I’m hoping by posting about my current feelings about my love life will help alleviate my frustration. So please bear with me…

I have great friends, a great job, a loving family and most of my evenings and weekends are packed. I would describe myself as happy and content with my life.

However…

I am extremely lonely.

Both my sister, who in the past has been the biggest relationship-phobe but is now in a full-fledged relationship, and The Roommate are dating men who fit them so well and I have seen how much joy they get from being in those relationships.

I look on their relationships with envy and really wish that I was with someone who made that much sense with me. Instead, I end up on dates with players, dickheads, crazies, and bores. Or on no dates at all.

And don’t get me wrong– I am so happy for my sister and The Roommate and can’t wait to see where their relationships end up (it’s like a real-life romantic comedy for The Roommate… and I have front row seats!). Their relationships show me that there are people out there who fit perfectly with another person. And it’s been so great to see the positive changes that have come from them being in those relationships.

I like dating, I like going out and meeting new people. First dates don’t give me any sort of anxiety and I’m never nervous about them– which helps me be relaxed and a good conversationalist. But I’m not meeting anyone who would be a good match for me.

Not by a long-shot.

I have a dating philosophy that says “I never say no to a request for a first date” (within reason, of course). My thought is that if a guy has had enough courage to ask me out on a date (or even for my phone number), I will oblige. And I will go with a positive attitude and hope that something comes from it. Unless I’ve known the guy for a while, how can I know how good of a match they’ll be for me if I don’t give them a chance?

But do I need to change that philosophy? Am I not being discerning enough, so I continue to end up disappointed more times than not? Or is that the “right” way to do it, and hope that eventually I’ll go out with “the one”?

And I’m not even asking for much at this point. I know that the shaming of single women is “you’re just being too picky,” which I honestly don’t think I am. At this point in time, all I’m looking for is someone who has a job, can carry a two-way conversation, I have chemistry with them, and he isn’t an asshole.

I feel like I’m too young to have to start lowering my bar/expectations. Or has 26 become the start for spinsters? Maybe it is– during a recent conversation with a friend, we started talking about how it’s nearly impossible to find someone who is not either: A) completely immature, B) recently divorced, or C) not looking for a relationship. Sounds like a list of the traits of my recent dates…

I don’t want to whine. I hate when people whine about “no one loves me!”

But I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve been doing everything I can to meet people out in my world (as opposed to online)– I’ve joined social groups, attended meetups, drank at networking happy hours, I’m currently captaining my kickball team, volunteering more– but none of that hasn’t seemed to get me anywhere. Yes, I’m making new/more friends, but any guys I meet at any of those get-togethers are unavailable, way older than I am, or sleazy.

I’ve been bound and determined to not get back into the online dating world because I REALLY want to meet someone “organically.” But more and more, I’m finding that that has really become nearly impossible.

Is online dating really the only way to meet anyone any more? Or should I continue to be a “Ted Moseby” and hold out hope that I’ll meet my future mister out about in my life?

I’m feeling down about this, and I refuse to let it bring my entire out-look on life down, but I also can’t shake the dark rain cloud that is lurking in the background, ready to swallow me if I give it more than a moment’s attention.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Hopefully getting this off my chest will help me get past it and just live my life and tell that dark cloud to go away.

To help cheer me up (and tell you where the title reference came from), I’m hoping Winnie the Pooh will help:

 

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I spent my Saturday helping D with her graduation party, buying and making tacos to celebrate her graduation AND Cinco de Mayo! She’s now Dr. D with her PhD in physical therapy! CONGRATS, D 🙂

As I was sitting chatting with her various friends and family at the party, I started chatting with D’s sister and her husband. He is from Loveland, Colorado (not to be confused with the ski resort), which is only a few miles south of Fort Collins, and he was telling me about a scandal that happened at his high school with the football team.

Apparently the football players would spray their jerseys with PAM so no one could grip them to tackle them. As he was talking, I realized I’d heard that story before– straight from the source of one of the players who had done that… my ex, Voldemort.

Whenever I ask people if they know someone just because they went to the same high school, I hold little hope because I’m useless when it comes to other people asking me to play the the “do you know ___” game. I casually asked him if he knew “Voldemort” and his reply was “he was one of my best friends in high school!”

I then replied that he’s my ex!

He then told me “I friended him on facebook and found out he was getting divorced that week because he posted about having to go pick up the papers.” “Yup, that was me!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it– someone else who knew Voldemort from a different time. Of course, they didn’t stay actual friends, but that didn’t surprise me in the least– Voldemort dumps friends faster than you can say “friends.” There was ONE person at our wedding that he invited who wasn’t related to him– because he didn’t have any friends from his past. (Major red flag #738 ignored!)

I then found out that he recently got married, which didn’t bother me at all. I’ve known Voldemort was engaged (and has been for a long time), so it was pretty inevitable that he would finally tie the knot. Now the clock has started to tick down until he does the exact same thing to this girl that he did to me. It’s his nature– it’s the way it continues to be modeled for him by his mom, so there’s no hope for redemption. I already pity the woman he just married…

It was quite the eventful graduation party! It also says a lot that finding out my ex got remarried didn’t bother me and I didn’t give it a second thought– except to tell all of you about it, of course. I’m always relieved that my heart has moved far past the hurt and pain that he caused me almost 3 years ago.

On March 21, I wrote a post about the fact that my ex, Voldemort, is just some guy I used to know.

I have a “book of the day” calendar that The Roommate’s mom gave me for Christmas. I was ripping off the 22nd’s listing when it hit me…

Four years ago from that day, I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I had walked down the aisle and said “I do” to a man who in no way, shape, or form deserved to have me say those sacred words to him.

No wonder Voldemort was subtly on my mind!

I wrote the post not realizing the date, or the huge significance of the following day… stupid subconscious!

I’ve had that happen around Memorial day, but that one I’m much more aware of– it is a national holiday, after all. The date of March 22 is meaningless to me now. It’s just another day.

But apparently my subconscious refuses to let it go so easily.

The fact that I got through the day without ever acknowledging the significance of the date seems like a success to me!

 

 

I go through phases where I become completely obsessed with a song and will listen to it non-stop. The repeat button is worn out on my itunes (if that is possible…).

Here is my current obsession: (for those of you who get my blog via email, you may have seen a random post that had this video… I seem to fail in figuring out how to attach a video in wordpress’ weird “quick post” layout…)

I’m pretty sure I’ve contributed to at least a million of the 120+ million views the video has. I just can’t get over how hauntingly beautiful this song is.

The reason I’m sharing this song obsession with you is the fact that when I listened to the lyrics, I realized that when I think about my life, I have actually had the thought “oh yeah, I was married once…” My ex, Voldemort, is just some guy I used to know. I’m not at all connected to him. I don’t wish to have him back. I hope to never even run into him. I never use the term “ex-husband” even– he’s always “my ex.” He doesn’t even have enough standing in my life to be acknowledged in his past standing of importance.

When I was in the middle of my divorce, I couldn’t imagine how I would ever not feel sad about it. And yet, here I am, 3 years later, vaguely recollecting that I was even married to him… It’s crazy how I went from committing my life to this guy to labeling him under “some guy I used to know.”

Time really does heal all wounds.

Dating can be like a pendulum.

I’ve dated enough to be able to look back and see how I would date Person A, react to the things I didn’t like by dating Person B who was the complete opposite of person A… and I’ve done that for as long as I’ve been dating. My most extreme example is when I dated California my freshman year of college who was not at all like the goody-two-shoes boys I knew in high school. I then dated The Debater my sophomore year who was ultra-conservative and extremely religious. I then dated The Bad Boy that summer… see a pattern?

Thankfully I broke my pattern of reacting to my ex’s conservativeness and/or religiousness, but I still end up going from one extreme to the other. Case in point: I dated The Narcissist and a couple of months later dated The Dud (alternately referred to as “Huh?”).

I know this pattern in myself and I pride myself on my new-found self-awareness, so I try to be aware of it when I start dating someone new, and especially when I’ve broken up with someone and go for the rebound date.

But my sister said something to me the other day that has gotten me thinking about all of this in a different light.

We were talking about Funny Man, who came to my birthday dinner bash and my sister sat across from him at the table. When I asked her what she thought of him, her response was “he was very fun and life of the party… like Voldemort (aka my ex).”

I should have prefaced her comment with this nugget of information: when Voldemort and I split, our friends had a really hard time grasping what had happened because “he’s just so much fun!” Which is true, but that didn’t mean that meant he was a good husband (or person for that matter). So, speaking of pendulums, I’ve been weary of “class clowns” ever since… maybe I’m not as self-aware as I thought…

Because of my hesitation to be around people who resemble my ex in any way, shape, or form, it gave me a jolt. “Oh shit!” I thought to myself. “What does this mean for me and Funny Man?” I started to have a tiny panic attack until a thought donned on me:

Just because there was something good about my ex doesn’t mean I have to avoid those traits like the plague.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean to just abandon my awareness or not heed what my sister said as being a potential warning (as L, my former counselor would advise: pay attention and see if it really is an issue or just a hiccup).

But I’ve been thinking about this a lot since my sister made that comment. I liked that people liked Voldemort. I liked that I could bring him with me to parties and he was engaging and fun and could easily make people laugh– even if it was at his own expense (there’s a notorious picture of him in a Santa flag… and nothing else…). That was 5 years ago, and I still laugh about it with my friends!

So does everything that is similar an automatic red flag? Or can I learn to appreciate the (few) good things that Voldemort brought to the table and even look for it in someone else? Or is that playing with fire?

The ultimate question being: can I find someone who is a responsible adult (with a stable job, lots of friends, etc) AND is sociable/funny. Or does being funny and charismatic automatically mean someone is a bum?

I really hope it’s possible…

I have a birthday coming up (and when I say coming up, it’s not for another month…), and the weeks leading up to it always send me into more of an introspective state of mind– much more than any New Years eve ever has.

The “birthday resolution” that has been spinning around my head for a while is this:

Don’t continue to do something if it doesn’t make you happy.

This is especially important in regards to drinking wine 😉

Of course, having to do things like pay bills is non-negotiable, but otherwise, most things are up for discussion. I spent the last year of my life at a job I hated, I was in a relationship at the beginning of the year that I was bored out of my mind about, and I went running even though I dreaded it.

So instead of spending my time lamenting about things that are fully within my power to change, I just need to change them. As I’ve mentioned before, I thrive off change, so I took the initiative to change the things that were making me unhappy. I hated my job, so I started looking for a new one (my bosses beat me to the punch before I could quit), I ended the relationship with the bore, and I stopped going running– with every good intention of doing something else instead… still working on that one.

This “resolution” is especially important in regards to romantic relationships. I’ve dated a lot and have been unhappy/disappointed more times than not. So, this year is going to be not only about being happy in all aspects of my work and social life, but I fully intend for my romantic life to follow suit.

I already started to implement this “resolution” last year but I was not fully committed to it. So being intentional about choosing happiness and taking the risk to change the things to make that possible is what this “birthday resolution” is all about.

However, it does get awkward when the change that is required for my happiness relies on having to break things off with someone I’m dating– but in the end, it’s better for everyone. Yes, having to call a guy and say “I’m no longer interested in seeing you” is incredibly uncomfortable, but boy does it take the load off.

I’ve tried to do the teenager-maturity-level-approved method of just trying to ignore the guy and hope he gets the hint. It doesn’t work that way, and then I just spent my time being annoyed every time they’d try to contact me, frustrated they didn’t just go away. I’ve also had guys treat me that way, so I know how shitty it feels when you know you’re being ignored. That method doesn’t make it easier on anyone.

But the times I was up front about what I was thinking and (not) feeling, they took the news with grace and I haven’t heard from them again. No one likes getting broken up with, but when the other person is honest, at least there is closure and mutual understanding about where the relationship stands.

Relationships and change are scary. There are so many things that have kept me from embracing a new life– and with that, a new happiness. Since I’ve been single I’ve realized something: once I didn’t let those things stand in my way, I ended up so much happier than I could have imagined. The unknown is scary, but every time I’ve been brave enough to embrace the unknown (there’s not much more of an unsettling change as a divorce), I’ve ended up exponentially happier than I could have even begun to imagine.

And that’s the happiness I want to harness this year, and all my years to come. By doing things for myself and keeping my happiness my central focus, I know I will be more satisfied with life and will enjoy my life, friends, work, and beaus that much more.

I want to be happy and fulfilled and I will do the work to be that way. That is going to be my present to myself this year… Well, that and some super-cute boots!

(And how interesting! I wrote this post and then the very next blog I read was Britt’s post about this very thing: Go here to read her thoughts on choosing happiness.)

I’m going to step out of my shell a little bit and be extra-vulnerable today. I was inspired to share this after reading this post by Larissa at thoughts simply arise. My thoughts and feelings about my divorce 2 years ago were pretty hidden from people not related to me. I talked with my counselor and my mom pretty openly, but otherwise, the grief and anxiety and hurt was kept to myself. I have about two dozen “private” posts on this blog that I wrote before I made it public that I’ve never shared with anyone. So today, I’m sharing one of those posts with you.

I wrote the following letter after reading about an exercise about letting your hopes and dreams from your relationship go so you can move on. Letting go of “what was to come” was one of the hardest parts about starting over– I was starting from square one, no longer having those same “goals” to work towards.

Now those dreams I had are distant memories, and my new experiences and goals and dreams are what I’m looking towards. My personal dreams are now more likely to be fulfilled without my ex in my life than they were with him.

This is from July 30, 2009:

The Loser, [his nickname before it became Voldemort]

Goodbye to the life we were trying to create. Goodbye to the hours dreaming and fantasizing about what our lives might be like, the places we will go, the people we will meet. Goodbye to the house we will never buy, the cars we will never drive, and the children we will never have.

Goodbye to making new traditions that are just our own. I will not be able to wake up next to you on Christmas morning in our own bed, sit across from you at our own table, and open presents meant just for us.

Goodbye to the friends we were making. They will no longer be our friends the way they used to be. They will feel like they will have to choose sides, feel uncomfortable by our decisions, and it will be uncomfortable to be around them all for long periods of time. I know you never really cared about them– you only were interested in what was in it for you, not what you could give them.

Goodbye to our dreams of growing old together and watching our lives pass before our eyes, each day a new adventure.

Goodbye to having someone beside me, holding me and loving me through the ups and the downs. I know I will feel that way again, but I have to say goodbye to trusting people easily. Thanks to you, I will now have a nearly impossible time trusting anyone again because everyone might have the potential to do to me what you did. I can’t bear to go through that again. My heart cannot handle any more betrayal.

Goodbye to your empty promises and “I’ll take care of it.” Tomorrow always became tomorrow’s tomorrow. I can’t believe I put up with you never following through with the small things that you “promised” to do– like the laundry, picking up the house, running an errand, making a phone call… I got tired of hearing you say you’ll do something, all the while knowing that it will not get done because you’ll find something better to do with your time.

Goodbye to the suspicion that you were cheating on me. I don’t believe you did, but the fact that I even thought you were capable of doing something so horrendous is heartbreaking. You’re not trustworthy or loyal. You text girls while I sit on your lap, and yet think nothing of it. Why would I trust you when cheating was the way you ended your last relationship?

Goodbye to the stress of where the money’s coming from. Goodbye to having to persuade you that whatever shiny new toy you found is too much money. Goodbye to being your financial support. Goodbye to feeling obligated to buy things. Goodbye to sharing and splitting money you have no right to spend.

Goodbye to all of your jobs. Every. Single. One. Goodbye to trying to make you understand that staying in a job, even when it’s not fun, is the responsible, adult thing to do. Goodbye to fighting with you about what stability is. Stability is not just bringing home a meager paycheck. Stability is being able to rely on you to be an adult and contribute to the household and care about my feelings. If I have no one to lean on, how is that stability?

Goodbye to your emotional reactions. Goodbye to plugging my ears to drown out your yelling and cussing. Goodbye to your disrespect. Goodbye to your temper-tantrums and your childish perspectives. We learned how to fight like adults, and yelling and screaming is not one of those ways. Neither is acting like a teenager and leaving me stranded.

Goodbye to your lack of direction in life. I’m tired of hearing about your new idea of the week that you will be tired of by next week. Goodbye to getting an education and being married to a man with any sort of degree. Goodbye to being married to a man who is no better than his alcoholic mother.

Goodbye to not standing up for myself and what I want. I know what I want and I will fight to get it. I was not brave enough to do so before, but I’m brave enough now. Goodbye to being a people-pleaser and trying everything I can think of to make you show me an ounce of love or affection.

And last, but not least, goodbye to feeling embarrassed about what has happened to our relationship. I was blinded by your lies and your sweet-talking, but now I see you for who you really are. Goodbye to any tears of regret I might shed. I do not regret my decision to end things. I deserve a better, happier, love-filled life and I was not getting that from you.

So goodbye… to you.