I promised myself that I would not write about dating but then I thought, why shouldn’t I? It is a part of my present life. It is also fun, exciting, painful, confusing and has a way of peeling back the emotional layers that I thought were peeled and healed. HA!
So here is what a serial monogamous like myself wants to say about dating: AGHHHHHH!!! #*&^%$#@$%^&**((^%$%#$!!!! WHAT THE???
The vulnerabilities I have felt in the last two years of dating have been intense. My marriage ended four years ago but I gave myself two years of self-imposed solitude, riddled with pity and lots of tears. Good times.
I did not want to date. I would have rather put a sharp stick in my eye. Several times a day.
I didn’t know myself as a single woman. I knew if I dated right away, I would end up in the same situation which didn’t work for me. History had a higher chance of repeating itself right away. I really needed to get to know myself and do some deep soul searching. I knew this was gonna hurt too! Boy, did it ever.
I have lots of stories about dating and how ridiculous it can be. I could tell you all about the guy who went to Cornell who thought that Coyotes and Mountain Lions were the same thing or the man who was so so sweet and then asked if my Dad’s company would hire him. I gave him a definitive and hard NO and he got mad. (We barely knew each other). Another favorite is an educated and gainfully employed father who steals from Target just because he can. Thanks for telling me!!! UGH! Yeah, it has been a wild ride but none of that matters.
What really matters is what I learned about myself in this process. Just recently, I met someone I liked more than most of the men I had dated.
I didn’t even know what this looked like long term. I just knew that he was someone I wanted try using my big girl words with and see where it went. We talked a lot and went out a few times. It seemed like he felt the same or he sure was acting like it. I told him that I liked him, I mean just that. I like you. Not, I love you, let’s buy a house and get a dog. I also told him that I was committed to telling him how I felt without worrying about his reaction. With kindness and respect, of course, but I wasn’t holding back. In short, I needed to speak my truth. Talk about my fears, vulnerabilities and warm fuzzies. This wasn’t about him. This was, for the first time in my life, about me and only me. Sounds so selfish but the truth is, what kind of mate would I be if I couldn’t really speak my truth?
I spill part of my emotional guts and he responds with “I don’t know what I want.” It was a pretty typical response from a man as far as I could see. It stung anyway.
The truth was, I didn’t know what I wanted either. We didn’t have to know, but we could give it a shot. His response felt fear based to me but it hurt nonetheless.
It took me until pretty recently to fully realize that I have never truly been myself with anyone. I was with someone for many years. I understand now that we were never really ourselves with each other. Of course, we talked about things that mattered and we did love each other very much but we HELD BACK! We avoided hard emotional truths to keep the equilibrium. It backfired.
Being “alone” or not in a relationship for four years has been difficult. Being alone is still not nearly as lonely and painful as being with someone who pulls away when I speak my truth. I have learned with gusto that I am the only person I need to be responsible for. I cannot make someone feel a certain way, I can only choose how I handle someone’s reaction. It is simple, but took me years to put this work into practice.
I am valuable. I am authentic. I am worthy of someone hanging in there with me when I say something that scares the shit out of them.
I am worthy of saying that thing anyway. I am still a bit sad about this last relationship not working. More than anything, I am upset that we didn’t even get to try. I also didn’t hear his truth. “I don’t know what I want”, is somehow not the layered answer I needed to hear. He could have just told me what it was and I would have accepted his answer. I gave him the opportunity to tell me that thing that I didn’t want to hear so that he could grow from this too. He did not respond. This is all neither here nor there. What’s important is, I checked my ego at the door and stayed in the heart space. I felt sad and had no desire to control the situation. Serious growth.
My work is to help others find their true authenticity. Self Realization is hands down the most painful and amazingly peaceful experience all wrapped up into one shit ball. So inspiring, I know!
Are you holding on to something that doesn’t feel good anymore? Are you afraid to say the things that you know will set you free because it will hurt like hell? I write these installments to tell you that I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I do the work every single day. I’m here to help you do your work.