So, I read this book excerpt a few weeks ago; I don’t remember the title of the book except that it was something that I would hide behind a New Yorker if I was reading it on the bus.
The thesis of this book is that if you are a grown up and you are single, it is almost certainly because you (consciously or not) want to be single. And that if you think you don’t want to be single, then you should analyze why you are subconsciously sabotaging relationships to keep yourself single.
Because you are. Probably.
This really struck a chord with me, because I am always saying that I want a relationship, but the truth is that when I imagine being in a relationship, I’m not filled with butterflies and dreamy eyes.
I’m filled with dread.
Each time I receive a new message on OkCupid, my stomach drops into my shoes. I read the dude’s profile with an eagle eye, looking for anything– anything— that I can use as evidence that he is Not Right For Me. I will discount people for the most ridiculous reasons and anytime someone writes me who seems potentially cool, I conveniently “forget” to respond until too much time has passed and then I think it’s too awkward to write back.
And you already know all about my incredible suavitude during real life sexy times. I would seriously like to watch a video of myself talking to a single dude. I could play it back in slow-motion and circle the screen with a bright red marker: “Note in this frame how she refuses to make eye contact… pay special attention to her lack of smile and the way she responds self-deprecatingly to all questions.”
So, I think we can all agree that I am sabotaging. The question (for me, anyway) is: Why the hell am I doing that?
The author suggests some possible reasons:
All of these reasons apply to me, of course. Me and also, like, every human being ever. So my task over the past few weeks has been to figure out which of these reasons is driving me to remain single for the past two years.
So I’ve been trying to figure out the nature of My Deal. Because obviously I have some sort of Deal. And yesterday? I think I realized what it is.
I realized that I have absolutely zero hope.
I used to have hope, you know? I thought it would be hard and it might take awhile, but eventually James McAvoy would come to his senses and marry me. Or, at the very least, I would eventually find someone who (to use the term my friends used at their beautiful wedding this weekend) would be my puzzle piece.
I would find someone to whom I am physically attracted, someone with whom I enjoy spending time, someone who gets along with my friends and family, someone with whom I could live and grow old and raise children.
You know, basic stuff like that.
And I just don’t believe that anymore. At all.
I believe that most of the good ones are taken and that of those that are left, few are a good match for me. I believe that I somehow missed the boat. Maybe I should have dated more when I was younger. Maybe I should have worked harder in my previous relationships. Maybe, maybe, maybe… I don’t know the reason, but somehow, I’ve missed out.
That’s what I think.
And right now, the dread of being single is eclipsed by the dread of being with someone who doesn’t excite me, but eventually? I’ll get old enough and that will reverse. My need for security and a co-parent will be great enough that I will just settle.
And, guys, I’m awesome enough that I will find someone to settle for. Someone pleasant, hopefully, and with some sort of steady paycheck. Someone who occasionally makes me laugh and who will be a decent dad. If I’m lucky, I will find these things.
But I dread it.
This may sound melodramatic and that’s because it kind of is, but the truth is that I know so many people who have settled. And I also know people who never settled and who are still alone. It happens and, in fact, I suspect that it happens more often than the sort of love&beauty explosion we celebrated this past weekend.
And, y’all, that blows. Like, majorly.
photo courtesy of colodio