There is Nothing Wrong With You – Thoughts on (not) Being Part of a Couple II

„Do you have a boyfriend?“ - How much I‘ve always hated that question.
Luckily people who know me have stopped asking me years ago.
So. Not living as part of a couple-relationship, hm? Right. Still. Not easy though.

I‘ve always had a loving family; I‘ve always had close friends, caring special people; I‘ve always been part of one or the other community.
[And on a slightly related note: believe it or don‘t, but breaking up with a friend or a community is an actual breakup to me.]
I‘ve always been happy and thankful about that.
Yet I used to think there needs to be more … People and media don‘t ask if you‘d like to engage in a couple-relationship – they take it for granted and ask about the who/when/how. And you end up feeling really weird, worried and at some point ashamed about not ‚getting‘ one: What’s wrong with me?! You try to optimize yourself – or your standards.

You have seen – let’s say – all kinds of people ‚getting‘ boyfriends or girlfriends, how can you not ‚get‘ any? … One day you‘re sure it’s your standards (you just have too specific ideas), the other day you look into your mirror and you understand why no one wants to be with you, cause you must be really wrong and not worth it and you‘re full of disgust and hate and shame and you wish no one will ever ask you again if you have a boyfriend, cause you‘d have to say no and they would know and you will feel like a total fail …

Cruel thing, it’s always the subtle mechanisms that work best for making you assimilate – cause it’s really uncomfortable not to match the criteria of ‚normality‘ and success.

But what makes couple-relationships so interesting anyway?
Some nice aspects associated with couple-relationships I can think of:

Stroking someone’s hair; having my hair stroke; stroking someones back; having my back stroke; kisses on the forehead; kissing; hugging in any way; cuddling in any way; hugging/cuddling in bed (non-sexually); sharing bed; sleeping within the same room with someone; waking up in the same room with someone; having breakfast together; spending time together while doing things for yourselves; cooking together; having meals together; watching movies together; reading to someone; being read to; talking about the small issues of the day and being listened to; getting emotional support; getting compliments; being encouraged; feeling free to be emotional around someone; feeling free to look sloppy around someone; sharing intimate experiences with someone; being conspiratorial with someone; sharing secrets; going on adventures with someone; trust someone; surprise someone; being surprised; being taken care of when sick, low or having a crisis; taking care of someone; doing something to please the other person, being romantic; being pleased, ‚receiving‘ romantic gestures; showing affection; being shown affection; showing loyalty towards someone in front of others; being shown loyalty in front of others; being someone special for another person; having someone who is special to you; making plans together; telling stories about your life, experiences, dreams to someone who is interested in it; listening to someone’s stories about their life, experiences, dreams; being interested in any aspect of someone; someone being interested in any aspect of you; someone who beliefs in you and what you do; believing in someone and what they do; being excited about someone, about meeting them, getting to know them, spending time with them; someone being excited about you; spending time with someone you like; thinking about someone while they are not present; being thought of wile you are not present to them; sending someone messages; receiving messages; protect someone in whatever way if necessary; being protected if necessary; having a shared story with someone; being asked for help and doing favors; asking for help and receiving favors; going out/attending any occasion together; sharing the things you love (to do) with someone; sharing/taking part in something the other person loves (to do); rely on someone; being relied on; holding hands; giving massages; receiving massages; being smiled at; smiling at someone; being asked about your opinion; get the other person’s opinion when asked for; meeting people and seeing places the other person likes; making people you like meet/visit the places you like; being able of and comfortable with crying around someone; someone being able of and comfortable with crying around you; someone to have/raise children with???; paying the other person’s drinks if needed; having your drinks paid if needed; being comfortable with being naked around someone; the other person being comfortable with being naked around you; any sexual tension; any sexual interaction; someone to share a flat with; sharing a flat’s costs with someone; shared tasks in the household; feeling responsible for someone; being felt responsible for; maintaining a steady relationship with a person (caring about someone consistently, being cared of consistently, staying in touch); someone being around and taking care of you when you are bored, or low on self-esteem; working on future plans together; having heart-to-heart-talks; your heart-beat raising when you meet someone; someone having a raised heart-beat when meeting you; more hugs; more kisses; more body-contact in bed; more sleepovers; more of feeling special, unique, beloved.

Yes, I have most of these things – maybe not the quantity I desire, but I‘d say the quality.

Now, don‘t be naive on this, don‘t think it’s all easy.
It’s – such – hard – work!
And it takes so much energy, time and of course courage to maintain these things, to establish these relationships, to ask for things and to update, check, question and again maintain them.
There are no contracts – at least things tend to be more fluid and less ‚guaranteed‘. But changes and breaks might be handled easier – well, a lot of handling is necessary; again, don‘t be naive on this.

And it takes lots of energy to convince yourself there’s nothing wrong with you – a lot of getting through moments of loneliness when you think everybody you care about has forgotten about you, a lot of moments when you actively and resolutely need to remind yourself of all these rich, special, unique connections you have. It takes a lot to recognize for yourself what you have; not to fall into the holes of “Why am I the only one who never has a ‚real‘ relationship?”, “I can‘t be normal, why am I not normal?” or “No one really cares about me, they all have other priorities”.
And it’s especially hard if the ones you care about are engaged in couple-relationships that form the center of their lives; if they have other ‚resources‘ that make them less dependent on you than vice versa. It’s hard if the people you care (most) about don‘t really know in what way they care about you and if/how other relationships than couple’s can be of any matter in their lives or what friendship means to them.
It’s hard not to fit into the ‚picture‘ of normality and success, which is such closely connected to having a partner (and eventually a family);
it’s hard even to imagine a satisfying, hopeful way of living in the ‚future‘ (means when your adolescence is commonly regarded to be over, when many of your communities break down due to work as a separating aspect of life-organization and when your friends move out of their shared flats and get married) …

So if you‘ve just found out there are more ways of living and loving and that you don‘t want to have the ‚couple thing‘ any more – it’s fine. But don‘t act like you found the Holy Grail of relationships.
And don‘t do it because you think it’s cool or hip, please don‘t.
I‘ve been hurt to deeply by a society based on couples to forget you have been part of it;
I‘m still struggling too much with finding my place in it to applaud you for your breakthrough.

I‘m glad you‘re exploring new ways; I‘m happy you question your model of relationships. I know it’s hard to overcome all this, you have all the rights to be upset, confused, enthusiastic and worried over it. You have and I support you!
But don‘t act as if you just found a brand-new solution you want to sell me; and don‘t assume you now share my experience of not being in a ‚traditional‘ relationship. Please don‘t, cause it would wipe off all the hurt I experienced and all the effort I put into our ‚not-traditional‘ relationship since – like – ever.

This is not a how-to nor a complaint nor a pamphlet. I‘m not telling you what to do, I‘m not judging what’s right or wrong.
This is just me, telling what I feel and experience.

This is a love letter – cause love is what hurts and strengthens most.