It can’t really be this hard…

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A few days ago I went for a jog around the lake. Did my usual route, started at the same point, headed the direction I always do, doing my creature of habit routine. As I finished up my lap around I decided to go for a second, which I rarely do, but I think the guilt from all the Easter candy I had been binging on brought on a burst of energy to help burn it off before it settled in on my ass.

On the second lap around, I decided to switch directions, needing to change my view if I was not going to be painfully aware of every step ahead. Gotta say, it worked! As I hit the last stretch I saw this sign (pictured above) behind the fence, a fence I’ve jogged & walked along a lot lately. It has obviously been there for a while, I mean weeds have had time to grow through it, but somehow only now was the first time I noticed it. I love how a simple step of changing directions can change your experience & even your point of view.

Nothing is coincidence. I do believe opportunities & signs show up when we are meant to see them, when they will have meaning in our lives.

Lemme be honest, I’ve been struggling with putting up a post lately. I’ve been bouncing around an idea for the “Joys of being Single”, but nothing was coming…sure, I had a couple of ‘joys’ to add to the list like  ~  not having to shave your legs everyday, or being able to curl up in bed with your iPad at midnight & watch the “How I Met Your Mother” finale  ~  but the truth is I don’t enjoy being single. I’ve spent about 99% of my life single,  I have it down pat…

A lil too much so…

Since changing directions helped my view at the lake, I figured why not take that as a sign to change my focus and stop trying to convince myself to find the joy, but rather ask questions & delve deeper into the direction I do want to go ~ in to a relationship!

It was recently brought to my attention that I find fault with every man I date…but, c’mon I am dating in LA…all kidding aside though, he was right.  I’ve got the whole routine down pretty good by now ~ there’s usually 2-3 dates, things are ok, no real sparks, but it could be worse. I start to squirm, sure that the longer he hangs out with me the sooner he’s going to want to go find someone else more interesting, soooo I find excuses why he won’t work & I disappear…only to begin the cycle again.

I want to get off this merry-go-round & I need your help!

As you know I’ve only had one kinda serious relationship in my life, and while it happened in my late 30’s, I figure I’m the emotional age of a post-adolescent. I have fallen in love & experienced my first heartbreak, which seems to be high school age, on average for most. So seeing as my ‘relationship growth & experience’ may be stunted, I’d like to hear from you & your experiences to help me realize if how I see things is realistic or the view of a wide-eyed teenager.

Help me catch up to speed on dating like a normal 40 year old woman looking for a adult man to share a committed relationship with.

I know I will never experience another love like my first.   I am not that naive.  It will be very hard to be that free with emotion again.  My heart comes guarded now & flinches easily.

My single mind has been whirling with questions, trying to figure out how most seem to fall into relationships so easily… here’s some of what I’m wondering about ~ (feedback greatly appreciated)

*Assuming you’re not with your 1st love (& if you are, cheers on you! I wanna hear all about it!), how was falling in love again? Easier, harder? Different? Better? Did it take you longer to find your next love? Or were you more open after experiencing it?

*Does being previously hurt help you to love with more awareness? Or with more trepidation?

*Do you like your partner?  I know you love him/her, but do you guys genuinely like each other’s company? And if so, how long have you been together?

*Do you share similar interests & like to do them together? Or is that asking a lot from your partner? Do you save your interests to be shared with friends instead?

I’ve been told I have too many expectations of how a ‘real’ relationship is & to stop living in a fairy tale.  I have been working on bringing no expectations. There has also been talk from friends of pushing me towards the idea of settling for ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’, that it’d be silly to expect more at this stage of the game.  I still want to believe in the magic of love, but it could just be the stubborn 16 year old in me wanting to ‘be right’.  I need to know from y’all, who are in the trenches of relationships ~ help me see the reality!  I do know its not always easy or pretty & I look forward to the messy…but when you were first dating ~ was it a lot of work? Did you enjoy each other at the beginning?

Lately I’ve been enjoying my time away from the online dating world, the freedom from texts, im’s, and emails is so refreshing!  And instead of being behind a screen, I’ve actually been going & doing all sorts of things that interest me, figuring I may just meet a real live man with shared likes.  So far it has turned out to be a lot fun solo adventures, but I’m not giving up & sitting on my couch just yet.

The other night as I left a story reading event, I had a bit of existentialist angst. One of the writer’s had gotten up & read some of his poems. Now poetry & I have always had a hard time understanding each other, especially in the spoken form (I needs words on paper people!) & being there alone I did not feel comfortable asking anyone to explain it to to me.  As I wandered to my car I began to wonder ~ if experiences had, while alone, actually happened if you can’t explain them?  I felt very alone as I pondered.

Well, enough from me for now…I leave you with DREAM BIG & BE BRAVE!

I look forward to hearing from you! I know your insights & stories will help make sense of this relationship world. Welcome to my lil course at Love U! xo

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3 thoughts on “It can’t really be this hard…

  1. Hey Lady! I do love your posts! I have so many reactions to what you said…hopefully I can make sense of them all.

    First off, do not let yourself feel ashamed for WANTING a relationship. I was big on the “its ok to be single” bandwagon and it IS OK TO BE SINGLE. It is also OK TO WANT to be in a relationship. Either scenario is good – it only is bad if you are unhappy and are wanting something different for your life. I try and think about it this way – if you want a different job or to live in a different city, you absolutely can be happy without it. That’s a choice you make to live your life with the circumstances you have, but that doesn’t mean that you stop wanting it. And that it would make you happy to get it. And if you do actually get the opportunity, then awesome!!! Win win! So, stop feeling bad about this! First and foremost.

    Now to answer the specific questions you posted so you can catch up on my dating saga:

    -Falling in love after 5 years of disastrous dating was actually very easy. When I first met him (we were both on a movie), sparks didn’t instantly fly – he seemed nice – I wasn’t paying much attention honestly, I was at work. And he had longer hair which I’ve never been attracted to. When he asked me out directly and to my face, I admired his confidence and directness, and our conversations before that had been interesting and fun so I thought, what the hell. Our first date was fun – again – not earth shattering – he was well educated, fun, well spoken and we had a lovely time. As he kept asking me out, I kept saying an enthusiastic YES! The more I learned about him and we got to know each other, the harder I fell. And while I thought he was cute, when he cut his hair (totally of his own choice, I never said a thing) I realized how HOT he was!!! The lesson here – don’t automatically go down some checklist and not give a guy a chance. Certain big things might be deal breakers but don’t sweat the small stuff!!!!!

    Now, it wasn’t all super easy and no issues. He had been hurt in the past and basically had decided to be single for the last 10 years – the longest relationship he had been in was 6 months and he broke up with her for lack of interest. His walls were HIGH. After 5 years of being single and having one disastrous pseudo “relationship” that I held on to way too long, I was still very sensitive. Not the best combination for us I know. So when he would retreat behind his walls I would (SILENTLY) freak out and think he was over me or didn’t want to see me anymore. I credit my girlfriends who took many a terrified, hysterical phone call from me for talking me off of a ledge when he didn’t text me back or we didn’t see each other for a few days. Seriously, if they hadn’t calmed me down and I would have said something to him, I KNOW I would have spooked him and he probably would have bailed. The important thing though was that, achingly slow as it was, we were inching closer to more and more commitment. And I had to be ok with that timeline. And eventually, he got there. So this lesson was about adjusting my expectations – I wanted an actual relationship that was heading towards marriage and I saw potential. He said he was interested in that too, however, I had to be ok with the timeline that he was going to set out – it was about compromise. But ultimately we both won.

    We have been together 2 1/2 years and are so very happy. He really is my best friend. We moved in together after a year and a half. We have been discussing getting married but I know again that’s a big step for him and while he says he wants to, it has to be on his own time. I know he’s thinking about it and saving for a ring and while I seriously wish we could be engaged NOW, I have to be patient. We both work in the industry which is a huge plus and helps us mesh our lives together. We have similar interests in that we both love sports, and when we started dating I was a cyclist and he was a golfer. For fun we both switched sports and tried each others. We actually both loved both so now we participate in them together which is really fun. We have lots of joint friends but we both agree it’s totally ok to do things on our own. Like right now, he’s off brewing beer with a buddy (snooze) and I’m catching up on some scripts and reading amazing blogs. ; )

    I guess bottom line, the “fairy tale” is what you make it. Like all of the things in life, you weigh your options and try to make the best of the situation you find yourself in. You decide what is most important for you, and what you can live without. This isn’t “settling” – this is real life. Don’t ever rush to judgement with no information, but trust your gut (the REAL gut – the one that nags you constantly and you can’t ignore no matter how much you try). The best advice I ever received was from a guy who is a dating coach here in LA – I signed up for his blogs and still read them religiously. He preaches being the “CEO of your dating life.” You are in charge. You have the power. Basically, when looking for a life partner, you need to find the best guy who you can both fit into each other’s lives in a way where you both benefit and reap great reward. That means so many things (and different things to each person) – for me it was we could mesh our crazy lives/work schedules, love to do sporty things, have the same views on our relationships with family, and make the best team possible to make each other’s lives better. Does he have things that drive me crazy?? Of course. He likes to drink way more than me (I love wine and he introduced me to scotch which is incredible, but I don’t ever get drunk and I don’t like to be around people who do). He loves lazy days – I can only stand being that lazy once in awhile. I’m trying to eat very clean and he will order fried chicken and biscuits and eat it next to me. Sometimes he still grows his hair out (sigh). But all of these are trivial – not worth troubling yourself over. But when he comes home, gives me a huge hug, and says seeing me is the best part of his day? Priceless.

    Hang in there! Keep getting out in the world in doing fun things. Don’t fear putting yourself out there – if it doesn’t work out, don’t take it personally. Move forward, on to the next one. Learn from every mistake and relationship that didn’t work out – I wouldn’t trade any of those experiences since they made me grow and learn enough so that I was ready for this one!

    Let me know if you want to grab coffee sometime and catch up! It’s been way too long!!!! : )

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    • Oh my gosh Sarah, hiiiii!!! Thank you for sharing all this ~ you have given me so much to think about, I love it!! So happy for you both!! I definitely want to catch up more, emailing you for coffee 🙂
      xo

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  2. I know what you’re going through, it’s hard. Here’s how I met my husband: I’d been dating a guy for about 5 years, let’s call him “Sam”. Sam was about 9 years older than me. Around my 30th birthday, I told him that I wanted to get married within the next two years, and he had a year to decide if it was him or not. Yes, an ultimatum. But I knew the consequences of that ultimatum, and I knew what I wanted. So, Sam took his time, and though we got along great, he actually ended up having an affair (he was also a crew member on a TV show). We broke up. I was heartbroken for a month or two, but I pulled myself together and decided that I needed to find what I wanted. So I decided to find it. I joined match.com, and looked through craigslist ads (yeah, craigslist!). I dated an old high school acquaintance for a couple months, but that didn’t work out. I took to the online dating scene as I do to everything: detail-oriented, with complete focus, and with goals in mind. I spent more time than I should have while at work (as an intern in a law firm) reading carefully through profiles, favoriting, sending an occasional message or “wink”. I look through hundreds of profiles. I probably corresponded (usually VERY briefly, through match.com’s messaging service) with about 100 men, eliminating from there. I went on first dates with about 20 men. I went on second dates with about 8 men. I only went on a third date with my current husband. I didn’t do anything physical with any of the dates (except a kiss with one of them that was not my husband).

    My method: I started with my goals. I wanted to find someone who was my age or slightly older, who wanted to get married and have children, and who would like to sail around the world. Those were my MUST HAVES. Obviously, everyone’s “must haves” are different. 🙂 Anyhow, then I went to my IMPORTANT POINTS. Employed, in Los Angeles, interested in outdoor activities, loves animals, liberal political viewpoint. (Again, everyone has different ones). FAIRLY IMPORTANT: makes a decent living, can swim pretty well, interested in some of the same nerdy things I’m into (history, Tolkien, fantasy books, costumes, etc.).

    Then I just… looked. I looked according to my primary search parameters, and then expanded outwards. You know the thing that found me my husband? A key word. On Match.com, they have key words that you can put on your profile that people can search by. They can be anything from “yoga” to “italian” to “francophile” to “hiker”… and anything else you can imagine. I carefully scanned the profiles for grammatical errors (I need a smart guy!), echoes of conservatism (just me, but I’m super liberal politically), and adventuresomeness (I want someone who can keep up with me). The guys I corresponded with sometimes ended up being, well, douchebags, or jerks, or just boring. The ones I agreed to go on first dates with (after the long process of filtering described above) were ALL, without fail, very polite and nice guys, but most were not “clicking”. Then, I was over at my brother and sister-in-law’s house one night and we were doing searches based on key words, based on my interests. “Sailor”, “sailing”, and “sailboat” went into there. Then I just searched “pirate.” And I found one match. The pictures looked good, a fairly handsome guy, in a couple photos he was wearing a pirate costume, clearly at a Renaissance faire. I’d been fairly discouraged at that point, I’d been searching for about 3 months (and when I say three months, picture 3 months of FULL TIME WORK, basically). So I only “winked” at him on Match.com. Then he messaged me back, and it was witty, and short, and grammatically correct. So I messaged back, and so on, and then we went to gmail, then gchat, then we arranged a first date about 1 month later. He was fun, and interesting, and I got my specifics out of the way first. I made sure he was interested in the same things I was interested in, that we got along, that I found him attractive (no fireworks needed at first, just the potential). Then on our third or fourth date I made sure he wanted the same things I did. Marriage, children, and sailing around the world. And so it went!

    For me, it was a game plan, an outline, and being organized and methodical.

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