dating and singlehood

so it IS you

When you get to the point where you’re thinking through all the reasons why you’re single, you realize a few things. There is a general disconnect between the one you want and the one who wants you – and sometimes it is more a matter of timing when you want someone and he wants you but not at the same time – and there’s also a sense of misaligned priorities.

We are all afraid of rejection, that morbid fear that I’m going to put something out there and that person is going to run away screaming like the cast of the Saw movies… doesn’t matter which one or what scene, someone is screaming and it might be me. (For the record I’ve never seen those movies so I can only guess that folks scream in them.)

I’ve always had a general sense that when I am actually REALLY interested in someone, there is no way that person will be interested in me. I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, artsy enough, my hair is weird, my fashion sense is hilarious and there’s something in my teeth.

At other times, when I am feeling more secure, I think no one will be interesting enough to ME to keep my attention and I’m afraid of meeting the next best thing right after committing to the current thing and just the idea that I think that at all probably is an indication that I don’t think the current thing is all that big of a thing because someone can usurp his thingness.

I’ve always rebelled against the idea that the one thing missing from life is that significant other and I’ve run away from it for a long time. But the truth is we are all built for relationships – good solid interpersonal relations – that get us through life and not just to merely exist, but to enjoy.

And this gets us into some amount of trouble in our society. We meet someone interesting and attractive to us and the next logical step for most people is to… jump into bed. Wait what. That’s not what I meant. But ok, let’s stick with that for a moment.

It is surprising these days in any given movie/TV show/ book, etc. if they DON’T have sex somewhere along the way. Like what’s wrong with them? Someone’s GOT to have a hang up or become really bitter and guarded or something, right? And then every relationship we have gets added to this long string of sexual partners, cohabiters, joint checking accounters, and pet-sharers. And when it doesn’t work out, it isn’t just returning his varsity jacket, it’s like getting mini-divorces and divying up the possessions and DVD collection and returning gifts that nobody actually wants and everybody hurts. Sometimes.

But even without the sex component, our hearts get entangled so easily and we can’t help but set our hopes along with our sights and when it all comes screeching to a halt, for any number of reasons, our hearts become a miserable wretched place to be. And we become so fearful and dubious about anyone who comes along and seems like a remotely interesting prospect. We rehearse in our heads all the ways this can fail and we look for signs of structural weaknesses like an engineer with a boroscope (see I do pay attention at my job). We either tread lightly and are afraid to let all our cards show for fear of derailing too early, or, if you’re like me at all and I’m guessing someone out there reading this is, we sabotage like crazy to test how much fortitude this thing will have and if he runs screaming, then we know the answer. Not bloody much.

When I look over my life and think of the string of broken relationships, I can’t help but think it HAS to be me. And it’s not just a line from Seinfeld any more. It really is me. I mean there have been such a wide variety of people in and out of my life from all different walks of life and in so many varying states of mind, that the only common denominator has to be me. And I think about what is so wrong with me and where along the line my love life and confidence and strength and sense of purpose went all wonky.

And somehow it all hits me like a ton of bricks… I’ve been saved! And I don’t mean Holy Ghost revival saved – although that too. I mean everything that came before now was a near miss, like hitting foul balls forever and ever until… smack and it’s outta the park!! And here I am sitting around all day thinking how it only takes one solid hit and it won’t matter how many times you had to swing before. Ah the sports analogies… but I digress…

So while I could easily sit here and rattle off the thousand and one mistakes I’ve made and the thousand and two mistakes everyone else made against me, I won’t do it. Because they all brought me to where I am now and what I’ve learned and the heartaches I’ve felt and the ones I’ve caused and it all points to how I can be the one I am now for the one I am meant to be with now and for as long as it takes. And there will be more to learn and more to screw up I’m sure. But the hope I have, for me, for us, for all of you reading this, is that we get the home run when it counts and we don’t let the strike outs keep us from coming up to bat again. no really, I love sports analogies.

And so for the single friends out there still keeping track of your RBIs, consider how you can improve. Think about what it means to practice – to have healthy relationships with others, not just The One. Are you practicing love, unconditional and patient love, towards others? Are you self-absorbed and needy or are you looking to the needs of others? Do you find ways to show your love and appreciation for everyone in your life or are you too busy sulking in the corner? Do you take every opportunity to have fun and create memorable experiences for other people too? Do you have hobbies or skills that you enjoy and can be an encouragement to other people?

Consider what it is that’s keeping you from playing your best game, and make the steps you need to to get there. Is it about learning to stretch yourself? Getting out of your comfort zone? Or maybe it’s about not walking through life like you don’t care if you’re with someone or not – because that sends out a wrong signal too. Or maybe it’s about your blind spot, that thing that everyone else sees and you don’t. Maybe ask friends, good friends mind you, who will honestly and lovingly tell you how you are a total pain in the butt or whatever it is.

I had a dear friend tell me that I was too busy and that I sent out that signal of I am way too important to be trifled with dating you. And I had to consider that – after I stopped smacking this friend in the head – there was some legitimacy to this and that I was in fact putting men off because I didn’t want to seem “desperate” or that I would drop everything just to get a date. Fast forward to recently and after giving my standard “I have something to do” answer, he said “change your plans” and for about 20 seconds I realized I would drop everything to see him. And it’s like hitting the home run. Except now the running around the bases analogy is making me smirk and so I need to move away from the sports analogies…

Another dear single girl friend of mine was really feeling the weight of singleness the other day and told me that she went out with someone she wouldn’t have before, and I asked what she meant and she whispered “He’s a Democrat.” and I laughed. And she looked upset and then she laughed too. And I told her how I recently told someone I was a Communist, which is mostly true, and that all these things have a way of working themselves out. And at some point, the person you’re with – the one you’re meant to be with – the one who loves you more than you thought someone could ever love you – will think you’re awesome no matter what way you vote. And so all I can say is stay on top of your game and don’t be discouraged. One day, you’ll suddenly find yourself in the middle of the game of your life and you’ll be ready for it. Cue Eye of the Tiger lead in…


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