“At the beginning of this year I was with a very sweet boy for five years, he was sporty, enterprising, smart, I knew his family well and he knew mine. We would go out on weekends regularly, visit friends, have fun vacations – we never actually had a fight, and I felt safe and comfortable under his care. Then came corona and all of a sudden I got intensely anxious from the idea of being locked up in a house with him for months. I remember hearing on the TV say we were going into lockdown together on the couch and I felt a mild panic. While other people rejoiced in being thrown back together, I couldn’t think of seeing anyone outside of him for weeks. Our life consisted of doing things, so were we only going to puzzle?
“I have to say very honestly that a few months earlier I had met another boy with whom I would occasionally have a drink, but who I had turned off when he wanted to kiss me, at least I had not followed up on that kiss. Yet he was not the cause of my unrest, at most he made it more tangible. In the past five years, I had often wondered if my boyfriend and I were destined to be together forever. But then I made a list in my head and I couldn’t think of anything that was missing. And when I vented my unrest to friends, they always told me to grow up, that it was time for me to resign myself to the reality that you can’t be in love forever. We were together for five years, we lived in the same house, I was thirty, maybe I should start thinking about children.
“I started listening to podcasts about love, bought Alain de Botton’s books and Esther Perel’s, and tried to heed her good advice, namely that sometimes you have to leave everything for your relationship, even if that means that you have a little less to gain yourself. That the relationship itself is almost a third figure, and if the relationship is going well, that things will automatically improve with the two separate partners. I reasoned: my parents are divorced, maybe that is the source of my eternal doubt, who knows, friction has been brought to me so much that I subconsciously always look for it, even if eternal happiness is within reach.
Staying with mother
“I felt ungrateful, spoiled, but whatever I read, rationalizing, justifying my seemingly perfect relationship suddenly stopped working when my life suddenly came to a standstill. All activities outside the house disappeared and I could no longer lose myself in distraction. I retired to the house, became unapproachable to my boyfriend, started organizing team drinks with friends, did online sports classes and when I sat on the couch with him, we watched series without saying much. What’s going on, he asked. All I could answer was that all the doubts that I had skilfully hidden away and that so far only occasionally gurgled to the surface had suddenly begun to swirl.
“We then decided it was better that I went to stay with my mother for a while. Supposedly to think, but actually we both knew at the time of my departure that this was the end. What could he change, give me more than he already did? Even if I dawdled endlessly with my makeup and left home much later than agreed, he would never have gotten excited. I sometimes asked why do you never get angry, but then he said: of course it is annoying, but I just think, let’s have a nice evening.
Now, four months later, I look back on a divorce that was sad but as frictionless as our five-year relationship. We rolled on with a full agenda, cozy, cozy, with everything neatly organized on paper; a sweet man, one who liked my mother, who got along well with my friends, a caring man who had already indicated that he would later also take on part of the education of the children; everything was ticked off, so to speak. Strange to think that without the forced isolation in March my life would not have taken this turn. If corona had surfaced a few years later or not at all, I think we would have been just married and not unpleasantly married, who knows I would have gotten pregnant, because life in our thirties requires progression, not stagnation.
“At the moment everything is blank again and I’m starting all over again. For the first time I notice how beneficial the unexpected is. Look around and think: what should I do now? The contact with the man I kissed earlier is slowly taking shape. This time stripped of concrete rules and a tight framework. I sit on the couch with this new man without a plan, and we talk about nonsense. Not ‘how it should be done’ is leading, but the irrationalable. Of course everything is new, which makes a big difference, but with man number 1 it started differently than this time, when I immediately had doubts which I then skilfully explained away. Who knows, in about ten years’ time, I might pick up Esther Perel again if things go wrong, but she will remain closed for the time being. I’m in love. In love in a way that I was never in love before. That explanation for my behavior is enough for me for the time being. Let the uncertainty come, I am no longer afraid of it. ”