On December 21, 2018, I reached a milestone event. It was 20 years earlier that my husband of nearly 12 years took his final breath in this incarnation. He died while awaiting a liver transplant, to replace the organ that had reached its own expiration date as a result of Hepatitis C. For the first five years, I found myself celibate by choice, not ready to dive into the dating or desire quenching pool. Once I finally immersed in it, I splashed about freely, but responsibly. Since then, I have dated, been in a few short-term relationships, had lovers, friends with benefits/heart friends, but nothing of a sustained committed partner nature. There are all kinds of reasons I entered into those interactions—reasons ranging from libido leaping lust to I wanna-hold-your-hand-and-heart-melt-into-you love. There are also all kinds of reasons I am no longer with any of them; from incompatibility for the long term, attraction to others, feeling constrained and restricted, jealousy, communication snafus, too great geographical distance between us, death, emotional turmoil, and with an open heart, recognition that we weren’t the best fit for each other. I fully believe that love is never wasted.
In 2001 a book was released called Sensational Singles, authored by Donna Dvorak. I was tickled to be included in the stellar cast of folks who were single by choice or chance.
One mantra that I have used over the years that has helped me to move on as gracefully as possible is: “I had a full, rich life before this person was in it and I will have a full, rich life once we part.” It has been a balm to my sometimes singed psyche that reeled with “How could I not be loved best of all?”
It is that dichotomy I face as the annual holiday known for hearts and flowers, candy, sweet smooches and amorous interactions approaches. Once winter holiday decorations come down, Valentines’ Day embellishments go up. When that happens, my own heart does leaps of possibility. Maybe THIS will be the year when the up until now elusive ‘he’ appears with mutual adoration and commitment to a shared life.
Each year I have felt a twinge of disappointment with the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) flag waving wildly. I look at the lives of partnered others I know and have a bit of wistfulness that I was not invited to the party. Don’t get me wrong; I have many people in my life who shower love on me. I am facilitating a workshop that weekend which focuses on love and relationships. I am doing a FREE HUGS stroll the weekend prior. I feel loved and treasured and it is mutual.
I question after all these years, whether this is the trajectory I am to take. I believe in the Yiddish concept, Beshert, which translates to ‘meant to be’. Am I to enjoy the freedom of single life sans the deep dive into the passion and devotion of a long term relationship? Do they need to be mutually exclusive? I love the idea of shared courting and wooing, flirting and fulfillment. I know that it will take an adjustment in routine and schedule, stretching comfort zones to allow another person into the emotional inner sanctum, with a toothbrush in the bathroom, clothes in the closet and cuddly body in the bed. God/dess only knows whether/when he will show up as a treasured gift in my life.
On this Valentines’ Day, I will treat myself to something I would want to receive from (as one of my friends refers to his partner) a ‘significant equal’. Eager to see how I will surprise myself.
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