Every time I start dating again, I start re-evaluating all my past relationships. There are so many I’d like to tell you about but there are too many for one blog. Every relationship was a lesson in it’s own right. None of them ended up the way I thought, because at the start of all of them, I thought they would end with a happily ever after not with me walking away. I have an ex who remained friends with all of his exes. When we were together it used to be an item of contention with us. Not because he was still friends with them, but because he still talked to them like they were lovers. I remember I would get insanely jealous when he would answer his phone when they would call by saying, “hey beautiful.” I always felt like that line should have been reserved for me. I didn’t think it was ok for him to use that line on anyone but me. I was the one he was dating. I was the one he was sleeping with. I was supposed to be his only “hey beautiful.” Years later, I understand him better. Years after the break up. He’s actually one of the only men I’ve ever dated that I remained friends with. It was not by my choice, either. It was by his hard work and refusal to let me walk away completely because he would rather have me in his life in some capacity than not at all.
All of my exes felt the same way, but I didn’t feel that way at all. I’ve said numerous times to my exes, “I don’t want to be friends” after the breakup because we weren’t friends before we started dating and I found that most of the time, the men that I would date were not the kind of people that I would even want to be friends with. And I believe that has been my life’s problem and I think that is the reason my most recent prospects have not worked out at all. I spent my whole life dating people that I would never be friends with except for the one I just mentioned above. He’s the only one that I would have been friends with even if we never dated. But I also know him well enough now, four years after our break up, to know that I wouldn’t date him again. We are friends. We will probably always be friends, but some of the parts of him that make him, him, are not for me.
I used to always be so quick to rush into relationships but on my most recent bout with single life, that’s the one thing that I have continually gone back to. “If I wasn’t planning on fucking him, would we still be friends?” And the answer is usually no. They types of men I’ve let in my life are not the ones that I would be quick to tell my secrets to, because most of them would be quick to throw them in my face when it suited their need to manipulate me. Like I said, every situation teaches you a little bit about yourself and I’ve put myself in so many situations that I only had one choice: to learn a lot about myself. Piece by piece they taught me who I was and what I was willing to accept or not accept in a relationship. And that has been lots of relationships not just the intimate ones. I have girlfriends that only call when they need something. I have girlfriends that are needy and want attention like a child. I have girlfriends that I can go years without talking to and we pick up where we left off. And I have girlfriends that I feel lost without if I don’t talk to them within a reasonable amount of time even if it’s just to say, “Hey, I need your opinion on this because I trust you.” Every relationship teaches you something. The older I get, the more put together I feel as far as what my expectations are from people in general and for the most part, I just try to walk into a situation with few expectations, because people will always be people, that you can count on, but I also have standards which is much different than expectations. I don’t expect people to treat me with a certain degree of respect, I demand that. I give respect to everyone. I trust everyone. I treat everyone fairly from the start. Until they screw it up and then I re-evaluate the relationship and even if I don’t end it, I am careful not to place myself back in the same position that brought me to the realization that this person would not do for me what I would do for them.
Which leads me back to the point. I am always so quick to fall in love and jump in head first only to figure out (usually quickly) that I have jumped into the shallow end. They put a no diving sign on that side for a reason. So when I meet someone in the dating world, I’ve started asking myself, would I be friends with this person if I didn’t want them romantically? And it’s really fucking up my dating life, but it’s also helping me to keep in mind the things I want long term. I want to know someone. I want someone to know me. You can’t just walk into a relationship and try to explain yourself to someone because sometimes it’s only easy to explain the easy parts. Nobody wants to start out a relationship listing their issues. I can’t even imagine that conversation right now, because it’s just too painful. That’s why we keep our issues a secret until we have them sorted out and can accept them or at least explain them. And until I meet someone that knows me well enough to know that sometimes when I don’t answer the phone for a day or so, it’s because I need time to re-energize myself with no distractions not because I stopped loving him, I just needed to love me for a few hours. Or someone who knows that I have moments of paralysis in the winter where I have to be forced to leave my house because the dreary winter days get into my blood and poison me like cyanide. I want someone who doesn’t think it’s weird that I sleep with my laptop in the bed next to me because I’m afraid I will wake up with something on my mind and have nowhere to put it. I want someone who understands that I will always fuck up a verbal argument and seem guilty of whatever we are arguing about because when I get nervous I have a hard time keeping a straight face. My defense mechanism is a look of guilt. But those aren’t things I would tell a person on the first few dates. I may never mention them, but the man who loves me will know that when I buy a plane ticket to Florida in the middle of winter for the weekend, it’s not because I’m trying to get away from him, it’s because I’m in danger of losing me and spiraling out of control. I don’t know why I woke up thinking about this, well, actually, it probably had something to do with a conversation I had with a friend before I fell asleep last night, but I think it all boils down to me needing a little more me time.
I think maybe I’m not ready to date. I’m not saying that I’m not going to say yes to dinner and a movie if someone asks, but I’m definitely not going to go online fishing for Mr. Right anymore because I can’t take the disappointment. Plus dating is time consuming. I don’t have enough time to go on dates to figure out if I can tolerate you for fifteen minutes. I don’t have enough time to go on dates that I can’t even have a conversation of substance on. I want everything in my life to evolve naturally. Even though I know that I will be waiting a lot longer for my happy ending, I feel like maybe dating isn’t really for me right now. I don’t know how long this will last because, although the last couple weeks have been disastrous, they have been a little more than slightly entertaining. And I’m sure I’ll go through another valley at some point and decide to try again, because that’s my pattern, but I’m easily discouraged when I don’t get things when I want them and then I just give up and stop trying. I’m at that place right now. Plus, they say love never comes when you’re looking for it. So I might as well just stop looking, right?