As I was trolling the Craig’s list personals (you’d be amazed at the funny stuff you’ll find there) I ran across an ad – “Just Wondering” – that kind of reached out and spoke to me. The person who wrote the ad asked a question about whether they should stay in a “loveless” marriage. They said that they were afraid of being alone, and that they were worried that even if they left the marriage, all they’d end up with was “another bad boy” since that seemed to be all they were drawn to. This is the response I wrote:
Hello “Just Wondering”, you can call me J –
I was in a relationship for 29 years, 10 of it was OK, the next 19 were spent either trying to make it better (turns out I was alone on that front) or waiting for my youngest to “come of age”, as I could not, in good conscience, leave him stuck with his mom (I too lived in Mass – what a horrible state for a parent). So I understand about staying in a relationship.
When I left, I was just this side of sane. She was a horrible, selfish woman that put herself before all others (including her kids), took anything she could get her hands on, and lying was her way of life. Of course, all of this was always someone else’s fault, and anything bad that befell her required an immediate “pity party”.
But, I moved out and moved on. For the longest time I too was afraid of being alone. But being alone isn’t such a bad thing, especially when being with someone else causes such misery. I’m a free man now, no longer encumbered by the shadow of doom and despair that she generated. So, if you want freedom, it’s there for you to take.
If you think your relationship is worth saving (and it’s got to be both of you, not an “either/or” situation), then I recommend getting counseling. But understand a few things about therapists and counseling – first, a therapist is nothing more than a non-judgmental paid friend (why do you think they always ask “what do you think?”). Most therapists got into the business because they had troubles of their own and most bring that baggage with them. Despite their degrees and experience, they’re no smarter than you, so don’t take what they say “as gospel” (and the ones that are arrogant are definitely not worth the time – drop them like a hot rock!!). I’d recommend couples group if you choose this route – there’s more validation in numbers.
If your relationship isn’t worth saving (and only you would know) then get out now. You’re not doing either of you any good being there, and while the world is a scary place, pushing someone to the brink (where they feel cornered with no escape) is even worse – these are the stories you see in the news – you know, the “murder/suicides”.
And lastly, picking bad boys and losers – well, the choices we make directly reflect our feelings of self worth. It’s the same for everyone, the only one that can change that reflection is you. And if you’re really lonely, get a dog – not one of those “purse pups” for show, but a dog that will snuggle and show you that you (and only you) matter most in the world. Sure it’s a long term commitment, but isn’t any relationship that matters?