On Happiness

Why can I never seem to find a relationship that actually makes me happy?

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently (for obvious reasons), but it’s also something I’ve thought about for years. This is another rambling, trying to sort my head out kind of post as I’m not exactly sure what I’m trying to say. But after I read this post by @domsigns things sort of crystallised a bit.

When I was young, I never dreamt of being a princess and being rescued by a handsome prince. The Disney story wasn’t something I longed for. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew that wouldn’t make me happy. As I grew older and discovered boys, all I wanted was for someone to want me, but for whatever reason I wasn’t one of the popular girls. But still, I never planned my dream wedding or had names picked out for my future children, children never featured in my thoughts at all. I think I spent most of the time from about the age of 16, being desperately unhappy. Part of it was being trapped in a relationship I didn’t want and seeing no way out of it. As the years went on I had happy moments, but generally I was still unhappy. I grew very good at hiding it though, I was scared of having my kids taken away from me so I endured. I also cheated numerous times, maybe in the hope one of them would help me to escape. During the years I spent with my ex I think all I wanted was someone to come and rescue me from a life of scrimping and scraping every penny, to show me life, to take care of me. All through our relationship I was the one who took care of the kids, the house etc. And I was so damned tired of it. Then when I got the chance of some sort of release from it I still wasn’t really happy.

As I got into my mid-twenties I found I had a few more happy times, because I had actually made some good friends. And once I moved to Ireland and had more and more time with just me and the kids the happy times became more and more frequent.

By the time I’d reached my late thirties and finally ditched the arsehole I thought I was doing great. Lots of happy times, lots of fun, lots of drink, lots of friends, lots of sex that I wanted and enjoyed. Then I crashed – spectacularly.

I spent the next couple of years trying to get myself back together and at times when I thought I was doing better I’d try a bit of online dating, see if I could find a man. I knew what I wanted, someone just for me. I didn’t want a father for my kids, I just wanted someone fuck every once in a while. I saw one guy for a few months before I realised that I was starting to let him take over my ‘me-time’. And I was the one who was changing for him, he didn’t ask me to, it just happened. So I ended it. This time I was determined to concentrate on me and my kids. I had one who was going through a bad phase. He was getting in trouble, dossing school, drinking. He was only fourteen when the problems started and we had three years of it before things were finally sorted out.

Through that time I had thought of myself as a pretty happy and optimistic person, I was seriously stressed, but again, having friends I could talk to about it helped keep me going.

Occasionally I’d think about men, but I don’t live in the sort of place or have the sort of life where I get to meet many eligible men and going back online was just too much hassle, so I semi-resigned myself to having to wait a while.

And then after five years of being on my own I thought I was ready to give it one last good go. The kids were growing up, I’d started to plan for when they were gone, things were going well. I still had a few issues with my mental health but they’ve always been there and I was learning to deal with them properly. For the first time in my life I was starting to see a future. This time, I thought, all I wanted was to find someone who I could talk to, have long, rambling conversations with over dinner, a couple of drinks, and if there was sex, then so much the better. But to be honest it wasn’t about sex. It was about making that connection, some independent, adult company. And I definitely didn’t want a relationship. This blog tells part of that story.

Now I’m happier, still not really happy but better than I was.

I’ll confess that sometimes I do get upset when I see or read about couples and other sorts of relationships, what they’re up to, the places they go to, the sharing is beautiful. And it’s not the fact that they do have someone to share with. I’m surrounded by couples in the real world and I know that no relationship is a 24/7 happyfest. I think I’m more envious of the fact they have found others to share their life with, to support them, to care about them. I do have people who love me, care about me and support me, but I always feel as if I’m a bit of an afterthought in their lives. Apart from the kids I’ve never been the centre of anyone’s life, never been the most important thing, they’ve always had something or someone else who’s been their priority. But then how can I expect to be a priority in someone’s life if my kids are my priority? I think that I’m at a stage in my life where I realise that I can’t do proper long term relationships, they never seem to work out for me. I can’t make someone else the centre of my life. The thought of spending a lot of my time with someone feels constricting, living with someone would mean having to change so much of my routines and the way I do things. I’ve grown to be happy with my life, as small as it is. I don’t travel to exotic destinations, I can’t even drive. I don’t go to fancy restaurants, concerts, theatres or museums but I live in hope that in another few years I’ll get to do some of these. As for ever finding someone to share things with? Never say never.


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