Pancakes, Fairy Tales, and Why I Am Afraid Of Serious Relationships

Posted 5/18/2011 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , , ,

There is nothing more frightening for me than a serious relationship.

Just the idea of it makes me shudder.

This is strange because although I am deathly scared of long-term relationships, I feel that I have been prepared to succeed in one.

I come from a household with two parents who even as they approach their sixties seem to legitimately care for and love each other. My Dad has always treated my Mom really well, and my mother has always been a great wife. I’ve seen my parents fight, disagree, and I know they have gone through tough times. But I have always seen them get through it, and continue to love each other, for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.

So, my formative experiences with marriage and true love are all very positive.

I also have been blessed to have friends who love me unconditionally – who have stood by me as I’ve made mistakes, when I have been grumpy, melodramatic, silly, detached, and everything else. I try to be a good friend but I know I sometimes am not. These people love me anyways.

So, I have a good example and an excellent support structure.

Also, it is safe to say that I have not been unlucky in love – quite the opposite; I have been able to date some truly amazing women – from princesses to diplomats to superstar artists.

I have been a democratic dater – dating people from different ethnicities, nationalities, upbringings, and religious backgrounds than myself.

So, I have an idea about who I am in a relationship. What my strengths and weaknesses are, what I am looking for, what I need from a partner, and what I am willing to give.

Yet, I am still scared to death, because deep down I am not sure if I can be a suitable long-term partner.

The biggest reason for this is that I am bi-polar.

Unlike being handicapped, being bipolar can be unpredictable, subversive, and aims at the heart.

The lack of stability, the sometimes complete emotional disconnect, the fights with both depression and mania, can render a huge toil on the other person in the relationship.

And it is the little things – I might stay up half the night because a person I loved didn’t text message me back, and now I am questioning the entire relationship, and especially myself, over a reality as simple as “she fell asleep because it is 1:30 A.M. “

Or my significant other needs me emotionally – but I am manic and simply want to go out, or drink, or have sex and I am emotionally unavailable. Or more commonly I am depressed and want to lay in bed, feel sorry for myself, feel worthless – and once again I am emotionally unavailable.

And unfortunately when you are a big part of woman’s life – and suddenly you check out on her – she becomes really upset and cries. She cries because she loves you and you are hurting her.

The tricky thing is that in between stuff like this I know I am an absolutely amazing and loving person. I know why people are attracted to me. Most of the time I rock.

Yet, serious relationships aren’t “most of the time” affairs. When dating someone casually you can generally shield them from the worst parts of yourself. You can’t do this when you are dating seriously or married – it is all of the time, and sooner or later – you are going to be “bipolar”.

And the tragedy is that it won’t be a “one-time affair”. This is fundamentally part of who you are.

A good friend who is bipolar recently told me “I'm just really sad because I've been a pancake my whole life and a pancake is a pancake! Even when it doesn't want to be :/”

Usually when I try to change my personality it has to do with a relationship – I am trying to be a better person for somebody else. And honestly it works to a certain degree.

Yet at the end of the day I am still a pancake. Will always be pancake. Especially when I don’t want to be.

I often wonder whether or not it is even fair for me to get into a serious relationship. If I want to put someone who I love through the challenges of dealing with me?

I know I push people away.

Whether consciously or subconsciously my default is not to let anyone get too close.

To be known but unknowable.

And I have some vague idea that this too isn’t healthy.

But I wonder if loneliness is the price I must pay to not have to deal with hurting the person I love most in the world?

Because honestly for me there isn’t a worse feeling than letting down or hurting those I love. The pain it causes me is traumatic. So my heart tries to run from this pain, even though it’s of my own creation.

Yet I still can’t completely believe in running from Love, because all of my life I have seen, been taught, and believe that Love is good.

That Love is power. That Love can conquer all.

If I had to explain my religious beliefs, in one word, it would be Love.

So the very thing that I am most afraid of is the very thing I want most in the entire world.

And this tension, I believe, is fundamentally human.

Fear and desire often go hand in hand.

I do believe that there is someone who is meant to be my life-partner, my wife, my truest of loves.

I do believe somehow we will figure out an answer to this tension – that she will add an abundance to my life and that I will complete hers.

I do believe that God is good and that God is Love, and even something as vexing to my human mind as how to have a successful long-term relationship when you are bipolar can be figured out.

Most importantly, I have to believe this.

Because even pancakes deserve a happily ever after.

1 comment(s) to... “Pancakes, Fairy Tales, and Why I Am Afraid Of Serious Relationships”


Hunter said...

Big D,

Liked this a lot bud. Most have a fraction of this self-insight, so I think there is lots of hope for you, man!


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