I've been thinking I should give some sort of an update on my New Year's resolutions, seeing as it has been about six months since I made them. There were three:
- Learn how to bake bread
- Meditate more
- Find my life partner
When I originally posted these on Facebook, I got a lot of people telling me that I don't need a life partner to define myself, I should be happy being single, that the right person will find me when the right time comes. I shut them down by saying I'd been happy being single for 95% of my life; I wanted to see what the other side of the coin looks like. But more on that in a minute. We have resolutions one and two to handle first.
Bread. I make bread almost weekly. I've made bagels that turned out really well. I've made English muffins that worked, but were a little too sweet. I've made I don't even know how many loaves of this coconut oil bread that is so delicious I don't think I ever want to make another kind of bread again. I should probably learn how to make pita, but the coconut oil bread is just so good. It's good for sandwiches and dipped in soups or as toast with peanut butter or avocado on it. Seriously. I've messed with using whole wheat flour in it, and adapted it from an olive oil bread recipe in the first place. Coconut oil is better. So tasty. So easy to make. I've even made some on a Tuesday night just so I could have it with soup for lunch the next day. So I'm feeling good about resolution number one.
Meditation. Kind of fell off the wagon on that. My watch reminds me to take a minute to breathe about three times a day. I feel like I'm doing well if I do it once a day. I probably should dig in deeper and give that one some more time and effort.
Life partner. Still don't have one. Not even close.
So, getting back to what I was saying earlier. I think it's funny that I have spent nearly my whole life without a significant other, and as soon as I express an actual interest in putting in the effort to find one, people tell me I shouldn't. Trust me, I can think of a million reasons to not have a significant other. I can also think of a million reasons why I'd like to try having one, preferably while we're still young enough to enjoy each other's company. For the most part, I've ignored the people who said I should enjoy my time by myself, finding out what makes me happy. I've done plenty of that in my life, thank you, and I continue to do it daily. I want to see how the other 99% lives.
I went to a couple of speed dating events. I've decided that online dating and apps aren't really for me. Especially with all of them moving to the swipe-right-swipe-left format. I need more information than a blurry photo to decide if I want to engage with someone. I'm sorry, but I do. So I went to a couple of speed dating events, and a couple of events thrown by the speed dating company that were more along the lines of "let's get a bunch of single people together in a bar, give them name tags, and see what happens." I took one of my younger girl friends with me - I'm the old lady in my friend group - and learned what a generational gap there is in terms of current courtship rituals. She is used to online dating, but had never really been in a situation at a bar where hitting on people or being hit upon was a thing that was done. It pushed her out of her comfort zone by quite a lot. To me, it was no big deal. One thing that came out of it, though, was the impression that there is a certain kind of person who needs to be at events like those, because they can't find human companionship elsewhere. I know my friend meant that comment about a lot of the very socially awkward men we met. I also know that I'm the kind of person who needs to be at events like that. I'll admit, that took some of the wind out of my sails.
I caved in and re-downloaded a couple of dating apps to my phone - one based entirely on swiping, one that requires a little more info to fill out a profile. I've gone on two dates with two different men who I met from the second app. Both were perfectly fine. The first was a little intensely creepy, though mostly a nice guy. The second was a lovely date - great conversation - but neither of us has been motivated to follow up and arrange a second date, which I think means there wasn't a real spark for either of us. Which is fine. That happens.
And as much as it pains me to admit this, and to admit it publicly, I'm working with a matchmaker. The package I purchased covers six matches. She finds people who fit the criteria she and I have discussed, screens them, and if they seem like a good fit, she arranges a time and place for us to have a date. The first date I went on was probably the worst date of my life, with a man who fit none of the qualities I asked for or said were important to me. The matchmaking company, to their credit, gave me a freebie on that one, said it didn't count toward my six, and got me a different matchmaker. My new matchmaker set me up with a guy who was fine in person, but awful in the follow up text messages. And then she set me up with a guy who was lovely, but didn't feel a spark so then ghosted. And since then, I have been getting check-in emails from her every week on Friday, telling me that she didn't like any of the guys she talked to that week for me, but has some prospects who sound great on paper in the pipeline to screen next week. I've gotten that message eight weeks in a row. And I'm now forced to wonder...
Is it always this hard?
This doesn't feel normal to me, that it should be so hard and take so long and so much effort to find someone who even wants to go on a second date with me, much less someone who wants to share his life with me. Or am I crazy and it is this hard for everyone?
Now, I'm not including people who have been divorced in this category, or people in long-term relationships who've never gotten married. Marriage isn't necessarily the end goal. And even if a partnership broke up, there was a partnership there at one point or another.
I also know that there have been a few people in my past who have had crushes, or even very deep feelings for me, but who have chosen to not pursue those feelings for one reason or another. While I treasure those people and honor those feelings, the end result from where I am sitting is that I have never had a full partnership with anyone for longer than a month or two (if a relationship can be considered a full partnership when you're only two months in). Is that normal?
I also find it interesting that people think I have never wanted a partner or never wanted to start my own family, have my own kids. I've always wanted those things. I've not wanted to settle for a partner who did not make me feel good about myself or our future together, which is why I often didn't date the same person for a very long time. And when one is single because it is better than the other options at hand, of course one is going to make the best of it. There is a lot about being single that is amazing and that I truly do enjoy. But to not find anyone, in nearly 42 years, who wants to fully invest in my life and let me fully invest in his? No one?
That feels strange to me.
So on resolution number three, I am feeling disheartened, disappointed, isolated, misunderstood, and very alone. I know I have my family - my mom is not my life partner, though. I know I have my friends - they all have life partners of their own, and I treasure my time with them, but I'm still an outsider in all of those relationships. And I know in my heart of hearts, that the older I get, the less likely I am to find someone, the less likely I am to be able to have the family I dreamed of starting when I was a little girl. Yes, I know I could adopt - if I suddenly become independently wealthy. Yes, I know I could meet someone awesome when I'm 70, so we have ten or fifteen years of health issues to go through together before we die. Neither of these is comforting thoughts to me. I'm not sure what would be comforting. Unless I retreat to my bubble of strength in solitude. Which I don't really want to do anymore.
Maybe just send out some positive energy in my direction?