2014, Personal

Now is the Winter of My Discontent

On October 23, 2015 the longest romantic relationship of my life ended. When I say the longest, I also mean the only serious one, the only one that was ever successful. And, at least for me, it felt like it was the only thing in my life that was permanent, that would never change. We were together for approximately 4 3/4 years and lived together for slightly more than three years.

I have not said anything in this space before because, until this morning, we continued to live together and it was the very least I could do to not write about it publicly while we still lived together.

Though there is a strong part of me that still says I should not write about it in this space, writing is generally how I process things – one of my coping strategies. I find it hard to imagine never writing about it at all, and when it is posted for everyone to read the catharsis is, for me, substantially greater than when it is put in a journal that no one will ever see.

But, that being said, I feel like dissecting it publicly is extraordinarily unfair to her, not to mention something I might later regret.

But I make no promises, as I am now alone and, when I am alone, I do not necessarily make as good decisions as when I wasn’t. So we shall see.

This is all basically to say that if you see a certain amount of navel-gazing in this space over the coming weeks, there is a really good reason for it. I am trying the best I can to cope with this privately, but I am always compelled to write, and it is possible that my compulsion will find its way to our former relationship, and that this will be expressed here. You have been warned.

For the moment, let me just leave you with something I wrote on October 28 but didn’t publish because I felt it was a bad idea given our living situation:

I am not a sad guy, I am generally happy, or at least content. In fact, I am often too content, settling for situations and circumstances that I shouldn’t, just because I am so emotionally even all the time. Even when angry and frustrated, I am still generally upbeat. (That may sound confusing, but it’s true. Once the emotions pass, I am content again.) I don’t really know what depression is. I mean, I assume I experienced it in the past – I certainly know I have felt lost in the past, and I have felt like I wasn’t “good”, and I have felt like I wasn’t worthy of love. But all of these feelings (so my memory tells me) were brief. And none of them were sad, exactly.

I am currently experiencing the most profound sadness I can remember feeling. I was not this sad when my maternal grandmother died. I was not this sad when my maternal grandfather died, and I was significantly sadder about him than his wife. I don’t recall being this sad when I failed to proposition any of my unrequited loves and finally concluded the time had passed. I don’t recall being this sad in high school, though I tell myself I did experience (hormonally assisted) depression. (I remember being unhappy, not sad. They are two separate things.) I don’t know whether or not I was this sad when my paternal grandfather died because it was over 20 years ago and all I remember is other people’s sadness and my confusion. I do not know whether or not I was this sad when my parents separated, because that was over 27 years ago and I don’t remember much of it at all. I assume I was sad and I am told I was depressed, but obviously I don’t remember.

I am having a hard time with this. I don’t know what it’s like to feel this way. I am overcome by tears because my mind wanders, or because I hear a sad song (or even just a sad, minor key melody – the lyrics can have nothing to do with my situation). I see things or hear about things that would have been up our alley and I start to get misty. Sometimes I can barely stop from crying over the name of a television program we would watch together. The site of objects we used to cook with together can make me cry.

I know this happens to others all the time but I have been unable to understand. No doubt one reason why I feel this sad right now is my past inability to be completely empathetic to such depression.

But I know this sadness will go eventually. Everything ends. I feel lucky that I know myself well enough to know that this will not last forever. And I feel bad for the people who aren’t as lucky as me, who feel like this without obvious reasons. And I hope that I can at least build some new found empathy for people who suffer from depression when it is over.

In the meantime, is it ever difficult.

I am very sad today, but I am nowhere near as sad as I was at the end of October. I do not know whether I will return to those depths of sadness, as our mourning for the relationship was certainly postponed by our living together for a further five weeks. On the other hand, things were undoubtedly different over that time, and I am not sure where I am at emotionally at the moment. I guess I will find out soon.

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