At some point my shrink asked me what I wanted a relationship for. Until now I thought that the purpose of the question was to help me better understand my needs/expectations from a romantic relationship and therefore to know what I was looking for. It would also help me see that the list of needs was limited, and therefore face value of relationship for me would deflate.
But I think I applied tunnel vision to the question – the right way of looking at it is rephrasing it to: “What’s so unique in a romantic relationship that I cannot get elsewhere?”.
I think in my case I mixed too many needs into the idea of a romantic relationship. For one, I don’t feel like I have enough close friends – so instead of working on finding new friends and strengthening the existing connections, I added the comradery need to the list. Don’t get me wrong, one has to be friends with their romantic partner, but what I am working on here is finding things that cannot be satisfied outside of romantic scene.
I was also concerned that I didn’t have a partner for fun stuff – like going places, watching movies etc. But! Friends are good for it too! And some of those things are as enjoyable by myself as they are in someone’s company.
Another wrongly added item was feel of being on the same emotional wavelength, of shared joy or sadness – but again, this one can be satisfied through other channels – friendship, relatives.
When I worked through the list, I pretty much narrowed it down to:
- Romantic affection – call it love if you will, or desire or whatnot – the feel of emotional excitement when you’re together.
- Sex – I am too scared of STD’s as well as physical abuse to go out and look for something that is sex only – so I have to um substitute, but it’s totally not getting anywhere close to the real thing. I am also not sure I would enjoy sex without romantic affection – I only tried it once before, and it didn’t feel right.
- Improved financial stability – this one is a long-term result, where you start living with someone, but I’ll add it here to be completely honest.
Conclusion – since at this point in my life I don’t seem to be able to find a romantic partner, I should concentrate more on making friends and strengthening the existing relationships. I lost many connections when I immigrated, some were severed when I became an obsessed mom who didn’t want to see anyone spending all her time with the babies, more connections were lost in separation process, some fell off when I became obsessed with dating – now it’s time to change this!