It never fails: when I should be doing work, or writing about something like the follow up to a bad first date I witnessed in Mississippi, I am instead overcome with thoughts spurred by yesterday’s series of conversations.
Amid sunshine and starshine, we were talking about relationships, both where we’d been in the past dating wise, and where we were presently. I noted most men* I have dated in the past year – with the exception of the 50 first dates, though this extends even to some of them whom I thought would be contenders for filling in the blank of “In a relationship with__________” – eventually called things off with me because they “just don’t feel like they’re in a place to be a boyfriend.” (Which is as my Dad pointed out, another way to say I’m just not that into you.) They all seemed to acknowledge I was the sort of person they wanted to be with…but I wasn’t the person. (I look great on paper.)
And then I got to thinking as I imaged the short list of men I’ve been interested in continuing to date and the ones who have backed away, sometimes quickly, sometimes at the pace a horse dissolves a salt lick: One of my goals while on the road was to learn to be myself by simply practicing the art of being myself. I kind of think it worked. I’m keenly content with the me I am now, not desperate at all to hop out of my skin and into that of most anyone (except this girl because damn, she is rad). However, I noted that a new concern has arisen: what if I become too good at being myself, by myself. Can I become too independent? Too self sufficient? So much so that a relationship is nearly impossible?
My friend thinks no. Quite the opposite, really. That being in a comfortable place, solo, is the best time to be in a relationship. Instead of a partner being your world (or you theirs…one of my huge frustrations in a lot of my long term relationships), you’re instead complete humans who complement each other. As Alanis Morissette** put it, “I don’t want to be your other half I believe that 1 and 1 make 2.” I’m prone to worrying about something each day though, so might as well be anxiety on independence.
On a different level though (and what seems to be a bigger issue for me personally) is assessing if I should keep dating someone, what they feel, and when to call it quits because it’s not going to get me what I want. As my brother always says, “At some point, I’m done auditioning. You either know you want to try and make a relationship work, or you know you don’t.” Advice I perhaps should have used less sparingly in past, and should continue to use judiciously now.
* Maybe all guys I’ve gone one more than one proper “date” with, actually…
**If you haven’t heard Alanis’ Not the Doctor lately, or ever, it’s a pretty good anthem for dating…