... and yes, you do show your age, if what you just thought about was a 16 year old Tom Cruise sliding along in his whitey-tighties...
The whole relationship business is a risky business. I have just spent the last week with my family working on condensing some of my belongings that were in storage to a smaller amount. Getting rid of some of the vestiges of my last long-term committed relationship. And if that weren't enough impetus to send me down memory lane and throw up some red flags regarding the risk of relationships, the ex whom I hadn't heard from in two years decided to rear her ugly head.
My family is concerned about this move to Vancouver - rightly so, in theory - because of the risk it may not work out.
It may not work out.
A crappy possibility, but a possibility nonetheless.
And here's the thing. If it doesn't work out, the folks here in this small town have made quite clear to me that I am welcome back. And Robin Sparkles, who also lives on the West Coast, could probably tolerate me as a short-term room-mate if it didn't work out.
If it didn't work out, what I have learned from the last relationship, is that it isn't the end of the world.
Now, for awhile there, that wasn't clear. My ex was a frightening mentally ill woman who made the last few months I was living in the same state with her, let alone home, hell. Actually, she made hell look good...
Needless to say, I haven't really missed her. I'd like to. I'd like to have fond memories of the time we've spent together. I'd like to remember the woman I did fall in love with fondly, and just think it was a shame that it didn't work out.
But it REALLY didn't work out in the end.
I've spent a lot of time the last three and a half - nearly four now - years trying to figure out what I could have done differently. IF I could have done anything differently. IF I should have left earlier than I did. Trying to solve the "problem" so that I could avoid repeating the mistakes.
I've been looking at that a lot more intensely these last six months as I've embarked upon this new relationship.
Because even though it may not work out, I know you'll be surprised to discover that isn't my preference.
It is easy - perhaps even preferable - to blame it all on the ex's mental illness. It's simpler that way, right? But I'm not a person who can make things simple, sometimes. And, I am a person who tries to accept responsibility for my own actions.
So what words of advice after all this reflection would I give my new love about living with me? What can I do to prepare us for a good life? And how can I enter this new life without the insecurities planted by the old one?
I think I've healed. I'd like to think I've healed. I hope I've healed.
But then she comes back, two years after the last contact, the last thrashing of me, and rears her ugly head. Her e-mails start off sounding reasonable, normal, even pleasant. Well-wishing, peaceful, still loves me and forgives me. But it doesn't take long before the anger bursts forth.
That's always fun...
Particularly fun to have dumped on you when you're excited and happy for new changes and new possibilities in your life... and trying to get a lot of stuff done so you can take that next step...
Particularly when you wonder when the next shoe will drop... what is coming next... if it will ever be over. If she will ever just let go.
It makes a girl pause about entering into ANOTHER relationship.
I mean apparently I've ruined the ex's life. Is it fair for me to do that to someone else? Will I do that to someone else?
And how can I make promises of "forever" again knowing that it didn't work out the last time...?
There are no guarantees. There simply aren't. Relationships are a risky business...
But if we're lucky.. more time will be spent sliding across floors in our underwear together, then worrying about replacing the precious crystal egg.