Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Minor Breakthrough

I had an interesting personal revelation last night.

For the past several months, I've been deeply afraid that I was developing inappropriate feelings for a married friend. The idea perplexed me, because I actually don't feel drawn to him as anything but a friend; anything non-platonic would, quite frankly, seem incestuous even if it wouldn't be completely against my sense of ethics, and it most definitely is against it—my parents' marriage fell apart rather spectacularly when I was a teenager, but that does not by any means diminish the respect I have for people who've been able to stay together for as long as he and his wife (who I've also lately come to think of as a friend, albeit a slightly more distant one) have. If anything, it increases that respect. Even so, every once in awhile I'd catch myself feeling a bit of some depressing emotion that seemed to be triggered by him.

And then, finally, last night I realized that the emotion actually was a kind of despair, but it's not because of any unseemly form of affection I may have developed for him. I haven't. It's because I've gradually been coming to terms with the fact that I'll never have anything even remotely like that kind of relationship myself; my love life has been very awful in general, and it's been practically nonexistent for the past two and a half years, largely thanks to a particularly awful heartbreak that I'm still not quite over yet, despite the fact that it happened in late 2007.

I know that a relationship like theirs takes a lot of work and a lot of trust, and I realize that even among people who have married, what they have is rare. I've even started to look forward to a quiet existence filled with music, cats, writing, faith, and a job that I hope will allow me the time to keep doing the things that have kept me from becoming suicidal in the past few years. If anyone is less suitable for marriage than me, I haven't met them; I'm a slightly socially-inept person who's fat and whose face is rather unremarkable, and who has suffered from depression for a very long time. I've got a nasty temper when it's riled and I find it very difficult to trust most people unconditionally (largely, I admit, because my trust has been betrayed so many times that I just can't give it to most people anymore). I need more time to myself than most people seem to and I don't want kids—I like them very much, which is why I wouldn't want to subject them to me as a mother. Besides which, although I haven't shown any sign of any of them yet, there are some nasty genetic surprises lurking on both sides of my family, ranging in severity from red-green colour-blindness to serious congenital heart defects. I may be a carrier for a few, and it would be much better if I didn't pass them on.

Still, I look at my friends and see how good they've been for each other for the last twenty-one years. It sends a pang straight to my heart when I think that I'll never have anything like that. Jealousy isn't a great thing to feel, but at least that particular Deadly Sin is its own punishment, especially when paired with the depression I've been fighting since I was very young. So if I feel a twinge of despair every once in awhile when I look at him or her, it isn't because I'm developing a crush on him (or anything worse, for that matter). It's because they have a relationship with each other that has greatly enriched their lives, and the knowledge that I'll never have anything even remotely like it has made me slightly, if somewhat justifiably, bitter.

Honestly, I don't know whether to feel relieved or disgusted with myself. For now, I'm choosing relief. Given how melancholy I've been feeling lately, that may be the best option. *sigh*

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