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.