I don't know exactly when it happened, but, being in an affirming long term relationship has changed the kind of people I want to have in my life. Back in my desperately single days, I found myself seeking any kind of companionship I could find. As one of the fundamental principles of the Universe seems to be "like attracts like", I found myself surrounded by intelligent, potentially successful people whose lives were as rudderless as mine, and whose choices seemed designed solely around finding someplace to fit in.
It seems slightly tragic, really. In the years between 1998 and 2000, I knew two women who had abortions (one with twins) because they accidentally got pregnant with men who were not going to be suitable fathers. I knew one who moved half way across the United States to be with someone who she met online after one trip out to visit him. I knew several others who seemed to want to use sex as a substitute for intimacy. Some felt the need to lean on me, and I, being lonely and vulnerable, was pleased to have some kind of human contact in my life.
Now, my life seems different, but perhaps that difference is illusory. I am in a committed relationship that makes me very happy. Most of my friends are happily involved in relationships of their own. We meet as couples, for dinner parties, movies, and the like. We have problems, it's true... some have children that are ill, some have lost jobs, we all have problems with money. Yet, there seems to be an underlying sense of stability throughout it all that I hope isn't a mirage.
I now recognize that sense of need that I used to find in so many people around me. It is a tone, conveyed through written or spoken word that asks "why won't Person X call/answer/comfort me?" It is a sense that even though months or years have passed, the situation in which one is found is utterly the same, with only the particular names changed -- "I hate so-and-so, s/he's never going to be good to me" or "I need to do something about where I am and what I am doing". Hearing these things grates on me.
Yet I hope that this sense of disdain isn't arrogance. My life and the lives of people around me seem to be changing in interesting ways. I'm sure we all have our blind spots, however. I'm still the same person as I was then, with many of the same frustrating flaws. Self awareness is frustratingly slow to arrive at times.
on 2004-02-02 at 6:32 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond