I Hate Relationships

I hate relationships.

It’s a terribly unfeminine trait, I know. But I do. I hate them, I always have. I hate the confusion of them, the work of them, the upkeep. I feel calmer and more at peace with myself when I am not responsible to or for anyone. When the first and final opinion is my own, that is where I am the most comfortable.

So I hate relationships. But I love people. I love all kinds of people. I love people both near and far, those I will love for a lifetime and those I will love for a season. Friends I have known before and those I know now; family both dear to me and those nearly estranged; and my husband and daughter, for whom I have a fierce and constant love, a love bigger than myself.

But it is brutal and hard this loving thing. These relationships can be exhausting.

When I was single and childless, when I was able to intersperse my life with literal days in a row of reclusive, alone time, my entire life functioned better. I would spend two or three days on the couch, for as many hours in a row as I wanted to. I don’t answer the phone. I didn’t eat well, or I did, depending on what I wanted. I didn’t clean unless I really wanted to. I didn’t worry about what I was wearing or what I looked like or what anyone thought. I was not depressed or feeling down during these times, I was hibernating. I was turning my brain off for a reset, a necessary shut down. I used to schedule these retreats. Every six weeks or so, sometimes not for months if life was running without much stress, I would let people know I was disappearing and I would. A few days would go by, usually no more than three, and I would emerge feeling strong and ready to face the world again.

I credit these times of hibernation as my method to controlling my mood disorder. There was something freeing in locking myself inside the house and just *being*. Just being me. Exactly who I felt I was for every moment of every day for as many days as I needed, with little attention paid to how often who I was seemed to change or without worrying about what someone else was thinking about the me of the moment.

It practically goes without saying that those days don’t happen anymore. They stopped when my husband and I moved in together. Days in a row without conversation or human interaction of any kind were replaced with a few guilt-ridden hours on the couch when, really, “shouldn’t I be getting something ready for dinner or tidying up the kitchen instead?” And then more guilt because it wasn’t that I didn’t want to see him per se, I just didn’t want to see *anyone*. Our daughter was born and time alone, any time alone, became a longed for impossibility and, every so often, there was a couple of stolen hours hunched over a computer in a café, with people everywhere. Suddenly what had been luxurious three day retreats in the privacy of my own living room became replaced with…nothing that even resembled my tried and true method of self-balance. And always, when there was the opportunity for time alone, silent time where my head turned off and the TV turned on, there was the also the need to prioritize one thing over the other. Turn my head off and hibernate or spend the evening with my husband? Take a few stolen hours at a café with my computer or have lunch with a good (and neglected) friend?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and my daughter. I adore my little family of three. I wouldn’t trade them for a hundred long weekends of time alone in hibernation.

But…It’s exhausting, these relationships. The constant back and forth in my head is relentless and unending and the loss of my intermittent three days of hibernation is felt. It’s felt in the difficulty I have in staying balanced and focused; it’s felt in the hardship that is controlling every widening moods and emotions. Those missing mini-vacations are remembered sometimes when I take the mood stabilizing medication I was able to avoid for much of my life, and I wonder what if…?

What if I was still able to disappear for days at a time? What if no one needed anything from me and, if they did, it wasn’t very important? What if I had followed a different path? Would I still be on this medication?

At the end of the day, I suppose, it doesn’t matter. Last night my daughter slept in a bed separate from me for the first time in her 21 months of life. This afternoon when she took her nap I laid with her despite my to-do list because my body was desperate to memorize the curve of her against me while she slept. The times when I send my husband and daughter away for a few hours so I can just… be… I end up missing them long before they return. There is no more days of hibernation because there is no more life as “just me”. It is me and them, together; nothing else feels right.

So, yes, I hate relationships, despicable things of effort and requirement and endless need. But I love people. I love my people. And when I focus on them, and on that, the work of it all fades behind the absolute joy and fulfillment in it. Well, usually.






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2 thoughts on “I Hate Relationships

  1. I’ve been married twice. I tell my nephews I have no regrets. There were great times in both marriages. Knowing when to give each other space is one of the challenges of relationships. My first wife use to tell me to “Take a Hike”; knowing that was exactly what I needed. If I went too long without my alone time in the woods I would be grouchy. For her, she likes shopping. She was a thrifty shopper and enjoyed spending the day somewhere shopping. My second wife always wanted a west wing. With a house full of kids around most of the time there was no place for her to get away. She liked to stay home and wanted her alone time. That worked for me because I would just go hiking or bicycle riding and we would try to get the kids to go with their friends. As they got their licenses that was easier to do.

    Now, I have lots of alone time. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want (almost). I’m in a not-so long distance relationship, that I hope will eventually will put us under one roof. I remember watching my great uncle growing old; he died alone. He spent his days talking to animals because there was nobody else to talk to. Even as a young person I can remember seeing the envy in his eye as his brother, my grandfather was surrounded by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that loved him. My great uncle was slick dude (so I was told), always drove nice cars and could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m already a step up because I have daughters. I also want a partner to grow old with, share laughs with and be friends with. Relationships are tough, but they are worth the struggle and if you are lucky, you get it right the first time.

  2. John is right–relationships are work, but like anything the more you put in the more you get out. I’ve been lucky enough to be with the same person for 10 years and instead of getting boring it just gets more interesting. I think it is because we both have so much passion for what we do (jobs and hobbies) that we don’t crowd each other. When we do come together we have so much to talk about, so many stories to tell. Some couples I know spend every minute together, or even the majority of their minutes together, which must work for them, but I couldn’t imagine it. I love having an experience solo and then living with the anticipation of telling her about it.

    Also I have my bike. Whenever I am feeling down I go out for a hard ride, sometimes with friends, sometimes by myself. The suffering is cleansing. This is particularly true with races, they are so intense, so hard, that you literally can not think about anything else or risk killing yourself. I always get done amped about life. It also keeps me fit, the lack of which can be depressing, so staying fit helps with anxiety or depression for me. I am so lucky to have found it young, it’s harder to start things like that when you get older.That said, I know a lot of people who have….Community is critical. My like-minded friends keep me motivated.

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