Last week I was talking to an old friend I hadn’t seen in several years and we were catching each other up on what’s been going on in our lives. A little way into the conversation, she asked what I’ve come to realize is an inevitable question…
“Are you dating anyone?”
I’ve answered that question a million times in the past five years with all manner of responses. Though I’ve only dated one person seriously since my split from my ex-husband, I’ve dated quite a lot. I’ve run the gamut in terms of the sort of relationship I’ve wanted, from serious to casual, from 'just sex' to ‘friends with benefits’, from 'this could be the one' to ‘let’s just have some fun and see where it goes’. And I have had some fun and made a few good friends along the way, but more often than not, I’ve had my feelings hurt; I’ve felt rejected, frustrated, angry; I’ve been reduced to tears. Overall, my dating experiences have not been incredibly positive.
So, a little more than a year ago, I sat down and tried to sort out why none of my relationships were ‘sticking’. And I realized that the common denominator in all of them was…
Yup, you guessed it... Me.
If you’ve been coming ‘round here for any length of time, you know a big portion of last year wasn’t really good for me. I spent a lot of time stuck in a rut (and by ‘rut’, I mean ‘a pit of quicksand the size of Rhode Island’). I wasn’t happy with life in general. Mostly, I wasn’t happy with myself. Not at all.
And I realized that until I could be happy with and by myself, I had no right to even think about looking for someone to share my life.
So I set about making some changes, as most of you know, and, as you know, I’m still doing it. But you know what else? I realized recently that I am happy overall, both with and by myself. And that? Is big. And? Even though I'm in a pretty good place – one which might lend itself to a healthy dating relationship – I don’t feel the need to look for one. And that? Is way cool, my peeps!
Now, don’t get me wrong… if a relationship happens to cross my path, you know, in the form of a cute, liberal-minded, creative, outdoorsy-type guy who kisses well and loves mouthy, independent kids and big, hairy dogs? Well, I’m certainly not going to turn it down (hell no, I'm not!).
But I’m not looking. And I don't know when I'll want to. It could be next week. It could be next year. I'm not feeling any pressure.
So, when my friend asked, “Are you dating anyone?”
I grinned and said, “Yup! Me! And you know what? It’s the best relationship I’ve had in a long, long time!”
And the best part? I was totally serious.