Over two months ago I made a decision that wound up creating some ripples in the seemingly smooth fabric of my life and sense of security or self-esteem.
I decided that perhaps I was ready to date.
Monumental for me, because up until then I had been very resistant to the idea of ‘putting myself out there’ in any way shape or form. I mean, really, the last time I had dated was when I was nineteen years old.
I am now forty-six.
That’s a long time.
It was obvious that my marriage did not pan out well, and let’s just be real: I was not above reproach regarding its demise. I gave up long before I probably should have, and even though I believe I had good reason to, I still participated in its downfall.
I simply did not have a stellar track record. As a teen, I had been an insensitive heart-breaker, so who did I think I was to even think about venturing into the dangerous waters of dating now? Had I really learned anything about myself or about people in general over the years? Why even bother?
I realize that not everyone is like me, but after feeling so alone in my marriage for twenty years, I craved connection. Watching happily married couples in my life work hard at their relationship and reap the rewards made me long for something similar. To be wanted. To want someone in return. To be honored and loved. To respect and cherish.
The part that continues to bother me is that I don’t understand why I still crave it when I already have a deep connection with my Creator. He is the ultimate lover of my soul and my heart, so why this deep longing for a partner? Can’t I just stifle it, or kill it altogether? Can’t He just take it away? It lurks in the background everywhere I go, and I don’t like it. I know, I know, He created us for relationships. But this just seems unrealistic.
Despite my misgivings, I was aware that the major reason why I was balking was because I was afraid of rejection. Even my husband had chosen someone else over me, and I wasn’t a cute, young thing with the rest of her life ahead of her anymore. I was much older, plumper, droopier, and suspicious. Plus, I didn’t know how to date. How did one go about this strange but common practice at my age?
So I signed up for a dating site.
And immediately felt like a piece of meat.
The first respectable guy to reach out to me turned out to be someone I still admire. He caught my attention with his humor, and his let the chips fall where they may attitude in how he addressed me. I was curious. I became captivated.
I came on too strong and eventually scared him away. Well, technically I gave him an “out”, but he took it.
There’s a lot of unlearning in this learning I’m doing.
This one came on too strong. I dove in anyway.
I hurt him.
There were stalkers. There were creeps. There were very nice guys that i felt no connection to.
But I’ve exceeded my personal capacity for letting people “in”, and now I’m feeling a little burned out. I even hid my profile on said-dating-site. Though I’d still love to take another shot at the one I drove off… but there’s no use crying over spilled milk, is there?
So what have I gained from this experience? I’m not entirely sure, but I think I have a better idea of the kind of personality I would click best with. It’s nice to know I’m not too old and droopy to capture someone’s attention, but its definitely not enough; I want the rest of me to capture that special someone’s attention too. And I’ve realized that even though I had to learn to take the reins in my life a long time ago, it can actually be a good thing to take a breath and let someone else lead every once in awhile.
Do I feel better now that I dated? Yes and no.
I’m still craving that special connection with someone. It hasn’t diminished and that kind of ticks me off. Sigh.
But i have learned that I can say no. I’ve learned that its usually best to say no, even to myself. And I’ve learned that its ok to try; I didn’t shrivel up and blow away when it didn’t go as I’d hoped.
Here’s my biggest take-away: I am enough.
Who I am is enough. I may not have it all figured out, I may blow it, I may miss the mark completely. But I am enough. My emotions may not always coincide with this remarkable information, but it still remains true.
And I need to live like it.
The longing may still linger, but my God knows all about it. He created it. He created me. And He has had an earful from me about it, anyway.
So, I’m letting go. I had my adventure, and I will continue to ask God to bring me that special someone. But I’m done actively seeking him myself.
Because I. am. enough.
And I don’t need to prove it.