Tuesday, February 27, 2024 20:13

Remaining Single: Dating Without Desperation

I think I finally figured out how to date without desperation and I have to say it gives me a whole new perspective to this dance of dating and relating with men. When I first decided to actively engage in the dating journey a while back, I thought I should take the ‘in with both feet’ approach. I put myself out there, threw myself into it, and right at the beginning had a three week email correspondence with someone that I thought was going to lead to much more. I thought I’d gotten really lucky and had found someone so quickly that it must be fate or meant to be or whatever term you want to use.

After about three weeks of intense lengthy emails sometimes twice a day, this man started dropping hints about us getting together in person. I said that would be nice and even went so far as to suggest we choose a time and place for a face to face. Almost as soon as I did that, I got an email that said he realized we wanted different things and he was not in a position to be in the kind of relationship he knew I wanted, and blah, blah, blah…….

Clearly, this man was running game, and unfortunately I fell for it. I know this man is available for dating (i.e. not married) because I know people who work with him. Regardless, he may have been available in terms of dating status, but just the same he wasn’t emotionally available. And I’m sure I was one of many email ‘pen pals’ with whom this man was corresponding.

Nevertheless, I refused to be discouraged, and continued on my dating journey. There was a year long period where I had a date with someone just about every weekend. Sometimes it was multiple dates with the same person, sometimes it was just one and done. And in between, there were email contacts, some phone contacts that seemed to be going toward something serious and other phone conversations that saved me having to go meet someone in person.

One phone contact person also turned out to be a game runner. We never met in person and he dropped off the face of the earth after a month, but for one 30 day period, this man called me nightly and we had a very intense four hour conversation together. I fell for this guy hard, and kept thinking we were going to meet at some point. We made plans to do that three different times and each time the excuses he gave were just plausible enough that I bought it. Once again I was wounded emotionally.

Still, I continued on, having dates every weekend as I said, and it was exhausting emotionally. I would no sooner be able to protect my heart and move forward that a situation would present itself and I would be emotionally invested all over again, only to have the whole thing disappear like smoke on a breeze. I kept thinking “maybe it’s this one, maybe it’s this one.” But those maybes never turned into the real deal. Sigh…….

After about a year of this exhaustive searching, I did a lot of thinking about how much this was intensifying my feelings of lonely and sad and angry. But I kept thinking about how many people I knew who had done the dating deal and found the love they were looking for. What was their secret and why wasn’t I getting clued into it?

I knew it was time to take a step back and take a different approach. I was not only aware of men on dating sites but also of men in activity groups I enjoyed. I was sending out messages of being open but also hearing the messages of self care, self worth and self love. And with that, I became aware of how desperate I had been during the first year of dating. I was so intent on finding someone that I wasn’t aware of how I wasn’t connecting to myself and wasn’t clear about my needs and also about my emotional boundaries.

It took some doing, but I decided to stop doing as much initiating towards men. Instead I took the approach of seeing who might initiate towards me. In the second year of this dating exploration I’ve had far fewer dates. Sometimes it’s been the men who initiated and I’ve had some lovely evenings with some nice men. A couple of times I did decide to initiate and a couple of those were okay too. Once or twice a game running man has shown up and I’ve gone along for the ride for a bit, but it hasn’t lasted as long and the fall hasn’t been as hard.

Now I remember lessons learned long ago from other aspects of my life and today I choose to trust the process. I firmly believe there is a bigger force in charge of all of this and my only responsibility is to be in the place of strength to allow my heart to stay open. He’s out there, and he and I will find our way to each other when that’s meant to happen. But the meant to happen piece or timetable is not controlled by me or him. Now that it’s out of my hands, the desperation is gone and I can date, relate and don’t mind the wait.

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