I have been dating for over two years now, I have it down to somewhat of a science.
I am in or I am out.
I see potential or I don’t.
I am quick to make up my mind about if I feel this person is worth investing more time into or not.
Recently someone asked me this question
Why can ‘t it just be? Why can’t you just have a casual relationship, go to dinner, to a movie, laugh, you are completely independent and don’t need a man. Are you really looking for your soul mate right now?
My first reaction is to twist away from the question and focus on the statement. “ You are completely independent, you don’t need a man.” I sit up straight in my work chair and ruffle my feathers ” Damn right I don’t need a man!”
Then I slouch a bit, my face starts to feel flush and I think , ” I want a man in my life. ”
Why does it feel wrong to want someone in my life?
Growing up I remember feeling shamed if I needed a man, or wanted a man in my life. It wasn’t something I was taught , it was something I just indistinctly knew: like if you touch a hot oven you will get burned. Pet a stray dog on the street , you might get bit. Stick your hand in a lions cage, you most likely will lose your damn hand.
My Mother never re-married after her and my father divorced , I know she had boyfriends, but my brother and I were rarely introduced to any of them ,I know it was meant to protect us and shelter us in case things didn’t work out, which was great foresight on my Mother’s part as obviously none of them ever did. However; in hind-sight it would have been nice to see some interaction with the male species in relationship with my Mother, some sort of compass on which to base my life other than going it alone.
I was raised in the absence of men, men were always something on the outskirts of our existence. Even when I spent summers at my Dads house, it was always my Step-mother that held everything together, took care of everything. My Father was a workaholic, out the door before we woke up in the morning and only home a handful of times before we went to bed. , he was unattainable.
With my Mother if something needed to get done she did it, if we were short on money, she got another job. There was never a man to fall back on, to rely on. I never saw a man make my Mother feel safe, or loved or respected or wanted, or protected. The only time I knew there had been a man in her life was the aftermath, a broken heart, depression, withdrawal.
There was always an under lying grief in our lives when it came to men.
I have fought that inner struggle my entire life: Wanting to be vulnerable, wanting to trust and being deathly afraid of letting my guard down. It is a battle that twists you in to knots . Only since my last divorce have I come to the realization that I can’t be both. I can’t be fiercely independent and in a relationship, it doesn’t work that way. Being vulnerable is the only way to truly love and trust. This guard you have put up doesn’t protect you from harm or hurt, your chances are the same that you will get your heart ripped out and stomped on if you keep the armor on or if you leave it at the door…so the intelligent thing to do would be to go in naked and dress yourself along with the way if need be.
I have nothing to prove anymore, I have proven it at the cost of every relationship I have ever been in.
Independence is a wonderful thing, it can also be a barbed wire fence you put up around your life – keeping yourself locked behind and others securely out.
This time I focus on the Question at hand: Are you really looking for your soul mate right now?
And I confess…
The truth is I am already in a casual relationship with someone I have spent the last couple of seasons with.
In the summer we spend time at the pool, on Sunday’s we get up early and with all the windows down in the car we turn the music up loud and head to the farmers market. We take long drives and explore state parks. We spend the weekends with our friends and family staying up late laughing, talking, drinking wine and martini’s.
In the Fall we throw on our sweatshirts and sweatpants and enjoy everything pumpkin and apple together, we take long road trips on beautiful roads and bask in the last of the warmth of the sun. We watch the tree’s turn shades of gold , red , orange and yellow.
In the Winter we curl up on the couch and catch up on everything we missed on Netflix, we try new recipe’s in the crock pot, we find new books to read. We cross the river bridge over to Wisconsin and take long walks at night when the snow crackles beneath our feet and the lights from the houses warm our cold hearts.
In the Spring we have picnic’s in the park, we plant flowers and herbs in pots on our deck , we take long walks in the morning and watch the world come back to life.
I am comfortable in this casual relationship and don’t want to add another one to the mix for fear that it would drain the energy I spend on the one I am enjoying now. Plus, a single girl still has her reputation to think about and giving myself away to just anyone is not something I am interested in.
So yes, I am holding out for my soul mate and will settle for nothing less. Until or if that person ever presents themselves to me I will stay in my current casual one with myself.