“I don’t want to be always ready to move on after six months,” Melanie cried one afternoon.
Beautiful, high energy, and hurting, Melanie was trying to sort emotions after a recent break up that she had initiated. She was done with the man, who she had been slowly peeling out of her life for months anyway like removing shreds of skin after a bad sunburn.
The recently-booted man’s offense? Depends on who you ask, of course. He had become jealous and angry during the long process of being pushed aside. But it was clear Melanie no longer loved him and was ready to move on.
She didn’t really lament losing the man. She lamented losing one more chance.
“I’m getting older,” she said, which caused me to snort. She was barely into her thirties, though she had a four year-old daughter of whom she was fiercely protective. Melanie also self medicates, and is frequently offered drugs, money or “security” by men or women who want that quick mind, bright laugh and hard body in their life.
A psychologist once told me that infatuation lasts six to eighteen months, and love has to fill in from there, as a more satisfying, deeper relationship develops. But Melanie is a thrill-seeker: sexually adventurous, high energy, and possibly broken by a psychotic mother who left a trail of destruction through the childhoods of Melanie and her siblings.
“I am so afraid of being just like her,” Melanie cried.
“What do you want?” I asked about the relationship she envisioned.
“I want my best friend,” she said, very simply, but again started to weep. “But I haven’t been the woman the person I want to be with would be attracted to,” she said.
“There’s you answer,” I said. But that was much too glib. It will not be easy for Melanie. It’s not easy for any of us. She will have to forgo the offers of drugs or cars or marriage by men and women who want her to fill their fantasies, instead of making her dreams come true.
Though it’s easy to say she should be patient and discerning, it’s hard sometimes to hold out, or even know what’s real.