When I was first learning to drive, nothing scared me more than having to navigate my way from the freeway on-ramp into speeding traffic. My fear made me drive slowly and more cautiously—thereby annoying other drivers so they were even less likely to let me in.
Several years ago when my ex-boyfriend moved in with me, I sort of resisted letting him make my apartment feel like his own. I never encouraged him to put his art on the wall or knickknacks on the shelves. Instead, I found places for them...which made it seem like he was just a visitor in my apartment.
If you're not picking up on the theme here, it's about me struggling with The Merge.
My latest difficulty with this concept doesn't involve fear of crashing or a mental siren telling me I shouldn't have let my boyfriend move in in the first place. Nope, this time the merge-worry is of the what-if-he-dies variety.
In my decade of dating before Mr. Wonderful, I became quite accustomed to seeing the backs of men as they walked away from me. And through all those losses, I knew I could always retreat to my single life. Like a convenient side street that ran parallel to the freeway. It was calm there. There weren't other people around. Everything was familiar.
Getting married is like entering the merge superhighway and knowing that you don't want to get off because most every exit leads to a bad part of town. I'm going too far with the driving analogies, aren't I?
The bottom line is that if, God Forbid, something should ever happen to Mr. W, I won't just be able to go back to my old single life like I used to. We will be so inextricably linked. My every emotion will be intertwined with and pinned to his existence. He will be my other half. And that wrecks me. Because someday, I might lose him. And even if it's 50 years from now, that just means I'll have to carry around 50 heavy years of memories.
Merging is scary.
My older sister told me this sort of fear was totally normal before one gets married. I thought people only got worried about being committed to the same person for eternity and how that could be like eating the same thing for breakfast every day for the rest of your life. But apparently there's this whole other chapter in the wedding jitters book.
I remember when I was in college, in my on-again off-again relationship, I thought the only emotion I could feel that would be strong enough to overpower love would be hate. But now I think maybe fear is the only equally powerful feeling. To let yourself love someone SO much makes you SO vulnerable. It's seriously terrifying.