I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about my life and all the changes I’ve been through in the past several years. At times, it felt like an uphill battle with one disappointment after another lurching around every corner. Other times, it felt like I was on this path to self-discovery and I knew the universe was testing my strength. One thing I had to hold onto was the faith that all this turmoil in my life was here to show me more about who I am and what I was put on this earth to do. I think I got it figured out. I know my purpose. I just have to take the steps to make it reality. As I dig my way out of the hole I have felt trapped in, I realize that I wasn’t trapped at all. In fact, it was exactly what needed to happen to in order to propel me into this realization.
Even with the countless failed relationships that never even had a chance, I learned more about myself. I was out with friends the other night and I was telling a couple of guy friends about my recent dating disasters. We laughed about the absurdity of some of the things these guys say and do when their on a date with me and they questioned why I would even give them a second date. I told them that I was trying to be less “judgy” and more open to dating different people. I said that I know I can be a lot to handle. They both looked at me and asked me what I meant by that. I told them that I think I come across too strong and that men have a hard time with it. Almost simultaneously, they shook their heads and said, “We don’t think that about you at all.” Now, I’ve known these guys for several years and we hang out quite a bit, so I feel like they know me pretty well. I have to say, I was shocked by their response.
Ever since the last dating debacle, I’ve been analyzing the shit out of myself. I’m trying to dig deep into my subconscious trying to figure out why I keep attracting the wrong men. I’m a big believer that we attract what comes into our life based on our beliefs, limiting thoughts or desires. So again, I ask myself, why do I keep attracting douche bags? I don’t want a douche bag…I don’t think I deserve a douche bag, nor will I tolerate a douche bag. Yet, they still keep on coming. What is it about me that continues to keep attracting them? I feel like if there is an asshole within a 15-mile radius, they will find me. Like a moth to a flame—I walk right into it.
I started to approach online dating differently, in hopes to find a nice guy this time around. I didn’t go for the really good looking guys and looked for the ones that were cute but not too cute. I read their profiles with an analytical lens. Reading between the lines for any red flags or deal breakers. I carefully constructed the conversations to see if they had any glaring issues and took the time to vet them properly. I knew damn well, the last guy I dated (you know the one I saw at the bar with another woman) was not the right guy for me, yet I still continued to give him a chance because of this belief I have that I’m too hard on men.
The belief that I think I’m too strong and independent and opinionated. The belief that men are sometimes intimidated by my strong personality, so I have to soften myself so that I don’t scare them off. Now that theory is shot to hell because my friends insisted that it isn’t true at all. They told me that I don’t come across that way to them…except when I’m talking politics. They assured me that these men just happen to be assholes and I shouldn’t waste my time with guys like that.
I have to say, I really appreciate the male perspective. Especially from friends who really know me well. In that moment, I realized that I’m blaming myself for other peoples shortcomings. I realized that it’s not my fault that I happen to meet men that don’t measure up. I also realize that there is a tiny little part of me that is finding emotionally unavailable men because that part of me is scared to death of opening up to someone and feeling vulnerable. I thought I had worked through my fears and brought down my walls, but there is still that part of me that will never let a man hurt me again. That protective bitch just won’t let it happen. Then I realize how far I’ve come and how even though this guy hurt me a little bit, I survived. I will always survive.
I know this because the greatest lesson I have learned is that no one can make me happy, nor can they take away my happiness unless I let them.
I’ve learned that in any relationship you can’t look to that person to make you happy and fulfill all of your needs. It’s not their job to make you happy—you have to make yourself happy. Too often, relationships dissolve because we feel like our partner should be doing x,y and z in order to keep us satisfied. Yes, you have to communicate your needs and that person should try their best to give you what you need in your relationship, but they’re not responsible for keeping you happy. Only you can do that. You and only you. That’s why relationships don’t last. We’re holding on to the belief that our lovers are the gate keepers to our happiness. I’ve learned that no relationship will make me happy…I have to find my happiness right here and right now. Even if it means being alone.
Happiness is a state of mind even when life isn’t picture perfect. Every person comes into your life as a teacher. They are a reflection of something you need to learn about yourself. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, first ask yourself if your partner is causing your unhappiness or are you just unhappy with yourself? If they are causing unhappiness because you feel unimportant to them and you’ve just become roommates instead of friends and lovers…well, then it may be time to move on. If your partner tries to make you happy, but you are still feeling like it’s never enough, then it may be your issues and not theirs. You will have to decipher that for yourself.
Relationships can grow apart easily. There is a balance between having your own interests and time away with friends and being completely present in your relationship. When you begin to live parallel lives and don’t spend quality time together as a couple, that’s when the relationship starts to fall apart. If you feel disconnected and lonely in your relationship, it will cause unhappiness, but you have the power to shift that. Either you can work at communicating your needs and figure out how to change it or you can leave. Just remember that they are not responsible for your happiness and neither is the next person that comes along. You have to find contentment and joy all on your own. I guess that’s what I needed to learn before I find my person. I’ll keep being grateful to the douche bags for teaching me another lesson to get me that much closer to something amazing. In the meantime, I’ll find my own damn happiness.