My ex and I spend a lot of time talking about other people's relationships and relationships in general. I've noticed that we tend to skim over issues on our own relationship.
He was mentioning that a couple we know tries to create a good impression. In public, they fawn over each other, make eyes, and touch often. In private, there's nothing happening there. It's a sham.
"I'm glad that we're working on us," I smiled into the phone receiver. Lately, things have been quite nice between us.
He gave a manly grunted. "Mmph."
"What? Don't you think so?" I explained how we'd been happy, that we were getting along well and we seemed to be a stronger couple (if we can be a couple without living together).
"Ach, let things be." I could almost feel the brush off through the phone lines.
I know why he's upset. We both want the same thing: we want to be closer. He's said as much and so have I. We want to touch more; we want to be affectionate with each other. We want a deeper relationship.
And yet, we're so damned scared of each other, so damned worried that we'll get hurt that we tend to be overly cautious. I'm scared of giving too much and getting hurt when he goes cold. He's scared of letting himself feel emotion.
I have a feeling that we'll end up dancing around the root of the matter for years to come. Living together for so long, having a child and then separating permanently shook us both up badly. Creating the relationship we have now took some savvy navigation, too.
Throw it all to the wind and fall in love again? We'd probably both like to do that. But we're too scared because we've been there, done that and gotten badly hurt.
Find someone new and start over? Neither of us have interest in that. Sure, we want to know that at middle-age, we're desirable, but we don't want a new person in the mix.
Just keep on keeping on? That's about what it'll be, I think. We'll just keep on cautiously extending feelers to each other, testing the waters. We'll have our Kodak moments, and we'll have plenty of time where we're just friends hanging out.
Actually, that doesn't sound too bad at all.