Article by Wendy McCance
I have an intense fear of relationships. Let’s just put it out there in black and white. I have always been best at superficial connections. I have an abundance of good acquaintances but few close family connections. I do have a handful of close friends, but my version of a close friends is probably much different from most.
I’m sure my statement sounds ridiculous since I have children and I’m married. Somehow, I am extremely close to them. It’s the healthiest and most normal relationship I have.
When I was a kid, my dad was a travelling salesman. I would see him a few weekends a month and we were never really close. In fact, growing up, I felt fairly isolated from him. My mom was around and I had a younger sister too, but, those were complicated relationships and we were never very close..
We traveled a lot when I was a kid. I had lived in four states by second grade. I loved to travel and felt that I was lucky to have friends all over the United States. The problem was, I was good at making friends, but didn’t know how to keep them. We moved so often I never seemed to get past that honeymoon phase with the kids I became friendly with.
By the end of my elementary school years, we stopped moving around. Staying in one spot truly tested friendships as I didn’t know how to hold on to them for long periods of time. I would get bored easily and I also didn’t know how to put in the extra effort to keep up those relationships that were special to me.
My poor skills followed me into the relationships I had with boys. I was always told that I seemed mysterious. Guys would ask me to open up and share my feelings. I had no idea how to do that. I protected my feelings fiercely as they had let me down many times when I tried to express myself at home.
I became that kid who had a lot of friends that know one really knew at all. I was very guarded and felt that I couldn’t trust anyone but myself. I grew up feeling that the only person I could depend on was me.
I rarely grew bored on my own and many times preferred to spend time by myself. I enjoyed my own company best and never felt the pressure to entertain. Books, art, music, swimming and biking were the things I loved most. The best part was that I didn’t need others around so that I could participate in the activities I loved most.
Years passed and I became involved with a guy who had a big family. It was the family that attracted me. I felt welcomed into the fold and suddenly I had the family I had always wished for. I also was around a lot of small children. It was then that I realized that I wanted kids of my own. Three children later, and it is the best decision I ever made. It’s amazing to be close to your own kids. I am grateful for having them. Unfortunately, their dad was not a good match for me and we divorced.
By the time I remarried, I had learned a lot and was in a much better place. I chose someone who was a much better fit. Thankfully, I paid attention to what I did and didn’t want in a future relationship. My family life finally feels loving, healthy and what I had always wished for.
I still struggle with friendships. Although I have friends I consider close, I don’t know any friends birthdays or other big events in their lives. To be fair, they don’t know mine either, but I don’t put it out there. I do poorly at reading the cues of a friend that needs some extra attention. I am not the best at reaching out and making plans. I am great in person and my friends mean the world to me, but I just have poor skills when it comes to keeping the ties tight.
I have realized I have an intolerance of uncertainty in relationships. I have grown up with triggers that make me want to put up a wall and run. It has always been most prevalent in my romantic relationships. It took years to figure out that I was essentially pushing a guy away when I was triggered by a fear or worry from my past. Many relationships went poorly because I wasn’t able to connect that I was making poor choices in who I chose to date and what I was willing to open up about. I finally realized that two damaged people do not make one strong whole person.
I still deal with many triggers and I still have times when I want to run. The difference now is that I am aware of what I am doing and how a situation happened. I can thoughtfully analyze what’s going on without making quick decisions that are just disastrous choices.
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Hi Wendy. I can understand and thank you for being open and candid. Friendships are hard to come by. There are so many things that factor into relationships with our past and triggers. It can be hard to let your guard down and get close to someone. It’s the vulnerability. Though, it may be easier on the internet. I wonder why that is?
I think you’re so right on the trust issue. So many play the game but don’t know how to be real. I have a few friends but I can relate to what you say about being okay being alone, too, and doing your own thing. I don’t think I make friends as easily as you but I try. I guess there’s a way to do it I haven’t really learned. I don’t think it’s how many friends you have but who counts to you and who you count for that matters to me. 🙂
I agree completely!! It is all about the quality and not the quantity of friends. 🙂
So true, Wendy. I’m glad we’ve gotten to know one another and are friends. Thank you for that. 🙂
I understand. Thank you for sharing.
I guess as much. I came from a very loving family and have had a healthy marriage so far. But as far as friends go, I have never bothered to have any. I have acquaintances and I share things easily with them but the minute someone does something which hurt me, I stop interacting with them. I really don’t care deeply for friendships even now and as my husband is my best friend, I don’t feel the need for any other.
Thanks for sharing. The internet is a good way of making friends and we can hide behind the computer screens while making friends. Isn’t that great ?
Hi Wendy: I think we would be great friends. Perhaps, you too can read between the lines. I’m not good with women friends, having been abused by my alcoholic mother. It’s a trust factor. I am glad you got it right with your present husband. Also, I commend your courage for sharing your intimate details. But, it is easier to write than do, isn’t it?
Hi Bonnie, thanks so much for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear of the rough time you went through. Wishing you all the very best!!