Randomly thinking about how being single most of my adult life has effected me and the woman that I am. I have heard so many times over the past 20 years things like “you’re so strong, how do you do it all by yourself?” Ignoring the fact that I do it “all by myself” because I HAVE to. I’ve also had people be shocked that I would or could do something by myself, without a man, like go camping. This is typically from women who have never really been single in their entire adult lives, so I suppose just like I cannot imagine NOT doing things I enjoy simply because a man isn’t there to help me, protect me, or do part of it for me they cannot imagine doing certain things without the assistance of a man, because they’ve always had one to depend on. When it comes to dating this feels like a double-edge sword at times. The longer I am single, the more independent I become, the more I realize I don’t NEED a man for much of anything and then the less attractive I seem to become to most men – because most men seem to have a huge issue with needing to feel needed! I have seen women pretend to not be able to do something or to need help, I don’t know how to pretend to be needy. My damsel-in-distress game is not on point.
This dynamic confuses me though, because I would think it would be MORE attractive and a bigger ego boost for whoever I date to know that I don’t need them…that I am with them because I WANT to be with them, because they add something positive to my life, because being with them brings me laughter, joy, intimacy, because I enjoy their company, because I find them to be a remarkable human being who I want to spend time with! I know I certainly do not want to be with a man because he feels like he NEEDS a woman, I don’t want to be anyone’s mother or to be with someone who doesn’t know how to function or do basic things for themselves. I want someone who is with me because they want to be and not because they feel like they have to be with somebody…I’d think it would work the other way around as well. That a guy would want to be with someone who isn’t dependent on them to pay their bills or protect them from grizzly bears or do their taxes for them or take their car in to get an oil change or…
But – this also explains why so many people I know stay in such unhealthy and abusive relationships and why I will never quite understand that either. I’ve never been so dependent on a man that I would stay with him even as he controls me or abuses me. Hell, I left my ex-husband while I was 3 months pregnant and had a 2 1/2 year old and zero employable skills beyond waitresssing, it probably would have been smarter to put up with the unhappiness and allow him to financially take care of me through to the end of my pregnancy. Yet I walked away knowing aspects of it would be hard, but knowing I deserved better than how I was being treated and that I deserved happiness and love! But if a person cannot even imagine going camping by themselves, making their own doctor’s appointment, doing their own laundry, maintaining their own finances, figuring out how to get something fixed when it breaks, or making life decisions on their own – it makes sense why the idea of leaving, the idea of being alone, the idea of having to suddenly learn how to do all of those things can be paralyziing. And why far too many people, men and women, seem to jump from one unhealthy relationship to the next! It is like they break free of one, and are lost without someone to do things with/for them and so they jump in with the next person who comes along and offers them any sort of attention or commitment.
I want companionship. I want that feeling you get when you wake up next to someone and your heart feels full. I want consistent physical affection and intimacy. But I hate dating and I don’t know if I’ll ever find a guy who is like – I’m a fully functioning adult, you’re a fully functioning adult – lets be together because we WANT to be. I don’t know if I’ll ever find someone who wakes up every day and CHOOSES me the same way I wake up every day and CHOOSE them…I don’t want someone who is with me only because they don’t want to be alone.