Saturday, May 12, 2012

Why I'm better on my own

Coming up on the fifth anniversary of this blog, and after five years of (mostly) singleness and an ongoing quest for "the one," a certain realization has been making itself increasingly clear to me. In an ironic twist, given the tenor of this blog, I have been battling with the idea that maybe, just maybe, I'm actually better on my own.

With this most recent go-around I found myself turning into a person I certainly recognized, but didn't particularly like. As soon as he said the words, "I'm 26," I immediately thought, Why would he be interested in me? And then, Why would I be interested in him? "It will never work out!" the part of me that likes to think it can learn from past experience screamed, and so my defenses kicked into overdrive and I turned into an extra sarcastic, extra mean version of myself. Attractive! I know. "Does...this...ever get any better?" he asked at one point partway into our first date. (First date!) Meaning, this weird, sarcastic, defensive thing you're doing? Does it go away? I was taken aback by the question to say the least. First because until he called me out on it I hadn't necessarily realized I was doing a thing. (What, I am just being me! Do you not find it charming?) I immediately realized, of course, that he was absolutely right, and so my second thought was, What a stupid question, of course it gets better. This is just my hard, crusty veneer that has to be broken down with enough time and patience to get at my soft, nougaty insides. But almost as quickly I thought to myself, Wait, DOES it get better? And suddenly, I wasn't so sure, anymore. I racked my brain for a definitive answer but came up with nothing. "I don't know," I finally said softly.

And so it really came as no surprise that he ended things. The second date did give me a spark of hope that perhaps I hadn't completely ruined everything, but alas. And so, for everyone who put their misplaced faith in me and left reassuring comments like "his loss," thanks, but actually, it was just the opposite. He was a nice guy, and I ruined it.

And hence, this realization. When I'm not dating someone, I won't say that I'm never defensive or sarcastic, but I'm certainly less so. More stable, even-keel. Less anguished, more content. Happier. More me. All of this running around trying to escape the inevitable conclusion that maybe I'm actually (gulp) better on my own. And if that's the case...what happens now?



  1. I think you should pursue the paths that make you feel better about yourself. If, right now, that's being single, be single. Life is complicated, and we evolve, and just because being single is best for you now doesn't mean you need to adopt 30 cats and get a longterm lease on an efficiency anytime soon. Maybe you just need a break.*

    *EDIT* Or maybe you will be single and love it for a long time. There's no right or wrong answer. Just do what makes you happy.

  2. I wish I hadn't spent some of my 20s trying to hard to find someone and instead just finding myself. I probably wouldn't have married an asshole at 25 to divorce him at 30.

    So, you know, then i was single almost 5 years with some intermittent bullshit 3 months dating things in between....and then I finally realized, at almost just focus on me. just a few months later I got together with my current partner and him and I both know that this is for the long haul.

    I remember getting to the point where you are. Where I would actually find reasons really quick to dismiss people and what not. I am sure I treated more than one dude kind of shitty.....

    So take a break.

    Also: It is his loss. He was a bad kisser. Come one. No one wants that and you can't teach that.

  3. Give yourself some time and perspective. I've found that's usually the way to regain optimism.

  4. To (offer some assistance in...) try an answer your final question.

    It is very frequently the case that people have to be comfortable with being alone before they can be truly comfortable being part of a couple. Perhaps you just moved a bit further along this continuum and into a period of being genuinely happy with, and proud of, your capacity to be amazingly single! In the long term, this will probably make you less stressed in dating situations as well as you realise the date doesn't have to work for you to be ok with it, if that makes sense!

  5. Maybe you don't need someone else to complete you. I think that if you put your time and energy into becoming the best you that you can be, you will exude the confidence that is for guys what catnip is for cats.

  6. I've always believed in quality over quantity for most things in life, including guys. Until you find a quality guy (and you'll know when you do...there won't be any doubts or second guessing), I say be happy on your own! There are days I'd kill to be in your position :)

  7. Oh, brother, do I know that feeling. I spent years wondering why I turned into this moody, unhappy, crazy person when I was dating someone. A lot of it was due to the fact that I was picking guys I wanted, but who didn't have the qualities I needed in a relationship. I just wasn't good at recognizing the difference. Looking back, I wonder why some of those guys stuck around as long as they did.

    In my case, finally being able to be a nice, happy person AND date someone ended up being due to a combination of me getting a little older and more mature, getting to know myself and my motivations and triggers a little bit better, and finding a guy who basically couldn't be more perfect for me. Every once in a while I sense the crazy girl wanting to come out, but because I recognize it when it starts, I'm able to calm down and sort of talk myself out of it.

    Now that you've realized this, I think it's going to help you a lot in terms of sensing when that behavior is happening and being able to learn what makes it happen. Good luck!

  8. Now why are you changing yourself on dates? If you are happier and more you without a man, then I'd say you have something that most people don't! Can't you take this new-found realization and use it to your advantage? "I'm an awesome person and I know it. If you don't see it, then it's your loss!"

    1. What if I'm not changing myself? What if that is actually my real, awful self coming through? I don't even know anymore, aargghh!

  9. This is SO me! I am turning 31 next month (just ended a long-term relationship that wasn't right) and I am absolutely in knots about ending up alone and therefore I turn into a bitter, sarcastic, angry weirdo on dates as a defense mechanism. I am realizing that I am pissed off and afraid of becoming a cat lady and therefore I am lashing out and ruining any potential to attract a man even when they do like me at first. I have decided that I simply can't handle dating and the natural rejection that comes along with it at this time, so I am taking a little break from dating and I decided to date myself for a bit. I'm taking myself out for dinner, on long walks, and to museums, enjoying my own company. As someone else mentioned, I do believe being comfy with yourself is a major step to being able to be in a great relationship. I love your blog btw!

  10. Chin up, chicky! I've totally been there! I've been single now for about four years, except for the odd 2-month "relationship" thrown in for good measure.

    I think I'm far better off alone too. But I also think that if he's a decent guy, worth your effort and time, it'll all happen. It'll be a zing and ALL ON! This is what I tell myself while sipping wine, at home, alone.

    So happy to have stumbled across another lady blogger with dating stories!

  11. "And so, for everyone who put their misplaced faith in me and left reassuring comments like "his loss," thanks, but actually, it was just the opposite. He was a nice guy, and I ruined it."

    The water always rises to its level, and stupid has its own level that it rises to as well. This happens with women a lot nowdays who place stock in unrealistic expectations in what they're looking for in a man. Yet they have the audacity to shame men for not paying any attention to them when in reality they are so pathetic they don't even deserve men to look at them.

    Maybe you need to get a lot more real, a lot less stupid, and bring something of value to the table. I'm 38 with a stable lucrative career, have my own place, drive a sports car, and in great shape. And with all that, you don't bring anything to the table that I would consider valuable, and I'm sure I'm not the only guy who thinks along that line, too.

  12. ^^^ so fucked up on so many levels

    1. "The water always rises to its level, and stupid has its own level that it rises to as well" --- this doesn't actually make any sense at all. what a stupid analogy.

    2. "women a lot nowdays who place stock in unrealistic expectations in what they're looking for in a man" ---- what a useless and uninformed and narrow generalization of womankind!

    3. "I'm 38 with a stable lucrative career, have my own place, drive a sports car, and in great shape." ---- interesting how you don't list any personality traits here as being of value - in either yourself or a potential partner. what a pity that any partner you manage to find is gonna be totally fucked the next time the economy takes a shit, because everything that makes you valuable will go out the window with your "lucrative" job.