I wonder how long it takes the average person to find a mate. I realize that finding a “mate” doesn’t mean staying married or having chosen the “right” one, but I just wonder. Because, of course, I haven’t given up hope. But I have to consider the possibility that I’m destined for perpetual singledom. This is not a low self-esteem issue, but one of practicality, precedent and realism.
As my longtime readers know, my personality is obsessive by nature. Now, after a time, it settles down, but in the initial moments of any new phase in life, I have a one-track mind. So, when I date a guy, it’s all about him for a time, then I mellow out. When I get a new job, it’s all about work. When I refocus on exercise, I’m at the gym 2 hours every night. I’m never as focused with hobbies and extracurriculars, but I used to be when I’d get over-involved with church groups and attempts at getting out and being social.
I wonder if this dooms my relationships to fail. Or my pre-relationships. Or just me in general. Because the other person is almost always unaware of the turmoil happening upstairs. If a man does not seem equally obsessed, I get all disappointed, like it’s normal to think about one person 24/7 (I learned this from country songs and fairy-tale movies, by the way; real men don’t do this). And I get irritable or pull away from the situation, wanting to guard my feelings, needing to “forget all about” Mr. X. That’s happened one too many times now, so I see the pattern – it’s bold like neon-green argyle. Trust me.
But, aside from those mistakes I make, I am just noticing this theme in my life of solitude. I try not to project too much because I recall well the days when Mandy didn’t have crushes or boyfriends either. And I know there are others who are single more often than not, or maybe even haven’t had a significant long-term relationship. But they seem fairly few and far between. And who’s to say they also won’t end up eternally single? M2, for example. He’s awesome and a total catch, but his standards are high, he’s got a lot going on in his life, etc. And I’m sure he could handle being single forever, but he probably doesn’t want to. I don’t want to either. But I wonder if it’s my lot.
Many people will say that my singleness is rooted in the fact that I don’t “put [myself] out there” enough. This is probably a major factor, yes, but I look at the friends who have found boyfriends-turned-husbands through their jobs, friends or everyday circumstances and I wonder why I should have to go out of my way to find someone. Should I have to resort to online dating sites, speed-dating events and the local club scene to find my future spouse? Because, while the first two really are viable options for connecting with people, I’ve found it difficult thus far to take a single spark over the Internet and turn it into a long-term love affair of kismet foreverness. But maybe that’s just me.
I wonder if online dating is a product of necessity or one of over-globalization. Back in the day, people married people they didn’t want to just because they were living within a 5-mile radius of their family’s farm. As time wore on, people had more options, but they still managed to pull from their smallish pool of acquaintances. Now the world says, “Find your soulmate in Hong Kong! Fiji! The Netherlands!” Like if I go after the entire male portion of the 6 billion I’ll have better luck…
Anyway, back to the obsession thing. I also find it stifling because, even if I’m not creepily craving attention from a certain male, I will regret losing track of all the other things I spent time obsessing over prior to his entry into my life. I will stop going to the gym, forget to call people back, not read books or enroll in classes at the local community college just for fun. And while, like I said, my focus will eventually shift from him, adding him as a semi-permanent facet to my life doesn’t allow me to re-obsess over those other things. I am forever dividing my attention, which, for some reason, has never suited me very well.
I imagine myself someday having a dog. And the dog and I will go on walks and snuggle on the couch while I watch stupid movies. I will bake dog biscuits and find doggy playmates for him/her. It will be like my surrogate mate AND child rolled into one bounding, furry creature. Sometimes, I think I’m OK with that. Because I do know a couple people like that, and they seem well adjusted. But then I remind myself that it would be really nice to share my future with a speaking individual who could kiss me (with appropriate use of tongue), hold me, share more of my life with me than a dog realistically could. I could still do without the children part of things, but the husband… I just don’t know.
But I can’t use any of my past relationships to say, “Hey, I think I could find someone and make it happen.” Because they were all pretty much ruses. No offense to past boyfriends who read this, but seriously? We both knew it wasn’t going to last. And when I think about that, and use those relationships as references, love seems like a farce. I know it’s not, when I see other couples who are filled to the brim with every joyful, amazing emotion for each other. But for me? I don’t know if love is as genuine. Or if I’ve ever really experienced it, no matter how many times I’ve said it. They say you just “know” when it’s love, but if you’ve never “known” in the past, who’s to say you ever will? We are not all destined to find someone to love. And, sure, I could find someone I don’t really love who’s stupid enough to marry me, but why would I want that? As much as a husband sounds great, I’d much rather remain single for the rest of my life than live a lie.
This all boils down to more wondering. It doesn’t inspire me to go out there and make several more dates on OKCupid, or get a makeover before next week’s speed-dating excursion. It makes me feel kind of cynical. And I’d like to know NOW that I’m never going to find anyone so I can just stop wondering about it. I think, sometime soon, when the dating-site efforts have ebbed, I will just stop thinking about it, stop trying. And maybe I’ll still find someone with no effort at all. Or maybe I won’t.