The Experience Of Love…

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This is a difficult piece to write, but timely, given the fact that it has been the topic of many recent conversations.  Not in specifics, but in the generalities of love.

I have, however, put this blog together in my mind a thousand times.  As I talked with people who tell me they have experienced love, I find it not only fascinating, but I also find it to be baffling.  And I wonder what’s wrong with me that I’ve never been able to experience these feelings with anyone.  It’s like someone is speaking Greek.

Now, when I talk of “love,” I am referring to the love of a boyfriend to a girlfriend or a husband to a wife.  Not love of family, of children or of parents, or even the love of a good friend.  I am talking strictly of love with no prior, or no blood, connection.

This idea amazes me because not only have I never experienced feeling that way about someone but no one has ever felt that way about me.  And that’s the part I had so much trouble understanding.  Love has to be a two-way street.  No way around it.

So as I have talked to others about their concepts and experiences with love, I realize I have literally never experienced this emotion.  Or really anything close to it.

I spoke to someone recently who said when you’re in love, you never want to leave the side of the person you are in love with and when you have to, you cannot wait to return.  You swell up inside when you see them.  You can’t stop thinking about them.  In a way, they become your life.  Or, they become the most important thing in your life.

First, to address “never wanting to leave the side of the person you’re with.”  I can say in all honesty I have never been around a significant other for more than 48 hours at a time and by then I was ready to get away as fast as my feet could carry me.  I believe very much in the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” because it is so easy for me to just get literally sick of someone to the point I don’t care if I ever see them again or not.  I can honestly say, in every long-term relationship I have ever been in, all I could think about was getting away, putting distance between us and showering as quickly as possible.

I can’t imagine being around anyone 24/7 and actually wanting to and anyone actually wanting to be around me that much.  The closest I ever came to that would have been in high school, and that was more that she wanted me around to keep an eye on me.

Next, to address “when you’re away, you can’t wait to return.”  I don’t think that far in advance.  If I’m going to be away, I’m away for a reason and that reason will be the point of my focus.  I’m certainly not saying I haven’t looked forward to seeing a woman or two or ten in my time, but I am saying that I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t wait to see a woman again.  No woman ever held my interest to that degree.

This idea may have been more of a byproduct of marriage than anything else, and since I have never been (nor ever will be) married, then it doesn’t apply to me anyway.

Next, to address “you swell up inside when you see them.”  I don’t understand that at all.  I do understand feeling panic, nausea, aggravation and stress when seeing someone, as I have experienced every one of those with various women over the years.  I guess you could also say I understand the opposite, because I have felt deflated at seeing some girls.

I have felt a feeling of joy and pride when I see my son, so I am assuming it is some kind of offshoot of that feeling.  I just can’t imagine feeling that way about a woman.  Wow.

Finally, to address “you can’t stop thinking about them.”  I have experienced this, but I am pretty sure its in a totally different context.  I’ve cried, I’ve been sick and I’ve been in a state of almost catatonic depression and been unable to think about nothing else than a few women I have known, but I am pretty sure that doesn’t count.  I think this was meant to say that love means thinking nice thoughts about someone, not “I wish you would go away and never darken my life again,” because that one is consistent for me.

I have had dreams about girls while I was dating them, and that stretches as far back as I can remember, but the dreams themselves were usually based on my getting away from them, so I think even subconsciously I was working from that depressed point of view.  These dreams usually involved me being in a “last man on Earth” type of scenario, which meant the women in question had basically disappeared and I was unable to find them.

Now, understand, I am not saying in any way that love isn’t a real experience and maybe it even lasts a lifetime.  I’m not trying to put the concept of love down, or say it doesn’t exist.  I’m simply saying it has never existed for me.  All of this is completely and totally off base with me.  I have never experienced any type of feelings even close to these.

I’m also not saying its not feasible that I could “fall in love” in the future, but at this point, as jaded and disinterested as I am in this whole thing, as well as the fact that I make myself as inaccessible as possible, I think the odds are greatly in my favor that I will never have to deal with this kind of thing.  But, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

For those who have experienced it, I’m sure love is an amazing thing, because it sounds like it would be.  I just don’t think its for me.  I like to think of myself as the ultimate lone wolf, and I’ve always felt that way.  I’ve been anti-marriage all my life.  That will never change.  I can’t imagine being married, but I guess if you actually were in love with someone who was in love with you, marriage would make sense.  I don’t see it.

So, going forward, I am happy just to feel the love of friends who care about me and family that I still have contact with who care.  It could be worse.  It’s not like I’m an island unto myself or anything.  And as the popular saying goes, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, and I’m still kind of working on that part.

And if I never experience what its like to love a woman and have her love me in return, well, I guess that was just God’s will.  And I certainly would not question that.  If a couple of years down the road I meet a woman who fits the bill, then I would be open to it.  I’m not ready to call it a day just yet, though I am for the rest of this year.  And if I miss a chance that comes along in 2018, well, that’s on me.  But I think everything happens for a reason and if I’m supposed to be with someone someday, it will work itself out.

Peace.

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Not For Sale: Taking Myself Off The Market

This blog entry was not planned, I kind of “stumbled across” this concept last night while I was on Facebook. A good friend of mine was contemplating online dating and I proceeded to tell him that sometimes it’s best to just take yourself off the market, like I had done in 2009-10, and live for yourself, and make yourself happy and productive.

Then I realized what a hypocrite I am.

Since I turned 18, I have spent roughly 12 years in miserable, unhappy relationships with various women and 10 years as a happy and contented single man. And there is NO question, on any level, regarding whether my life is happier single, or taken. None.

My stress level when I am in a relationship has pushed my body to break down in numerous ways. Heart problems. My hair falling out. Ulcers. Migraine headaches. Being more susceptible to airborne illnesses and taking longer to recover. Inability to sleep. A consistent bad mood. Overeating. Twitching eyes. I am quick to anger and this makes not only me unhappy, but those around me who have to deal with my very short fuse.

When I am single, it’s a different world. My stress level drops enormously and everything else starts to come together and I get healthier and happier. And it’s not a subtle change; it’s overwhelming. I really feel like life is worth living again.

I’m going to be honest about something I have never admitted to publicly and only a few close friends are aware:  I have had two episodes of suicide contemplation; the first was in the fall of 2009 and was due to me feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship.  The second was in early 2017 and was due to me feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship.

Everything I had suggested to my friend, I realized I was not doing. I wasn’t living for me. I was doing the exact opposite. I was spending hours talking to this girl or that girl rather than unplugging myself completely and doing things that I enjoy doing.  I was ready to wrap myself up in another round of unhappiness and there was no reasoning behind it.

Some people have questioned me over the past several months about why I consistently either turn down or blow off women who are interested in meeting or dating.  I think I had already made up my mind to avoid relationships without admitting it to myself.

Part of this comes from societal pressures. If you’re not in a committed relationship, you should be. Regardless of whether it contributes to your happiness or misery. It’s more about the reaction and approval of others than anything on a personal level. That’s wrong.  It doesn’t matter how you slice it, you have to live for yourself, no one else.

So, in the tradition of “physician, heal thyself,” I realized I needed to take my own advice. Which means effectively taking myself off the relationship market. Leaving myself open to make similar stupid mistakes to ones I have made in the past wouldn’t help me at all.

My decision-making processes where women are concerned have not been good. It’s not just that if I had two to choose from, I would choose the wrong one; when I had close to 30 to choose from, I still chose the wrong one. And when I say wrong, I mean WRONG.

I think anyone who has gotten out of a long-term relationship needs to take an extended break. A year, if possible. And if the relationship was an unhappy one, or as miserable as all of mine have been, maybe longer.  Maybe a permanent vacation could be called for.

And yes, I know that admitting that every relationship I have been in was soul-crushingly unhappy makes it look as though the problem may be on my end. And I admit as much. And that’s even more reason to remove myself from the dating pool. If I know I am gonna be miserable going in, there’s hardly any benefit to going ahead and doing it.

I just want to be happy. And enjoy myself. And from my personal experiences, I have to be single in order to do that. I can do the things I enjoy doing and I don’t have to compromise anything. I can do what I want, when I want, where I want, and I don’t have to answer to anyone. Why jeopardize that just to make someone else miserable and myself miserable at the same time? That has accomplished nothing for anyone involved.

I have been anti-marriage as long as I can remember. That will never change. I can’t even imagine how miserable marriage would be had I ever been stupid enough to try it in any of my past situations. But now I am as close to anti-relationship as I could get. And let’s face it, a relationship is nothing more than a gateway to marriage.  That’s a fact.

So, for at least the rest of 2018, I am “single, not available.” I wish Facebook had an option to make that your relationships status.  It’s not all that far-fetched, as AOL used to have that option available for profiles. And if things work out as well for me as a single man in 2018 as they did in 2010 or even 1996, this may be my permanent status for the rest of my life. As the saying goes, I don’t need anyone to complete me.  I’m a complete person.

I am going to live for me. Do the things I enjoy and live my life the way I see fit, not the way someone else decides I should do it. This is my life, and I will do with it what I feel is in my best interest. And for now, that’s being single. And there’s a chance that may never change. And if that’s the case, so be it. No regrets. It’s my life. I just can’t justify putting my life, happiness and enjoyments in the hands of someone who has no right to them.  Will some people disagree?  Of course.  But you do what’s best for you, and I’ll do what’s best for me, and avoiding relationships in general is the best thing for me right now.

And for those who understand, and support me in this decision, I thank you.  My closest confidants have told me that this was the right move for months.  And I finally have to admit that I agree, and admit its good to have people who care looking out for me.

In conclusion, 2018 is MY year.  And if I wake up on New Year’s Day 2019 and I am unhappy, I may re-evaluate my life’s decisions.  If not, the status quo can remain in place.  But until that day, my #1 goal is to avoid relationships and if anyone thinks they can or need to change my mind, rest assured, it’s not changing.  I am committed to this to the point that I will completely disconnect from anyone who wants to push the envelope.  I’m as close to completely happy right now as I have been in almost eight years.  I’m not willing to give that up for anyone or anything.  My life is not for sale.

Peace. ✌️

Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective, Volume II

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As I was visiting with my mom a couple of days ago, she broached a subject I was hoping we would not have to discuss:  Relationships.  The reason I hate discussing this with her is that I don’t need to be reminded that my taste in women is atrocious and that every time I have been in what would loosely be termed “a relationship,” I passed up a lot of better options to settle for far less than I deserved every single time.  I know all of this, and have to live with it, but she feels the need to remind me.

But this discussion was different.  It wasn’t about my poor choices and stupid mistakes of the past, it was about the future.  And I had not given much thought to the future.  I have been living with a day-to-day perspective throughout 2018, and the idea of thinking a day or a week or a month ahead isn’t something I had been doing to any extent.

I have, however, discussed it a bit with my two closest confidants at times.

The last time I was single for an extensive period of time, I had a list of rules to help me weed out the losers from the potential winners.  It wasn’t the type of rules that most people think of (specific height, weight, hair color, etc.) but was more guidelines to separate the trash from the treasures, i.e. “must have a job,” “must have a car” and “no crazy ex’s.”  The kind of thing a nice, middle-class girl should have.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that I looked past the more obvious points I should have been considering, like “is this someone I can stand being around for more than a couple of hours?”  Or, “is this someone I could marry in the future?”

To make matters worse, I not only totally disregarded those obvious questions but threw my guidelines away as well and settled for everything I never wanted.

This time around, I’m smart enough to put everything into perspective.

To put it a little more simply, as I said to one of my confidants a couple of days ago, “I want a woman I can’t live without, not a woman I can’t live with.”  Which means I not only want a woman who fits the obvious prerequisites (mutual attraction, mutual interests, etc.) as well as my own personal requirements (the aforementioned job and car, etc.), but also now fits the questions I should have been asking all along.

Obviously, this is going to thin the herd down to pretty much nothing.  And I’m OK with that.  Because at this point, at 40 years old, I shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than I actually want, and I am perfectly and totally happy as things stand.

So, I sat down again with mom today and said “at this point, given everyone I have met and where everything stands, no, I’ll never be in a relationship again.  Granted, that could change tomorrow depending on who I meet, but right now, no.”

If I don’t see a future with someone, I’m not going to waste the present on them.  It isn’t fair to me and at my age, I’m ready to either settle down with someone, or settle down alone.  And since I am living pretty comfortably right now, I see no reason to change that for someone unless she is going to be a permanent part of my life.

I wish everyone would adopt my philosophy, as a lot fewer bad relationships would result and the dramatics that result from those bad relationships wouldn’t happen.  Of course, I realize some people thrive on bad relationships, as a way of getting attention online or from friends.  Realize that this isn’t healthy or good for anyone.

I am going forward, alone or not, the wheels will roll.  If there’s someone out there that is my “forever,” then eventually I’ll meet her.  If not, I’m going to be happy and enjoy my life anyway.  I don’t need anyone to completely me, I’m a complete person, as is.  But I am not closing the door to anything that may develop down the road.

There is White Sox baseball to watch, fine cigars to be smoked, excellent food and whiskey to be consumed and life to be lived.  And that’s what I’m doing.  I’m not settling for less than the best in any facet of my life going forward.  Ever again.

Peace.

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times…

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That classic line, from the opening of “A Tale Of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens, certainly proves to be the perfect adage for my life at this time, and if we boil it down to the past six months, it’s amazing to not only see the change in my life and my health, but the absolute extremes that I have lived through in both directions.

The only difference would be that my life plays out in reverse order, as it had been the worst of times, and then three months ago it became the best.

As we scroll back to October 2017, I was about to hit rock bottom.  I was miserable.  I couldn’t sleep.  I was constantly sick, whether it was sinus infections or viruses or any kind of sickness that happened to be going around, my immune system was shot.  I had stomach ulcers which meant that even though I could eat, I was in constant pain and had to take medication on numerous occasions to try to fix that issue.

Then I started getting migraine headaches.  My eyeballs would “jump,” which I looked up online and found that this issue was most commonly caused by anxiety.  Huge surprise, there.  I was also around 80 pounds overweight.  By the time November was closing, I was so miserably unhappy thoughts of death were a normal part of every day.  Not that I was actively planning to commit suicide, but I was praying that perhaps one night I would go to bed and maybe, as per the Megadeth song, “wake up dead.”

My hair started to fall out.  I hated my job, but had to make the money.

People were spending money faster than I was making it, but luckily I had cash reserves, so it wasn’t like anyone was doing without.  And seeing that my son had everything that he wanted was the most important thing, I wanted him to grow up knowing that he had a great childhood, just like I did.  I had the greatest childhood anyone ever had.  I wouldn’t trade my childhood memories, or my life in general, for anything.

And things started to change for me.

The realization that I was finally, totally, completely and eternally out of a horrible situation that I was in was the first step in making my life better.  And once I started to fall into a normal schedule, circa 2010 before I got into that set of circumstances, I could feel a real change beginning to take hold.  And my body started to respond.

Now that I am past that and in a happier position, I can legitimately say this is the best of times.  I can go where I want, when I want and do as I please without having to tell anyone what I’m doing.  My hair has stopped falling out.  I’m losing weight.  I can sleep at night.  I quit my job and became self-employed, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have had a total of one migraine headache in three months.  I have had no stomach problems and one sinus infection in that time.

Now that baseball season is here, and MLB The Show 18 is going to drop in about two weeks, I can look forward to a great summer.  I don’t have to be anywhere except where I want to be.  I plan on taking in at least a few, if not a lot, of West Virginia Black Bears baseball games this summer.  Long days in the pool.  Grilling.  Even simple things like mowing the lawn and tending to the garden.  Watching the sun set while I listen to a White Sox game on the radio with a flask of whiskey and a cigar.

I’ve bled for everyone else, I’ve done for everyone else.  Now its time to do for me.  This is the best of times.  The worst of times are behind me.  I will render them so insignificant that I hope I can eventually forget them, rather than continue to hate them.  Because life is too short to hate anything, let alone anything so truly unimportant.

In closing, the lesson that anyone who sees this should take from it is that life is much too short to be unhappy and suffering to the point of your body physically breaking down.  This is not the answer.  Suffering through the worst of times did nothing to make my life any better and at this moment in time I literally have nothing to show for it other than the hatred I have for those whom I had to deal with at that time.  But as dark as the past is, the future is just as bright, and I’m gonna live it for all its worth.

Peace, and God bless.

Am I The Luckiest Man Alive? Or Is Providence Looking Out For Me?

Over the course of my life I have come to realize I am either the luckiest man who ever lived or Providence is, in fact, looking out for me.

Everything I have wanted in life, I have gotten. Every bad situation I have wanted out of, I have gotten out of. Everything I have thought I wanted but would have turned out to be bad for me, I have managed to stay away from or get away from before it was too late.

I keep thinking no one could be as lucky as I am.

For some reason, I have a bad habit of undervaluing myself.  There have been girls that I really wanted to go out with, to get to know, and in each instance, luck or Providence has shown me the error of that decision, by giving me the chance or by rescuing me before I got that far.  Some of those choices I made could have been disastrous.

Either the girl met someone else and I was left out, or cooler heads prevailed and I didn’t pursue things. The amusing angle on that has been the luck the girls have with the new boyfriend’s they passed on me for. It’s a 100% failure rate and almost every time it doesn’t last a week.

But, since I do not accept being “plan B,” they can consider it to be a double failure, because not only does that relationship not work out, but they’ve blown it with me, as well.

So, I have learned to just trust in fate because it’s track record is flawless and considering the amount of trouble or bad luck I could have had at this point in my life (I’m 40), I’m about as lucky as I could possibly be.

Life isn’t good, life is great.  It’s fun getting up every day and seeing not only what life has in store for me, but what is going on around me.  I feel almost indestructible, maybe not in a physical way, but definitely in an emotional way.

It’s a good feeling to know that someone, somewhere is looking out for me and keeping me from the pitfalls that appear to be catching everyone else.

I never believed in karma or people getting “paid back” for their sins until this year.  Now I have seen it for myself, and its enjoyable to watch.

Peace, and God bless.

Misery and Depression… And The Long Road Back To Happiness

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.com
About six months ago, I sat in this very chair and was reading an article about the effects of depression on your body.  As I read, I began to realize exactly where I was in life; in the clutches of crippling depression.  Insomnia, heart problems, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, a weakened immune system…  It was like reading a list of the problems I was facing on a daily basis.  The worst part was, I didn’t realize I was miserable.

I had been programmed by those around me to think that I couldn’t be happier, because it would reflect poorly on them if society knew how unhappy I was.

The mind can be tricked, but the body, not so much.  You can be in a horrific car accident and break every bone, and while you can tell yourself that you’re not in pain or that everything is fine, that body cast will paint a much different picture.

There I was, for years on end, absolutely miserable.  Hating everyone I dealt with, just wanting to be alone, crying myself to sleep at night, my hair was falling out, I was 80 pounds overweight, I developed ulcers and, within the past year, even started to get migraine headaches.  But I kept telling myself I had to be happy.

But inside I knew I was miserable.  You can’t be around people on a daily basis that you hate with every fiber of your being and somehow be “happy.”  You can’t throw your life away and expect anything good to come back to you.  Ever.  It just doesn’t work that way.  If you want good in your life, you have to put it there yourself.

Luckily, circumstance decreed otherwise and those people have been eliminated from my life forever, and in less than three months my whole world is changing.  I have lost 17 pounds, I haven’t had a single migraine headache since early December, I can actually sleep at night and wake refreshed in the morning, my blood pressure is dropping, my ulcers are finally straightening up, my hair stopped falling out and I don’t feel the overwhelming, non-stop feelings of misery, doom and depression that I felt for seven years.  Just by the elimination of people I hated from my life.

From the time I was 15 I always said I would never live to see 40.  It was just a premonition, nothing concrete ever happened to give me that foresight.  But now I realize there was some truth to it.  At the age of 40 years and six months, I actually started to live.  The old me is dead.  The “me” that hated to get up in the morning because my bed was the only place I felt “happy,” that couldn’t function due to headaches so bad I became disoriented, that laid in bed awake every night for four or five hours before a small amount of sleep would overtake me and then I could have nightmares about the unhappiness in my life.  That “me” didn’t make it far past 40.

So, to anyone who reads this, I’m pleading with you, don’t lie to yourself.  Life is too short and precious to be spent being miserable.  Don’t throw your life away.  If there’s anything in your life that is making you miserable and unhappy, get rid of it.  It’s not worth it, no matter what it is.  There is so much happiness to be had in the world today, don’t let anything, and especially anyone, ruin it for you.  You’re worth more than that.  I lost seven years of my life to crippling depression and I’ll never get those seven years back.  But, if I live as long as my grandfather did, I could have 52 years ahead of me to enjoy life and actually be happy.  I plan on taking advantage of them.

Don’t let society, or anyone’s manipulations, make you unhappy.  Don’t allow yourself to be used and abused and taken advantage of just so someone else can be happy.  It isn’t worth it on any level.  Your life is your own.  To live as you want.

I want to say that I thank God for the life I was given, I thank my friends and family for seeing me through it and I thank providence for getting me out of the misery I was in for all those years.  Many a night I laid in bed and begged the Lord to end my life before the sun would rise again.  Now the sun has truly risen.  I wouldn’t trade my life right now for anything or anyone, and I am happier than I have been in probably 15 years.  And a whole lot healthier.  With a lot more support and love than I have ever had.  How many times lately I have said “today was a really good day.”  Those were so few and far between in the previous seven years I could have counted them on one hand and had fingers left over.  Life is what you make it.  And this is mine.

In closing, you are given one earthly life.  What you do with it is up to you.  If you want to get into a situation where every day feels like it would be better if it were your last, then you need to wake up and understand that there’s more to life than that.  There are wonderful people and places and things to enjoy.  Hobbies and food and drink and movies and shows…  Why allow anyone, or anything, to make you unhappy?  Let it go.  Take a deep breath, and walk out into the world.  And enjoy it.

Peace.

Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

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By definition, a relationship is “a connection between persons by blood or marriage.”  This is the definition based on the concept of the male/female relationship in which love is involved.  There are other definitions of the word, of course, but this is the one I want to focus on.

The definition I listed above is a bit weak on details that make a relationship what it is.  Oddly enough, most definitions of the word that I have found on various sites (including dictionary.com and the Merriam-Webster website) are lacking in fundamentally spelling out what a “relationship” entails.

I am not pretending, in any way, to even begin to understand what makes a relationship between two people successful, because I have been in very few relationships and none of them have been successful or overly enjoyable for either party.  However, due to this lack of success and lack of happiness and enjoyment, I think that puts me in a unique position to talk about my ideas.

The most important part of a relationship would have to be love, as this is what the entire relationship is built on.  This is also a bit problematic for me as I have never been in love, and have never been afraid to admit it, so again, I’m behind the 8-ball a little when discussing this aspect.

If you love someone, I am assuming you would want to spend most of your time with them.  I see this as problematic given that most people don’t have enough in common to spend that much time with someone.  In my personal experience, a perfect February evening for me would be an episode or three or four of Forensic Files, a nice dinner and then listen to a Megadeth CD before going to bed.  There are exactly zero women on the face of the earth that would enjoy that.

Now, the other option is to sell yourself out and do whatever your significant other wants to do.  But what if you have no interests shared with that person?  Do you just sit back and say “what’s one wasted evening?”  But if you’re in a relationship, how many evenings are you willing to waste?  Isn’t your life and your time worth anything to you?  Why would you just give it away to someone?

Also, to have a relationship you have to have a mutual attraction.  This is pretty standard and straightforward, you can’t be in a relationship with someone you aren’t attracted to, unless you’re the type of woman who is only after a man for his money.  Luckily, I think most guys would catch on to that kind of thing.

But is attraction and love enough?  Maybe if you’re in high school.  But once you hit the real world, could a relationship last strictly on love and a mutual attraction?  Or does there have to be a lot more involved?

I was always smart enough to keep my relationships at arm’s length.  Part of this was due to the lack of love between both parties and the fact that I went into every relationship prepared for it to end.  I never looked at a relationship as a potentially full-life scenario, because that was ridiculous.  I have looked at each relationship as a war, a series of battles to be fought until the war was over.

I’m now 40, a little older and a little wiser than I was in my youth.  Cynical but not to the point of being ridiculous.  I have finally figured out, however, that relationships aren’t for me.  I’m not saying I’m against dating, or sex, I’m just saying I’m against the idea of chaining myself to one person for any length of time and suffering all the aggravations and misery that goes along with being in a relationship.

A perfect example of how I feel was vocalized in a 1974 episode of Columbo titled “Negative Reaction,” starring Dick Van Dyke as Paul Galesko.  In one scene, during an argument with his wife, Galesko says “I have nothing to face that day, but another 24 hours with a domineering, nagging, suffocating woman who took all the joy out of my life.”    That’s what I think when I imagine a relationship.

This is where the big difference between “dating” and being in a “relationship” really hits home for me.  When dating someone, you can go out and have a nice time, or spend an occasional evening together and enjoy each other’s company and then go your own way.  You aren’t chained to this person.  When you’re in a relationship, you are stuck with this person 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year.

This is where I realize that I have never been in love or been in a successful relationship, because I have never met anyone I could spend more than a couple of days around without wanting to jump out a window or drink the nearest poisonous liquid I could find.  Yes, I’m a loner and proud of it, and that will never change.  I need quiet, alone time to reboot myself and do things I enjoy doing.

There are undoubtedly a lot of people out there enjoying their relationship or their marriage, and I’m not trying to ruin it for you; you may very well be happy and it may very well last for the rest of your life.  But that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.  I am far happier being able to do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want than having anyone tell me what to do.

This is especially true when the person I’m with, and that counts every one I have ever been with, didn’t love me in the first place and the feeling was mutual.  As I mentioned earlier, love is the most important part of a relationship.  If you don’t have love, what you have is a joke, and it’s fake.  You’re accomplishing nothing by being in a fake relationship that has no love in it.  It’s bad news.

Instead of wasting your life on that kind of nonsense, do what I have done and swear off relationships for good.  It doesn’t mean you have to stop dating or playing the field or any of those kinds of things, just don’t tie yourself down to one person and let them make you miserable for the rest of your life.

As Benny Hill sang, “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”  It works the other way around, too.

I know some people will say “you just haven’t met the right person yet.”  Well, as I mentioned, I’m 40.  The dating pool is pretty shallow on this end.  That’s not a complaint, its just a fact.  And in the event I were to find someone that I had even 80% compatibility with, I might be willing to make some adjustments, but as I have not met anyone even close to 50% compatibility at this point, I’m not exactly hopeful that such a woman is suddenly going to materialize out of thin air.

In closing, I want to share three of my favorite anti-relationship quotes.

“I am not searching for my other half, because I am not a half.”

“Getting into a relationship may seem like a good idea, but so was getting on the Titanic and look what happened there.”

And finally, my all-time favorite:

“Marriage basically consists of three rings:  Engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.”

Peace