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Single +1

Sarah Fowler

It’s no secret that I love the small town life. It’s also no secret that in a small town, nothing is ever a secret. Everyone knows your name, who your Mama and Daddy are and how fast it takes to dial their phone number to tell them what exactly you’ve been up to. For the longest time I’ve loved that aspect of Columbus. I love that Main Street is my backyard and store owners know my daughter’s name, how old she is and where she goes to school. I love that my mail man knows that I get down right giddy when my TIME magazine arrives every week. And I adore the fact that the lady at the Donut Factory knows I’m craving a chocolate iced donut without even having to ask. We are definitely a close knit community and more often than not, that’s a good thing. Lately though, I’m starting to wonder if we are so close because we genuinely care about each other or if it’s just because we’re nosy. I went out on a date the other evening and I swear we hadn’t even finished our salads when I got a text message from a girl I hadn’t spoken to in months asking me how my date was going. Good Lord, really? In that moment I realized part of the reason why I’m single. It’s downright impossible to casually date in a small town.
I’ve been seeing someone on and off for a year and a half. He is an amazing man and one that I consider a friend before anything else. There is a quiet comfort with him, a familiarity that I could get lost in if I let myself. But I don’t because after all this time, the rules are set. He dates other people, I date other people and when we’re both single we meet up and grab dinner every now and then, no questions asked. It’s nothing serious and a no muss no fuss situation. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Then I saw him out with another woman and that no muss no fuss nonsense went out the window. If we were in a bigger city I wouldn’t have to worry about bumping into him or watching as he parades his social life right in front of me, all the while pretending that it doesn’t bother me. I don’t think he does it intentionally but in a small town with three popular restaurants all within a block of each other, uncomfortable run ins are bound to happen. I don’t have the luxury of pretending that I’m the only girl he’s seeing and imagining him sitting at home on a Saturday night playing Scrabble with his roommate. All I have to do is look up from my table at one of the three restaurants in town and see him out with another woman who isn’t me.
The heck of it is, this guy who I’m so conflicted over isn’t the only man I’m seeing. Hypocrite, party of one. I am seeing someone new and I have no idea how to date two people at the same time. I thought casually dating would be fun and exciting but I have never been so confused in my entire life. It’s a situation of my own making and I have no one to blame but myself but I’ve found myself falling for both of these men. This new man is wonderful and charming and an honest to goodness gentleman. To put it simply, he makes me happy. But the one thing he’s got going against him is he’s not the man I’ve been seeing for a year and a half. I feel like I am constantly comparing one man to the other and that’s not fair to either one of them or to me. They both know about each other and needless to say physical activity is reserved to hand holding but still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m doing something wrong. I want to blame my ability to not be able to casually date on living in a small town but I may end up blaming my conscience instead. I’m just not used to this.
By the time college rolls around, everyone has pretty much paired off. In a small town you are constantly exposed to the same group of people and chances are the teenage boy that sat across from you in homeroom your junior year of high school is the same boy who was in the church nursery with you at six weeks old and played t-ball with you when you were five. The point of dating is to get to know someone but when we’ve known each other our entire lives, what option does that leave us? You think he’s cute, he thinks you’re cute, you know how he broke his arm when he was eight and he knows you went through a chubby phase in fourth grade. You go out and grab a burger and the next thing you know, you’re in an exclusive “boyfriend girlfriend” relationship. I’m beginning to wonder if the reason why we don’t casually date is because the thought has never even occurred to us to do so.
When we’re younger we long for the days of “when I grow up.” We think we’ll have the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect marriage. But what we don’t count on is things getting more complicated the older we get. I would love to think that I’ve got this dating thing down or that I know exactly what I’m doing. The truth is, I don’t have a clue. I have no idea how to juggle mommyhood, a job and dating a man much less dating two men, mommyhood and a job. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve said over and over again how much I long for a partner, and I can’t expect to get close to a man if I’ve constantly got another one in the back of my mind. Small town or big city, casual or exclusive relationship, I’ve decided I’m definitely a one man kind of woman.

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3 comments

  1. Seven

    Hahaha! “By the time college rolls around, everyone has pretty much paired off.”
    This is true. I was a single mom for 7 years, never been married, until I was almost 30.
    At this stage in the game, you’re not going to get the new construction 3 story brick home with a white picket fence in a new subdivision in a perfect school district….you’re going to get an older home with lots of character and a “fixer-upper” so be prepared to invest…it’s worth it though, I promise.
    I married a man who had been divorced for a couple of years after over a decade of a loveless marrige. I invested in him…after 2 years of marriage, I feel really blessed. Amazing what a good woman can do to a man, and vice versa!

    You’re just going to have to find your “fixer-upper” and be willing to invest in your relationship and be patient.

    Good luck!

  2. Single -3

    “If you compare yourself with others, you will become vein and bitter, because there will ALWAYS be greater and lesser persons than yourself”.. Same holds true for comparing potential mates. Nobody’s perfect. The best one can hope for is to find somebody that doesn’t constantly irritate you to death.. And, I gotta love the way they smell, too… just sayin’,,, (when they sweat). Might be why I’m alone, huh??

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