I just shouldn't date. I'm not good at it.
Something happened where it became obvious that I'm not healed completely from the breakup with Barb. I suppose it's to be expected; I was with her for a long time. But you see, there was some damage done within that relationship.
There was damage done when I was married.
There was damage done when I was growing up.
I think we all are to some extent. Hey, who hasn't had their psyche kicked around a few times, right? Who hasn't lived through some form of abuse at the hands of a loved one or two or ten? Come on, suck it up, move along, there's nothing to see here.
Except sometimes it's not that easy.
Sometimes when you've had years of people telling you that you're not good enough, it seeps in. Sometimes when you grew up with "good potential" and the bar got raised too often and too high, you ceased to have goals anymore because you could never reach them. No matter how good you do, it's never good enough.
There comes a point at which the blame has to stop. You have to be responsible for your own well-being. I thought I had reached that point, but evidently I haven't yet.
I'm never going to be solid and soft-spoken. I'm never gonna be the guy in the tweed coat who sits in the easy chair with the morning coffee reading the newspaper. My life is chaos and noise, latex and plaster and concrete and steel, corpses and spiderwebs and body parts. It's lights and sound and fury, it's dirt under my fingernails and mysterious stuff on my elbows and T-shirts with stains that will never come out. It's blood and sweat and tears.
It's not happiness and contentment.
In a rather serendipitous move, a friend of mine wrote this in her journal:
Everyone has to learn to be comfortable showing both their weaknesses &
their strengths, to one another. When we learn to do that, I believe we have a
better chance at actually attaining a truer balance in our relationships. We
have to come to the point where we (& our partners) are willing to be
vulnerable, together. That is where true intimacy begins.
True intimacy. This is a thing which I find ultimately elusive in the context of a relationship. It's the key thing that led me to the understanding that I wasn't cut out for poly. It's the thing that I crave the most, the uncontrollable urge to belong, to share, to betwixt with. Maybe I want it so badly that I see it when it really isn't there.
And that's an ugly place. Seeing your soul in a funhouse mirror isn't the kind of thing that anybody should have to go through.
I have emotional baggage. I've tried tossing some of it out along the way, and I've been successful at some of it. Some of it stays like some sort of upholstered monkey that's been grafted onto my back. It's going to take time for it to go away. Time, and patience.
Some of it's not going to get cut loose until Barb is finally gone. Some of it is attached to the Big Broken Box™ and won't be cut loose until the house is either fixed or I get away from it. And some of it is going to stay because it's ingrained so deeply that it's a part of who I am.
It's not really fair to bring that baggage into a new relationship. But it's also unrealistic to think that I can just make it all go away by just wishing it so. Some of it stays hidden, waiting to leap out unexpectedly at the worst possible times.
So, counseling is probably a good idea. But trying to find a counselor that I can trust is a horrible experience, and one which I dread. It's also something that will be pretty long-term.
In the meantime, I can't in good conscience handle "romance". And that bites the huge goat testicle.