Love Isn't Necessarily a Two Person Job

Photo by  Eric Ward

Photo by Eric Ward

As a newly single person, one of the things I hear most frequently is, "Don't worry. You'll find love again." 

At first, my response was the same every time. "That's the least of my concerns right now," I would say, smiling as I rolled my eyes.

And, each time, I would be met with some variation of, "That's what you think now, but just wait and see."

Now, I have just stopped responding to this comment altogether. I know that every single person who says it is well meaning. But once I begin the conversation, it feels like it requires more explanation on my part than most people want to hear. 

For nearly twenty-five years of my life, my main pursuit was to find that elusive, earth-shattering love. Even at the point where most of my friends became jaded--at the point where I should have become jaded based on my own experiences--I continued to believe that every "mistake" along the way was just leading me one step closer to my One True Love. The One. The person who would Complete Me and somehow make everything that had once seemed nonsensical make sense.

And, for twenty-five years, much as I accomplished plenty of things on my own, I considered it all secondary to the thing I felt I had failed at: finding The One. But even worse than the times when there wasn't a significant other around were the times when there was a significant other in the picture. Somehow, my notion of love involved me giving of myself to my own detriment for that other person. This might involve a variety of things: making myself smaller, keeping opinions to myself, or giving up my own desires and visions in favor of theirs. And let's just say that I don't have a track record of attracting "givers" to me, where there's at least some sort of equal exchange in all of this. But, of course, how could I? That's not the energy I've been putting out there. The energy I've been shooting out to the Romantic Gods is "I'm not worthy."

And it's funny, really. Because when I'm on my own, I do feel worthy much of the time. I feel proud of my creative endeavors; I feel like I contribute something to the world by being a reliable friend; I feel like a person I would want to be around. When left to my own devices, I'm feel at my freest and most content. 

If I'm being honest, I can't really think of an instance where I've truly felt any of these things in a relationship. I totally understand that this is a product of who I'm choosing and drawing to me, not necessarily an indication of who is out there. But, nonetheless, my experience has been consistent over the past twenty-five years. That's more than half of my life.

In the last relationship I was in, I would daydream about being single again, much as I had once daydreamed about being part of a couple. I would long for the freedom and creative space that I once had. I craved having the bandwidth to take care of myself. And, now, I have that. And, I gotta tell you, it's even better than I remembered it.

So, when people tell me the Perfect Guy is out there somewhere in my future, it's difficult to articulate without sounding embittered that finding Him is not my goal. I've had that goal before, and it just doesn't work for me. My goal is peace and freedom and wide open creative spaces. My goal is love, yes, but it is the type of love that is not reliant on another person.