Back on the horse (or something maybe a little less euphemistic)

I go through phases with online dating. Most of the time I’m really indifferent towards it. It’s just a site I check when I’m bored, and I don’t invest any real time into it at all. With the semester ending, and realizing I still have another year here… I decided what the hell. Let’s make a tiny bit more of an effort.

I kind of know what I want from a relationship… but at the same time, I don’t really know if I want to get involved with anyone that may interfere with my future plans — i.e. leaving this state for museum jobs or a Ph.D. program. But as much as I really enjoy hanging out with my cohort and my roommates, I wouldn’t mind someone who is a little closer to my age and can fill some other needs that those people can’t (and shouldn’t).

One thing I have found is that the well of 30-something single guys in my area on okc is really dry. Enough so that in my past 3 years of living here, I just figured that’s dating in Indiana and thus I wouldn’t find any eligible non-rightwing guys to spend time with. Internationally, yes. The number of guys in Britain and Turkey who match up with me in the 90%-match range is pretty damn amazing. But I’m lucky to find time to get out of the state, so out of the country is not in the picture!

I’ve been on okc for what feels like forever. I met some really great friends in Chicago on that site. But, yeah, it really wasn’t doing anything for me recently. So… figured let’s just try another site. Or, app, really. And yes. I’m saying that I am now on Tinder.

Initial observations: There are a lot of dudes on Tinder for exactly the reasons you think they’re on Tinder. But you also do have a a fair number of guys looking for “serious” relationships (aka wife hunting). And in my age group a lot of single dads. And of course, a handful of couples looking for thirds. And also my childhood best friend from summer camp — who facebook is saying is still in a committed relationship. (He super liked me.) Yeah.

I swiped right because someone said they wanted to buy me burritos and call me beautiful. #priorities

I’ve met two guys on Tinder so far. I can’t call them dates because, yeah, they were not dates at all. I haven’t talked to the first guy again, but, really wasn’t expecting to. Consenting adults and we knew what we were agreeing to. The second guy and I are developing a friendship. We like each other, but acknowledge we’re not the perfect partner for the other and don’t want to keep each other for finding that person.

I’ve been talking to a small handful of guys consistently. I don’t know if it’s a 30s thing or maybe I’m just getting a really skewed sample size… but do guys just really jump in to calling women “babe” and “honey” so quickly now? I don’t remember that being a thing when I was dating in my 20s. I’ve also thought maybe it’s just guys not wanting to learn my name for whatever reason — I’ve been going to the same Starbucks for 3 years and they still don’t seem to care either!

Anyway. Both of my roommates are also active on dating sites currently, so it’s been fun to compare stories and share various gem of profiles we’ve found so far. I’m not expecting to — or evening looking for — “the one”… but I am hopeful for a few adventures at least!

On fragility, abuse, and trying to let go

Last night I had my first real big ugly cry since before my surgery. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the surgery or anything that comes with not having a uterus any more.

Ok, maybe a tiny little bit did, but only a tiny bit.

It’s all because I like a guy and I let some bad stuff from my past seep in and take root in my head.

I haven’t had a crush in a long while. Not like, a crush crush. It’s one of those things where I’ve kind of always found this guy friend attractive, and then the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. I’m trying to be logical through the whole thing — he’s one of my online friends, so we haven’t even met in person, nor do I even know how he feels about me or anything if he’s even thought about me that way… just because I like him doesn’t mean he likes me.

But you really can’t logic your way out of a crush.

My last relationships/attempt at a relationship/whatever it was, was not healthy. I had gotten involved with one of my guy friends, and developed major feelings for him. He would go from telling me how beautiful I was to saying that we couldn’t date because we both sort of worked together. He would wrap his arms around me and tell me how lucky he was that I chose him, to telling me he was never once attracted to me. We’d hook up, to him majorly going after another girl right in front of me. He drank. A lot. At least once while he was driving. Somehow despite all that terrible shit, I still thought maybe I’d be enough for him and that he’d choose me, and only me. Then he got this other girl that he had started seeing, like actually dating, pregnant. He’s apparently cleaned up his life a lot since then… but… the damage he did to me was done.

So I spent the wee hours of last night sobbing because I’m afraid to let myself like someone again. Crying out because I just want someone who will find me beautiful as I am* — someone who will choose me.

I hate that this asshole from my past got in my head. That someone who I have moved on from still has an affect on me. While I’ve found some great happiness in myself since then, and I’m excited about where my life is going… I’d be lying if I said a little part of me didn’t want someone to share that with. I’m enjoying getting to know this guy. And yes, the logical part of me is and will be find that nothing is likely to come of this… It’s just that crush part which is all “I want to kiss his face.” Sigh. And logic side can’t argue because, hey, he is cute.

BLERGH. Why are crushes in your 30s still a thing.

A lot of this is holdover stuff from my endometriosis. The medicine I was on caused me to gain weight, and as I’ve talked about a few times, endo is the type of disease that sort of makes you feel broken as a woman. I had the same hold ups when choosing to have a hysterectomy as a single woman. I know there is no perfect weight or size, and that my body just is my body how it is in the moment.

Why I don’t think I’ll be dating any time soon.

It’s been 5-6 or so years since my last relationship — the last time I had someone I called my boyfriend. Maybe 4 years or so since I had my heart broken. (Or at least, was treated like shit by someone I cared deeply for.) And probably about the same about of time, ish, give or take a few months maybe a year, since I last kissed someone romantically. However, only a year since my last date.

Despite the fact that yes, I went on 2 dates since moving back to Indiana… I just… Well, I simply just don’t see myself dating much or at all while I’m here. While part of me is a little bummed out — it’d be nice to have that type of companionship again — part of me is also really ok with this. (Especially having no obligations to anyone but myself.) Anyway, here’s some of the reasons on why I don’t think I’ll be dating soon:

  1. Indiana is a very red state. I always thought I’d be open enough to consider dating anyone regardless of political party alliance, that if we liked each other enough and had other shared interests, we’d get through that part… But, well, in this climate I can’t say that. There’s too many fundamental differences in values that I just can’t see it working. Also, being more conservative, it also brings a sort of backwards-old-fashioned attitude. The whole man should lead the family, pseudo (or blatant) racism and homophobia and bigotry… I know there are liberals here, but trying to peer around all these elephants to find a guy I could get along with… ugh. A lot of work.
  2. I’m surrounded by college-aged kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m friends with them. But considering someone 8-to-10+ years younger than me to date? Yeah, I’ve dated that range older than me, but 1) it didn’t work, and 2) it was different. I just don’t see it happening at all. And since that’s the bulk of my social life, or rather just my life in general, meeting people isn’t really happening. A lot of my school friends don’t (or can’t legally) drink, so I’m not at any bars. And I don’t know if the whole meeting people while in some stage of drunkenness is my thing. The only dudes near my age are my brother’s friends — which, NOPE. — or maybe faculty/staff on campus, which, eh, definitely no in my department. Elsewhere, I mean, still tough to find people my age, to be honest.
  3. I have no clue how long I’ll be here. I know at least 3 semesters. With that last semester kind of questionable on whether it actually will be here — I don’t know where I’ll be doing my thesis research yet or if I’ll be moving for any period of time to do said research. So dating someone who’s established here, when I don’t know where I’ll end up at all, sort of a hard thing to do.
  4. My health kind of scares people off. Or at least, I feel like it might. Who wants to date a girl whose uterus is slowly trying to kill her? Oh, and I’m on medication that kills my libido, too. It’s been a little weird, because it’s not just I’m not interested in sex, I just don’t register attraction much any more. I can tell “oh hey, that’s a good looking guy” but then it’s just like “oh hey, that’s a good looking guy *goes back to doing whatever it was I was doing and making no other notice of said attractive guy or giving him another thought*… It’s not like, completely off off — sometimes I’m like “I’d like to make out with that person,” but it’s extremely rare.

Now. I’m not completely opposed to dating. I would laugh, in a good way, if after this post the universe put someone into my life. I’d be completely cool with it. But I have no expectations, no hopes, and am spending extremely little (i.e. no) effort on this aspect of my life. I don’t want to be #ForeverSingle, but I just don’t know that I’ll find someone here… it’s still sort of a transient stage of my life — grad school and a career change are a pretty big transition. I love what I’m doing, I’ve got friends, I’m close to family, and I’ve got my cats. Things are pretty good otherwise.

See also: Reasons why I’m single.

Reasons why I’m single…

There are a lot of (mostly) well-meaning posts all over the internet about the top 3/5/7/10/14³ reasons why you’re single (even though you’re absolutely amazing and wonderful) and why that’s ok. A lot of it is to placate that overwhelming why me feeling that some people get with singleness. I’ll admit, yes, I get those too. But a lot of those articles don’t bring any soothing feelings or calmness or really make me feel better. They make me feel snarky, that’s for sure. But I don’t take comfort in them.

The truth is, they feel like BS. I’m not trying to be harsh. But really? Ugh.

Anyway. If I’m going to be honest with myself, why not put it on the internet?

I’m single because…

» I was not attracted to my last date after we met in person. And he also thought both sides of gamergate were valid.

» there was no spark with an old acquaintance, despite how much I would have like for there to be one.

» I won’t let my grandma set me up with a Baptist minister.

» I’m not attracted to a family friend who asked me out.

» I don’t currently have any plans to stay in this city, let alone this state longterm. In fact, I have absolutely no idea where I’ll end up after I finish this degree.

» I put a lot of things first, like school, work, and my health. And since I’m being honest, my self esteem was put through the wringer coming to terms with having endometriosis.

» that asshole treated me like crap.

» my last serious relationship (and, really, just my last relationship) was more about convenience and we knew it would not be long term.

» because the guy before that didn’t love me.

» because I’ve never told my college crush that I like him. (And still do.)

» because my college boyfriend and I were ultimately not a good match.

» because I’m not trying that hard. And I am not upset that I am not trying hard.

» because that’s just how it is right now.

It take 2 people to have a relationship. Even if it was something I really, really wanted — it’s just not something you can force. I mean, yeah, sure, somebody finds you attractive and wants to be with you, but that doesn’t always mean you want to be with them, or find them attractive, or that it would be a healthy relationship. (This is why all those posts put things like “you’re not going to settle.”)

I know you hear it a thousand times, but yes, I really am fine with being single. I’m broke-ish, in debt. I’ve got a meh car. I’m doing something I love. I’ve got my cats and a good apartment. Things are fine. They’re more than fine. My happiness, self-worth, family plans, and future hinge only on myself and my ability to be good to myself.

I’m single because I happen to be single. And that’s that.

Things my future boyfriend should probably know…

I’m no where near starting a relationship right now. Yes, there are guys I find attractive, but it’s just not something I’m actively pursuing at this point in my life.

However, I still check my dating profile every so often. But well, like any dating profile we don’t always put everything out there. I mean, come on. We’re basically trying to sell how great we are so someone actually wants to take that risk and say hi. (Though, as we all know, hopefully they’ll write more than “Hi.” because come on.)

So as I was thinking about it, here are some things that I don’t necessarily advertise on my dating profile — or necessarily say as blatantly as this — but are things a guy would come to learn about me. Either organically or otherwise.

» I joke about being a slight hermit, but yes, I am. I love my friends, I love hanging out with them, but I’m not the type who can go out more nights than not in very social atmospheres.

» Yes. I will eat an entire tub of french onion dip with chips in one sitting. And yes, sometimes I will call that a meal.

» Sometimes I do need a little encouragement, because I get shy or doubt myself. But sometimes I just can’t and pushing me too much is only going to make me turn inwards more.

» Sometimes on a bad day, all I need is something small. A hug. My favorite movie. A walk to the beach. Takeout from one of my favorite places.

» The cats are completely not negotiable.

» No cilantro. No bell peppers. No caffeine (unless it’s chocolate). No beer. For me at least… and I won’t just pick out or eat around peppers. It doesn’t work that way.

» Something that I sort of really want, but will probably never ask for directly: someone to go on adventures with. Maybe calculated adventures. Someone to share dreams with and go exploring with. (I mean, it’s sort of what we all want, though, really.)

» Sometimes, yes, I just want to go to bed at 7pm.

» And with that, I’m not a perky morning person, but 5:30am does not phase me. I don’t expect someone to get up with me — and heck, sometimes I like having the morning be my own quiet time to myself — but please don’t expect me to be this active night owl with you.

» It may take some time, but eventually, one day, I’ll completely open up and be my full, sometimes weird self around you all the time.

Would be on your list? Do you think it’s important to have more of these things up front in the beginning, or let them come out naturally over the course of time?

It wasn’t the whole truth. (or: sometimes it’s easier to be single)

Ok, so not long after writing the post about how I’ve come to the point of acceptance of my singleness, I realized there may be more to it. And unfortunately I was reminded in a not so awesome way.

Yes, I did cry a lot. Yes, I did spend time focusing on myself. Yes, I do generally feel good about life and myself and all those rainbows and unicorns. But. There is definitely more to it.

I’m ok with being single, because being single is safe.

Since I’m not spending my time or energy trying to attract someone, it’s one less stress. There’s less threat of rejection if I’m not out actively seeking a relationship. Less chance of my heart getting hurt if I’m single.

But beyond all of the locking my heart away in a tower thing…  With being single… I can hide from the fact that physical intimacy terrifies me. That it sends panic more often than not. I can keep all the scars from my past hidden. I don’t have to worry about someone who I want to be close to me, triggering some terrible wound from my past.

I can hide away from all of those things, pretend that they never happened. Pretend that I’m whole.

Being single means I don’t have to expose myself again.

Yes. I would absolutely love that companionship again. Yes. I would absolutely love for someone to fight for me, to encourage me, to love me for everything that I am. … It’s just easier to hide from it all.

Maybe one day, I’ll meet some amazing guy who will be patient with me… But for now… It’s much easier to be single.

the long, far from perfect road to acceptance and being ok with singleness

In a response to my recent post on this whole thinking about relationships again, Katie mentioned how she wished she was as calm as I am in regards to being single. But the truth is… well, it took me a while to accept being single. And there are times when I’m still not ok with it. But with work, I got here.

It was not an easy road. I have had so many nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep. Or just crying throughout the day. Like seriously. I cannot emphasize how much I ugly cried over feeling that I would never be loved.

But I am loved. Not in a spouse type of love, but it’s love. And, learning to focus on what makes me happy. Big things and little ones. I sort of hate that whole “choose happiness” stuff, but you know, I decided I was just tired of letting this hurt me so much. At some point I was just over it.

Not knowing what’s going to happen doesn’t have to be scary. There are endless possibilities out there for you. So many adventures. It’s not some dark spiraling hole of despair. It’s like stepping out and having any path at your fingertips. The beginning of a dawn. That beautiful light.

And all those bad dates you might go on? I had a guy that I just wanted more than anything to be the one… and it just was never going to happen. I thought the world of him, and it blinded me to all the times when he didn’t treat me right. I thought it was just the drinking. I thought the good outweighed any hint of bad. I was in deep. But he was never going to choose me. And it hurt like crazy. But you know what I realized? As amazing as I thought he was — the guy I’m going to end up with is going to be so much greater than that guy. And that excites me.

Do I still have moments where I get caught off guard, moments where I still weep uncontrollably? Yeah. Those times still happen. But as I started focusing on myself, those times are fewer and further between. I mean, it make seem hokey and fake — but I honestly do believe that life is good. I really do enjoy my life. Singleness be damned. A relationship status won’t define me.

It shouldn’t define any of us. Realizing that I didn’t have to wait for a wedding and a spouse to start a family, it was freeing. Realizing that I didn’t need to depend on someone else for my own happiness, completely freeing. It’s not an easy path to get here — this journey is far from perfect — and dark days will always come. But damn if this way of looking at life isn’t amazing.

Just turned 30, of course let’s think about relationships.

So I guess a week after turning 30 is a great time to think about relationships, marriage, kids, and my looming singleness.

It’s not a “oh woe is me” thing. Not even close. Just more of “huh” thing. I’m not really concerned with being single, and not in any rush to get into a relationship. You just don’t force that stuff. It’s all just harmless pondering.

I don’t really know where my life is going, so it feels ridiculous planning anything. Weird even wanting to plan anything. But, yes, this stuff does come across my mind every so often.

Do I want kids? I mean, kind of. Maybe. Not even sure any more. I don’t have that urge like some women to put a bun in the oven. And though I was most definitely, seriously considering it… I’m not even sure about adoption. I think it’s just more that my life is so not in the place to introduce kids that having any is sort of far from my mind.

In regards to marriage — yeah, I’d be ok with it if ever came down to the line. I won’t lie though, the idea of the huge party and the dress, that does appeal to me. But uber singleness here, so marriage isn’t in the picture. But I do sometimes wonder what sort of man I’d marry. For a while I thought it’d be great to marry a Quaker, someone who shared my religious background. But Quakers are so varied that, well, holding out for one would seem silly.

The type of guy I’d end up marrying would be someone who encourages me. Someone who supports me. Someone who is a Joss Whedon sort of feminist. Someone who likes cats. Someone with a sense of wonder, but can also keep me grounded. Someone who loves me to no end.

It’s not a check list or anything. It’s just that’s the type of person I deserve. That and so much more.

I just…. I’m just not in a rush. As wonderful and magical as those things seem. I’m not going to go moping around because I’m single. I don’t care that I’m single. I mean, I sort of hate being that “all is great, my life is fine and full of rainbow and sunshine” person. But you know, my life is fine. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, but it’s far being terrible. Life is indeed good.

I don’t know what’s coming. I could meet someone tomorrow. Heck, I could already know him. We could end up adopting and fostering, like, 12 kids. Or have only a couple of our own. Or my mom can have a whole album full of pictures of her grandcats… I don’t know. And I don’t need to know. Not now. Why spoil the journey?

current thoughts on dating

For some reason, dating has been on my mind lately. But nothing really serious, almost like a indifferent musing.

It’s been over a year and a half since I’ve gone out with a guy, and almost 3 years since my last boyfriend. And while I do indeed want love, a partner, and a family one day… I’m just sort of not concerned about dating or trying to find a relationship. It sort of feels weird, which might be why I’m so amused by it.

We’re constantly given so many messages on how to find the right guy/girl. There are all these stories about how happy-in-love people are that are supposed to make us want that too — that it’s the norm. And of course, I’m in that point of my life where so many people in my social circles have been getting married or having babies… It’s all well and good and all, but I just don’t feel phased by it. Right now I’m satisfied with just finding particular guys attractive but not giving any thought towards actually pursuing them for a relationship or anything.

I feel like I’m just getting used to doing things alone. I’m planning my life solely around what I want without any thought of adding someone else’s needs or goals into the mix. Even my thoughts on parenthood don’t focus on a spouse but more-so on an adoption as a single parent. I mean, yes: I want the big crazy wedding, I want someone to wake up to, someone who accepts me and all my weirdness. But, currently… I guess I’ve just come to accept this is where my life’s at. I’m ok without those things right now. My life’s going pretty well, all things given — and it has nothing to do with my relationship status.

This path may lead towards heartache

This whole connectiveness that social media brings, while it can be great, is also absolutely terrible. Internet stalking is way to easy. And sometimes you do it without intending to, accidentally stumbling on a photo or profile. Or sometimes things like Facebook practically force it at you with all there “look what this person is doing! oh look, your mutual friend interacted with that person you’ve wanted to avoid!”

It was through Facebook that I discovered that an ex was married after a very short time of dating his now wife. And again now Facebook’s let me know that they’re anticipating a child together. It was through social media I found out about another person’s pregnancy with the girl he had been seeing for only 2 months, right after he publicly ripped me apart to push me away.

I’m not mad at them. Heck, I’m not really mad at my ex — or the tremendously painful way he ended our relationship — or the other guy for the most part . But it still hurts. Like a reaffirmation of the rejection.

Both of them got this happy ending. They’re building a family, falling in love… They’re getting everything I’ve longed for. And I’m stuck here, alone and feeling very broken. I blame my endo. I blame my anxiety. I blame my past. I blame my short hair. Because nothing makes sense as to why I’m still alone.

It’s incredible hard to stay strong in situations like these. We grasp at everything, any excuse, and we nitpick ourselves into terrible places. Because there aren’t logical explanations in most cases. It just didn’t work out. And as much as that hurts, we’re just left to accept it. I can’t fight for either of those guys. I tried with the latter, even some after I found out about the pregnancy, thinking maybe if we had a strong friendship again all those issues we ever had would go away and he would realize I was worth it. I was reaching for anything that would take the pain away. In the end nothing changed, other than realizing I was way too quick on taking the blame and apologizing for being hurt.

My faith tells me not to worry. That there’s a plan in place for me and the perfect person out there that will come when the time is right. But my heart is telling my faith to shove it. Relationships, even feigned attempts at them, hurt. I want to live a life where I’m not worried about them. Where I can just get over it and move on. You know, at times I am. Until I get too connected and throw myself down a rabbit hole that honestly I know better than to go down.

The truth is I am fucking amazing and I can’t figure out why an equally amazing person doesn’t want to be with me. The truth is those guys, who were absolutely wonderful in their own merits, were not able to give me what I needed. In most things in life, I believe that the things that are supposed to happen will happen, either through my own efforts or something bigger than me. But I refuse to believe there is any possibility that I might not be able to experience this love, this connection, this family that I have always desired. I refuse to believe that I am anything less than amazing or worthy. This path may lead towards more heartache, but I cannot wait for someone to refuse to let me go.