What a constantly plaguing question that haunts single people everywhere.
But it's also a useless, dangerous, stupid one.
Not the typical response, I know. Trust me, I have been haunted by this question for the years after my divorce. Before I met someone that I fell in love with, this question haunted me. After that relationship ended; it haunted me more. Because surely if that relationship ended I would never be lucky enough to find it again. Stupid, I tell you. The whole thought process is insidious.
Because why on earth am I (and all the other single people who battle this question) banging our heads and hearts up against the unknowable? What positive can possibly come over ruminating over this question? I don't know the future in any other aspect of my life, why would the future be knowable in the area of my love life?
I'll tell you what I have seen come from this plaguing question and our obsession with it. We spend countless hours on dating websites shopping for that possible future mate that we may or may not find out there. We go on so many first dates (or ask so many people out on them) that we have a first date wardrobe. We think about (read: obsess over) why we do or don't make a great partner: our character flaws, how much money we make (or don't), how we spend our free time, whether or not we like kids, what our non-negotiables are, etc. We read books or blogs or Facebook articles on love, relationships, sex, marriage, hoping to find the key. We wonder how will we know it's for real, what do we want in a partner, will they tolerate sleeping with a fan on (because I am not giving that up), how will we make the love last once we find it?
All of this or at least most of it, produces nothing positive in our lives, we still go to sleep alone at night. We still wonder if we're fundamentally flawed and that's why we keep getting rejected. We still throw up those emotional walls and blockades that protect our heart when someone does start to get close to us. In other words, we're no better off after we did all this than we were before. Actually we're worse off, because now we have lost time, energy, money and some level of emotional health in this process.
That's why you should quit. Or at least that's why I did.
I decided, I have a good life. I have three awesome kids. They are emotionally healthier now than they ever have been, including the period of time that I was in a loving relationship. I have a family that annoys, I mean loves me, they're pretty cool. I absolutely love my fitness routine, my gym time, my fitty friends and my new-found love of Obstacle Course Racing. I am in a very fulfilling educational track at my seminary and I enjoy everything I am learning there and love the people there. I have a few (read: maybe 3) good friends and I enjoy hanging out with them. I have discovered I love going dancing. I like sleeping in the middle of my bed, for real, the dead center, I'm not sure I can give that up for someone anytime soon. My life is full. I'm free to nurture my relationships with others and God the way I see fit. I spend my money and my time how I'd like to. I raise my children without outside interference. I have a fantastic dog to talk to when I'm lonely. This is all good.
And if it's so good, why am I striving to find a man to complete it? People (married friends of mine and single guy friends who are uninterested in dating me) tell me all the time what a fantastic catch I would be. Some days that's encouraging, most of the time I feel like they're lying to make me feel better. So I'm doing what emotionally is best for me and I'm taking a time out. I'm deciding that whether or not love is out there for me is an unknowable. All my energy being expended in this direction isn't going to make it show up one day sooner than it is ready to, if it's going to. But what I can do is enjoy my life. What I can do is maintain openness to all the blessings that are there in my life already. What I can do is focus on things that make me happy, instead of spending energy emotionally on something that usually doesn't.
I am still open, I haven't decided that I'm never going to go on another date or going to be in another relationship. But I have decided that I'm not going to be out there looking for it. If someone interesting asks (that I know in real life not the internet dating world) I might say yes, if I feel like it will be good for me. Then again I might not because I might be eating clean that week and I may have already used my cheat meal. Because it's not about saying "No" to them; it's about saying "Yes" to me. Love might be out there for me, it might not. Either way life is here now and it's to be lived, not survived until I find a man to join it. It's to be lived now.