You Who Never Arrived
My relationships never lasted for more than a handful of months. Some made it only weeks, and often years passed between them. As I was about to turn forty, I decided to examine the patterns and the breakdowns. I staged my memories in hotel rooms, which were as impersonal and unlived in as my romances tended to be. Stand-ins played the parts of old loves. I got to say the things I never said, and I heard the words I never wanted to hear. The opening of old wounds shed light on current patterns as lines blurred between the past and the present.
I was chasing an image that didn't exist; I would rather dream about relationships than be in one. The stories I told myself about my loves were far more dramatic than the actual shared experiences, and the disconnect between fantasy and reality became increasingly apparent with each staged narrative. Anticipating alone and mourning alone felt better than the groundless in-between. I did not allow the objects of my desire to simply be–to exist without a role, to be open to discovery, to be a partner. By the end, I understood enough about love to know that I had never been in it.
"Amorous passion is a delirium; but such delirium is not alien: everyone speaks of it, it is henceforth tamed. What is enigmatic is the loss of delirium: one returns to...what?"
Roland Barthes A Lover's Discourse