovely, or that you may love someone to pieces, want only the good of this person and still get hurt. I wish all the lovers, that only the purest, unmediated products were issuing from their deep, beautiful selves, and the bad demand just never actually happened to their hearts, but actually, why not to demand, I ask you. when you feel dissatisfied, a right to demand should be a sacred one and lets demand, and first of all, from ourselves. amen.

agata pyzik said...

btw, yr the most romantic of bloggers, Carl, in this sense, that love seems absolutely vital a topic to you, I know others writing about it, but usually in a distanced, sort of "scientific' way. you don't do this. even if yr unveiling the less glamorous sides of love, one believes you do it to protect, not "unveil" or "see the truth" of the examined subject behind some cliche the plain ppl see, even, when yr trying to discredit it etc. that, I think, is great.

carl said...

now there ar e surely consolations to philosophy an d maybe there's not much more to life than books but it is important to be able to talk a bout feelings an d emotions an d all that e specially when if you are a heavy bookreader you're probably on e of those @sensitive@ boys/girls who found the social world and the pressure of other people a bit hard to deal with...

so it's aiminga ta kind of fullness of expression innit,

i mena who w nats to ahve this conversatation...

" my mother just died"

" well Derrida says that grief is.."


"do you love me...?"

" Well what is love, in a sense when we ask this are we not in fact...?"

someone should write a book called "what we talk about when we can't talk about love"

but then that would just be another book, woudn't it.

carl said...

spectacular number of errors in that...sorry..