I’m sometimes in awe of my ex’s commitment to finding “the one.”
He works those dating apps like a starving college student waits tables to pay tuition.
I oscillate between wanting to judge him for needing someone so desperately and being proud of him for not giving up on something he wants so much.
It’s just not me. I don’t want to work so hard.
People might argue that finding love involves a little effort and putting yourself out there and I don’t disagree. It’s work. It requires patience and stamina and tough skin.
You can get super excited about someone you just met last week and then discover that the person you were so excited about swiped right and found someone far more interesting than you.
If you haven’t yet read Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements and haven’t yet mastered his second Agreement “Don’t Take Anything Personally,” this lifestyle isn’t for you.
For me, it’s not about that. I’ve learned to rarely take anything personally. I don’t believe my happiness is tied to another person being in it. I’m perfectly comfortable being vulnerable when I’m interested in someone even if they don’t reciprocate.
But I have expectations. And those expectations lie solely with myself.
I’m responsible for knowing what I want. I have an expectation of myself to hold strong boundaries and not settle for something that doesn’t feel in alignment with where I’m at and what I need. I’m responsible for saying yes to what feels good and no to what doesn’t.
And you know what? That took a lot of practice.
We have to know ourselves first. And I mean really know ourselves and what we want before we declare we “want a partner” or “we want to be in a relationship” when we’re still figuring it all out.
We have to love our own company. We need to let go of all the anger and hurt and resentment we might still be carrying over something that happened in our past before we can truly show up for another person. We need to forgive our ex or forgive ourselves for what we didn’t know how to do at the time any better than we do now.
We have to love all the broken, messy, and not so beautiful parts of ourselves first before we go searching for someone else who inevitably we’ll project all that stuff onto.
In the past six years since the ending of my marriage, I’ve been figuring it out. Mainly what I’ve been doing is dating, sometimes falling in love, sometimes learning it was lust, occasionally accepting I’m the one who sabotaged a good thing, and then picking myself up with no regrets and moving forward.
I’ve manifested exactly what I’ve put out there through the years. Don’t for a second doubt that what you put out into the world you don’t receive right back.
First, it was, “I can’t trust anyone,” and sure enough I brought in men who couldn’t be trusted.
Then, it was, “Nobody sees me,” and in swooped an influx of men who saw my exterior beauty but not all the beauty I carried inside that I had to give.
After a few heartbreaks, it became a tough, cold exterior and a declaration to anyone who crossed my path that “I don’t need anyone anyway, because I got this.”
And wouldn’t you know, for a full 18 months I was met with the sound of these annoying crickets in my backyard chirping obnoxiously outside my bedroom window as I slept alone night after night, defiantly insisting that I loved having my entire king-size bed all to myself!
Finally, I got honest enough to admit that, although I don’t need anybody and I’ve created a pretty awesome life without a partner, it might be kind of nice to have regular sex, deep intimacy, and someone to binge-watch Netflix with.
Yes, I’ve chosen to stay single all these years for many reasons, from fear to pride to plain old laziness of not wanting to put in the work it takes to meet someone outside my circle.
But if I’m honest, the real reason is because I needed to do my own work. I needed to learn to trust myself. I needed to work on seeing myself. I had to accept that, although I didn’t need anyone and yes…I “got this,” it sure as hell would be nice to have someone take the heavy load off and love me with everything they’ve got.
I’m even willing to admit now that I don’t need all that room in the king-size bed to myself anymore.