Posted by: Jack Hope | Wednesday March 6, 2013

Five Years On

An anniversary of very little note passed recently, passing so quietly that I didn’t even realize it until only a couple of days ago, well after it had passed.

It has been five years since Peter, my only significant significant other, left me.

Five years! I can’t believe it, in a way, it’s such a big chunk of time to have passed. And I can’t honestly say it went by in the blink of an eye, because it sure didn’t.

Too much has happened to me, I’ve experienced too much, changed too much.

These are the days that I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself anymore. And these are the days when I realize that’s a good thing.

While a major mental health crisis isn’t my recommended method of personal self-discovery it does have the significant advantage of forcing you to face the essential truths about your life. Often in spectacularly unpleasant detail.

And having gone through that process I now understand some essential truths about the relationship that I had with Peter.

That it was a colossal mismatch driven by our mutual need for self-worth.

Both of us, I have come to realize, had a terrible need to feel ‘valuable’ and ‘worthy’ that was somehow temporarily satisfied by our relationship.

It was why neither one of us broke things off when it was becoming apparent that we weren’t working out in other ways. We needed that sense of validation that the relationship was providing.

For me, my untreated Depression, even when not acute, made these feelings more pronounced, especially with the series of personal failures that marked my life.

In this context too, Peter’s decision to end things when he had the safety of someone else to go to makes a lot more sense. He was getting his ‘fix’ from someone else. I might have done the same thing if the opportunity had presented itself.

It was incredibly hard, those first few months, as I started slouching towards a renewed depressive episode. It would be a long time till things got better.

And then I changed. Changed more than I had ever expected to.

In the process I’ve gained a contentment with being single. Even in my renewed depressed moods, I rarely dwell on my single status or long for a guy in my life.

While there’s been some dates over the last few years, generally when the depression receded some, there hasn’t been anyone who really approached being as ‘significant’ as Peter was to me. And I’ve been somewhere between content and happy with that.

Coming back to Calgary I had thought I might run into him, perhaps get a chance to talk and clear the air between us. I never wanted him completely out of my life.

Through fourth hand reports I’ve learnt however, that he no longer lives in the city and has moved to somewhere in Saskatchewan.

It’s another unsatisfying ending but I’m getting accustomed to those.

I don’t really have any kind of broad statement to make about those who struggle with depression or other mental illness and their intimate relationships.

For me, I’ve often felt that a romantic relationship simply isn’t viable.

That’s a personal statement (and one that I’m also quite content with) about what I think I’m capable of and also what I want out of life.

Recently though I’ve had reason to maybe reconsider that opinion though. I’m still not looking for anyone, still not expecting anyone, but have been debating whether or not I should change from a position of ‘no’ to ‘maybe.’

I’m still absolutely determined though to take the lessons of my time with Peter to heart, to avoid falling back into the same trap.

In the end, I’d rather be on my own than with the wrong person. And I’m good with that.


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