Without A Safety Net

Themes keep repeating in my life. Loss, abandonment and impermanence; what is it in these things I am supposed to learn? Nestled between skepticism and belief, I am torn between thinking there must be some higher truth in the experiences and alternately despairing that there is no purpose. Perhaps these things are like a random emotional bag check in the airport of life.

I’m now struggling to decide if I am up to the challenge of being, once again, in an uncommitted relationship with a man I love. Of course, this one would have one important distinction:  Neither of us would be sleeping with anyone else. That might be the crucial difference between success and failure. In all truth, peel away the layers of false security we try to wrap our relationships in and none of us have more than the present moment. As my psyche has struggled with this notion of impermanence, this is the essential truth I keep coming back to. There is not a single “commitment” that protects us from impermanence: Not marriage, children or promises of devotion. The only thing we have in our relationships is the present moment. We can believe in and trust our partner to try to make it work as long as is possible, but in the end we have no absolute assurance.

A few years ago my entire identity, my sacrosanct life I’d carefully constructed to be insulated from impermanence, was ripped to shreds. I should know; without realizing the full implications, I carefully took the scissors and made a small cut in the fabric of my existence. Just to make it fit a little better, because frankly, it was chafing and rubbing me raw. Funny how a deliberate cut tears so much further than you want it to and with so much more ease…

Now I sit here this evening after days of agonizing soul-searching that has run the emotional gamut from elation to fury to grieving acceptance and now…back to possibility. Yet only if I am willing to embrace impermanence. The man I love is also struggling with this concept. He wants me in his life, yet feels he should be able to offer me the complete package if he’s going to offer anything at all. He knows he can’t right now, so he’s torn between forcing me away (again) and trying to live with what he views as a less than noble act: Offering me a conditional part of himself. The condition being he can’t offer me permanence until he feels more grounded and healthy about his place in this world.

Is permanence simply an illusion to wrap ourselves in to keep the fear at bay?

Part of my heart says it is nonsense to lose someone I love, whom I’ve already had to lose once before, simply because it might not last forever. The other part of me is terrified. I’m terrified of losing him again. I’m terrified of the whispers of well-meaning people who will tell me this is “bullshit” and insinuate he’s getting what every man wants for free. I’ve heard it all before.

I wish someone could give me the right answer, but I know even as I type the words what a childish longing that is. There is no “right” answer and there’s no one but me to provide whatever decision I make.

Do I open myself up to a risk, with full knowledge? Or do I continue to hide behind the notion of permanence with someone, someday? Loving someone with no promises between us feels a bit like walking a high wire with no safety net. Yet the real question is, was the safety net ever there, in any of my relationships, to begin with?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: