Do you ever get those questions that just totally and completely throw you off guard? It’s hard to answer those questions, isn’t it?

Last night I was talking to a friend of mine. He knows that I’m pretty much an open book, will answer anything without incredibly good reason not to. This is why it shouldn’t have surprised me, yet it totally threw me for a loop, when our conversation took a drastic turn as he asked me, “So why are you still single?”

In certain situations, this question is more an insult than anything else, as it seems to be said with an air of “Well, you seem normal enough, but what kind of craziness are you hiding that has made you incapable of convincing someone to be in a relationship with you?” Fun, right? This time, though, it was just an honestly curious question.

Since he had asked, I regaled him with the last ten years (!!!) or so of my dating history.

Let me be incredibly honest with you guys for a minute. Ten years includes all of one long-term boyfriend (who sucked), four guys I’ve talked to/dated for about 3 weeks apiece, one that I was crazy about for a long time back in college who decided he’d rather not be in a relationship with me so we never technically dated, one I dated for only three months who went on shortly thereafter to be in multiple long-term, long distance relationships after having said he didn’t want either, a few who weren’t so much relationships as they were a physical means to an end, whatever you want to call the drama associated with That Friend, a few interests that never panned out into anything, and then the one I fell for who crushed me. Only four guys, an interest that didn’t pan to anything, two of those three-week-apiece types and then That Friend, actually fell within the last almost two years.

That is…..kind of depressing.

I wrapped everything up with, “Yeah, guys tend to think I’m better as a friend.”

Trust me, I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I adore the male friends I have, honestly and truly.

Sometimes, though. Sometimes it’s eye opening and a bit sad to see all that right in front of your face. It’s a cold-hearted truth, and brings up some insecurities I’d rather ceased to exist.

I am painfully aware that a lot of the briefness of these forays, as well as the long and drawn out periods of singledom, are very much and completely my own fault. I have incredibly high emotional walls and sometimes (ok, a lot of times) an antagonistic demeanor towards anyone who seems interested. I recognize that I have to be willing to actually let someone in if that whole perpetually single thing is going to go away.

I’m really bad at letting people in.

A lot of times I blame the ex-boyfriend for supremely fucking me up, or I’ll point at the last time I fell for someone to indicate just how well it works when I let someone get close to me. It’s so easy to just say, “Well, I’m so messed up because of how he treated me” or something similar. It’s a cop out, and I know it every single time those words leave my mouth. Every time.

The ex-boyfriend, former flings, interests, and receivers of my feelings might have left me broken and hurt and entirely shut down, but at this point, the biggest thing remaining is the clarity of knowledge about what I absolutely do and do not want.

That is one thing I have to be grateful for. I know EXACTLY what I do and do not want. I know that when a red flag makes its presence known, I pay attention. When my gut instinct starts screaming for me to walk away, I fucking listen. I don’t second-guess my gut instinct, even when it comes to giving second chances.

I know all this, and it makes me feel so much stronger than my 20-year-old self would ever have dreamed I could be.

You bet your sweet ass I am

There are those times, though, that I miss certain aspects of the dating bit. I miss feeling like someone can’t get enough of me. I miss reciprocal feelings. I miss laying in bed and just chatting about the mundane things of the day. I miss butterflies. I miss waking up and immediately checking my phone for any text I might have gotten while I was sleeping. I miss kisses that actually hold affection behind them rather than the “I’m drunk, and you’re right in front of me” kisses.

I miss WANTING someone to know every single thing about me, rather than actively trying to keep them out.

However, until that situation presents itself, IF if ever does, I’ll be just fine. I always am.

Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone.

7 thoughts on “Stronger

  1. I hear you, girl. It's funny that in the beginning of the post you said "He knows that I'm pretty much an open book, will answer anything without incredibly good reason not to."And then a few paragraphs later you said "I'm really bad at letting people in."I don't know what that means, exactly, it just stood out to me. Personally, I'm single because I want what I want and I won't accept anything less anymore.

  2. Honestly curious – have you ever thought about counseling to work through everything? Maybe instead of your past being a crutch, you can turn it into a spring board into more positive future relationships? (ps, I still can't subscribe to comments anymore on your blog. Drives me nuts)

  3. Lo: It means that I can answer anyone matter of factly, but when they start asking me how I feel about it, that's when I keep people out.Jos: Yes, I have considered it. But remember, writing (and running) is/are my cheap version of therapy. 😛 I think, though, that I have made positive strides recently, and can't imagine they'd do anything but keep moving forward.

  4. I was that way too. I wish I would have had this blog when I was single sometimes. I was very different. And reading this blog post reminded me a lot of who I was then.Here's the thing…when the boy came along, I almost lost him because of my rules. I had to realize that the things I swore I could never live with didn't always matter. And the things I had to have weren't that important. And now…that list is completely different. Yes, those very things still make me crazy. But, being with someone who loves me for exactly who I am (including the neurotic person who made those lists in the first place) makes up for it. And our relationship is exactly what I never thought I needed.I get where you are coming from, I really do. I am just saying, don't shut someone out because they don't meet your criteria. You may miss out on something great. Giving someone a chance and taking a risk is part of the fun (???) of dating.

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