Every time I think I am ready to start dating and I take steps to make that happen, I am reminded why I am grateful to be single. There are a lot of guys out there in this world, and while I am sure there are some with whom I would probably be really happy, I think I am just more cautious than ever to actually start something.
When I was in my early 20s it was sort of easy to date because I was young and didn’t really care about commitment and I guess I had never really been hurt. I mean I still haven’t really been hurt in the ‘he cheated on me or was a complete asshole’ type of way. I have been fortunate enough to have dated some pretty rad guys who for the most part have been genuinely nice, just not the right person for me. But as I am getting closer to 30 and as I have had more relationships I just find myself being weary of letting other people in so fast.
On the one hand, it is a lot of work and investment to make in someone and I am just not willing or able to do that for just anyone anymore. Also, I feel like I need to protect my heart, which is something new for me. I have usually been a pretty open person and have had an open heart for people. I have tended to wear it on my sleeve frankly. But I think after my last breakup in October something has changed. I no longer want to be so open with others, I feel like I need to be guarded.
I guess on some level I felt like I had invested my whole heart into that relationship and had really really opened up and been honest and even though we had a mutual and civil breakup things that transpired back in December made me feel a bit betrayed, almost like I had never known this person at all… I know this all sounds a bit dramatic and it is kind of weird to write because the actual events of what happened were not that bad although these are some of the residual feelings left over.
The strangest thing about that situation is we didn’t even date for that long, nor, in hindsight, do I think we were really suited for one another. But I just think the timing of it all, happening at the same time as the crazy job I had over the summer, starting my PhD and feeling overwhelmed with that, and the election which really had destroyed some of my concepts of reality, just made the ending of this relationship somewhat damaging. So while I have tried to put myself back out there, I don’t think I am ready.
I am a bit confused, though, on what it is that I actually want to do next. I keep looking outside myself for answers and frankly, I think it is a decision that is only going to come when I take some time with myself to figure it out. I need to stop seeking others opinions, or caring about their unsolicited advice on what I should do. At the end of the day, I am the one that has to live my life based on my own values and beliefs.
I was out yesterday and ran into some old friends and, as it naturally does in conversation, I was asked what I am doing. With an honest response, I said well I just moved home and am trying to figure it out. Now, this often solicits some unwanted advice and my old acquaintance began to reassure me that there was a lot I could do and had I ever thought of this or that. Then he said don’t worry you will find something. In that moment I let myself feel very judged, and on the drive home I started wondering why.
Why should someone who plays no part in my life make me feel bad about my life choices? For the most part, I am extremely grateful and feel lucky that I have been able to do all I have done, and I don’t regret that for a second. Why should I let myself feel judged because I don’t have some 9-5 job and an apartment and a relationship, are those even things I value? Or are those just things I feel like I am pressured to want because other people think that’s the standard of success?
Then I realised that I was putting so much value into other people’s words when frankly they probably don’t even care, it is all just that small talk we make when we see someone and don’t really know how to connect on a deeper level. I thought, how many times am I guilty of this, how often have I made others feel bad about their life choices accidentally when frankly the conversation means nothing to me. Nobody cares what I do with my life, really. I am insignificant, so why should I care what they think.
The answer is obviously that I shouldn’t. So I am taking a step back and blocking out the obsession with outside influences for a while so I can make a decision that I feel is right for ME. Hopefully taking a step back into what is truly important to me will help.