Choices; that s what life is all about. We make choices from things as simple as what to wear for the day, to life changing decisions. We can choose to be happy or sad. Having a good attitude or a bad one can be a conscious decision. And if you’re bipolar, you can decide to accept your disease and fight it, or ignore it and suffer through the denial;
And sometimes, not making a choice is a choice.
I’m facing a couple of choices now that are complicated and confusing. My focus lately has been on my relationships and being able to make those good choices. It’s not necessarily about finding a relationship; it’s about figuring myself out and being healthy; in or out of a relationship.
Which gives me some decisions to make.
It’s no secret that I’ve been doing some dating. I’ve tried to have a more serious relationship lately that just wasn’t meant to be. And since then, I’ve had some ‘casual’ dates that have developed into some real interest. Not that I’m so driven to commit to someone right now. But if I am going to date, I’m not comfortable with dating more than one person at the time. So that’s the first consideration.
Am I healthy enough to even attempt something a little more serious? I’m still working through a lot of issues resulting from my last marriage. There was a lot of damage done to us both, and the residual has left scars. I do know that it’s affecting my attitude and my tolerance for risk. I’ve spent the last year or so learning how to be happy being by myself, and I believe I’ve been fairly successful at it. I no longer stress out about time alone, or spent all the effort into making sure that I’ve always got someone there. In fact, I crave the alone time. That being said, man in general is not a solitary creature, and I would like to have someone to share my life with. But is that the best decision for me at this point? Honestly, I don’t know.
It’s interesting too and the two women who have piqued my interest. They could not be any more opposite from each other.
First, there’s the ‘city girl’. She’s well travelled, sophisticated, and has experienced and appreciated some of the finer things in life. Her career is very close to my own current situation, and we share the same industry. She has a very dry sense of humor, and some awesome sarcasm and wit. And these are attributes much like my own. She owns her own home, which is beautiful and well appointed. Financial security is not an issue for her. Over the years I’ve developed a professionalism and savoir faire that is sophisticated and worldly. And I do enjoy some of the good things life has to offer. In that regard we’re on the same level. She’s originally from the upper mid-west of the US. She has a very distinct accent that is different from anyone else I’ve dated. She has an upper Midwest attitude too. There’s nothing wrong with it, there are just some different perspectives and opinions. Perhaps there are even some different values as well. Physically I find her very attractive as well. She has a beautiful face, and a beautiful heart to go along with it. But she’s a big girl. She’s not obese by any means, but she’s carrying probably close to 100 lbs too much. I don’t have a problem with big women by any means. I understand that at this age, none of us are going to have the ‘perfect’ bodies. It’s not a criticism by any stretch; it’s an observation. It does put a little damper on intimate situations however. Again, it’s not a judgment; it’s just I don’t have as strong as an attraction as I do with someone who is a little more height / weight proportionate. But that certainly wouldn’t preclude allowing something to develop. It’s a consideration, that’s all.
Then there’s the other lady. She grew up in the Southern part of the US, not too far from where I did. She doesn’t have an accent at all. (Well, none that I can hear anyway). She has an administrative job, and her income keeps her on the edge of financial difficulties. She’s in a rental house, and an eclectic mix of furnishings with no attempt at ‘decorating’. Being southern, she has simple but strong values that are the same as mine. The activities she enjoys are more related to outdoors and uncomplicated experiences. She prefers camping to fancy hotels. Hole in the wall restaurants with good, local food is her first choice over fine dining. A walk in the woods trumps the best museums. She is a simple, uncomplicated girl. And she is tiny. She’s barely 5 feet tall, and very proportionate. Needless to say, she doesn’t look like an 18 year old, but for someone in her 50’s, she is pretty darned close.
Truly, they are exact opposites. Bipolar. Maybe that’s part of the attraction. And maybe the source of confusion too.
Here’s my conundrum. Each represents a completely different lifestyle. There is refined and urban; simple and basic. So where do I want to go? What do I want to be? WHO do I want to be? Because who you are; who I am, is a choice. I have many different interests and attributes. None of them are right or wrong. And there is no reason for one to preclude the other. I do think that in both cases, it will be fun to expose them to things they haven’t had before. But then there’s the other question; why do I have to decide on a relationship at all? There’s something to be said for improving the relationship with myself.
And then there’s the bipolar issue. I have not disclosed my illness to either at this point. If I take anything to the next step, then it will be time. Until then I think it’s unnecessary. One consideration is whether I think they will be strong enough to be involved with someone who is bipolar. It’s definitely something they should know about, and be ready to commit to. I’m not naïve enough to believe that I have the illness completely under control; there will always be issues. I’ve got to keep that real. As of now, I don’t think that it would be a show stopper no matter how things work out. The ‘city girl’ has the knowledge and awareness of mental illnesses. And the ‘country girl’ has a disabled daughter, and really understands that there are challenges that can be accepted. But there’s another aspect as well. Am I really as healthy as I believe? Or is my attraction driven by my bipolar and personality disorder influences?
It’s all so very confusing.
So here is my plan. Honestly, I’m more attracted and feel more comfortable with the Southern lady. The southern life is really my roots after all. I think I can bring some of the sophistication and refined experiences to that relationship that fulfills my own interests. And I can get back to my own basics. As far as being in a relationship versus being alone; I think I’m ready to share my life with someone in a healthy and mutually worthwhile way. There is an opportunity here I think to balance that intimacy and self sufficiency in an intelligent and personally helpful way.
I know: I’ve written a lot about relationships lately. And I’ve flipped / flopped back and forth between being in or not being in a partnership. I’ve tried a few with limited success. And I’ve rather quickly moved on into new situations when it became obvious it wasn’t going to work. I will admit that there is a strong desire to be involved with someone. But why shouldn’t there be? We are not meant to be alone all the time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of someone else’s life. Or to have someone a part of your own life. I just need to be smart about it, and take care of myself first. I need to be fair and honest with both of us. I need to protect my personal growth, and continue to improve. But how it happens is my choice.
I really hope I can make good ones.