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Something I've learned the hard way

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OnceInALifetime posted 5/1/2013 19:20 PM

This is all so stupidly obvious that even I understood it at a conceptual level right from the start, but nevertheless, I didn't really get it. It's like an undertow. The danger is there, but you discount its pull.

What am I talking about? Dating for the wrong reason(s), of course. In my case, the wrong reason being to prove to myself that I am in fact appealing.

Having never dated in high school, having married the first woman I ever kissed, then having been thoroughly cuckolded by her, left me feeling, well, like a total loser in the romance department. Add to that that I was a shy, bullied kid, and you're left with a guy who's felt used and not valued, and wanting very much to feel desirable. Then there's the almost crazy-making long period of 5 years on the bus, nearing 50 years old, and having had only one sexual partner in my life. Tough to separate lust and ego in those circumstances.

I was aware of these things, but, I also had valid reasons for dating (or so I thought). I wanted companionship, and felt like I had a lot to give.

Thing is, when you have multiple motivations, it's awfully difficult to accurately weigh how much influence they have at an individual level.

I sometimes wonder if I succeeded at "proving" myself, would it have been wonderful? Would I have ridden a great high and settled into a beautiful relationship? It's possible. It's also possible I would have broken someone's heart.

It's sucked that in order to come to terms with these reasons for dating, I've had to eat heaping helpings of humble pie, over and over, until I finally accepted that I'm not "all that," romantically speaking. What did that realization buy me, when I finally accepted it? A really nice answer: "So what?" A relationship can be a pain in the ass. I'm not so sure I want one, after all. All that compromise, all that angst over whether feelings are reciprocated, complications when there are children to consider, etc. Who needs it?

I don't have much energy around it any more. Right now, dating would feel like a regression, like repeating some part of my life that I'm relieved is over and done with.

So, I'm not motivated right now, and I'm feeling more at ease around the whole thing. Better not to measure myself or pressure myself by inventing some "right of passage" around romance. Life has enough other yardsticks that actually matter.

Maybe the "bad" reasons for dating have finally burned themselves out my system, or maybe I'm just worn out for now and will fight this internal battle again later. But I'm hopeful that I've learned enough that I won't dive back in until I truly know what I want, and more important, appreciate fully all the wonderful low-hanging fruit all around me.

[This message edited by OnceInALifetime at 7:24 PM, May 1st (Wednesday)]

torn2bits posted 5/1/2013 20:22 PM

OIAL, here here!

So good to know yourself isn't it?

I have to say though that you perhaps have never come acrosss someone like me. There is no wondering, I am direct and to the point. Out to enjoy life and with that, companionship and intimacy.

I am so happy for you that you have come to these realizations about yourself. It really is enlightening!

Wow! A few months ago I read others telling you to just other areas of your life and look at you now!

Sad in AZ posted 5/1/2013 20:28 PM

Welcome to the other side

Williesmom posted 5/1/2013 20:40 PM

Very cool.

OnceInALifetime posted 5/1/2013 21:10 PM

I have to say though that you perhaps have never come acrosss someone like me. There is no wondering, I am direct and to the point.

Oh, I've met direct and to the point: "You're a nice guy, but there's no chemistry." Plenty of times.

It's cool. Spring has sprung, the kids are doing well, we recently had a nice vacation, work's been going well, I'm about to break into "Feeling Groovy."

tryingagain74 posted 5/1/2013 21:10 PM

I'm happy for you. I think that my early dating days were all about proving my appeal to myself. I think that's why I was so quick to stick with STBX and settle down with him.

Now that I'm older and can reflect back on that time, I realize how in love with love I was, and that severely clouded my judgment, not only of other people, but also of myself.

I'm glad that you're in a better place, and I hope that you won't continue to sell yourself short. I think that I'm finally feeling better about myself because I am alone and am taking care of business by myself. I think that being single is strangely, and sometimes uncomfortably, empowering. We're so trained and programmed to go "find someone" that we think there's something wrong with us when we don't. But now that I don't have someone, I actually feel freer and more in charge of my life than I ever have.

Thank you for sharing your insight. It is truly inspirational for me to read about how others are bettering themselves and finding happiness as single folk. Being single is highly underrated!

Survivor3512 posted 5/1/2013 22:48 PM

Good for you to be so self aware! I worry I may fall into the same trap when/if I ever start dating. My dating history before I met XH is identical to yours- as in zilch. Good luck to you now that you've made it to 'the other side.' I hope to join you there someday.

wonderingbull posted 5/2/2013 12:15 PM

Fistbump

WB

kernel posted 5/2/2013 15:11 PM

OIAL, good to hear you're in a better place. It really is all about learning to be happy with yourself instead of trying to fill some empty space with another person. Like everyone always says on here, you have to find happiness within. Whatever comes next, you're in a better place to deal with it.

cmego posted 5/2/2013 19:27 PM

Just keep your eyes open, you never know what the universe might bring you.

I go in and out about dating. I know I'm more used to being single now, and for the most part I like it. With summer coming, and the live music and festivals...I'd love to have a date so I'm not always the "single girl" in the group.

But, the longer I'm single, the longer I don't really care.

wildbananas posted 5/2/2013 21:25 PM

WTG, O.

gogirl posted 5/3/2013 13:10 PM

You are such a wonderful man OIAL. Your personality shines through here on SI. When the right woman finds you she will be VERY fortunate.

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