Perhaps your true progress in life is measured by tiny things of which only you are really aware. For example, for years I have been unable to sleep in the same bed as someone else, without ever being sure why. A few years ago, I had a girlfriend who would stay over at least three or four nights a week, and whenever it was bedtime, I would go sleep on the couch. I just couldn’t stand to share the bed with her. She accepted this. Poor girl. But she wasn’t the only one. Before her, I’d had the same problem with others. After her it carried on that way too.
One of the things that I most hated about beginning new relationships was knowing that I would have to explain to her that, no, this had nothing to do with her, and no, there was nothing disgusting about her in particular; I just wanted to be alone. Bed time was Phil time, and nobody was allowed to share the bed with me, no matter how cuddly and in love they wanted to be. I hated it.
I hated feeling someone else breathing next to me. I hated being ultra-sensitive to every movement they made as I tried to fall asleep. I hated waking up in the middle of the night because someone next to me was snoring, and I hated not being sure whether it was okay for me to get up earlier than them in the morning. Was it bad form if I accidentally woke them up by getting out of bed before them? Even after one night stands, I wouldn’t sleep next to my temporary partners. I would just lie in their bed and think, or something.
This has become much less of an issue in the last couple of years. It’s nothing that I worked on in particular. I didn’t decide to get over my obsessive need to be alone, in a really cold room, at bed time. But I’ve noticed that as I’ve worked out a whole bunch of other shit, by looking at my fear of intimacy and my need to dodge my own emotions, and changing my eating habits at night, and upping the amount of physical exercise I get during the day, and communicating the right things to the right people at the right times as often as possible, without getting paranoid about it, things have changed for the better in my life. No duh.
And one way that I’m able to track this, unintentionally but conveniently, is by looking at how easy it is for me to sleep next to somebody at night. Because if I have the right amount of exercise, and I eat healthily, and I say what I need to say what I have to say it, and I’m aware of what’s going on in my own body and mind, and I don’t hate what I’m doing in my life, and I’ve dealt with any lingering resentment over petty or important things, sleeping next to somebody is no problem.
Especially if they make me breakfast.