I’m on a midnight train to somewhere and I should TOTALLY be the one driving it.
I really absolutely do not want this to become a dating blog or spot to chronicle my dating horror — I mean wonderful tales of prospective love.
I have a tumblr for that.
That all being said, it’s a part of the life I’m currently living — you know, the only life I have that I’ve been working on changing for the better as of late. So, that means occasionally you’ll get the dating story here or there. They’ll be clean, anonymous and usually about me and not the poor sap, I mean amazing man, I’m seeing.
One of the primary things I started working on in therapy, once my therapist realized that I had dealt with the majority of my feelings surrounding my divorce (that was a fun conversation), was obviously myself but more specifically my vulnerability and control issues.
Or as I like to call it, I don’t do vulnerable and I’m in control of ALL.
Side story: I had been in therapy for awhile, since before I informed my then husband that I actually wanted a divorce, and my therapist and I came to a point way beyond where my soon to be ex had moved out and I was moving forward. We had explored a whole bunch of feelings and history and all of that stuff that you know you have to get out because it’s really good for you to get it out but it’s super hard to admit and share. (I think they might call that vulnerability but I could be wrong.) So my therapist, let’s call her Georgia (I’ve got Gladys Knight in my ear right now on Spotify) it’s not her real name but it makes it easier than calling her my therapist all the time. So, Georgia finally looked at me mid-session one day and stopped me and said, “You know, I think we’ve come to a place where we don’t really need to talk about your divorce anymore. What I’m hearing you say is letting me know that we’re getting into things that are far more important to you than your divorce.” I agreed with her. I had dealt with a good portion of my marriage ending over many years and many conversations with myself and close close friends. I had already worked through a lot of the stages that many work through AFTER they drop the “bomb” on their spouse. I knew there was a but coming, though. She continued, “I think what we need to look at now is you and more than we have been. We need to talk about vulnerability and control. And how you’re afraid to be vulnerable and how you like to be in control.” I believe my exact response was, “Oh let’s stick with my divorce…I’m sure I can come up with SOMETHING we can focus on there.” You can figure out what we talked about next…(It wasn’t my divorce).
So, vulnerability…I don’t do it well. I view it as weakness or I did. Now, I’m starting to see it as a massive strength. And I’m only seeing it as such because of other people who are, and many who have always been, vulnerable with me.
Control…now control I do SUPER WELL! Not in the sense that I’m in control at all times but in the sense that I like to be BELIEVE I’m in control at all times. I can actually feel or hear the laughter in my head as I write that…it sounds like Georgia, and my mother, and my best friends all laughing together…at me or at that thought. I have always liked to be in charge, it is a natural thing for me, I don’t like indecision, I don’t like seemingly unorganized chaos and I don’t like to feel like things are spiraling out of my reach or…wait for it…control.
Now, take both of those characteristics of mine and put them together in a newly soon to be divorced woman who is not only a massive overthinker but is also ready to begin dating and ready to find someone NOT to marry but to spend time with and share some type of commitment with and you can only imagine what kinds of text messages my best friends get and what kinds of conversations Georgia and I have.
I’m not sure if you were aware but you can’t actually control other people or their thoughts or actions. I KNOW. This is all new to me.
And do you have any idea how difficult it is to let go of control? And to also be willing to open up to someone totally new?
Dating, I’ve determined from the massive amount of information on the Internet, is never easy. After 30 it appears to get exponentially more difficult. After 30, and divorced, even more so. After 30, divorced AND kids…you might as well just invest in an ice cream or liquor store and hope for the best.
Putting yourself out there is incredibly hard and then when you find someone who you think you want to spend some significant (read: more than 3 minutes at the supermarket checkout) time with it opens this new world of difficulty and insecurity.
Or it did for me.
I dated a few, um, we’ll call them testers…you know like the perfume testers that you try at the mall or TJ Maxx (because you’re not paying full price for smelly alcohol water anymore) and they’re never that good. Sometimes they smell good at first but then it’s like, OH MY NO…I can still smell myself and I lightly spritzed myself 3 weeks ago and took 42 showers since then. They were interesting. Some very nice. Some SUPER weird. Some sleazy. But they just didn’t make me want to take a second spritz or better yet buy the full bottle.
Then I found one that I really like. It’s actually funny because I recently discovered a perfume, at TJ Maxx, that I LOVE and I get so many compliments on and now I’m looking everywhere for it (It’s Calvin Klein Eternity Moment if you know it and you know where I can get some at a good price, hit me up!). But so, yes, back to the man/perfume analogy. I found one that I like and I guess we’re what you’d call dating.
Georgia knows. My very closest friends know. Now you all know. My kids don’t- and won’t any time soon.
But in finding one who is worth the time finagling and sitter bills and everything else I have also found that I need to start taking all of that work I’ve been doing and use it.
I struggle with overthinking every conversation or text. I struggle with being open about who I am, not to the extent that I am not myself but more in the sense that I am guarded in what I share when I really don’t need to be guarded. I struggle with not being in control and having to adopt this idea of patience and slow getting to know you.
It’s not me. Or it’s not who I have been before but it is what I know I need to be.
There are pieces of our personalities that we should never change for another person. These pieces are the things that make us who we are. But then there are the pieces that also make us who we are but are not always the most healthy or that hold us back from that which we really want.
That’s where I am. I am holding myself back in many ways.
I am 110% from the get go. I am in the deep end with all of my clothes on and it doesn’t matter if I can swim or not, I will figure it out. Because that is what I have ALWAYS done.
But if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always get.
I don’t want what I had in the past.
Which means I need to not do what I’ve always done. And shit that’s so hard. It’s endless second guessing of myself. It’s rambling thoughts and countless moments of forced self-affirmation. It’s reminders that if this doesn’t work it’s OK because it wasn’t right and it’s his loss.
It’s recognition and practice of that idea that I only want the people in my life that I actually WANT and those who don’t want me for me, a work in progress, don’t deserve me.
It is a persistent choice on my part to let go of what I cannot control — which is everything apparently — and also a constant reminder that being vulnerable with someone that you care about, or that you’d like to develop a meaningful relationship with, is a strength and the weakness is in shutting yourself off to any other possibility.
And shit that’s so hard.