Wednesday, June 15, 2011

[insert sigh here]

It's been the better part of a year since I went on more than one date with the same person, and even longer since that person was someone I actually considered a viable candidate for a relationship. Late last year I took a self-imposed break from dating, and when I reentered the dating world I had what I thought were some pretty reasonable standards that I adhered to. Having failed to find anyone who fit my ideals and who was willing to see me more than once, I relaxed some of my requirements and ended up with options like truck drivers who dropped out of community college and distance unicyclists who posed for Playgirl and men who are still married but forgot to mention that up front. I'm only 30, I've been single for less than a year and I already feel like I'm sifting through the detritus of the Austin dating scene.

I've worked really hard on myself over the last year, figuring out what I want and getting healthier and becoming a better person, but things just aren't falling into place the way I thought they would. One friend keeps telling me, "You never know. A year from now you could be married and pregnant." Technically, she's right, but the flip side of that is that a year from now - or five years or ten years or twenty years - I could still be exactly where I am. Every time she says it, that implicit possibility taunts me. If I were someone who believed there was some higher being orchestrating all the happenings in the universe, I'd say that this is how it's supposed to be right now and that when I was meant to find someone, I would. But I don't believe that, so I can't take comfort in it.

I'm not a patient person. Doing anything other than being proactive is uncomfortable for me. If I see something that can be done, I feel compelled to do it. But the more I peruse OkCupid and send messages to seemingly interesting men and go on dates that turn out to be fated to go nowhere from the start, the more I wonder if there really isn't anything to be done. The reality is that there are plenty of people who, for whatever reason, do spend their lives alone. Many of them are quite happy, and I may turn out to be one of them.

But honestly, that idea makes me miserable. I'm not afraid of it - I'm certain that I could fill the next thirty years or so with a great career and wonderful friends and fulfilling outings and hobbies - but it isn't what I want. I want someone to love, and who loves me. I want to wake up and spend lazy Sunday mornings with him, eating french toast and drinking lattes while we do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle together.* I want to go on weeks-long vacations where we wander cobblestone streets arm in arm and marvel at centuries-old architecture and ask ourselves, in all seriousness, how we got this lucky. I want to be old and gray with him (I will dye my hair, he will not), sitting in the living room while reading books and stealing glances at each other and thinking that really, this life we've built together isn't half bad.

I don't understand how all that is too much to ask. And I don't see how all that is more than I'm meant to have. Why should it be? And yet it feels so incredibly out of reach right now.

I'm worn out. I'm sad. I'm losing hope. And I don't know what to do about any of it.

*In reality, we won't do the Sunday crossword together. I will do the puzzle and feel supremely irritated any time he tries to "help" me. For the last ten years I have insisted on completing any crossword puzzle I attempt alone. Ask my friend Alex, who sat next to me through the last two years of college classes and was often chastised for trying to "help" me with the answers. News flash, Alex: I didn't need your help - I was just leaving those blank so you could feel helpful. P.S. - I love you, man. You're the best.


ilovebabyquilts said...

No matter how much it feels like it's never going to happen, when it does happen that will fall away so quickly you'll forget what it felt like. I stand by what I said.

Amy in Austin said...

Keep getting out, doing the activities that you enjoy doing. Don't put all your eggs in the OK Cupid basket. They will rot. Just like the rotten options you have to choose from it. They say dating is a numbers game, so increase your chances by making yourself available in a variety of ways.

Cynthia Carmona said...

So, I know you will want to kill me for saying this...but forget about it. As soon as I decided I was going to live life for me, it happened. Go do the crazy, drastic things you couldn't do if in a serious relationship. Move to Europe or something...that would be awesome. I will run away now before you can grab a hold of my neck...

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