When I started this blog, it was an attempt to document my experiences with online dating. Some good, some bad, and some indifferent. I sat down one evening and I frantically wrote down the names of all the men I had talked to and/or when on dates with since breaking up with my ex. When I was done I had filled up almost 15 pages with names and descriptions. This blog has become not only therapy but a visual catalog of the last three years of me trying to navigate the complexities of dating. I’ll say it again- like I said before; when I finally made the decision to end the relationship with my ex, I figured it wouldn’t be long before I met someone I deemed worthy. Fast forward to three years and countless dates later I am still single. In the post “A Look in The Mirror” I removed the blame from the men and placed a bit of it on myself. Not all the men that crossed my path were bad; some men were actually decent guys, but I found something wrong with them. The something I deemed wrong could’ve been as futile as him walking like a duck. Everything else about him could be perfect; but the chance of those feet being passed down to our offspring and them being picked on because of it, automatically disqualified him. So, last week I was in a debate with a former man I started talking to from OKCupid and he claimed that I was “disagreeable” and it was “no wonder” why I was single. This was not the first time I had been told this. But it pushed me to, once again, explore that uncomfortable place. I already know my standards and expectations are high; but could the reason that I found myself still single be because, deep down I wanted to be single?
During the middle of my last relationship I had begun to start taking care of myself. I started taking Zumba classes with my mom, 2-3 days a week. My boyfriend, at the time, had an issue with my sudden change of availability. He was used to me being available when he was, and now that there were days I couldn’t make time for him he was not happy. We planned many dates that, if he was no longer in the mood, he would just cancel on me and say, “Don’t worry, we have time”. Lastly, there were countless weekends that I spent home alone whenever we would cancel or change our plans. When I finally got tired of being constantly let down, I ended the relationship.
I had just started a new job and my co-worker introduced me to ClassPass; so, I plunged into working out. I didn’t work out for the revenge body bull shit. I truly fell in love with working out. I love to sweat, I love the challenge, and I loved meeting these new people from my classes. Working out really became food for my soul. I also started training for the marathon, so I was constantly running. I took writing classes and fell in love with that as well. I started hanging out with my friends and family more. And lastly, I became an avid planner. With all this new found free-time I filled my days and nights how I wanted. I didn’t have to consider and/or plan around my boyfriend. If I wanted to go to the movies- I went. If I wanted to go out to eat- I got dressed, found a place and ate. If my friends wanted to go on a trip- I paid and went. The feeling of doing what I wanted, when I wanted was extremely liberating.
Do you ever realize that when girls get into relationships they disappear but men still find time to be with their boys. We as females lose who we are for the sake of keeping our man happy. We become so attached to the identity of “we” that when the relationship ends, we have to re-find ourselves. After I broke up with my ex I began to despise the “I have to check with my man and/or husband” girls. The idea of planning my life around a man became asinine to me. After what I went through with my ex, I never wanted to be that girl again.
With this mentality, I walked into this new round of dating. Any man that came into my life would have to be flexible to what I already had going on. You couldn’t call me for a date on Friday night and expect me to be available (after work I had Zumba with my mom and then we would often go out to eat after) You would have to let me know well in advance you wanted to take me to dinner for me to consider making time for you. My time had grown very valuable to me, so even with the most amazing guy the thought of and having to adjust my already existing schedule seemed as painful as having a tooth pulled with no anesthesia.
When people would ask me what I looked for in a partner I would try to avoid answering; because the honest truth was like chasing the horizon.
For example: I had an ex that loved to speak on the phone; we would talk and text constantly; morning, noon, night- it didn’t matter. We would also see each other every weekend; he would sometimes tag along with me and my friends or family; we were inseparable. This was all fine, until…
- I got tired of talking to him in the morning when I wanted to be in silence or listen to my music or read. Some evenings I just wanted to lay in bed and watch TV. I didn’t want to talk on the phone about how my day was and I didn’t want to hear about his day.
- I began to hate texting him; words and phrases between he and I were often misconstrued. I was often required to do damage control because of a simple misunderstanding.
- I wanted my weekends back to myself. I got tired of always being with him every Friday-Sunday. He barely had money so most of what we did was cheap or my mother, because she liked him, would often pay for us. On Sundays he watched soccer- which I hated. I simply grew fed-up.
I eventually realized that; with all my relationships, at some point I always approached this familiar bridge. The behaviors I once loved about my partners I began to loathe. Three years later, I finally asked myself; Do I really want a relationship or just companionship?
The effort one puts into a relationship, the need to care for someone else’s feelings, the needing to coordinate plans- none of that seems like fun to me. If I’m really honest: I can count on one hand the times when I really want a relationship:
- When the weather starts to change (cuffing season)
- When there are plus one events and I have no significant other to bring.
- When I don’t feel like paying for my own food or drinks.
- When I want sex and cuddle sessions.
- After each bad date.
I wanted a relationship because I knew I wanted to be a mother. In my mind, a healthy relationship would elevate to engagement, then marriage, then family. And at 28 my biological clock had started to tick. You only have X years left Carolyn! You have to find a man Carolyn! Make it work Carolyn! Be the girl he wants to marry Carolyn! And have his babies Carolyn! Then, one day I thought; what if that man never comes along? Do I settle for average dude from the block? Do I settle for a guy that has some good qualities and know that I will never truly love him? Do I give up my hopes on being a mother all together? I could always freeze my eggs, but that requires money- money that I do not have. People also say, women are having babies at later ages these days, but I don’t want to be a 40-year-old mother with a one year old.
I gave myself 3 options and a cut off age of 36. If I’m still single with no possibilities in sight; I’ll be like Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan (artificial insemination). Befriend a gay couple and we’d join forces to create a 3-parent family. And my last option- I’d hop on a plane to Italy have a romantic excursion and return with a belly (joking- or am I)
I’m still not sure if what I want is a relationship or just a romantic companion. I am now taking the time to explore that possibility. At this point- I’ve stopped looking for a relationship. I just want to continue enjoying my life. I’ve joined various social and activity groups to force me out of my comfort zone. It’s fun doing things you love with people that have similar interests. There is no pressure to be your best or put on a façade. I am allowed to be as loud or as quiet as I want to be. If I meet someone on a special trip or at a group event- that’s great; if I don’t meet anyone, that’s fine too.