Choosing between solidarity and partnership
Choosing between solidarity and partnership
I am afraid to grow old alone. Perhaps, it is because I was raised in a family of ten children. I was always around people; whether I chose to be or not. Growing up, I had many "alone" moments where I chose not to gather people around me. I chose to spend my time with animals instead. Creatures that wouldn't judge me, control me or place expectations on me that I didn't feel I could live up to.
When I dated throughout my life, I focused on one person at a time. My true relationships lasted years, even when in my heart, I knew some of them should have only lasted days.
Now, in my forties and heading to the big 5-0, I am living comfortably with someone that I feel great love and respect. I look forward to seeing him each morning laying beside me and I cherish each night when I can fall asleep on his shoulder. We make a great team together. We have the same work ethic. We aren't afraid of getting dirty or sweating. We both enjoy physical labor and choose to complete many projects on our own rather than hire out to get the job done. We are both creative in thought and use this creativity to make additions to the home that both are functional and charming. He always tells me that he loves me with his whole heart. That it kills him to see when I suffer. When I cry. That he wishes he could carry me through difficult times or take my burdens upon himself. He is my best friend and support and I am his.
He doesn't want to marry me. It hurts to even write these words. He cannot talk about a future with me beyond a couple years at a time. When I casually state that if he loves me enough to live with me, then he should love me enough to marry me, he doesn't realize that I am not being casual at all. I am probing into my own future. I want to be assured that the love I freely give to him, the commitment I have embarked upon and the kinship that I feel with him won't be gone one day because of his inability to fully commit to the idea of living his life out with me by his side.
He has said in exact words, "I will never marry you" and I am consumed with self doubt. Why? What is so bad about marriage? Does putting a ring on someone's finger and signing a paper, legally committing yourself to another really change things? Then, I begin to wonder what his message means. Does he love me because his life seems easy with me? He feels a comfort he's never felt before? Perhaps, he feels he doesn't have to exert too much energy to make this relationship work because it seems to do well most of the time. Would getting married mean more work to him?
Every day, since his comment, I have questioned his commitment to me. I feel his love and I see it through his every day actions. However, if I am going to end up alone in my old age and evolve through the aging process to my death bed and envision looking up before leaving my Earthly body and not seeing his face, should I put an end to us now? My mind states maybe. My heart cries no.
I realize there are no certainties to life. Growing up in Michigan, one can't even be certain that the season of winter won't poke its head out in the beginning of spring. The only thing I can be certain of is that I am getting older and will die within the next 50 years. I want him to be there with me. To walk along beside me on this journey. For now, I choose partnership. I don't know if given an ultimatum that he would stay. I am afraid. Of losing him. Of being alone. Of having to face life without a hand to hold and his encouraging words.
I am hoping that his fear lies within the word and not the idea of spending his life with me. Time will tell. I hope that it is time, well spent for both of us.
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