I remember being of the young teenage years when dating and having a boyfriend just seemed really nice. In fact, it seemed like it was of the utmost importance to me. Not because I didn’t value myself or something – it was just the sweetest thing to me to think of holding hands, of another person’s caring attention and nice gestures that seemed well nice.
I’ve always been a relationship builder, loyal sometimes to a fault, and I loved having friends too and felt especially touched when a friend would do something the extra mile to make me feel good about myself.
I mean sure I had plenty of insecurities and was still mustering through them, but that didn’t become problematic til later in my teen years.
Anyway, I got married right out of high school and got divorced at a young age as well. I started dating, err, well, if you can call it that I suppose. Sometimes dating, sometimes the casual game. But I really wanted to meet that someone nice, that treated me well, that made me feel good, important. Yes yes, I know there’s a lot to be said about my own insecurities I need to work through here, and I’ve had to do that.
I do remember though for many years, especially in my twenties while dating, when sad or frustrated by not meeting someone, etc. so many people didn’t have the patience or time to just hear my thoughts. They always had to fix it. And by fixing, I mean offering cliche one line pieces of advice that doesn’t apply to them because most of the people I knew were in relationships. (The quality of their relationships is another topic entirely.)
The common advice given or questions asked of me while I was single that annoyed me a lot and was completely ineffectual at calming me, making me feel better or helping me meet anyone:
- Just stop looking for it, it’ll happen when you least expect it
- You want it too much you should just enjoy your time now
- Your expectations are too high – things you want/need aren’t realistic
- To contradict with numero uno: You have to put yourself out there more, meet more people
- But don’t get so quick to assume any guy you meet could be the guy
- Why are you still single?
And so it goes. You know what gets my goat. When in life, in any other time does anyone say it’s a good idea to just wait for something to find you? I mean really? Do we practice this with getting good grades, going to college, finding a job, shopping for a car, making new friends, trying lose weight, moving to a new town or starting a new hobby?
Not really. Sure, you may say not to stress out or over think things and make a mountain of a mole hill. I get it. But all in all, all I wanted was someone to hear me and say, “Yep, it sucks, I don’t know how it is you’re still looking and can’t find a decent guy. Keep at it though and it’ll happen. I am not single and I don’t remember what that feels like but I’m sure I had struggles back in the day also. Vent away.”
That’s all I needed was to be reminded I wasn’t alone or that I wasn’t wrong for feeling sad I hadn’t met someone.
Nope. Instead I was offered the Duct tape of advice responses.
D – dumb
U – unhelpful
C – Cliche
T – tactics to get someone to stop talking so you can talk about your problems in your relationship.
That’s what it seems. I get it. No one likes being in a scenrio with someone who is venting or whining or having a pity party because it is easy to believe they will always be stuck in this place, never do anything right or are always blaming everyone else so we are all quick to shut it down.
But in these quickie types of advice it usually doesn’t do much at all other than add fuel to the fire. No one is expecting you to fix my dating conundrum. I just wanted my feelings about the problem heard.
And for the record – if love is found when you don’t look for it, then why is online dating so popular? And no, it’s not because we’re all a bunch of creepers, it’s because it is another valid option. I continued to date, online. I continued to find the people who were actually looking to meet someone else. I met plenty of great men who weren’t a good fit for me.
Why? Because I knew doing nothing wouldn’t get me anywhere. I wasn’t ashamed to say, “Yes, I like being in a relationship and I want to be in a relationship.” Because I know that I could function just fine on my own and I wasn’t going to settle, if I was, I wouldn’t have had the problem of being chronically single. Settling isn’t hard. Finding a relationship worth fighting for, working towards and waiting for, that can be more time consuming.
And I was willing to wait for that. I was willing to look for it. Eventually, I did meet my husband online. And it was a pretty good connection and didn’t take long before I knew – yes, this works. I’m in it. I love him. I want to be with him. This is right.
Caution was thrown to the wind and I was so open in my interaction with him that it was like nothing I’d done before. And unlike all the other times in which I took baby steps forward and usually got the boot, this time, it just worked. Of course now I get embarassed by my boldness, but then again, I knew he was a man worth putting it all on the line for and it worked out.
So for those of you single and looking – stay at it. Don’t give up. AND YES DO LOOK FOR IT in your own way.
I mean after all, if you want a relationship, that’s no small insignificant part of your life, if you want it to eventually lead to marriage, kids, etc., why shouldn’t we be actively involved in and engaged in finding someone? Why is it bad to look for someone?
Also, I find it unlikely to believe that someone, once they’ve met another potential partner, doesn’t at some point, “look for it” with that person, even if they weren’t at first interested, or clued into someone else having a crush on them, once they realize “this could be something” likely they will begin to consider the possibilities and so on.
I think people also expected me to be settling and if I was looking too hard surely that meant I’d settle for anyone which was never the case because I don’t believe that’s fair to me or the other person. I don’t want someone to settle for me.
Also, as for the unrealistic or high expectations – you just need to know what works for you. Others may not identify with it because we are all different, so it’s likely to expect it to be unique to each person. And that’s OK. But don’t let anyone else tell you what is or is not realistic to expect or want. That’s only for you to know and ultimately determine with any potential partners in the future.
I can tell you that my relationship is not perfect but I was never after the perfect relationship. That’s what others thought I wanted because the standards they had were much lower than my own. I am after respectful behavior toward one another, we don’t huff off and scream and shout – but we usually don’t do that with most people we know.
He doesn’t play the “but I’m a man and this is what men do” bull shit card nor do I get away with the same from a woman’s perspective, we are both individuals and can treat one another and behave to meet our needs while still being ourselves.
So, as with anything important in life that you will need to work for and look for and work toward and maintain once achieving it — go for it. Look for a partner, friend, what have you. It’s OK.