Sunday, May 31, 2015

Something missing

Did I mention I created new profiles on two sites (Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid)? I gave in about a month after things ended with Turtle. I felt like I had been hiding; like I needed to put myself back out there, and let people in. I still believe the right guy comes along at the right time - this is just my way of giving him a door to walk through.

It has gone about as well as one might expect. I've gotten emails from men who are email from a woman who clearly did not know how to use the search feature....emails from boys half my age who just want to hook up....and emails from an army of men who don't speak English (or any other language) very well. I even got a message from a guy who lied about his first name, and couldn't understand why that was an issue.

In a way, it's annoying that online dating hasn't changed. In another way, it's comforting that you can still count on some things to be consistent - even if the consistency is found in its flaws.

But while the online dating world hasn't changed, something else has: Me. My attitude is different. I talk with fewer people. I forgive and overlook far less. I have (slightly) higher standards. I question more. I am more selective.

The truth is, I don't think the online thing was ever the problem. I think the problem was my attitude. My need to push, to force, to compare myself and my situation to others. My need to accommodate and please, even to my own detriment, because I believed I did not deserve better.

I think this time around, online dating will work better. Actually, dating in general will work better. Not necessarily because I'll find more people who like me - but because I finally like me.

That's what was missing all along.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I have learned

As angry as I am about Turtle, I am grateful for the lessons he taught me.

I learned about letting go of control. I realized that I spend a lot of energy trying to force things, usually as a way to make myself feel more secure. I also learned that security, especially in relationships, is an illusion. Relationships, by definition, involve other people - which we can't ever control.

I learned about patience. Not everything is about me. Some people will need you to slow down. Not everyone you meet will be in the same place, or ready for the same things. Some are worth the wait.

I learned that not everything is about me, and sometimes I need to be there for others.

I also learned that sometimes, it is about me. Sometimes it's OK to look out for myself. Sometimes, it's OK to expect others to wait for me - or catch up, as the case may be.

I learned I do not want to feel like a chore, or an obligation. I do not want to be treated like a problem that needs handling.

I don't want to be a second choice, or a backup plan. I don't want time with me to be spent at someone else's convenience. It's great to be considerate and understanding of others - but sometimes I should come first.

I want someone who wants me around. Who genuinely enjoys my company (quirks and all). Who will go out of his way to not just talk about having fun, but to actually put those plans in motion.

I am tired of being treated like a secret; like a guilty-pleasure TV show you watch when nothing else is on, but are ashamed to admit you've seen every episode.

I've learned I am tired of feeling left out of all the real fun, and kept as a backup plan when nothing better is available.

I have learned that it doesn't matter why a person might treat me that way. He could very well have the best reasons in the world (and yes some are better than others). What matters is how it makes me feel.

I have learned that I can be patient and let go of control, and still look out for myself and my feelings. My wants and needs are just as important as the other person's.

I have learned I am no longer willing to feel like second best - and I have learned it's OK to say so.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lesson in lies

I thought I was finally getting past the feeling stupid phase of being rejected. Then last week, I learned that Turtle has a girlfriend. It's a woman he's known all along, but insisted there was nothing between them.

Adding insult to injury, when Turtle and I were still spending time together, I could see that he and this woman seemed close. I even asked him specifically about her just a few months ago. He told me there was nothing.

I'm absolutely sure he was being honest way back, when he said he wasn't ready to date. But I've also come to realize that was never the whole truth.

I feel a little lied to, and led on. What's worse, though, is feeling foolish. I convinced myself that he wasn't leading me on, or keeping me around as an option. Really he was, but I was either too blind to see, or too stupid to put it to a stop.

Every time I think about it, I get angry. It's like I go through the whole thing all over again. (Which, makes the whole maintaining a friendship thing tough, but more on that later.)

I'm all about accepting responsibility,  and finding the lessons in even the toughest of situations. I'm also learning to not take blame when something isn't my fault.
It is tough to realize Turtle just didn't like me, and it's hard to feel like he led me on, and it sucks feeling lied to. But it's also important to remember that he wasn't the only one lying to me. I lied to myself - and at least that's something I can prevent going forward.