A while back I was having lunch with one of my besties and was grumbling about how much I hated being alone. My mother is a 50-something divorce with only one friend, no male prospects, and is utterly miserable. She has a cat and lives with my grandpa taking care of him while his health is failing. I at the time lived with a deep rooted fear that a similar fate was in store for me and worried daily about being in my 50’s with nothing but a few dogs, a basement full of crap, and no one loving me in my life. Obviously at 25 this was irrational but we all can’t help but worry from time to time that we won’t meet that special someone–that Mr. Right will never sail along and we will be trapped flailing in the sea with a bunch of douchebags who won’t throw us a life jacket. I was telling my friend about my horrible fear of dying alone when she interjected with something she felt was much worse–dread. “You think the fear of being alone is bad…let me tell you about a little something called dread.”
This friend had been in a relationship for over a year and was experiencing somewhat of an opposite tribulation as myself. She lived with her boyfriend and had grown to make him an integral part of her existence. So, she didn’t just live with a fear of winding up alone but rather had a sense of dread for the day it all ends and her life falls apart. I didn’t understand this concept as I had never been in a serious enough relationship to grasp her worries. She had a guy who loved her very much, whom she shared and apartment with, and her life seemed close to perfect. Now, several months later as I am becoming more deeply involved with the guy I’m dating I’m beginning to understand this dread.
I don’t spend my days worrying and am happy in my relationship status for the first since I don’t even know when. Yet, from time to time I do get that sense of dread that at some point all of this happiness will end, my guy will move on to someone better, get tired of me, or for whatever reason end things and I worry about how I will handle it. My support system is strong enough to endure it but the deeper the relationship develops, the more my life becomes enmeshed with his. I hang out with my friends less and less so I can spend time with him because I love being with him and it just feels so comfortable and right but what happens when he ends it? Who knows if it in fact will end but there is that sense of dread that wafts in from time to time and makes me a little uneasy.
I suppose it’s rationale to be a conscientious person who is prepared for the worst but at the same time shouldn’t we enjoy our happy moments and let optimism prevail? Shouldn’t I be happy while I can and worry about worrying later if necessary? Unfortunately, dread is a reality and all people in relationships feel it from time to time whether they care to admit it or not. Dread isn’t entirely bad though. Being prepared for the worst can be a good thing if we use it to make sure we maintain strong relations with our friends, continue our hobbies and pleasurable activities, and make we sure we don’t take our relationship for granted. Dread can go both ways with it sinking in and destroying a relationship or forcing us to not become totally immersed in coupledom that we lose ourselves thus saving us from heartache. We cannot help dread from happening but we can help how we deal with it. Remember that it is only part of being human to fear an end to happiness and use it to your advantage to make all the relationships in your life and your sense of reality stronger and try not to get to obsessed with the future so that you can enjoy the amazing present.
I would love to hear people thoughts on dread and experiences with it, please feel free to share below.