There’s nothing as unattractive as middle-aged desperation. And yet, by the time you reach middle age, there’s a lot to be desperate about.
It’s hard to discount the march of time when the anti-age creams, serums and potions in any magazine are being advertised directly to you. Albeit by women who look far more fabulous.
Your worth on the singles scene declines precipitously and is underscored with exclamation marks when your closest male friend tells you “I’m just not attracted to women our age.”
After 30+ years in a career, you’re far less attractive on the job market than a 40-something with 15 years who can do the same thing.
People are dying all around you. Your parents. Your peers. Your cat.
Yes, it’s hard to maintain your equilibrium in the face of middle age.
So I have a boyfriend. Almost 4 years now. I was madly in love for a long time. He was adorable. Smart. Funny. A lot more so 4 years ago than he is today.
He has issues. He’s an addict in recovery for years now, and he must take depression medication for a serious, lifelong depressive condition. Oh, and we’ve been through it, too. A couple years ago he fell down a dark abyss of depression and it tooks almost a year to get on the right medication. I was there in every possible way, supporting him through it all until he got relief.
The medication alleviates the depression, but it doesn’t alleviate the deeper dis-ease: “All about him-itis”
It’s all about him. Always. Every day. All the time. It’s his mood, his work, his disease, his dis-ease. His desires. His situation.
It wasn’t always so. Or maybe it was and I just didn’t notice it until his meds leveled him out. But it doesn’t matter because it’s worn on me. To the point where I wonder if I feel anything for him anymore.
I’m generally a happy and positive person. When meds were prescribed for the depression I got after my mother died 10 years ago, I was aghast. I was SUPPOSED to feel sad. And as I expected, it passed. Without pills.
I don’t usually have hard times and I always spring back pretty quickly.
These past months have been some of the toughest in my life. My father got sick and died. Things at work got as bad as they could be. My dog got sick to the tune of over $1,300. I have $2,000 worth of repairs to my car. $1,000 to my house. A great offer on my second home fell through. I don’t know how I can afford my life any longer. My plans for a new, semi-retired career are dangling, due to the economy. My retirement stash is dwindling, thanks to the Bush economy. There are family issues.
Yes, valid reasons to need support.
So, where is the boyfriend? That’s a good question. Because he isn’t there.
He’s at the place where he always lives. In Self-centeredville.
In Self-centeredville, it’s always about you. You aren’t able to reach out when your partner is in need. In fact, you’re really uncomfortable with it. Your focus can’t extend beyond yourself. And sometimes it looks like you withhold on purpose.
Now, I wasn’t obsessively depressive. That’s not the way I roll. Iwas just a bit upset and in need of some human kindness. I needed someone to call and say “hey honey, how are you?” To send a card. Or flowers. or a Book. To encourage me.
What I got was nothing.
I’m really good at connecting the dots. I sensed that he just couldn’t deal with my need for support. That he was in fact, withdrawing from me in my time of trouble. That he would only respond to me if I were my usual happy self.
So I tried a little experiment. A day or two when I left my issues behind and as far as he was concerned, I was always in Happyville. I said nothing about myself and pretended to be mindlessly happy. Everything was just GREAT! Iwas having FUN! Laughing! Joking! My focus was on him.
36 hours later he said “Gee, you are in such a great mood, it will be great to spend some time with you!”
Yep. A confirmed resident of Self-centeredville.
So the question is, can I live there with him? Or more to the point: do I even want to?
I am in disequilibrium. More on that later.