At dinner, she told me about her new boyfriend. I had been told she was in a new relationship, and the guy came as a shock to me. But she went on and on about how happy she was after the clusterfuck that had been her last relationship. And then she said it. Five words that made me miss a breath.
I could never be singleJust like that. And she kept right on talking like what she had just said was anything short of ridiculous.
I make it a point not to show surprise at what people tell me. I think it's important that when people tell you something shocking like "I'm pregnant" or "I'm engaged" or "I'm gay" or even "I could never be single" you respect the courage it took to say that, and not embarrass them with "shock." I'm sure a few people go for shock value, but I'm the wrong one for that. So, I never commented on what she said. In fact, I was far more intrigued with the idea that she even said that. I had to listen to her rationale.
She never gave one. The best I can surmise is that the roughly 12 month period where she was single was so hard for her that she could never go back to it.
Then last night I had a conversation with another friend who has been on a quest for a boyfriend since about 2006. In her opinion, the last relationship she was really in, ended in 2004 when her then boyfriend was caught cheating, but I'd argue that she's been in at least 3 relationships since then. None of them worth much, but they were relationships all the same. Anyway, her M.O. is the same. In her moments of desparation, she meets guys and immediately sets her sights. Case and point:
My BFF, as I've mentioned before, is male. I brought him home with me one weekend to show him my hometown and introduce him to a few friends. This friend met him and instantly set her eyes on him. The next day she called to tell me she thought she had a crush on him. I had to try not to laugh. It's easy to see, just in spending a few moments with each of them, that neither of them would make a good partner for the other. He's sarcastic, rough around the edges and he's got a mean streak, in contrast, she's very sensitive and not witty or sarcastic at all. Eventually she came to realize that her crush on him was false and that it had come from desparation, but this is the cycle with her.
Most recently, she set her sights on an Asian chef at her favorite sushi bar. Last night was, as is always the eventual case in this cycle, when she let me know she realized she'd done it again. While she most likely was legitimately attracted to this guy, she also pushed really hard and basically had the door slam back in her face... and that led her to this question:
"What do I have to do to get noticed?" She went on to say that it seemed like all of the nice people she knew weren't in relationships, while all the "b*tches" were... "Why do the guys always go after them?" she asked. I could hear the frustration in her voice. The fear that she'd be single "forever," the concern that her weight played a larger role in her inability to find that "someone."
Having just recently, myself, figured out that I'm still not ready, nor at this point, interested, in a new relationship, I felt bad for her. Just like I felt bad for the other friend.
Being single isn't easy at all when you hate it. Just like being in a relationship isn't easy when you hate it. I don't think any situation proves the "grass is always greener..." cliche than this. At anytime I think about how things might be better if I were in a relationship, I don't have to look far to find a relationship in peril. I'm not saying either side of the fence is better than the other, but I think it is important to be content with where you are.
They always say it comes when you quit looking, which I guess is hard to do when you don't want to be where you are. But when you quit looking, you have time for yourself and to focus on you and I think there's something about a person who is focused on being the best "them" they can be, that becomes attractive to almost anyone they cross paths with (whether platonic or romantic). I reminded my friend of this ideal, though I know that in her mindframe -- questioning herself and her own qualities -- my comments didn't do much to support her.
I think the hardest thing to do is learn to be comfortable where you are and with what you have. People, it seems, are always driven to want more and bigger, no matter what they currently have, and that's not good for the soul....