Friday, April 3, 2009

The Other Side

I have wanted to write this post since Valentine's Day and never gotten around to it; I think I am a little shy of talking about relationship-related matters still.

A year ago I refered to myself as "the eighteen-year-old who has never been on a date" and quite honestly I kind of prided myself on the title. That's a post in itself, how my views of the value of romance have shifted dramatically in the last year. You see, back then I hadn't been in love yet, to realize that yes, sometimes you are so happy that you giggle at everything, and that doesn't mean you're a silly fluffhead.

It's strange to think that back then I felt freer to talk about relationships than I do now. Back then I could talk to people who really wanted a boyfriend. You know, "Hey, I don't have one either, let's go eat chocolate together." I could talk to girls who were having relationship struggles because--well, because I'm a good listener and people like talking to me.

Now, though, I tend to feel very shy talking to my single friends (and most of my friends are single) because I'm not. I can't use my own life as an example of how you will be okay, because if you use my life as the example then you will find Prince Charming when you are 18 and 5 months; if you use my life as an example your best friend who you are in love with will love you back. And that doesn't always happen. Some people find Prince Charming when they are 25 or 35 or 60. Some people's best friends start dating somebody else, or decide that they are going to be priests.

And I feel shy about talking to other people in relationships. How can I really, really sympathize with whatever struggle you're having while I have this lovely relationship with a wonderful person? Even if I told you that the relationship, lovely as it is, isn't unmitigated sunshine and roses, maybe you don't really want to hear about that. In fact, you probably don't. Because not every relationship survives the rough patches, and if I say, "Well, we had a really hard time once and survived" and your relationship dies...well, then here I am in the land where everything works out and there you are on the other side of the river, where relationships end and sometimes you don't get what you wish you had.

I don't know how to resolve this conundrum; I just know I don't want to become one of those dating/engaged/married people who never hangs out with single people. For now, I am trying to do what I've always been best at anyway--just listening.

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