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I had an epiphany earlier this week while trying to understand why I so badly want a relationship now. Why now? It’s a foreign concept for me, really, as I have always been very happily single (when I’ve been single, obviously).

I’m now convinced it’s because of the current political climate, which has brought a lot of uncertainty. I have been feeling like things are backsliding quickly, that civil liberties are disappearing. Hate is now openly demonstrated.

Hayden said not long ago, “We’re living in dark times, honey.”

It terrifies me. And it reminds me of how I felt right after September 11th.

I made a lot of changes post- September 11th. I purchased my very first cell phone so I could reach loved ones in an emergency and I pulled my family closer. I felt like I was in an emotional huddle. Family was of utmost importance to me.

I also had a lot of clarity about what I wanted in life. I wanted a long-term, committed partnership with Mars. I wanted to rely on him. I had no family or friends to rely on in the bay area. He was my local lifeline.

Mars and I had been dating 3 years at the time and I realized that it was time to “shit or get off the pot”, as the saying goes. I was 30 years old, almost 31, and felt like it was time to put down roots somewhere. I wanted to buy a home of my own if there wasn’t going to be a future with Mars. San Francisco real estate was ridiculous (and still is!) so I expected this would mean moving out of San Francisco. I gave Mars an ultimatum. I didn’t want to – it goes against my personal values – but felt like Mars needed to know that I had a time limit in mind. I didn’t tell him what my deadline was.

Due to the crazy San Francisco rental market prices and vacancy rates, I refused to live with Mars before a long-term commitment because it meant losing my rent-controlled studio apartment if it didn’t work out between us. He owned his own home so any moving in and out would have to be done by me. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.

Mars proposed 3 months later, right before my unsaid deadline. You know the rest: Marriage, kids, then ultimately divorce.

I don’t mean to imply that my ultimatum led to marriage. That wasn’t the case at all. Mars said he had already been contemplating proposing to me before the ultimatum. I may have simply sped up the process.

I feel as though I am now in a similar place emotionally as I was post- September 11th. I want to be able to rely on someone… an alien concept for an Avoidant like me. I once again want to form my own little huddle. My current huddle includes myself and my kids, but I want it to include a partner.

I want the stability of another grown-up. As a mom who always takes care of others and always puts her kids first, I sometimes want to be nurtured and cared for, too. I want to be able to support each other… to feel like I’m not alone during these scary times.

I think it’s only natural to feel this way during times of dis-ease.

During my epiphany, I recalled one of the last time I’d seen Joaquin. It was right after the presidential election. Joaquin said, “Can you believe Biff* is our president? Biff is our president!” and shook his head, then laughed his adorable laugh. It really was incredulous.

*Biff Tannen was the bad bullying hombre in Back to the Future Part II and is totally Trump. Here’s an October 2015 article that discusses the similarities.

This memory is what prompted me to reach out and text Joaquin on Monday afternoon. God, I miss his laugh.