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It’s Not You…It’s Me

I can’t begin to count how many times I get asked if I’m dating anyone. My response is always the same—I scrunch up my face, roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders and respond, “Nope”. They usually look back at me with an expression of confusion and ask “Why?”  Now isn’t that the million-dollar question!

It’s getting to the point where I don’t know how to respond anymore. I either say, “I just haven’t found the right one” or my snarkiness comes out and I say, “If you saw all the losers that I’ve dated you wouldn’t be asking me that question.” Either way, my response is in one form or another a definitive “No, I’m still single…still alone…loveless…pathetic…basically an old washed-up has-been.”

As if my only self-worth is tied to whether or not I’m in a relationship. Guys don’t get asked this question. It’s perfectly normal for a man to be a bachelor his entire life, but God forbid a woman isn’t attached to someone. It’s as if I have some sort of plague or personality disorder that explains why a fairly-attractive woman wouldn’t have a man.

Even when I go out on dates and the guy asks me how long I’ve been single and my response is almost 8 years they look at me wide-eyed and start to ask me probing questions about the reasons behind it. I quickly respond that I was married for 20 years to the wrong person, so I’m in no rush to do it again. I think I need to come up with better responses because when I respond that I just haven’t found the right person they immediately ask me what I’m looking for in a man.

This interrogation leads to me saying something sarcastic like, “At this point, I’d be happy with someone that is single, has a job and all of their teeth.” Previously, I would be honest and tell them that I want an honest man that has a good job with a 401K that is over 6 feet with a sense of humor but cares about social justice issues….oh and someone that isn’t just looking for sex. Well, can I just tell you that 99% only hear the last part about sex and proceed to tell me that is not what they’re looking for but if it happens then it’s just “natural.” Seriously, dude? Do I look like an idiot?!

It rarely goes over well being honest about what you really want because if they don’t fit those criteria they feel like they won’t measure up so they don’t even try. Set the bar low and then maybe just maybe they’ll feel like they have a fighting chance.

Honestly, I had a big realization the other day. I have to confess that I am the problem. I want to blame it on the low caliber “available” men out there or my limited dating pool or that I’m being picky about who I share my life with this time around. The truth is I’m attracting emotionally unavailable men because I’m emotionally unavailable. All these years being single, I’ve been in one phase or another of my halfhearted dating approach that has been quite frankly half-assed.

The first few years after my divorce I was just looking for fun while I licked my wounds and attempted to mend my broken heart. I was nowhere ready to want a committed relationship nor was I ready to open my heart to anyone. Yes, I met a few nice guys that would have treated me well but I was the douche bag in those scenarios and ghosted quite a few of them.

Now, eight years later and the caliber of men has only gotten worse. Why…you ask? Because I’m holding on to the false belief that all men are liars, looking for sex, and incapable of true intimacy. Well, that may be true in some cases but when I look around at the women in my life, they all seemed to have found good men. Sure, they may have had some issues to work through in the beginning but they stuck it out and now they are in fairly happy relationships.

I am so scared of making a mistake again and ending up with the wrong person that I don’t even give them a chance. I’m attracting the wrong men because I’m still protecting my heart from the right man. I am petrified of ending up with someone that will hurt me again that I’d rather end up alone. How frickin’ sad is that!

I see all of these women that went through terrible divorces (some of which I helped through) and they’re in happy healthy long-term relationships. Some may be in dysfunctional ones but at least they were willing to try.  I, on the other hand, am a complete coward. I’m not even willing to put my heart out there.

I’m looking for something that may not even exist. I say that I’m open to love but if that was really the case, I would have found it by now. The only explanation is that I’m fooling myself and I’m still guarded for fear of making a mistake. That coupled with the fact that I don’t want to lose myself again. I see it happen all the time. Women have to compromise what makes them happy and stay with their partner for fear of being alone or starting over. They invest in a relationship that isn’t really what or who they want. They settle for someone that doesn’t deserve their love because of that fear.

Well, I don’t know which is worse. Having a fear of being alone or having a fear of being hurt. All I do know is that I refuse to “settle”. I have done everything in my power not to settle, including looking past men that may have had potential.

Finding that balance between being open to love and not letting just anyone fill that void is what single people struggle with most. Personally, I know exactly what I want but I’m not really putting forth the effort. This is true with finding love and my career. The difference is, I do believe love just finds you when you least expect it whereas you have to put forth the effort when it comes to your career.

I choose to focus on moving forward doing what I really want in my work life so that it’s aligned with what I want in my love life. I can’t attract a partner if I feel that I’m not where I want to be in life. I want to go into a relationship whole and find the person that compliments my life not find someone that distracts me from my goals.

Being in a good place will send out a higher frequency and attract the person I feel is on that same wavelength. I recognize that I haven’t been in a good place for most of those eight years which explains why the person I wish to be with hasn’t shown up yet. I’m getting there little by little. I’m at the cusp of becoming the person I want to become thanks to all the lessons I had to learn in order to get there.

This is my inner strength and resilience that has made me into the woman I am today. I’m no longer broken. I’m no longer settling for less than what I deserve. I’ve had my share of heartbreaks and setbacks that have taught me exactly what I need to learn in order to live to my full potential. Finding the partner that I can share that will just be the icing on the cake.  Being in a relationship doesn’t make you happy. Loving yourself makes you happy. Another person will never determine your happiness in fact; they will pull out all of the things that you don’t like about yourself and magnify them.

If I’ve learned anything from my divorce and my career being destroyed it’s that no “one” or no “thing”  that is exterior defines you or your self-worth. The only thing that defines you is how you see yourself and the mindset you have around creating the life that you desire. Looking within is the only way to find the answers you need. Only you can determine what that looks like for you. Don’t let anyone else make that determination for you. So tell that person in your life that is not right for you—it’s not you…it’s me. I choose me.

With Faith, Hope, and Love,

~Teresa

 

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