Those of you who are single by choice, if you look deep inside your heart, do you really want to be single or do you believe that the relationship you want isn’t possible and therefore not worth pursuing?
The answer is different for different people, and even for the same person at different points in their life. I’m not insinuating that those who claim to love being single are actually afraid of pain.
But some are. And to those people, I’m sending love and saying don’t give up on what you really want.
Pain has no power unless we give it some. The worst it can do is be unpleasant.
Yes, VERY unpleasant. But still, that’s it.
Dating involves pain. Even if everyone had great intentions, incompatibility often surfaces after we’re already attached. Feelings aren’t always reciprocated. It burns badly each time.
But if we guard ourselves from pain we also close ourselves off from true love. True love requires intimacy. Intimacy requires vulnerability. Vulnerability leaves us…vulnerable.
One of the worst ways we hurt ourselves is by becoming attached to our fantasies about who someone is or what a new connection might become, instead of waiting with open curiosity to see what actually unfolds. That random stranger you never met ghosting you doesn’t hurt if you see them as a random stranger instead of the person who might have been your soul mate.
Another way we torture ourselves is by creating reasons for other people’s behavior that involve us being unworthy or unloveable. Back to the random stranger who ghosted you – was it because someone that great would never actually want you? They must have found someone better! Or is it because their spouse found their dating app and deleted it? You’ll never know! So stop trying to figure it out.
One of the most damaging ideas is that we’re supposed to know if dating someone is a bad idea. Yes, it’s a bad idea to ignore red flags. But we often put our best foot forward and don’t show the worst in ourselves until later on, usually when we’re under pressure. Heck, we wouldn’t want to date that side of ourselves either.
Compatibility means being able to deal with someone at their best and worst. So when we see someone’s less desirable side, sometimes we realize we’re incompatible. But instead of simply moving on we wonder why we didn’t see it sooner. Next thing you know, we see EVERYTHING as red flags.
Depending on your definition, we all have red flags. And we all hurt people sometimes.
My red flags, according to some people:
I’m divorced (must have been a bad wife)
I’m a single mom (must be irresponsible and have baggage)
I only go on dates when my son is with his dad (I must not be willing to make time for a relationship or make my partner a priority)
I‘m too available (I work online and tend to check and answer messages quickly. But I must be a clingy psycho)
I work a lot (must not have time for a partner)
I don’t have much of a social life (must be lonely, desperate, and miserable – not just a busy single mom)
I value sex positivity (Slut!)
I don’t commit or become exclusive for at least a few months (must be playing games and disloyal)
I’ve broken hearts. Didn’t want to, but it was the right thing to do because I didn’t feel the same or we weren’t compatible.
Realizing this about myself, it’s easier to open myself up to others.
No, I don’t put up with BS. I’ll walk away. But I don’t have walls up.
And so I get hurt. Deeply.
But I also experience intense romance, adventure, intimacy, and fun.
In fact, that’s been what I love most about being single.
I love it so much that anyone I get into a relationship with has to be even BETTER than single life.
One day I’ll find that person. I’ll keep my heart open until I do, no matter how much pain I experience along the way.
Our exes don’t deserve the power to sabotage our future happiness.