A few months ago, I wrote an article about how I finally learned how to enjoy being single. When I submitted that article, I felt like I had achieved a remarkable feat. I had accomplished what every self-help book wants you to do. I no longer needed validation from random people to feel good about myself. However, I think I was ignoring a major reason why I enjoyed being single.
One morning in November, I had my final counseling session of the semester, which meant that my counselor had to take out my folder and look at all of my old stuff. I did not wish for her to pull out my folder because that meant we would have to talk about all of my business from a year ago. I was quite fragile one year ago. Surprisingly enough, my folder was not as thick as I expected it to be. Anyway, when my counselor started looking at the old stuff that I used to talk about with my counselor from last year, I knew what question was coming. She came right out with the question: “how would you describe your dating life right now?”
I tried to casually sip my cold brew to give me about five seconds to formulate a nice answer. When I told her that I like being alone and that the idea of affection from a man feels repulsive and sickening, she suggested we “unpack” that. I’ve learned that whenever I am told that some “unpacking” is required, that means I pretty much sound unwell. Once I had to unpack my “I like being alone” bag, I was forced to see that the only thing sitting in there was fear.
I had to confront the fact that my fears were controlling my dating life because I just have so many of them.
I fear that I will become comfortable with a person only to find a few weeks later that he doesn’t like me anymore.
I have a fear of being rejected and sent home without a rose.
I fear I will have to walk home over the red bridge in the rain while crying again because a guy did not care about me.
I fear that I will be cheated on and then have to go all Carrie Underwood on him and carve my name into his leather seat.
I fear that I will miss the person I am supposed to be with as if he will just kind of float away like a balloon and then end up in a random tree somewhere.
I fear that the person is right under my nose, and since I sometimes forget to wear my glasses, I won’t see him.
I even fear that I will be one of those little church women who are single forever and sit in the pew by themselves every Sunday.
However, I do not wish to live like this anymore because living like this isn’t fun. While being alone meant that I did not have to face any of these fears, it only allowed these fears to control my behavior.
One day I was talking to my mom, and she was voicing just how peachy she thinks a particular person is and how I should “go get him before he’s gone.” While her wording made him sound like those $9 cable-knit sweaters from JCPenney that suburban moms fight over on Black Friday, I knew what she meant. I eventually told her about my fears listed above. As she sipped her pinot noir, she thanked me for such an uplifting conversation. Nancy Sousa called me a negative Nancy.
She also chose to remind me that we had just watched Alexis take a chance with love and profess her love to Ted on Schitt’s Creek the night before. I reminded her that Alexis and Ted are fictional characters.
I have learned that being willing to date again means that you are ready to risk the chance of being hurt. It is basically like sitting and watching the roulette wheel. While I do enjoy the ability to focus on my own growth that being single provides me with, I realize it is time to get back on the horse. Over the past year, I’ve learned that I am one strong woman. If a man does me dirty, I will still live. I will also be sure to write about it here. I cannot run from the feeling of sadness forever. However, the feeling of sadness is not inevitable.
If we take the leap to put ourselves out there again, we risk the chance of something bad happening - but we also allow for the chance of something really great to happen too. The possibility of something great is enough for me.