The shallow end of the pool.

Via Marlene Kelly
on Sep 21, 2011
get elephant's newsletter
No Diving or Swimming
No Diving or Swimming

There’s a certain thing that happens between men and women. Most people don’t seek out it out, but once you’ve fallen into this particular relationship with someone, it’s hard to undo. Most people might not even admit to themselves that there’s anything wrong with behaving this way. It goes like this. I’m single. He’s single. I have needs. He occasionally fills them. He can fix that broken drawer, listen to me vent about my job, my family, my friends. He boosts my confidence, makes me laugh, splits the check, the list goes on and on. I love him, but I see all his flaws and I don’t want them to be my problem. At one time I thought I really wanted to be with him, but now I’m not so sure.

Why? I don’t really want to be in a relationship with him. Why not? Honestly, I’m waiting for someone better to come along. Until then, he’ll do. My good friend Colleen calls this behavior cheating at the game of life. And she’s right. Not only am I cheating him out of the possibility of any true intimacy with me, I’m cheating myself out of experiencing intimacy. Because if I’m really honest, since I have a go-to person to do the stuff I don’t want to do, I’m not going to spend a lot of time looking elsewhere. I’m too busy living my life which is code for too busy indulging my ego. Besides, he’s doing the exact same thing to me.

Every time I’m unwilling or unable to open my heart, every opportunity I get to dive in with another person, but choose the shallow end of the pool, I’m cheating myself. While I don’t really want to, I do it because I don’t want to get hurt. How can I be hurt if I don’t put myself out there? But by not putting myself out there, I’m sending a huge message that I’m not available. And I’m not because I’ve unconsciously settled for the person I’ve already decided I’m not going to settle for.

A few people I know are doing this with someone right now. Maybe it’s not wrong for them. But it feels awful to me.


About Marlene Kelly

For the past five years, Marlene Kelly made Chicago, IL her home as a senior producer at overseeing the editorial direction for all things spirit and relationships. But the call of the wild led her to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY to become the assistant director of online learning. A writer and voracious reader, she lives her life from the inside out by following her heart and finding the funny in everything. And, she's single! So if you know a good, liberated man with a great sense of humor, she might be interested. For more of her writing you can check out her blog Bespoken or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


4 Responses to “The shallow end of the pool.”

  1. Anita says:

    Marlene, I appreciate your honesty here. At least you realize this and as we all know, that is the first step to any and all change. I see that you are into Holistic Health. I am a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, and I always try to work with my clients to get them to tune into all aspects of their lives so they can be truly healthy. No doubt that happy relationships are key to healthy,fulfilling lives. Yes, it can be scary to jump into the "deep end" but oh so worth it. And if we want to allow the relationship we desire to come into our lives, we must make space for it. The "shallow end" relationship will actually block the real thing from coming through. You are lovely! I know someone perfect is out there waiting for you in the deep end!

  2. Marlene says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and for the wonderful compliment, Anita. You made my day!

  3. […] The view ripples. The distance swells and pulses. Empty spaces left by cliff faces work like magnets on his mind. It’s a sensation somewhere between sinking and swimming. […]