Johns Blog week 4 Relationships
Well relationships is quite a wide topic. I thought that I needed to cover relationshiops of both a romantic sense and a little about my mates too. The way in which I relate to others, the same of many people, is based on both past experience, early experience in childhood and observation of others mixed in with a generous dose of what ever my urges, needs, fantasies and anxieties happen to be at that time and age.
When I was growing up I had a number of influences around me. Uncle Daniel was obviously one influence. As I said in week two he never married. As a consequnce he had a number of girlfriends. As a young child I dont think I took a lot of that in but then again maybe I did. As a man growing up after Uncle Daniel died I guess I did think that perhaps it was normal. Normal to have a number of different girlfriends and not to settle down too much with any of them. This didnt always sit easy with me. I guess I was also a romantic. This I think came from watching too much TV and movies. Its a strange contrast and conflict that part of being a man. On the one hand I wanted and desired to have a settled and loving relationship and on the other the frame set of Uncle Daniel had a hold on me. I think now that my early days of numerous one night stands and short term relationships were a way for me to feel closer to Uncle Daniel. A way to keep him alive. I could hear him in my mind saying ‘nice one John another girl tonight?’ I think as a girl I would have had a rather different experience from people socially. It doesnt seem fair but also I know that during that time I was conflicted and looking for comfort, love and companionship in all the wrong places. I beleived, I think, as a young man that was how you were supposed to behave. No-one seemed to criticise me at the time but I do remember a gap inside of me. A sense of hollowness that follwed me from one relationship to the next. Dont get me wrong. It wasnt all like that. There were a couple of relationships that meant a lot to me. Not that I would have let on at the time about. I felt as a man you dont really have the room to grieve for a relationship breaking down. How many of my mates at the football or down the pub would welcome me crying over some girl that I felt I loved and she didnt feel the same. I suppose some of you are reading this and saying that what im calling relationships were in fact just sex. Perhaps you are rght in one respect. That a lot of my early relationships were just that, sex. Not long term loving relationships with deep and meaningful connections, perhaps these are two ends of the spectrum. Perhaps though as well it illustrated the conflict for me at the time that I wanted to be a ‘man' ‘Jack the lad' ‘Alfie' but I also craved more than this. My romantic past is a bit of a mess to be fair. Im divorced and single which is perhaps where my path is meant to lead given my mirroring of my Uncle. This blog is perhaps too short a piece to really explore in depth what romantic relationships meant to me growing up and what they mean to me now. Jack the Lad and Alfie are all fine and well in your teens twenties and maybe even early thirties but then it just becomes a bit sad. I guess what time has done has given me the excuse and opportunity to be the man i want to be with, hopefully, at some point in the future, the woman I want to be with. I think having my daughter, now nearly 13 it has put things into focus. Now I look at images and carbon copies of myself at there age starting to stare at girls and think to myself (well if I was to tell you perhaps you would be worried about what I said and so Ill stop at that. Survice to say that I wouldnt take kindly to them if they were to hurt my daughter. I can love now. I can focus more on what is important to me in relationships but it has come with a long time line and consequences.
Relationships with others have never been difficult with my male friends. It isnt complicated really. We dont sit down and talk about how we feel, how much we regret things or how we wished we had been different with the girls we had seen and then split up from. We talk about football, Rhianna, maybe a bit of politics, and beer. Maybe too something about the next Tv were going to buy or complain about the exwife but thats about it. Now any men reading this will know thats bollocks really. Yes its true that our conversations tend to be a little shallow at times and mainly related to sport or women but there is a way in which I talk to my friends that does mean a lot to me. When I split with my ex I had nowhere to go. I had to leave the family home and my daughter and didnt really know were i was going to go. I ended up phoning my mate Paul. I told him that I had split with chelsea and he never paused for a second before saying no problem mate you can stay here for a while. All I needed to do was bring some beer and a kabab on my way over and I would be welcome. The great thing about Paul and most of my mates is that we dont really need to talk about it, at least thats what I tell myself. After I got there he just opened the door, ‘sorry about whats happened mate’ then after me saying rather lamely ‘yea its a bit sh..’ a breif awkward silence and then we cracked open the beers, sat with a kabab each and popped the footy on. A few beers later and there you have it. Except I was dying inside. I needed a hug, I needed someone to say it was going to be okay. That it might work out yet and wasnt too late. That the affair my wife had might just be a short fling and everything would be fine in a few weeks. That didnt happen, I didnt forgive her, mainly due to my pride, and ive been single since. Heartbroken and single. Not that I feel I can talk to my mates about that because it just dosnt work like that. The primary response ive learned over time to cope with not having an emotional outlet like my mates to talk to is to push it down and suck it up. It simply does not feel natural to talk about how I feel to my male friends. Or infact my female friends. After all Im the one they should be using as a shoulder to cry on not the other way around. That does need to change though. The amount of male suicides is frightening. I think one of the factors that would push me over the edge is just that, no one to open up to and speak. If everyone had that then perhaps it would be easier to get up in the mornings without the weight of past hurt, damage, regret and mistakes weighing heavily with very little outlet. After all as a man I feel im expected just to cope, laugh it off and just get on with it.