Which way is North?
When you write blogs on dating it is easy for others to assume that you know what you are talking about, that you are untouched by the frailties that relationships and dating can bring. This is a misnomer. We all suffer from anxieties, over thinking, and a sense of regret when we arrive at transitional stages of our lives and loves.
This weekend I was fortunate enough to receive a visit from a special friend that I was once in a relationship with. At the time I called an end to our relationship it was because I was certain that it would go nowhere. Feeling that his inability to come out and my inability to live a relationship of concealment was a recipe for heartbreak, I decided to take the drastic step of turning my back on the one person I have ever considered to be a soul mate; sometimes we make hard decisions. As tough as it was, I moved on, met someone else and got on with my life. I found happiness in my career, a new focus and the arms of another. My old flame was never banished from my thoughts, he was simply stored along with the fond memories I attributed to him and our time together. For years I avoided contact with the guy, despite his efforts to get in touch. I was coy about my life and my movements, unwilling to let him into my world once again. I had been vulnerable once before and was not going to put myself back into that position if I could avoid it.
Years passed with occasional contact, succinct messages and later brief meetings: I was protecting myself. Tough decisions are made when we seek to defend our vulnerability or prevent it being exposed. I had simply fortified myself against a future regret. It feels ironic to be writing this now, filled with the very regret I had sought to avoid.
Meeting my friend gave us a proper chance to catch-up on years of absence, to discover that he was still concealing his sexuality but that this had not impeded his ability to have a long a fulfilling relationship, to live with his partner and to invest in a future together, all the things I had believed would have been absent to me if I remained with him. The foundation, which I had felt was so secure, so solid, the very thing that I had based my decision on, was proven to be ephemeral, an idea that never truly existed, that had merely been constructed in order to avoid suffering that I would never experience.
The sense of regret concerning my decision hung like a spectre that I was unable to exorcise; it subsisted solely in my mind like the initial fear and left me uncertain of the very base I had built my world of relationships from. I realised that I knew nothing, know nothing. Life is a sequence of numbers and equations that change into infinite combinations preventing us from ever truly having the answers. We hypothesise based on past experiences, burdening our happiness with fear and leaving a garden where regret grows in plenty. The direction I had sought was out of reach not because I was unable to find it but because I had prevented myself from knowing where north actually is.
Lost, literally and metaphorically, I type this reflection hoping to decipher the truth, to see the compass once more, to find north and discover the path I need in order to find the happiness we all desire. Let’s hope I can clear the fog of misconception in order to avoid past mistakes and enjoy all that life and love can offer.