Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thirty-something dating

I have never been  married.  This does not, however, mean I've never been in love.  I've had relationships that were longer than a lot of marriages.  Relationships that broke my heart as badly as a divorce can.  And I'm still alive.  Still kicking.  Having your heart broken sucks, there's no other way to put it.  (And I've broke a few as well)  The only bright side is that with each one, I've learned something from it.  I think this is important to realize.  With pain comes growth, and that is not always a completely bad thing.  With each one, I've leaned something about myself.  I sometimes wish I could go back and whisper in my twenty-something ear, "Stop trying to hang on to him, you can do better." 

So for anyone reading,  here are a few of the things I've learned:

You can't make someone love you. 

When you ask, "are you single?" and there is a pause.... before he says yes, he's not single.  Keep on moving girl.  

If you can't trust him, there's not much point in being with him.
You can't expect someone to fulfill all your expectations unless you clearly communicate to them what your expectations are.  Nobody is a mind reader. And visa versa.

Once a cheater, always a cheater.  If he had a girlfriend and was chasing you, he'll eventually do the same thing to you when YOU are his girlfriend.

A lot of it is about timing.  Yours and his.  You can be single, and still be in no shape to date.  Maybe you just broke up with someone.  Maybe you need to sew your wild oats.  Maybe...whatever.  If you're not ready to be in a relationship, take a break and get to know yourself before you jump into another one.  I think everyone should  be alone at some point.  It truly makes you more appreciative when you DO find someone who wants to be with you.   I know many people who jump from one relationship to the next, with no breaks in between.  And they wonder why it never works.  I'll tell you why.  Its because you don't  know who YOU are without someone else being with you at all times.  Being comfortable being alone is very important.  I honestly believe there are a lot of marriages out there that happened because of the fear of being alone.  "Someone is better than no one" is terrible advice and a terrible mind set.  You should be with someone because you WANT to be with someone, not because you feel you NEED to. 

You can't fix someone else.  You just can't.  You can help them, but only if they are ready and willing.  You can't to it for them. 

That giddiness?  That OMG I can't wait to see him feeling?  Thinking of him all day, the sweet texts sent back and forth.  Ideally, yeah, it'd always be there, and maybe it is to a point.  But lets be honest.  Most of the time the intensity fades.  Maybe after 6 months.  Maybe after a year.   This is when you really figure out if you are compatible.  Once all that wears away, you are left with two imperfect people trying to make a life together.  No one is perfect, and our fairy tail dreams rarely come true.  So don't get engaged after you've been together for 6 months.  You've got the rest of your life to be together, so don't rush it.  And expect some bumps, cause they're gonna come whether you're ready for them or not.

Don't chase a guy.  I mean yeah, show interest, initiate dates, etc.  But don't get in the habit of chasing him around.  If someone really wants to be with you, they will move heaven and earth to do so.  Don't waste your time on those who get a thrill out of the chase or just want what they can't have. 

I'll be honest.  I don't have a stellar dating record.  I've made a lot of mistakes.  But I rarely make one twice.  I haven't been on a date in about 6 months.  I have woken up in my bed alone for about 6 years, give or take.  But when I do meet a guy, I am much better at seeing both the good and the bad in him objectively.  I waste a lot less time.  I don't go on 10 dates before I realize we aren't compatible.  I don't put up with being treated badly.  I know who I am and what I want.  I know the things I'll compromise on and the things I won't.  I don't sit by the phone and wait for it to ring cause I've got a life to carry on with, man or no man.  This may all sound like a bitter single woman in her thirties bashing men, but it isn't.  There are good men left out there (hello?  are you there?).  But I think as we age, we know ourselves better.  We know what we deserve.  And to any of you singles out there, best of luck and don't give up or settle. 

Sometimes people tell me I'm too picky.  You know my only automatic disqualifiers?  No racists, no rednecks, no one who pushes their religious beliefs on me.  No one who is mean to animals.  That's it. Is that being too picky?  I think not.  As a wise woman once told me, "Its better to be alone than to wish you were."  Wise words. 

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