Reclaiming My HEA is a regular feature about my separation and divorce. I'm learning a lot of lessons about myself and finding the balance between romantic hope and practical reality.
Since I began sharing that I was separating from my former husband, there is one response I've gotten over and over. People are generally supportive, and then follow up with something along the lines of "if I lost/left my husband/wife/partner, I wouldn't want to go back into the dating circuit."
The consistency of this sentiment has surprised me, though maybe it shouldn't have. Dating is about being vulnerable. It's asking complete strangers to judge you on your attractiveness, character, and worth as an individual over and over. It's having to metaphorically kiss a lot of frogs that, frankly, are just frogs, perhaps with a few toads thrown into the mix. It means exposing ourselves to physical and emotional risks (I've only barely dipped my toe into the waters and I've already been called a wide assortment of insults and had to report threatening statements.)
It's frightening. There's really no other way to describe it. So I can understand people not being eager to jump into it, especially if they're in a reasonably happy relationship now.
Yet, at the same time, I can't imagine being happy and satisfied with an expectation of long, lonely years and decades stretching out before oneself. I wouldn't be okay with not having the close companionship of an emotional and physical partnership for the rest of my natural life.
Maybe those who have told me that they would prefer to remain single would change their minds if they found themselves in my situation. Or maybe they're more satisfied with their own company (which is probably a sign of good psychological health).
It's almost certainly my inner anxiety talking when I find myself wondering if they're right. Maybe I shouldn't be trying. Maybe I shouldn't expose myself to the risks. Maybe I should just try to be happy being on my own.
The other part of myself, what I like to think is the more mature and healthy part of myself, reminds myself that I am actually reasonably content on my own. I enjoy the company of others, especially friends, but I also enjoy having quiet time to myself. I have a healthy sense of my boundaries and have already demonstrated that I will not allow them to be compromised in a vain sense of wanting to be considered someone special.
Allowing myself to recognize what I want, versus what society expects me to want, is an important part of being true to myself. And the truth is that I want someone to share a kiss with, who will think of me when he hears a love song on the radio, and whose company I enjoy. And it's okay for me to pursue that hope.
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