I met up with Knight of Wands for drinks over the weekend, he's long suffering over my repetitive conversations regarding the break up, so I attempted to buy him ice-cream to make up for the hand-wringing, I probably owe him a rather large amount of scoops by this stage. I like that he upbraids me on attitudes I'm holding that he thinks are unhelpful, without actually making me want to stab him in the eyes. I guess the fact that he is poly helps somewhat in that he's a good sounding board for that subject matter - I still haven't, and probably won't for a long time, stop trying to find out how it works - but there's other things to. He notices stuff about me and says it outright, whereas others might not see or might not comment. For example, I'm crossing my arms a lot these days, holding myself in a tight defensive gesture. I attempted to argue, but looked down and discovered he was right. I just hadn't realised.
We talked a bit about relationship styles, specifically my pathetic inability to be single. I had assumed that just preferring to be with someone else was "natural" and "normal" but those words have shown themselves to be misappropriated frequently in the past, so deserved a little exploring. It's not just that I prefer being with a partner. I really do need to be. Or at least, currently think I need to be, which is functionally the same thing until I can bottom out the source of the need. And it's not just "a partner", that's misleading. It's a special someone as those cards nauseatingly put it. Specific to me, for me and with me. Just mine. I'm possessive as well as obsessive over the subject.
Perhaps it's the needs versus wants argument. Being practical and pragmatic (for once) I clearly do not need to be in a relationship like I need oxygen. I merely prefer it to being single. It's not about feeling incomplete within myself which I realise that sounds contradictory to "needing to be in a relationship" but I do think the two are different things. I can be whole in myself and still want more.
I feel somewhat unbalanced at the moment, part of which is clearly driven by the loss - I'm noticing what I don't have, what I can't do. But there's another bit. I like my own company well enough however it worked better in contrast - to be able to get away and spend time by myself rather than merely being by myself. Like skiving off work is impossible and no fun on a bank holiday. Additionally, I never felt myself limited by being in a relationship - why would I want to be with someone who stopped me from doing the things I wanted? I view relationships as facilitating entities, rather than constricting ones - the people who moan and whinge about how they "aren't allowed" are the ones who should find someone else, someone better.
Consequently, the traditional end-of-relationship act, that of celebrating freedom - which is often basically getting drunk and picking up someone appallingly unsuitable for a night of casual sex - doesn't really work for me. I'm a connoisseur. A gourmet. A snob. I'd rather have no sex than bad, drunken sex. As a net result I'm grumpy, frustrated and probably a massive pain in the arse to be around but I'm not about to drop standards for the sake of someone else's version of "freedom".
Life has actually become more restrictive now that I'm single - I'm doing less and generally less interested in doing things, as a knock-on effect I'm feeling less interesting. There's a lot of stuff I just don't want to do without a partner I trust and have a decent connection with: I feel less safe, less confident, less willing to go out clubbing, to meet new kinky people and explore opportunities without someone to come back home to or to go out with. This is "partner as enabler" - someone with whom to go hunting and share the spoils. So there's the instant need - someone to share life with. The other is harder to pin down. I'm trying to strip it to the bone, to get to the nub of what it is about a committed, serious relationship that I feel I need. Taking out the touchpoints, the emotional contact, the day-to-day niceties of holding hands and belonging to someone - that's all window dressing, expressions of the ideal rather than the thing itself. It's about both getting to be greater than the sum of the parts.