With no prospects insight, I decided to remove myself from the dating arena for a while, with the hopes that a little sabbatical would recharge not only my desire to date, but my market value. The plan was to spend a little extra time at the gym, read a little more and get more involved in the world, after all, every good self help book says that if you don’t enjoy spending time with yourself, then who will?
One week in and I was 2 pounds lighter, a few pages into my not so interesting book and generally in pretty good spirits. I was getting into a great little routine, when I realized that not having a man, or even the hope of one, is not that bad after all. It made me wonder, when had I become the girl that needed a man? I had always scolded my girlfriends for staying in bad situations with men because they were scared to be alone, but isn’t that exactly what I had been doing? Sure I wasn’t tied to one person, but I continued to extend myself into the dating scene, bending over backwards and sometimes performing contortionist acts that even a circus freak would have found impressive, all in the name of “romance”.
After almost a month of “me-time’ I was convinced that I may never date again. I was feeling and looking great. I actually had time to listen to friends about their lives, instead of dissecting my own dysfunctional relationships and thanks to my trusty pocket rocket, I lacked for nothing.
Instead of being envious of friends as they went on dates or got closer to their current squeezes, I began to see all of their “happy” moments as potential heartaches.
Instead of being envious of friends as they went on dates or got closer to their current squeezes, I began to see all of their “happy” moments as potential heartaches. It started out innocently enough, but before long I was bordering on jaded.
Jessica, my college roommate, and one of very few people in my life who sugar coats nothing, brought it to my attention on one of our date nights, or rather my date night and her- my boyfriend is out of town, so I’ll take pity on my lonely single friend-dinner.
“When did you get like this?” she asked me as I was finishing up my salad and starting in on the couple to our left, dissecting their obviously fake smiles and happiness.
“What do you mean?” I asked, knowing full well she was about to hand me a dose of reality.
“That couple is happy, and so were the other two that you ripped apart earlier” she scolded. “Who are you? And what have you done with my friend? You used to be a romantic, when did you start hating love?”
I knew she was right, but I couldn’t admit it. Instead I fired back with my attack on relationships and my disgust at women who chose to settle instead of accepting that they are good enough all by themselves. I turned my rant towards her current relationship and before I knew it, I had turned our fun night out into a full blown fight between me and one of my closest friends.
I wondered if this sabbatical was really helping me grow, or was it just making me lose touch with not only men, but people all together?
We ended our meal in silence, and Jessica complained of tiredness shortly after wrapping up at the restaurant, and asked to take a rain check on the movie. As I walked home, feeling terrible for the horrible way I had treated my friend, I wondered if this sabbatical was really helping me grow, or was it just making me lose touch with not only men, but people all together?
I had spent so much time trying to figure out who I was and what made me happy, that I had forgotten that in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, there are two people’s feelings to consider-and I had only been concerned with my own.
I waited til the next day to call Jess and tell her how utterly wrong I had been, and apologized for taking my frustration out on her and her relationship. She, being the amazing friend that she is, accepted my apology and we agreed to catch up later in the week when the heat of our fight had cooled off.
Now that I had made amends with my friend, it was time to do the same for my dating situation. I promised myself that I would get back out there and start flirting again, and perhaps even accept a date, if asked. And until that time, I would enjoy being myself and being with myself, but not rely on my cynicism to get me through.
Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that my break from dating had been to improve myself and enjoy dating more. After realizing that I had chosen to be alone, it seemed ridiculous that I would also choose to be unhappy alone. So, with my short trip to bitter land over, it was time to rejoin the land of the happy and start dating again. Let the games begin!