“Moving Out, Moving On”
by Michael Sherrillo
I don’t associate my relationships with a loss of identity. I feel like I have some comfort in who I am, I feel confident in myself and my “identity”. Maybe it’s because I grew up as an only child, and never had tons of friends. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been very independent and been able to do my own thing on my own terms. I lived on my own for two years, and while not being financially independent, I worked and was busy and had a large amount of freedom and time for self discovery. What I have always loathed is not being able to share that life with others, individualism and independence are great, but I was always haunted by a terrible shadow of isolation. Since the GF is planning on moving out in the next few months though (in pursuit of her lost identity and responsibility) I am having a great sense of freedom. The loneliness and isolation had all but disappeared. However, in sharing my life so intimately, I did have to make a lot of compromises in my own personal desires. Not that I feel any bitterness about it, because being able to make someone you love happy often gives a greater sense of joy and personal satisfaction than simply making yourself happy. But since the news, I have been feeling the faint stirrings of whimsy for the things which I do sometimes miss. When I’m alone, I’m don’t have to wait for anybody to want to do what I want, and I don’t have the excuse of codependency, so I’m forced to hold only myself responsible.
Maybe it’s due to my views of relationships, where you enter into an emotional contract as partners to share your lives, and while you expect to make some compromises, you also expect them to make some as well. Example, if you want to exercise, you don’t expect them to go with you every time, this might threaten your feelings of being an individual, but you would like them to want to share something together that makes you happy and thereby grow as a couple, i.e. she goes jogging with you a few times a week, you go to some concerts you don’t want to for her, and so you both grow, as a person experiencing new things, and as a relationship by sharing things with someone else.
But that is a balance I haven’t felt for some time. Actually, I don’t really know if I ever have, aside from deciding which TV stations to watch (I get a little discovery channel, she gets a little Springer and cheaters, and we both are happy and a little more worldly for it). So I’m looking forward to my “new life”, I have enough financial security with my various jobs and have learned enough budgeting responsibility to know exactly the life I want and enjoy. Surfing a few times a week, going to the movies and theatre hopping for a whole day, singing karaoke at the local bar, going hiking, and sitting around debating and drinking with my friends…
I’ve learned what it takes to make me happy. And I look forward to being able to think about just me for a change. Especially since I feel like I’ve compromised and worked and worried and strived for that balance and cooperation in this relationship, and since she isn’t happy, it feels sort of wasted, since that was the whole goal, for us to share ourselves, our lives, to compromise, and through that, grow as individuals, and grow together. But I guess that’s something I’ve known about this for a long time.
Happiness and freedom has its price: responsibility. I hope she figures herself out and learns from all this without us growing to far apart or something happening with her where she in financially screwed and on her own; responsibility is scary and can be devastating. And then maybe someday, a little older and wiser and more sure of herself, we can share our lives again, and start growing together instead of growing apart.