Blogging about love is tricky.
This is public.
My mother reads this on occasion.
I am super aware of what I post and that this is going across the great vast interwebs.
Having said that--being single is very much a part of my identity.
There are people who identify themselves as part of a couple.
And there are people who have come to identify themselves as single.
I have friends who are divorced or widowed--and friends who have never been married.
You'd think that we would all get along famously. But there's a huge difference.
The forever singles grew up into adults as singles.
The divorcees were relatively young when they got married.
Sometimes as a forever single--I feel like the divorcees and the other marrieds in the church view me as not a grown up. We are looked at as overgrown teenagers. At least that's how it feels.
And sometimes I see how divorcees act at parties and events and I conclude that they don't know how to be both an adult and single. They identify single with a mindset from the early 20s and they revert to that mindset whenever they're single.
These same divorced friends often find someone new within a short time--while the rest of us forever singles sit and lament that while we've never had a single chance at marriage--they're enjoying their second and third chances.
But where I have a difficult time imagining the day to day requirements of a relationship: how often do you talk? Do you have to plan something together every day or is once a week enough? When do you open up? What is too much? What is too little? --
My divorced friends can't imagine life alone. There is a vacuum of aloneness that must be filled with the presence of someone new.
My vacuum has longsince been filled with friends, theatre engagements, travel, valuable alone time...
I don't even know what I'm looking for anymore.
Am I too picky? Am I not picky enough?
I do my best not to want marriage more than I want a specific person.
My biggest weakness in love is that I qualify a man based on his feelings for me, rather than my feelings for him. "You like me! You really like me!"
I've been dating a guy off and on for a while now. I like his face, his jokes, our conversations... but really, I just liked that he liked me. I haven't liked myself much lately. I feel too fat. But he still liked me. And him liking me automatically qualified him--despite the fact that he never came to see my plays, we never went to dinner, I was never really a priority. He liked me when I didn't feel anyone would like me--so that somehow made him special.
A friend from high school contacted me last week to tell me that she was falling for a guy I was friends with on Facebook, and yup, you guessed it... it was him.
I was sad.
I realize that I was sad because he wasn't choosing me. He didn't want me. And being wanted is how I identify love.
So my feelings were hurt. I couldn't rely on his care to undo my own insecurities about myself.
I cried a little and moved on.
Back to my state of aloneness that I'm so used to.
I don't have to worry about whether I'm liking the right guy for the right reasons.
I don't have to worry about whether I'm calling him enough or whether he's calling me enough.
Should I be mad that he hasn't taken me out on a proper date in ages?
Should I be sad that he missed my play?
Should I care that I'm basically a secret? I don't want to advertise my love life anymore than he does--but what's the REAL reason for the "privacy"?
I don't need to worry about any of that. I am in my comfort zone.
I became an adult as a single person.
This is where I am most comfortable. I don't second guess myself. I simply live a happy life. I am occasionally lonely, but I fill those holes. I've learned how to do this. My divorced friends lament the times when they're alone--I get hives thinking about having to be around people 24/7.
I go to church as a part of a large congregation of LDS people who are all single between the ages of 31-45. Yesterday, a former congregational leader delivered a speech where he outlined things we could do to open ourselves up to relationships. He talked about our lack of commitment. I thought about it today. What am I committed to? Do I fear commitment?
An old boyfriend stopped by last night. I thought about what I should do. Do I let him know I'm still interested? Am I still interested? Why would I be interested in him? Why not? We had a great connection. We can talk for days. I enjoy his company. Why wouldn't I?
Sooooo many questions.
Then he left and I snuggled up comfortably in my silk house dress and watched Mad Men.
The questions disappeared. I was once again my comfortable single girl self.
I know I should hope for and strive for marriage and a family, but this is the person I have become. This is the woman my experiences have made me into. And there are a lot of divorced people who don't know how to be single as an adult who will jump at the chance to be with a confusing man. Let her deal with the emotional roller coaster!
But I hear it's really nice...
So how do I do it? How do any of us forever singles evolve into the kind of people ready for commitment and love?