Friday, July 6, 2018

Getting over relationship FOMO

When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted in relationship. To be honest, I was driven by FOMO. There was this fantasy world in my mind full of perfect sex, perfect relationships, and perfect women. It was impossible to commit to the merely good when the perfect might pop up at any moment. My fear of missing out became manifest in dabbling with open relationships.

But I discovered that FOMO was the cause of missing out on some of the very best features of relationship: intimacy, closeness, and stability. You only get to have those qualities if you can go all-in on loving someone, without keeping one eye on the lookout for better opportunities

At 35 years of age, I know what I want in relationship. I know that I want emotional intimacy and a partner in life. I want to play long-term games with long-term people. And I know I want to be a father. My father is one of the people I love most in the world, despite his flaws. I want to live up to his example and surpass it where I can.

I practice by being a cat-father and an uncle. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. It feels good to live into my loving and nurturing side.

I’m ready to say “enough!” to that infinite adolescence that is the signature lifestyle of urban post-modern capitalism, to exit from the FOMO-contest, and to build something that lasts. I'm ready to let other people travel more than me, have more sex than me, go to better parties than me, make more money than me, be more successful than me, and have better Instagram photos than me. Because those sacrifices leave space for the life that I *really* want.

When my relationship ended last year, it was terribly painful. But its dissolution was the mirror by which I was able to see myself, to learn what was most valuable, and to see the mistakes I was making that got in the way. There is no pain quite like the pain of becoming aware of your own flaws, and the certain knowledge that you are what held you back from getting what you most want. It is an absolute horror, a consuming flame. The self-knowledge feels like a treasure whose great value is in proportion to that terrible pain.

That hardest of experiences changed me for the better. I like myself more. I find myself more emotionally awake, both to the joy and the pain of existence. I cry easily. Having suffered, I care about the suffering of others. Suffering can function as a call to empathy. It was a kick in the pants to finally get involved in the volunteer work I had always wanted to do, providing emotional support to people in their darkest hours.

I am hoping to continue to grow, and I'm hoping to find ways to grow that aren't quite so traumatic. I am not the person I was a year ago. The world looks different to me. I'm seeing it through a lens made of different concepts and experiences. I'm grateful for it.