Looking for Unconditional Love This New Year's?

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I often get depressed as the New Year approaches. I think a lot of it has to do with the way the weather prevents gallivanting, and the early dusks make it hard to stay sunny, and also with realizing my life hasn't changed in the ways I would have liked it to during the last 365 days.

Anyway, partly for these reasons, I was a bit grumpy and melancholic with poor Sweet Pants last night.

Our plan was to have dinner together. Before showing up for it, I warned him I was in a terrible mood and asked his forgiveness in advance. We ended up in the window booth — which meant there was enough privacy that I seemed to feel perfectly fine about being an uncalled-for bitch. For instance, when Sweet Pants asked me if he could read something I'd written, I said: "Sure. Although, if you don't like it, I'll probably hate you."

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A few minutes and a few more snide comments later, Sweet Pants was still smiling sweetly at me. I was rather amazed we hadn't started arguing — I was being such a pain in the ass, after all, to the point where it occurred to me that maybe I was actually trying to pick a fight because I was just feeling so frustrated with myself, and self-destructive.

But we never bicker. And he is always so dependable, and so constant, even when I'm acting crazy. So then I started to cry. Which I thought would probably freak him out, because why was I crying?

And yet instead of squinting at me like I'd lost my mind, he seemed to completely accept that I was just experiencing some kind of Nor'easter of emotion, and he simply hugged me until relative calm returned.

I suppose Graham Greene might help me to describe why, exactly, I was crying. In his novel The End of the Affair, he writes, "It's a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved, when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love."

I do wonder if Sweet Pants and I are right for each other, and if we'll go the distance. But at the same time, I realize how much he's helping me to understand what a good relationship feels like, and what I can and should expect — which is a lot more than I ever thought I could experience.

So ... maybe there is hope for us all?

I'm sending love to all of you. (Every last one.) Because maybe we all could use it.

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