I’m a happy girl. I’m one of those annoyingly perky morning people and sometimes I’m so chipper that I even get on my own nerves. But this week has been one dating disaster after another and I swear all I want to do is go to bed and pull the covers up over my head. I just found out that the last guy I seriously dated, the only one who has ever met my daughter, the one who promised me the world but in the end couldn’t commit because I was “just too complicated”, is now dating…wait for it…a lesbian. You have got to be freaking kidding me. An hour and a couple glasses of wine later, after I had finally come to terms with the situation, I did what I always do: I over analyzed. Not just that relationship, but every relationship I’ve had with a man since, oh, the 3rd grade. And then I had a thought. Maybe, just maybe, nothing is wrong with the men I’ve been dating. Maybe it’s me.
I used to think that I had a certain “type” of man. I love a man that exudes confidence, a man that walks into a room and instantly owns it. But all too often those men turn out to be cocky, arrogant a**holes. So that didn’t work. Then I moved on to a new type: The quiet, thoughtful, sensitive man who would rather be home reading a book with CNN on in the background instead of out at a crowded bar picking up women with his buddies. But I found that those men all too often let me get away with murder and don’t challenge me to be a better woman. Then I found him. The man who seemed like the male of version of me, he seemed like the perfect combination of my two “types” of men. He was incredibly smart and insightful but had just enough of an attitude to turn me on and tick me off at the same time. All we did was argue but in my twisted way, it only made him more appealing. I made the dreaded rookie mistake and told him I loved him. He ended it a few weeks later. And I completely understand why.
When I first got back into the dating game, men had a shelf life. I generally dated men that I didn’t worry about getting close to emotionally and once I had been seeing a man for about six weeks, I would get bored and end it. (Or if I want to be completely honest, I would get scared and run like the wind.) I had been casually dating like that for a little over a year when I met someone who seemed different; someone worth the risk of getting hurt again. We had been seeing each other for three weeks when he first told me he loved me. It scared the bejeesus out of me and I started looking for any excuse to end it. I found it a few weeks later when we had a petty argument in which he took the opportunity to call me fat. That was all the ammunition I needed and I never saw him again. (For the record, I was 115 lbs. Fine, fine 120 lbs. But still. I don’t care if I’m 500 lbs and have to be lifted out of my house by a crane, don’t call me fat.) While I admittedly overreacted at the time, I rationalized my way out of it. But if I allow myself to think about it, I occasionally wonder what could have been if only I had let myself love him. And if I had let him love me.
I have a girlfriend who is easily one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met. She’s divorced, in her early 40’s and has this infectious laugh that just makes the entire room light up. She has been single for over 20 years and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. Then I recognized her behavior as incredibly similar to my own. She dates every now and then but when a man gets too close, she self sabotages. She is an amazingly independent woman but when dating a man she can go from level headed and unattached to a Stage 5 clinger in a matter of seconds. And I get it. Because I’ve done it. Somehow, I can rationalize pushing you away. If you leave because I left you no other choice, that’s easier for me to deal with. But what if I love you unconditionally and you leave me anyway? I don’t know if my heart can take that again.I’m smart, funny on occasion, have the majority of my sh** together and don’t exactly look like I just got hit by a bus. (I’m not saying I belong on the cover of Vogue, but still.) And while you may be thinking that modesty is my problem, that’s not exactly first date conversation. Yet as confident as I am, whenever I am in a new relationship fear grips my heart and I get the urge to run. So yes, maybe it IS me, but in writing down my fears, I’ve come to embrace the emotional intricacies and insecurities that make me “me”. And while they aren’t qualities that I’m necessarily proud of, they make up the woman that I am; the happy, complicated, occasionally neurotic and increasingly complex woman full of hope for the love she has yet to find. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.0