It had been a rocky start to the year – with the end of Filipeen, the mess with Malaysian Persuasion and then the… I don’t even know what with English Kiwi Naval Officer. I wasn’t loving the end to what had otherwise been an incredible year of getting back into dating and fully feeling empowered and in charge of myself again. 32 had been a great year, 33 started off with a tumble of emotions experienced as if I was in a spin cycle. I didn’t love it.
I had to accept that finding someone didn’t just take me getting back into dating. It was going to take a lot more. It was going to take numerous first dates. It was going to take multiple messy situations. It would take a whole lot of tears and an equal amount of fear. I had been naive to think the only barrier to me meeting someone was dating. But when I say meeting “someone” I mean meeting someone right for me. And I was starting to realise that wasn’t as easy as I’d maybe originally thought. Who the hell said it takes just one?! So far it had taken me 32 first dates and I didn’t feel anywhere close.
Reminding myself to try and stay positive, to take the lessons from each of these first dates, from all of these new people I met, from every mess of a situation, was a daily task. I didn’t want to be that woman who lamented being single and how shit dating was but… mother of all that is holy in this world – it is an absolute nightmare sometimes.
I accepted that maybe I was getting too wound up in meeting someone, putting too much pressure on that. Maybe I needed to have more fun? Summer was coming up and if ever there was a more perfect time for having fun I didn’t know when that was. I was also getting to a place now that actually the thought of getting hurt again, of being disappointed again, of having to put up with shit for it to turn into nothing was… not that appealing. Had it been before? No. But it clearly had been palatable because it was what I’d been putting up with. Ugh.
After the multi-dating, which albeit hadn’t ended that well, I was definitely now able to see an option of dating for fun, having sex for fun, not looking at any of these first dates as potential long term partners but always being open to it if it were to happen. And, more importantly, not being disappointed if it didn’t.
It also felt easier to say “I’m not really looking for anything long term just now” when people asked – be it friends, or dates. Why is there a stigma attached to someone saying they are looking for something long term? Why does that seem to mostly invoke a response of pity, from friends, or fear, from dates?
I knew it was a form of self-protection – if I didn’t say I was looking for long term then I couldn’t be disappointed when it didn’t end up there. Casually hooking up with someone should, in theory, have less chance of causing hurt or upset. Maybe I had to accept that looking for, and actually finding, a long term relationship wasn’t where I was at that time? Maybe I would never be there…. Wait what?!
That thought scared me. More than I think it should have. More than I like to admit. More than I expected it to. At what point do you have to start being open to the prospect that maybe you have had the one great (albeit lying, cheating) love of your life and you may not find something else? Is that something you ever have to contemplate? God, I hope not, because it makes my heart break all over again to think about it. I can’t imagine it.
And so I don’t. Instead I imagine a fairytale. I remind myself how incredible those first weeks, months, years of being in love are. How it feels when someone absolutely seems to complete you. How loving and being loved are two of the most powerful emotions you will ever experience. And I know they’ll come again. I know they’re meant for me again in the future. I just don’t know when.
So for now I accept defeat in thinking all it was going to take was for me to start dating again. But I don’t accept defeat in knowing it will happen.
6 thoughts on “Accepting Defeat”
I have been there.
I know our experiences could never be completely comparable, but I recognize so much of what you’re saying.
After my split, I knew I was moving abroad and I couldn’t get too attached to anyone. But I still wanted to, and a few times I did. A lot of people took advantage of that, and it made me so mixed up and at times, empty.
After moving here, I dated a bit and had a long term relationship that ended horribly. Again I hit the apps, half wanting something transient, but still craving that legitimacy and longevity. I was let down and hurt a lot. I was giving up a lot.
This time last year I was considering giving up. That I would just be moving again and I’d have to surrender to my fate of being too old or too far or too transient.
“Why is there a stigma attached to someone saying they are looking for something long term? Why does that seem to mostly invoke a response of pity, from friends, or fear, from dates?”- Even my stepmom said to stop talking about marriage on the first meeting, but I was so upset. People want to play, and I don’t. I want to communicate. Why should dating be all this sly trickery and false interest?
I finally got the courage to be explicit about my expectations. And it hurt. I ‘scared off’ a lot of guys, or would be subject to their bartering of ‘let’s see what happens’, but I knew what that really meant. Idid find that the ones I did date got better, but overall I was so angst ridden and hurt I think I was overly sensitive to everything and overanalyzing every move. It’s so draining.
I’m very happy now, and I’m glad I changed my approach, but I’m not here to preach to you about what you ‘should’ do or what ‘works’. It just doesn’t work like that. And it doesn’t help anyone to give smug advice.
I’m just echoing your sentiments here, and I’m supporting you. And I hope you don’t give up.
Sorry for the essay!
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Don’t apologise, thank you for sharing!! Getting to the place where you can be true to what you want & not afraid to go after it is an incredible achievement. We’re so often shamed or guilted into thinking what we want, especially when it’s something more long term, is needy or asking too much or pathetic. But I feel like if people were just more honest with what they wanted from the offset, we’d all be better off… it can be tough sometimes though & I’ve definitely gone through cycles of dating “just for fun” & then dating for “something more” & then sometimes I fall right in between the two!
I really wish you well in finding love again. I definitely am to the point of feeling defeated right now as well and had to have a little pep talk with myself this morning on the way to work.
Also, I think there is a stigma with “long term”, because a lot of people assume that means you want to immediately hop into a relationship or become co-dependent with you partner, which is certainly not the case. I think announcing that you’re looking for long term simply means you’re dating with more of a purpose (to hopefully find someone to be with) instead of dating to have casual fun. I’m like you though. I’m more looking for fun, but being open to something more if that transpires.
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Love a morning pep talk! & I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has them!! Your comment about “dating with more of a purpose” is such a great way of putting it, it’s so true. It’s not that we want to run down the aisle (again, in my case) it’s that we want more than just random dates. They aren’t one in the same! I hope your pep talk worked &, as hard as it can be, don’t let the defeated feeling last too long… 😊
I think it is a challenge many people face. Trying to find someone to love using online dating. I think you have to persist, have faith it will happen and in the meantime make sure you are making the most of life
Thank you! Maintaining a fulfilling life outside of dating is indeed a critical piece of ensuring you survive the rocky times. For the most part I do a good job, and then every so often… it can get a bit much. But that’s when a reset is key!
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