Get a Life!

My life is a work in progress.  I am constantly learning from my mistakes, even when I think I’ve finally gotten it right.  Probably the most important thing I’ve learned from dating is how important it is to have a life of your own, outside of any potential relationship.

When I lived in NH I had family and friends.  It was easy for me to find things to do and I actually appreciated the rare moments when I had a few free minutes.  To be honest this is one of the main reasons I was able to stay married as long as I did.  After moving to FL everything changed.  I tried to make friends and meet people but that took a back seat to the other things going on in my life (specifically my divorce).

So when I entered my first relationship I had no other commitments, nothing to keep me from focusing all my time and attention on this person.  When he had things he wanted to do I waited patiently for him to be free.  I failed to make plans of my own in case he became available.  Eventually when this relationship ended I continued this pattern with other people I met.  Until one day I finally got it.

See, I felt like I had to keep time available in order to have a relationship.  Being a single mother, a good deal of my free time is spent with my kids.  Any time I wasn’t with them I kept open for finding or building a relationship.  At the time this seemed logical.  If being in a relationship was important to me then it made sense that I had to make time to work on that.

Except that made me dependent on a relationship to make me feel complete when I wasn’t with my kids.  This also made me come across as needy.  Plus when I met someone I was interested in I didn’t have anything to talk about outside of work and my kids which did not make me seem appealing.  I made myself too available, too accommodating.  It sounds cliché but men like the chase – and I did not require chasing since I would bend over backward for anyone willing to spend time with me.

I knew I had to change.  I knew I needed to get a life.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step but how do you fix it?

I had been part of groups on meetup.com for a while but had never made the effort to attend the events.  I was part of a couple of parents groups, a walking group and an “adventure” group so I had the opportunity to meet people and do things, but going to events where I didn’t know anyone pushed me out of my comfort zone so I made excuses not to go. I decided that I would start responding yes to any event I was even a little interested in.  If I changed my mind or couldn’t go I could always change my response to no later, but simply responding yes suddenly had me getting out more.

And when all else failed I started going out alone.  Yes, I said it.  Alone.  Many people are shocked, or at least surprised, when I tell them I go out alone.  For many the idea of going out alone would never cross their mind.  I was the same way, but I met someone who changed that for me (I’ll go into this in a different post).  So I found a local bar that I was comfortable in alone.  There was live music that was often very good and to my surprise I started meeting people.  About half the time I went in I would end up having a conversation with someone, or several people.  I probably would have met more but some nights I left after only a short time, especially in the beginning.  If you can master this it is very liberating.

Gradually the time I spent without my kids was filled up with fun and exciting things.  When I had my kids I got us all out among other people.  I started meeting people and making friends, some with kids, some without.  I still had time or could make time to date, but I was no longer focused on finding someone to be with.  I had many, many people to be with.

Now my life is full and complete.  I love every aspect of it whether my kids are with me or not.  I still haven’t found that person I want to share it with but eventually I will, and until then I am happy, happier than I ever thought I could be.

5 thoughts on “Get a Life!”

  1. \waoo..your story is really inspiring,.to be honest, I fear going out alone, I don’t feel comfortable sometimes, but yeah, now I will surely take an initiative to go out alone..
    This really helped me. thanks for writing it. you are so strong..:)

    Liked by 1 person

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