I’ve gotten a lot of comments, emails, etc. about my Facebook post yesterday. So many of you understood what I was talking about (always a bonus when you think you’re living in the Land of the Insane. Company is always nice).
And it brought me to this question: “I’m trying to figure out why we bother dating at all?”
I think part of it is that I have heard enough success stories within my own circles, widowed and not, to keep dipping my toe in. And I am extremely happy for those friends; they’re all nice people who have found nice people and two rights never make a wrong (right?). They’ve been able to put aside their own hangups and look past those little things that seem to annoy me (Yes, to my friend Wendi who posted on my Facebook ..I agree with Jerry Seinfeld and I really don’t like it when they eat their peas one at a time).
But there is one word that keeps flashing in my mind when I think about the whole dating thing.
Fear that it won’t work out. Fear that it will. Fear that I’ll make the wrong decision either way.
What most people in my situation get stuck on is the idea that something will happen to the person they’ve fallen for and that is a very real fear. I know I’ve had times when I’ve been dating someone, they’ll tell me some ailment they have, and if it’s anything bigger than a hangnail I start looking for the exit.
And we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about that. We’re not being shallow – we just know what it’s like to lose someone. And we’re not anxious to do it again.
It was such a violation the first time – something was taken from us. I mean, if you’d been burglarized…wouldn’t you be a lot more cautious about locking the door?
So, the other fear is the exact opposite: What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?
That’s the one that keeps me plugging away. I have three children at home right now and my life is a tornado of loud, smelly, laughing, yelling activity. But they will get older. They will move away (no seriously…they WILL move away).
And my house will be quiet.
Will I like that? Will I not? Will I wish I had spent this time – before my breasts have to be rolled up into my bra (right now they just have to be shoved into the right spot) – wishing I had been more proactive in finding a partner?
Or will I enjoy the silence and congratulate myself on having complete control over the remote?
I have no answer here, as is often the case. But the one thing I hate about this situation is that it is all so based in fear. That never gets anyone anywhere. The problem is that at this age, I’ve experienced so much – some good, some bad – that I’m trying to do everything I can to find the good again without experiencing the bad.
And I should really know by now that that’s not possible.
The problem is that almost everything in life is so damn unexpected – both the good and the bad. I didn’t expect my husband to die just like I didn’t really expect to meet him in the first place. I didn’t expect to be on my own, just as I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do now. I didn’t expect to come home one day and to a completely pristine house because my kids cleaned the whole thing while I was gone. Which is good because that never happened.
Just wanted to see if you were still reading.
Is the secret to happiness to let go of all of your expectations?
But then won’t you just be expecting something to happen because you’ve given up your expectations?
(If my therapist is reading this…I’ll be in touch as soon as I hit “Publish.”)