“The words you dare not speak” OR “my apologies to my fellow feminists”

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

There are the things you are allowed to admit in this world and then there are things you are supposed to deny, even to yourself.  I have found that I am not particularly good at pretending or keeping what I consider personal truths to myself.  I am more of a “the emperor is naked” kinda gal.  So in that spirit I will risk the wrath of all the well meaning people in my life and say it – I don’t want to be alone; I don’t, I want to be part of a couple, a plus one, someone’s partner.  I know that is not the “I am woman hear me roar” thing to say, but it is the truth, and I have decided to stop beating myself up about it and embrace it.

In my experience, when this admission is made to others, it typically provokes a pretty universal reaction; so I am going to use this blog as an opportunity to have that conversation with everyone at once.  I figure it saves me from saying the same things over and over, and perhaps my feelings will resonate with someone else who shares my outlook on the subject.

WELL MEANING RESPONSE: You don’t need someone else to make you whole, you need to be ok all by yourself.

ME:     You’re right, I don’t.  I am a wonderful complete person all by myself.  I like me…. a lot! (another thing you are not supposed to say out loud)  I enjoy my own company very much and I have no problem spending long stretches all alone.  I will get a drink, dinner, see a movie, all solo without a second thought.  You know what else? I find myself very amusing and quite entertaining.  I would definitely hang out with me if I were someone else!

The irony is that I discovered much of this while I was still married.  There is nothing  lonelier than feeling alone while you are in a relationship with someone else.  I fought hard to build my own self sufficient life that did not require the emotional support of my husband to feel whole.  After my divorce I continued my journey to independence and took great pride in my ability to handle things without a man.  I still remember the day I put together a kitchen table and replaced two toilet seats with no help from anyone.  For some that may not seem like much, but for the newly single me it was a victorious day.

I guess what I have come to recognize is there is a difference between needing and wanting.  It seems we are allowed to have preferences without judgement on a myriad of other subjects.  You can prefer to live in the city or be more of a country gal, you can like yourself better in short hair or long, you can label yourself a cat person or a dog person, but for some reason admitting you would rather be part of a couple as opposed to single makes you a weak, needy, perhaps even desperate female.

Well I am one of the strongest women I know, I put my needs last on a regular basis and the only thing I ever feel desperate about is whether or not I can provide for my children.  And yet, my vision of my life has always and continues to include a partner.  The truth is, I prefer being in a relationship.  I don’t need to be, the world won’t end if I am not, but I sure as hell want it. Single doesn’t feel organic to me, it just doesn’t fit.

WELL MEANING RESPONSE: If you focus too much on wanting a relationship you will end up settling, it will happen when you are not looking.

ME:    Just because I want something and am working actively towards obtaining it does not mean I will settle.  In fact my desire to be in a relationship was ignited when a man I dated raised the bar for what I dared to expect from a partner.  In fairness, he also gave me insight into what was unacceptable to me.  I learned that sometimes love isn’t enough, the equation is more complicated than that.  Between the insight gained during those 3 years and what I already knew from my marriage, I am less likely to settle now than I ever have been before.

I have come to understand that I have my own unique key code for what is a good fit.  I don’t need to justify it or explain it, I just need to honor it.  Trying to deny it because I think I am not worthy of having everything I want, or because it makes me feel rigid or selfish, is the surest path to settling.  My criteria includes big things like honesty, kindness, humor and fidelity, but it also includes a plethora of “quality of life” items.  It may seem silly to some, but I want a guy who enjoys their morning cup of coffee as much as me, has an affinity for comfy pajamas, loves a morning campfire with a lake view, and thinks ice cold oysters and wine on a rooftop bar in the summer is heaven.  They need to “get” my relationship with my black Frye harness boots and accept my less than mainstream wardrobe.

I have learned that just because someone is a good person, doesn’t mean that they are a good person for me.  It’s not ok to be inflexible but its ok to strive to create an atmosphere conducive to staying true to myself. I am not looking for someone with all the same beliefs and interests as me, but the things I love most I would really like to share with the person who lies next to me at night (in soft cotton lounge pants and a clean t-shirt) I have decided that I am worth someone who fits my key code and I don’t want to change myself to better meet someone else’s list of must haves.

Accepting that I have criteria has led me to the realization that I have a better chance of meeting said criteria if I actively look.  When we look for a home, a job, a car, we don’t just decide if its meant to be it will happen and wait for it to come along.  Once we decide that we desire these things, off we go with our list of must and must not haves; using all our available resources to acquire the best match.  We understand that our happiness is reliant on our ability to find a good fit.  Given the importance your partner plays in your day to day contentment, I believe the search for a suitable mate should be given the same level of importance.  This doesn’t mean that I am in a rush and I am certainly happy to have fun test driving along the way.  Everything is part of the journey and sometimes the stops along the way are incredibly fun even if you know they are not your ultimate destination ( I am thinking of someone in particular here *wink*)

WELL MEANING RESPONSE: Being married isn’t all its cracked up to be OR Be careful what you wish for OR You should enjoy all the great things about being single OR I envy your life, the grass is always greener etc…..

ME:    Who the hell said anything about marriage???? Believe me I know, I was married for 18 years.  I am a big proponent of blooming where you are planted, of finding the inherent joys in your present situation.  Please understand, knowing I would be happier as part of a couple does not mean I am unhappy as a single person or that I have any desire to legally bind myself to another human being ever again. (nah, I’m not bitter)  I have no idea how long this will be my status and I do not intend to waste my freedom by focusing on the cons of flying solo.  I am well aware that there is a healthy list of pros.

I love that I don’t have to explain the purchase of a new pair of shoes, share the remote, or explain the nature of any friendship with a man.  I am grateful for every girls night out, and cherish not having to answer to anyone regarding what time I got home.  I have less laundry, cook to please myself and don’t have to listen to suggestions on how I should drive.  There is no doubt I will mourn all of these things when and if I find prince charming.

Here is the flip side however; as I ventured out in the aftermath of a recent blizzard and struggled to shovel the mountains of snow, I became acutely aware that the things I miss most about being with someone are not the fun romantic aspects of love.  I miss having someone to share sadness, challenges, and fear with.  I was wishing I had someone to take shifts with me while the other made hot cocoa, to literally and figuratively weather the storm with me.  Worry about it together, prepare for it as a team, and deal with the aftermath as a united front.  I miss that “you and me against the world” feeling. The knowledge that someone has seen you in the morning and when your sick as a dog, dealt with your PMS, born the brunt of your bad day, shared a bathroom with you, traveled beside you, met your family, AND they still love you.

So its not that I don’t count my blessings, I strive every day to be a glass half full girl; its just that when I put the two lists next to each other, one speaks to me more.  I am under no illusion that my point of view is the correct one, but the reality is, these are the eyes I look through.  Now, if any of you out there has a nice friend……

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