Ok so hear me out….I’m about to challenge myself.
Ever since I was old enough to date, I’ve been in a long term relationship or dating to find another long term relationship. I’ve been married and divorced. I’ve lived with partners. I’ve worked with partners. I’ve been in casual relationships and serious ones. I’ve had multiple partners at once (Polyamory). In all the time that I’ve been an adult, I’ve been in some sort of entanglement with another human.
After working really hard on my sobriety the last couple of years and my last relationship not working out – I’ve decided that it’s now time to address this part of my life. The side effect of becoming more self aware is picking up on your toxic cycles. One of those toxic cycles for me happens to be relationships. I will stay longer than I should, sacrifice until I have nothing left to give or completely torpedo something that was totally okay (this is way more rare, it’s usually the other two).
I realize that I don’t like to feel lonely. In fact, I’ve avoided feeling lonely most of my life. As a kid, I was surrounded by kids to play with – as my mother ran a day care. As a teenager I started to feel more lonely when I didn’t have as many friends, my Mom went back to work and I spent many hours alone in my room. I didn’t like feeling lonely….so I date. I dated men who weren’t nice to me. My first crush told the whole school I was a slut after I wouldn’t sleep with him. Even so, I continued to makeout with him when he wanted to because I didn’t want to feel alone.
That has been a common theme for me – not wanting to feel alone. It’s uncomfortable and I’ve always been able to avoid it. When I was alone as an adult, I drank. Drinking made me feel less alone because I become more social and willing to put myself out there. That was a convenient thing until I eventually took that to the extreme.
To meet people once I moved to LA, I started using dating apps. Then I didn’t stop using dating apps. It’s like being able to order takeout. Anytime I felt lonely, I could just start swiping. Instant gratification. I didn’t have to feel alone because there was always someone or multiple someones just a few swupes away.
This has created a real problem for me – it has allowed me to escape that feeling of being lonely. Thats not to say that everyone should feel lonely all the time, but it’s important to become comfortable with the feeling and to know that you don’t have to do anything about it except feel it and let it pass like many other emotions we feel on a regular basis.
I’ve also learned to associate loneliness with romance and acceptance by a romantic partner. To be lonely means to be without romance and leads to feeling unloved or unwanted – which couldn’t be further from the truth. Loneliness is an emotion that isn’t isolated to romantic relationships nor does a lack of a relationship mean that I’m unwanted or unloved.
So Why Am I Really Choosing To Date Myself
So I’m taking this time to date myself and re-wire that part of my brain that wants to start searching for someone new so I don’t feel lonely. To become okay with the idea that loneliness is not tied to my value or worth. The only way to do that is to go ahead and put myself in the situation to feel loneliness and get myself through it. To learn new coping mechanisms so that I’m not searching for a relationship or staying in a bad one because I’m afraid of being lonely.
I want to be okay feeling lonely. When I’m finally ready to enter the dating world again, I want it to be with a clear head and not me running into someones arms to avoid feeling lonely.
I need the time to work on my mental health without distractions. When I’m in a relationship or looking for one, I often neglect my needs. I will make sure my partner is happy or I will dedicate myself to relationship related endeavors. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it can be when the relationships is one sided say with a narcissist or someone who just needs more help than I do. I will neglect myself and spend hours/days/week/months/years trying to “make things work”.
I need to have lazer focus. In a relationship, I was to provide or help or fix. I can’t have lazer focus on myself with all of that going on.
I’ve avoided it long enough. It’s time to face the facts – I need to do this and have needed to do this for a very long time. There’s not good reason not to anymore. I’m self-sufficient – I live on my own, I’m financially stable and I’m presently single. Now is as good a time as any to put in the work. In fact, it’s pretty ideal.
I’m going to take this time to work on my passions and goals. I’m going to accept these feelings of loneliness and love myself through them. I’m going to keep doing this until loving me is enough. Only then will it be time for me to start looking for my forever. Until then, I’ll be over here dating myself. Making myself a better person for myself and for my future partner.
“I wonder when I love me is enough”