I've been dating for about 20 years and one thing no one ever tells you is that it is totally OK to be single for the rest of your life.
I'm writing this myTake partly because I feel like ranting, partly because some of you might learn from my experiences, and partly because I want others to know that it is totally OKAY to be single forever and that you are not alone.
I don't want to generalize, but I think it goes without saying that most of us on here are having relationship or dating issues. I have been through A LOT when it comes to dating. I'm not someone who has trouble meeting men. I have tried everything. I had a counselor/therapist. I worked on my self and whatever issues I thought I had. All to no avail.
When I was a kid I lost one of my parents. From that moment I learned that nothing in life goes as planned and from that moment I decided that I would never make any plans that involved someone else. I would never make anything that meant I would have to rely on someone else a goal for myself.
From that day on all my goals were things that I can achieve on my own: good grades, getting into University, having a good career, working out, making sure I made enough money to support things I wanted to do and my remaining single parent.
This doesn't mean that I stopped dating. I just never thought about marriage or having babies.
I continued to date and I have dated many different types of men. I have had many different types of relationships. I've had the ones that start so passionately and crazy that you want to spend every waking moment in each other's presence. Just to have it end badly. But I learned my lesson after that happened a few times. Then I've had the guys who worked really hard to make me like them. They ended just the same. Then I experienced being really good friends with someone, then falling for each other, and those ended exactly the same. I've met most of my ex-boyfriends in person. Some I met online. Some were a lot older, some younger, some within the same age range.
With every single relationship I tried my best to salvage them. It's not like one thing went wrong and I said "goodbye". I always tried my best only to end up really hurt. Only to find out the guy never really liked me. After this happened for a few times I started asking them why. I would ask them why when all was said and done and we both had moved on (well I had moved on from the relationship, but I was always left extremely broken and hurt to find out that again, I had meant nothing to someone). Every time the response was similar:
"a girl like you would never put up with me"
"you would leave me in 10 years"
"I only liked you because all the guys at work liked you and I guess it was kind of a game for me"
"I thought I really liked you until we had sex" (even though he admitted the sex was really good)
"I thought I really liked you but realized it was only sexual attraction"
"I thought I really liked you until you wanted more"
"Oops I didn't know cheating was bad" (he didn't exactly say it like that...)
After going through this one too many times I started to see a counselor, therapist and dating coach in my late 20's. I decided I wasn't going to be that girl that guys decided to treat like crap or dump when they got bored. I decided there MUST be something wrong with me. Probably what you are thinking as you are reading this, right? I was the common denominator in every single scenario. It must be something wrong with me.
The dating coach, therapist and counselors all told me similar things. You have to want something to make it happen. Work on yourself and your own happiness. Travel, find hobbies, work on yourself. Open yourself up to meet MORE people (wait I thought I was meeting enough?). The universe will bring someone into your life when you are ready. Be who you want to attract. I can go on...
I thought, okay, I will give this a shot. However there were a few problems here....
1) I already have a lot of hobbies. I already go out a lot to do various things. How many more hobbies could I POSSIBLY take up?
2) I already travel a lot. I travel 3 to 4 times a year. Sometimes alone, other times with friends. How much more can I possibly travel?
3) I meet a lot of guys already... ok maybe the issue is that I was giving the WRONG guys a chance.
My third point stuck out to me. I was giving the wrong guys a chance. Sure. I also had trouble showing guys that I cared. I had trouble letting someone take care of me. I had trouble letting someone love me.
So I worked on all this with the above professionals. I soon noticed I was becoming happier. I was traveling a lot more. I had a positive outlook (it just became quite contagious after faking it for a while). And guess what? I started attracting a different type of man. I started attracting the type of men that wanted real relationships. That wanted to get married.
The first one that came along ended things with me because his dad told him a girl like me is hard to keep. He actually told me this. His father also told him I was too old to have babies (I was 29 going on 30 at this point) and that he should date someone younger and so he ended things with me. I was a mess. I couldn't believe this grown man was listening to his father. It made me think about all the other guys I dated and all the terrible judgments they made of me. How can anyone possibly know me better than I know myself? What is it about me that makes them think I wouldn't "put up" with them. And what does that mean? Does that mean that I would expect them to treat me well, to respect me, to not cheat? I would treat them the same. Why is this so wrong?
But I kept on. I mean, be happy. Be who you want to attract, right?
I recovered and I met someone else soon after. With my above professionals by my side, and with my new positive outlook, it helped me pick myself up in only 3 months and I was ready to date again. But another, then another, and then the final one and I was done...
All the professionals I spoke to thought the guys I gave chances to were actually good men. Based on my descriptions of course. And I am not the type to sugar coat. I'm paying these people, I don't want to hear what's going to make me feel good, I want to hear the truth.
But after years of going through all this... there wasn't much left that they can say to me but repeating the same thing. Travel. Take up hobbies. Open yourself up to meeting new people. Try online dating. Blah. Blah. Blah.
So I had a bit of a relapse. A bit of a break down. I'm back to feeling like crap again. Trying to figure out how I can pick myself up again.
And I can only do so the only way I know how. I'll just go back to planning the rest of my life as if I am going to be single. Which is what I have always been doing before these "professionals" decided that I needed a brighter outlook. I'm not negative. I'm not depressed (except those nights I get sad and lonely, but who wouldn't?). But I am just focusing on doing things alone. Buying a second condo in another city, traveling more, working out more, taking up yoga again, meeting new FEMALE friends... and what is so wrong with this? Why is this so wrong? NO I do NOT believe that if I empty a drawer in my bedroom all of a sudden the perfect man will appear! (What is this hocus pocus anyway?)
And what is so wrong with being single? Why does society look down on us? Why can't I be the girl in the photo above - not happy, but OK with how things are, instead of that super happy girl in the photo above?
I think sometimes the world views you a certain way, and there is nothing you can really do about it. I think men just see me a certain way and I can't do anything about it. The only way I can be content is if I am myself. If nobody likes that, then so be it. I will just die alone then, but at least I will do so knowing that I was 100% true to myself.
I just wanted to share my story so that others don't feel about themselves either. I don't really feel bad about myself that guys only like me temporarily. I don't feel bad about myself anymore that I am seen as a sex object. I am no longer going to allow anyone to treat me that way, but I don't care anymore and I am not going to try to make anyone value me anymore.
Everyone that I know is in a relationship, and the majority of those people are married. I probably know 3 people who are single.
I don't think I will ever be satisfied. I don't think I will ever be happy. But I think that I can be content. I have other things in my life that make me happy. Even though I barely see my family because they are all married, I still value them and whatever rare moments we get to spend together. Same with my friends.
I can still travel. I can still buy myself whatever I want. Sometimes, to make myself feel better, I will buy myself chocolates on Valentine's day. I will buy myself expensive jewelry on my birthday and on Christmas that perhaps a lover would have purchased for me. Some people might think this is sad, but it makes me feel better. I don't need to wait for someone to get me these things.
Money and objects don't buy happiness, but I don't feel as though I have a choice. They give me some kind of temporary pleasure.
I know that people look down on those who are single, especially once you hit 30, but you have to learn to ignore those people. Just remind yourself that you can have an entire bed to yourself. You can go where you want when you want and you don't have to answer to anybody as if you were a child. You don't need permission (or to "agree") to spend your money. No drama. And the most important thing to keep in mind is that at least you are being true to yourself, which nowadays is a very, very rare thing to have and appreciate.
Although I do believe that it would be a beautiful thing to share your life with someone, I also do not think it's possible for every single one of us. Many people end up alone. It's possible that I am one of those people and it is possible that you are one of those people. But I refuse to spend the rest of my life going through "therapy" to fix a problem that doesn't even exist. Through therapy I learned that I was actually never the problem. Through therapy I learned that I actually have a lot of love to give. I learned that I am a very humble and smart person. So you too should not believe that there is something wrong with you. I have seen terrible people get married and be loved and cared for by someone they did not deserve. So if someone really loves you they will love you for you, you won't need to change anything. And if no one really loves you, oh well. Just know that you can live the rest of your life and be content. And maybe you will be lucky and somehow find the happiness that I know I probably could not.
Sorry if this upsets/offends/whatever any of you as that was not my intent.