I've never really been in a relationship that had much in the way of energy. Something was always missing... a feeling like my partner and I were even in the same room together, or doing more than playacting the part of the Happy Couple. I can't even nail what was missing - something that I can only call that "Nth Quality".
My ex-husband and I should have had the Nth Quality. We looked good on paper. Everything seemed to be in place. We jumped headlong into an expensive and heady series of "firsts" - moving in together, buying things together for our apartment, going on trips together... playing house.
But something was missing, and it didn't feel romantic for some reason. No amount of money spent, no amount of things in common, could make it work between us. I could never put my finger on what was missing - I went further and further into the relationship, even down to the elaborate wedding, hoping to capture this mysterious quality that we were supposed to enjoy. A friend recently commented that perhaps we were just too much alike, and I can see this, perhaps we were so much alike that we cancelled each other out.
After him, there was my ex-girlfriend. She and I were the first and only relationship that worked sexually - and for a time, that was enough. Virtually nothing else worked, and eventually that proved our undoing.
In each case, we jumped headlong into the relationship hoping that if only we saw the ritual through to completion... then everything else would magically fall into place.
With both of my long term relationships, I never felt the hopeful excitement of being in love. I felt relief - I am now in a relationship just like everyone else, whee, I'm normal - but not that "new relationship energy". They were giddy about me while I learned to tolerate them.
I grew to love my ex-girlfriend, of course. More than any other partner, and of course, the sex was like finally finding a pair of shoes that finally fit. Oxytocin is a powerful drug. But I didn't fall in love with her, and she knew it, and always held it against me.
Watching friends fall in love, I realize that the everything else is supposed to have already fallen into place. Things just work, or they don't.
The funny thing is that the "Nth Quality" seems to exist more in my friendships than in relationships. My closest friendships offer everything I could want in a partner, except for sex and romance and commitment.
I feel nervous, hopeful, scared, sad.
Nervous, sad and scared because I still don't know if I'll ever experience this. Having never done so before, having 22 years of relationship and dating experience that's done nothing but affirm the negative, I have more reason to believe I won't ever feel giddy about anyone (who will in turn feel and KEEP feeling giddy about me)...
But all the same, I have perhaps another forty or fifty years to keep hoping.
Other people fall in love, and what makes me so different from them?