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all by myself, sort of
what price contentment?
by robert a. melos

As I lie in bed with my dog curled up in a ball next to me, while he licks his ass pausing only to cough like he's hacking up a fur ball but doesn't, I find myself contemplating my life. As he raises his leg and licks at the balls which are no longer there, I think about my lack of a significant human other. I also think about the personal habits of a boyfriend, and wonder how much I would tolerate?

Obviously I give my dog a lot of leeway, but that's because he's a domesticated wild animal. Although, from what I hear and read, I could easily think of a boyfriend in those same terms. Oddly enough, as I watch my dog alternate between preening his legs and paws, and coughing again, like he's hacking up a fur ball but doesn't, I realize just how content I am at the moment not having a boyfriend in my life.

I know a lot of people who define themselves by their relationships, who must be part of a couple in order to feel complete, but I have never been one of them. No matter what my relationship status, I never thought of myself as anything more than I am. I never felt the urge to talk about "my boyfriend," or use the words "us" or "we" in conversation. Granted, my relationship was not your ordinary one, with exclusivity, or actually doing anything together outside of the bedroom, but a relationship it was nonetheless.

Yes there have been many moments in the past when I wanted a meaningful relationship, when I wanted a boyfriend, companion, or significant other to be there with me. The relationship I did have taught me to rely on no one, because it is rare that someone will be or can be there for you when you really need them. I'm not saying people are never there for each other, only that my experiences have proven to be ones where I was left in the lurch, or standing in the rain, waiting or hoping for one to be there for me who wasn't capable of being there on any level.

Now I've finally reached that plateau in my life where I am happy just to be by myself, and enjoy my life as it is, instead of striving to complicate it by including someone else. This time in my life is new, and wonderful, and peaceful.

Listening to my dog pause from his personal hygiene regiment to pant heavily, I realize I've never felt such contentment. Would I feel the same with a boyfriend? I doubt it. This doesn't mean I've given up on the idea of having a significant other in my life, only that I'm now taking life as it comes and enjoying the moments.

Every once-in-a-while life seems to throw me a good moment.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


my heart broke on valentine’s day
a lesson in living
by robert a. melos
topic: general
published: 1.26.12

rethinking old patterns
by robert a. melos
topic: general
published: 3.24.02


russ carr
9.23.02 @ 12:04a

Just remember that the dog can contort himself into positions which afford him a contentment you cannot attain on your own.

robert melos
9.23.02 @ 12:42a

That's what you think, Russ.

roger striffler
9.23.02 @ 12:16p


I don't think being a strong person who doesn't rely on someone else to complete you or your life prohibits you from being in a relationship. If anything, it probably makes you a better candidate for a successful one.

matt morin
9.23.02 @ 12:20p

Agreed. For me, it's great to know that I can be by myself, but I find most things in life are much more fun when you have someone to share them with.

heather millen
9.23.02 @ 12:40p

I have so much less respect for people who are searching someone out to "complete" their life.

People who are confident enough and capable of leading a happy and fulfilling single life are all that more attractive. And often will find that happiness without the search

matt morin
9.23.02 @ 12:44p

Well, we've kinda discussed this before, but you also can't just sit around and expect Mr./Ms. Right to come find you either. I mean, I guess sometimes it happens, but if you want to be with someone you do have to put a little effort into the search.

heather millen
9.23.02 @ 1:03p

I’m not disagreeing with that aspect. However, there’s a difference between putting some effort into finding someone, and being so unhappy as a single person that one needs to find someone else for happiness. That to me, is an unattractive quality.

It’s normal to want to find someone to share your life. I just think it’s a flawed perspective to need that as a constant in your life. And I know people like that.

adam kraemer
9.23.02 @ 1:04p

Well, I read something recently that made a point about the difference between someone "completing" your life, and someone "complimenting" it. The latter definitely seems healthier.

matt morin
9.23.02 @ 1:32p

True. The people who need to have someone usually end up in bad relationships because they just take the next person to come along.

That's why I always say being picky is a good thing - it means you're not desperate to be with just anyone.

wendy p
9.23.02 @ 2:55p

Or that you're simply a dating addict. Just sayin'...

adam kraemer
9.23.02 @ 3:04p

Or that you're going to die alone.

matt morin
9.23.02 @ 3:07p

No, I hate dating. Seriously.

robert melos
9.23.02 @ 11:22p

I agree with Heather. I'm still looking for someone, but whereas before I was looking for someone for the wrong reason. Now I want someone to compliment my life, instead of completing. Now I don't feel the need so strongly to have someone in my life. If they happen to come into my life, and we mesh, great, if not, I've got other interests.

heather millen
9.24.02 @ 1:33p

I'm really happy with the way my life is right now. So I've never really found myself looking for someone. Just every once in a while I bump into someone that makes me take notice.

That's when it gets complicated.


mike julianelle
9.24.02 @ 5:43p

Sorry to complicate your life, Heather, but it's not my fault our phone conversation during IMCH got you all atwitter.

adam kraemer
9.24.02 @ 6:01p

That was me, Mike. And I didn't mean to get you all hot and bothered like that.

matt morin
9.24.02 @ 7:43p

Mike, I think Jack was the one who told you you had a purdy mouth.

adam kraemer
9.24.02 @ 11:09p

Again, me.

jack bradley
9.25.02 @ 7:47a

I think it's creepy that you guys had this whole discussion based on Robert's observations about his dog's hygeine regimen.

But then again, I have a happy and stable relationship...so what do I know?

*sounds of my quickly retreating footsteps*

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