Confessions from behind the barbed wire.

I have been dating for over two years now,  I have it down to somewhat of a science.

  I am in or I am out.

  I see potential or I don’t.

  I am quick to make up my mind about if I feel this person is worth investing more time into or not.

  Recently someone asked me this question

Why can ‘t it just be?  Why can’t you just have a casual relationship, go to dinner, to a movie, laugh, you are completely independent and don’t need a man.  Are you really looking for your soul mate right now?

My first reaction is to twist away from the question and focus on the statement. “ You are completely independent, you don’t need a man.”   I  sit up straight in my work chair and ruffle my feathers  ” Damn right I don’t need a man!”

Then I slouch a bit, my face starts to feel flush and I think , ” I want a man in my life. ”

Why does it feel wrong to want someone in my life?

Growing up I remember feeling shamed if I needed a man, or wanted a man in my life.    It wasn’t something I was taught , it was something I just indistinctly knew: like if you touch a hot oven you will get burned.  Pet a stray dog on the street , you might get bit.  Stick your hand in a lions cage, you most likely will lose your damn hand.

My Mother never re-married after her and my father divorced , I know she had boyfriends, but my brother and I were rarely introduced to any of them ,I know it was meant to protect us and shelter us in case things didn’t work out, which was great foresight on my Mother’s part as obviously none of them ever did.  However; in hind-sight it would have been nice to see some interaction with the male species in relationship with my Mother, some sort of compass on which to base my life other than going it alone.

I was raised in the absence of men, men were always something on the outskirts of our existence.  Even when I spent  summers at my Dads house, it was always my Step-mother that held  everything together, took care of everything.     My Father was a workaholic,  out the door before we woke up in the morning and only home a handful of times before we went to bed. , he was unattainable.

With my Mother if something needed to get done she did it, if we were short on money, she got another job.   There was never a man to fall back on, to rely on.   I never saw a man make my Mother feel safe, or loved or respected or wanted, or protected.    The only time I knew there had been a man in her life was the aftermath, a broken heart, depression, withdrawal.

There was always  an under lying grief in our lives when it came to men.

I have fought that inner struggle my entire life:  Wanting to be vulnerable, wanting to trust and being deathly afraid of letting my guard down.  It is a battle that twists you in to knots .   Only since my last divorce have I come to the realization that I can’t be both.  I can’t be fiercely independent and in a relationship, it doesn’t work that way.   Being vulnerable is the only way to truly love and trust.   This guard you have put up doesn’t protect you from harm or hurt, your chances are the same that you will get your heart ripped out and stomped on if you keep the armor on or if you leave it at the door…so the intelligent thing to do would be to go in naked and dress yourself along with the way if need be.

I have nothing to prove anymore, I have proven it at the cost of every relationship I have ever been in.

Independence is a wonderful thing, it can also be a barbed wire fence you put up around your life – keeping yourself locked behind and others securely out.

 This time I focus on the Question at hand:  Are you really looking for your soul mate right now?

And I confess…

The truth is I am already in a casual relationship with someone I have spent the last couple of seasons with.

In the summer we spend time at the pool, on Sunday’s we get up early and with all the windows down in the car we turn the music up loud and head to the farmers market.  We take long drives and explore state parks. We spend the weekends with our friends and family staying up late laughing, talking, drinking wine and martini’s.

In the Fall we throw on our sweatshirts and sweatpants and enjoy everything pumpkin and apple together, we take long road trips on beautiful roads and bask in the last of the warmth  of the sun.  We watch the tree’s turn shades of gold , red , orange and yellow.

In the Winter we curl up on the couch and catch up on everything we missed on Netflix, we try new recipe’s in the crock pot, we find new books to read.      We cross the river bridge over to Wisconsin and take long walks at night when the snow crackles beneath our feet and the lights from the houses warm our cold hearts.

In the Spring we have picnic’s in the park, we plant flowers and herbs in pots on our deck , we take long walks in the morning and watch the world come back to life.

I am comfortable in this casual relationship and don’t want to add another one to the mix for fear that it would drain the energy I spend on the one I am enjoying now.   Plus, a single girl still has her reputation to think about and giving myself away to just anyone is not something I am interested in.

So yes, I am holding out for my soul mate  and will settle for nothing less. Until or if that person ever presents themselves to me I will stay in my current casual one with myself.

A woman standing in wheat field with arms outstretched. Horizontally framed shot.

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8 thoughts on “Confessions from behind the barbed wire.

  1. Such a beautifully expressed and written post, Kristin. So many of the points you made struck a chord with me. I was married 15 years trying to hold on to a bad relationship before I ended up as a single dad. But even then, I knew 1) I wanted a soulmate — someone who I could share an unconditional love with, for myself and especially for my kids; I wanted them to see what respectful, appreciative and affectionate love was between two people. And 2), I knew it had to start without walls to protect myself with if I wanted it to be completely real and honest. You’re right to believe in the notion of a soulmate, just as you’re right in investing yourself in one relationship at a time. I knew I couldn’t be the an “all-you-can-eat-buffet” type of dater (no innuendo intended, I swear!), but that I was a five-course-meal with one person type of guy. I’ve been extremely happily married for seven years now, and I know it’s because I followed my instincts in regard to my heart and my children.

    Without question, your instincts are good one and will lead to true, lasting happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Ned, coming from you that means so much to me. I keep saying if I am lucky enough to find love again, the person I find will get the best of my love. I cracked up at the all you can eat buffet. Thank you for sharing your happily ever after story with me, it gives me hope. I like hope…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And everyone wondered why Kristin always drove the convertible when she went on dates. If only they knew about the Eject button under the dash, used to bring bad dates to a quick end. Which explains the rumors about men flying through the sky on moonless nights…….
    I think it makes sense to enjoy your own company while you keep your eyes open. No need to put your life on hold.

    Liked by 1 person

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