Thursday, March 10, 2016

Two Greatest Fears

Fear A) The fear of being alone. I'm talking about the long term stuff. Like dying alone or not having someone to love me as I grow older. This fear pushes me into being in a relationship even when I shouldn't be in one.

Fear B) The fear of commitment. I don't buy the first thing I see. I don't like the idea of not being able to change my mind or grow apart. I've lived my whole life with a strong desire for complete independence. This fear pushes me to be single, even when I have an awesome and understanding partner.

The struggle between these two fears can be best described as an intense case of "the grass is greener" which leaves me in a really bad place when it comes to relationships. In mathematics, events are called mutually exclusive if they cannot exist at the same time. This is problematic if while in Status A you yearn for Status B and in Status B you yearn for Status A.

Mutually Exclusive Statuses
Presented with the above problem there are a couple solutions.

1) Find a way where both fears can coexist (an overlap in the Venn Diagram).

The overlap between Status A and Status B
Exploring this further, I've previously defined Status A and Status B as mutually exclusive but is it possible that they're not. What would an overlap look like? I can't picture it. I think this search for an overlap is why I've sought partners that give me maximum independence while still giving me the positive things in a relationship. I don't think that's what the overlap truly is. I find myself wanting complete independence but because I understand what it takes to be a good boyfriend/partner/husband I find myself catering to my significant other subconsciously. Thinking about "we" and "us" as opposed to being selfish. I feel the strings of commitment and my fear of being alone pulling me down the relationship path and when I feel controlled by this I push the other person away. So does the overlap exist? I'm not so sure... which brings me to my next solution...

2) Solution two for mutually exclusive events is not wanting the other status while in the other. The simplest way to do that would be to overcome one of the fears. If at any point Fear A or Fear B dissolves - it makes the choice of a preferred status trivial.

So let's get down to it. Fear A. Being okay with being alone. I think with enough time I'll reach a point where I no longer desire relationships or I'll just straight up become undesirable. It might sound like I'm throwing a pity party for one... but I do think this is a viable option because it's one of the options that kind of just works itself out with time. Bill Burr has a fantastic set where he's says, "I've just been single too long. You reach a point where you used to not say things to women in order to be nice and sleep with them. But then you reach a point where your brain just says Fuck It. Say It."

Fear B. Being okay with commitment. I had a previous relationship that showed me the power of commitment. It's nice having a person to take care of and do nice things for. It's nice having unconditional support. Unfortunately the looming questions of commitment and labels start to fill my head and I start thinking to myself, "The rest of my life is a pretty long time." I start playing the terrible What If Game: What if I don't love that person anymore? What if I agreed that I'd love them for better or worse but they just morphed into a toxic cheating child abuser? What if my life grows to have other priorities? What if I take effort away from being a good husband and put it into being a good father? What if my career takes me half way around the world?

Maybe my particular life view has put me in a spot where I no longer view marriage as a sacred institution. All my uncles have gone through ugly divorces with custody battles. My mother has been married three times. I see commitment and specifically marriage as a status where you're constantly faced with: "Is the hassle of divorce worse than being with this person for the rest of my life."

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I've rewritten this entry now a few times to try and sound less jaded and a little more hopeful. I've appropriately settled on this iteration that is fittingly hazy and inconclusive. Maybe I'll revisit this again someday once I've faced one of my fears or found a peaceful overlap where the fears exist together.