Q&A Tuesday

Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.
Musical stars Madge Elliott and Cyril Ritchard...
Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

How soon is too soon to tell someone you love them?

Interesting question.  I’m sure you already get the fact that you should say it if you mean it, and it’s all about you blah blah blah.  I’m going to spare you the sappy stuff you already know and just flat-out give you my opinion.

If you should only say “I love you” after you really know someone well, then I think anything earlier than a month is absolutely freakish and would cause me to run in the other direction.  I would question myself if I wanted to say it between month one and two.  Actually, I would venture to say I might start feeling it in this period but would resist saying it before month two of dating.  I don’t mean hanging out, I mean legitimate dating that involves courtship.  I think 8 weeks is probably not long enough to really “know” someone, but it’s probably enough to know that you’re having romantic feelings about someone as opposed to having that familiar “oh man I love hanging out with you” feelings. So, to summarize, before one month is inappropriate.  Between month one and two is acceptable, after month two is probably safest.

If I wanted you to run away to marry me, what would I need to do?

Uh, this one stumped me actually.  And I was really looking forward to answering it when I got it in my inbox, but once I sat down, I realized I sort of…have no idea.

All of the answers are boring.  Being nice, being well-mannered, funny, charming, caring, considerate.  It all seems so basic. I mean, if someone is nice, available, and well-mannered, am I just going to run out the door with them?  Clearly not, since I’m not already married.  There has to be something that held me back; equally, there has to be something that would push me forward.

What held me back? Well, I guess I felt like it wasn’t ‘time’ to be married yet; I always felt like someone, my parents, family, whoever, would be disapproving at my age and choice of marriage.  I felt like their approval and permission was necessary since I was younger and, well, I hadn’t done anything for myself..ever.  I hadn’t paid bills, made a big purchase, or generally lived alone and took charge of everything for myself.  So it makes sense that I felt the need to get permission.  I know now that they expected me to marry, permission would’ve been there.  But I was still too nervous to venture there.  Maybe I was holding myself back, knowing that I don’t want to be married needing that approval and permission.

Now I’ve lived the life of responsibility, good and bad.  True, I haven’t been doing it long, but I have been doing it.  Bills, payments, decisions on living arrangements.  Major purchases.  Financing.  Vacations.  I’m doing it all.  Sometimes I’m struggling, angry that I have to do this all myself.  And sometimes I value my independence a little too much and begrudge any situation that in any way threatens my new-found self-awareness and responsibility. I can’t go back now; I need the freedom.  I think that’s why my last first date freaked me out so much.  Texting me on my way home? Hi, GIVE ME SPACE.

I think I’ve had it both ways.  I’ve had no responsibility but no controls.  I’ve got the weight of everything on my shoulders now; the decision is mine alone–doesn’t matter the subject.  I have control now. I’m looking for someone who can put me in that happy medium.  I don’t even know what a happy medium is like with a man, but I think that’s what is going to make me willing to join someone in marriage.  I need someone who wants to help me make choices that benefit us both.  I want someone who cares about my safety and well-being and wants to ‘take care of me’.  But I want to take care of them, too.  I want freedom and responsibility.  I know it’s out there.  It’s the basis of any “real” marriage.  So, in short, that is what’s going to get me to the altar.


Cheating Yourself

I definitely have done the unthinkable. I’ve cheated.

I hesitate even speaking those words out loud, mostly because I realize that the very instance that phrase is aired, I become unattractive and undateable. Men are instantly untrustworthy and not worth the risk if I see that they’re cheaters…how hypocritical, huh?

Honestly, I’m not here to write another blog detailing the excuses for why women cheat and what you can give her to prevent it. Go Google for yourself and see the unreasonable excuses some people want to lay out for being unfaithful.

Trust me when I say some men and some women could have all the sex and love and support in the world and they’d still cheat. Because I had a good amount of all of it and I still formed an emotional bond with another person that lead to something more. All because I was unsatisfied with something. Sure, at first it’s easy to use an old stand-by excuse. “He’s not attracted to me”…”We don’t have sex anymore.” “He’s never home.” But it’s all just words. Words to make it okay, words to make it easier to keep going.

I am speaking from experience when I say that some women definitely cheat from a lack of something but it’s not typically something their partner can give more of. It’s a lack of self-esteem and a presence of entitlement. I feel bad about myself or my relationship and I feel entitled to love an attention at any expense, including the feelings of my partner. Yeah, there is some dissatisfaction present. And it manifests itself as unsatisfying sex lives, less “love” in general, whatever else you want to call it. Or maybe you want to pull the “underappreciated” card, that’s always popular and makes you feel good. Hey, I love being a martyr. What can I say?

But the truth is the dissatisfaction that is present is a dissatisfaction with yourself. The love is there, but it’s never enough to satisfy you. Because you really can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself. Something will always be askew. So you finally get fed up with feeling bad all the time and you decide to give in to your selfish desires, the whim that cries “ME! ME! ME!”. You decide that you’re entitled to feel good enough and how else can you get there? Run off and find yet another person (that isn’t you!) to tell you how great you are at love/sex/being great. You could collect them like stamps, one by one, together or singularly, but from my experience it won’t make a real different, won’t feel any better, until you realize that the problem isn’t their love for you…it’s your love for yourself.

It’s not a pretty trait to have, this sense of entitlement. It’s basically being selfish enough to say whatever I need comes before whatever you need…every single time. It’s actually a pretty harsh reality and one that you either can’t admit to at the time, or formulate elaborate explanations for why it’s there, just so you can rest at night. Or maybe that was just me.

I still actually hate that I cheated. I hate a lot of things about that time period. I hate that it was emotional and physical. Some people want to say emotional cheating is worse, others say physical cheating is the killer…I think it probably varies from person to person just which one disgusts them the most. They’re both wrong. I hate that it went on for so very long. And I absolutely positively hate that I was a liar. I told terrible lies and didn’t care if they were believable or not. I had an utter disregard for another person’s emotional well-being. Even at the time, I repulsed myself. Now that I see what I was doing, the guilt trip is even stronger.

This is a revelation that actually terrifies me. Now that I have realized that the problem–the inadequacies–laid (lay?) within myself rather than the relationship, I worry that it wasn’t a problem that can easily go away with a new partner. On the one hand, I’m on the solo journey of discovery, but on the other hand….what if I’m a serial cheater? While I’m certain that it was my fault I cheated…I’m still not sure what was the catalyst. Why didn’t I love and value myself? Did I feel inferior? Was it an example of a commitment-phobia? Maybe I truly am always looking for the “next best thing”. And no matter what it is…how can I fix it? I desperate want…actually NEED…to fix whatever glitch came up in my system. I do not want to be a cheater. But I’m not sure what to do to make sure it never happens again. Besides promise myself it won’t. But I always find my own promises the easiest to break.

I hate to leave this blog open without a heartwarming closer that ties it all together and makes it all better, but there’s nothing I can do. It’s a fear that still plagues me in the dark of night and the smallest of hours. Will I be better next time? Do I even deserve another chance? I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we? That’s the hardest part…having faith in myself! I’ve already betrayed my own trust.


Pity Party

I know it’s wrong, but I definitely use Facebook to measure my life against other ‘peers’ my age.  It’s an easy trap to fall into, actually…it’s an instant case study of a group of similar aged individuals, with similar upbringings and education, all there for your scrutiny.  Who’s married, who’s parenting, who’s doing something, who’s doing nothing.  Most of the time I walk away with the feeling that I’m pretty much average.  There are those with more, and those with less, and I’m there in the middle.

It’s the same thing with exes.  It’s easy to look at their progress or lack thereof since your departure and you can determine if you’re ahead, behind, or neck-in-neck.

It’s been frustrating me, lately, that I am losing the race.  My long-term boyfriend that I dated through high school and college (The Boyfriend, if you’ve been reading..)…has definitely moved on in the two years following our split.  He’s been in a long term relationship for at least 18 months.  He may still occasionally need to know what I’m doing but for all intents and purposes, he’s moved on.

And then The Friend…he’s moved on over and over and over in the last little bit that we haven’t been speaking.  That’s not usual for him. He usually lines them up three deep as a backup.  But I’ve had to see it more lately, as I sit there in my season ticket seats every Saturday, three sections over from him.  I guess it bothers me that he fills my seat so easily, and I really don’t have anyone to fill his.

It’s not as though I try to seek out this information.  I’m an odd girl in that I don’t want to know the details.  I stay away from The Boyfriend on Facebook as much as I can; my profile is super private and I’ve blocked him from showing up in anything like mutual friends (2 years ago, the last time I could check, we had 89 friends in common). But it’s natural, I suppose, to see that I have no replacements and everyone else seems to have moved on with their lives and relationships.

I wonder, a lot, if either of them notes that I haven’t moved on.  I wonder if either of them thinks I got what I deserve, or if they’re smug about it.  Maybe they don’t care.  But I can’t help but assume that they do, occasionally, measure their own lives just like I measure mine.

It’s been bothering me this week, this lack of progress.  That’s what it feels like, at least.  That I haven’t moved on, that I’m incapable of moving on.  And I hate, hate, hate, feeling like they’re beating me.

I know it’s particularly petty, but..it’s just what I’m feeling.  Not everything about being single is a party, but sometimes it’s a pity party.

Assholes Finish First, With Me Trailing Shortly Thereafter.

Lane Kiffin at the VOL Walk
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been tempted to write this blog many, many times but have held off for various reasons, mostly because I’m afraid that the analogy I want to use won’t be understood by most.  However…it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want! Hang in there with me, please.

It’s no secret that women love, or at the very least are attracted to, “assholes”. Men know it and lament their luck constantly.  How many times have you heard a man sadly end a story with “Well, I guess it’s true.   Nice guys finish last”.   Women sometimes try to deny their affinity toward the asshole trait.  “I’m just looking for a nice guy!”.  Yeah, whatever.  In the end we should be looking for the nice guy, but for some reason, to a lot of us…the “asshole” will always finish first.

I’ve thought about it a lot, wondered why I’m always left standing with my heart in the hand, and wished for a nice guy to come sweep me away.  But somehow, some way…I’m always chasing.  Endlessly chasing.  Running after an “asshole”.   I would take the time to detail for you every relationship, attempted relationship, and sad ending to the asshole-chase, but honestly..I can set the scene for you by telling the story of one man, a University I love, and my continued chase after him.

After many, many years of dedicated service to the University of Tennessee, we kicked our time-tested, loyal but boring and worn out coach and got a brand new, young thing with attitude.  Lane Kiffin, youngest coach in NCAA history.  Lane Kiffin’s previous job was with the Oakland Raiders, and he had a losing record. In fact, he was fired by the Raiders in a huge media-storm and Al Davis, Raiders owner, pretty much called Lane an asshole. How does he keep getting these jobs, you wonder?  That’s the classic part.  His daddy is a good coach.  I love it.

Most fans didn’t like the looks of him, but I was smitten.  Young, good-looking, and within days of coming to work, he was in trouble.  UT had a recruiting violation a few weeks after his tenure began, and all of a sudden The Lane Train is on TV calling out other coaches in the SEC for their own misdeeds.  As it turned out, the accusations were false and Lane was reprimanded by the SEC commissioner sternly and warned against future missteps.  Our very own bad boy! I was pretty giddy, and quickly filled my decorative spaces with photos of the new ‘love of my life’.

It got better, as time went on.  Lane continued to stir the pot, piss off everyone in his path, and womanize.  He bent rules, told white lies, and winked at the cameras. His record at UT wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t bad either.  He was average, but I defended him like he was winning championships. He wore sunglasses, refused to tuck in his shirt, and disregarded most traditions.  He crashed the company car, most people in town alleged that he spent his hours off the football field with young college girls who most definitely weren’t his wife.

And then one day, after 14 months of happy times for The Lane Train and I…he left in the middle of the night.

He packed his bags for another school, one he thought was prettier and probably one that put up with more of his shit.  He left in the middle of the night, didn’t say goodbye.  In the days after dumped, er, quit coaching UT, he made it clear that he didn’t really care for Knoxville in general.  In fact, he said, he was always planning to leave us.  He just found someone else quicker than he thought he would.

I wish I was kidding when I say I was devastated.  I really threw all of my “big orange pride” into this relationshi….sorry, coaching agreement.  I had a crush on the man.  And I put a lot of trust into his coaching abilities.  I made excuses for his rude behaviors.  In fact, I kind of liked his rude behaviors. Traditions I had held close since I was a child, I was willing to part with…because that’s what he wanted. I liked that he was brash.

And he just leaves? In the middle of the night?  Oh hell no.  HELL NO.

If I could’ve chased after him, I would have.  But as it stands, unlike boyfriends, you can’t chase after asshole coaches.  So what am I left to do but be bitter?  I watch his Twitter feed and sulk at the fun he’s having with the new school.  I hope he loses games, hope he gets fired, hope he gets hurt like he hurt us! And I can’t stop talking about the situation.  I can’t let it go! He screwed me over!

Alright, so my asshole celebrity was a football coach.  Maybe that’s not your thing.  Let’s try this one.  MEL GIBSON.  What an asshole, right?  I mean, he lures you in with his good looks and charm.  He’s funny.  Braveheart is excellent, then he’s in some funnies like What Women Want…and all of a sudden he’s a screaming, misogynistic racist?  How do you rectify those feelings?  It’s impossible.  Someone you really, really wanted to liked…turns out to be an asshole.  I’m going to guess if he ever gets a movie contract again, women will go see the movie.  We want to like him.  We want him to be likeable.

There seems to be an element of this dynamic in everything that’s happened to me before and since in every relationship.

I could sit around and wonder why I like assholes, or I could take the lesson from the story I just told you.  I liked Lane in spite of his flaws.  I liked that he was young, had a bad track record, and little experience.  He could make a name for himself using my school! (I can fix him!).  I like that he talked a huge game, made enemies easily, and wanted to stick up for something despite knowing very little about it.  He was cocky, sure of himself. And he looked great in a suit, but whatever. It applies to the boyfriends, crushes, and general interests I’ve had over the years, too..

I fully believe that there are some psychological traits that all assholes share–they’re almost all extroverts, extremely open to new experiences, a little narcissistic, outgoing, and downright charming.  It’s all very appealing.  They’re exciting to be around.  They charm you and make you want to believe in them more than you actually believe what they say. And it’s not that these characteristics are bad, really.  It’s okay to be extrovert.  It’s great to be open to new experiences.  Maybe it’s not so great to be a narcissist, but hey…if you don’t believe in you…why should I? Being an asshole actually comes from actions like hurting people physically and emotionally.  But that’s probably not exclusive to people who are charming, outgoing, and extroverted.  I’m sure plenty of nice guys have intentionally and unintentionally emotionally hurt their lady, right?  I’d venture to say if you, like me, have been left standing there wondering where your sweet asshole went…it’s less because they’re an asshole, and more because they weren’t emotionally ready to commit to us.

The unwillingness or inability to commit brings that urge to chase something you want. The chase and challenge are particularly appealing, and probably what draws most women-moths to the asshole-flame. Why wouldn’t you want to be the one to change someone?  Why couldn’t you be that girl?  And if you even get the tinge that someone is saying “You’re not good enough”, doesn’t that make you want to try harder?

I guess at the end of the day, assholes don’t really finish first.  People who are true assholes, who are a little psychotic, who hurt people physically, etc., they’re almost always considered dangerous and undesirable.  But guys who are cocky, confident, brazen…fun…  They usually seem to finish first with the ladies, especially me.  I think it’s more of a flaw with the ladies than the men, though.  We ladies are victims of the chase.  Something we know we shouldn’t do, but still run after anyway.

I’m sure this is a topic I’ll visit with you again and again.  But its food for thought for you to consider…

I Guess You’ll Do.

Friend sent me a funny link to a YouTube video yesterday. 

Have a watch if you’ve got time.  I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.  It’s so real, it’s both funny and depressing! This is most definitely not the kind of settling I spoke about in a previous post. But be honest..men and women…have you ever had all these thoughts rush through your mind before actually sitting down with someone?

After my last date, I lamented that though I was pretty positive I didn’t care to see the person again, I should probably go on a second date.  “What if I’m being judgemental? What if I’m really supposed to marry this person and I’m so harsh I’m missing the point?” And a friend, wisely, said “This isn’t a google commercial, you’re not making an instant decision that leads to the rest of your life.”  But what I really think he was trying to get me to realize was that you have to live in the moment.

You can’t instantly meet someone and know that you are, or aren’t, marrying them and producing 2.5 babies.  You can either know that you want to see the person again, or you don’t want to see them again.  And sometimes you can be unsure what exactly you want.  But it’s a fool’s game to try to guess whether you’ve got a long-term future with someone after a drink or dinner.  It’s okay to go with your gut based on the moment.

I think it’s important to realize that every interaction you have, whether you’re at a bar trying to meet someone or on a first date…is simply about getting to know someone.  Putting pressure on  yourself unnecessarily doesn’t help you get to know someone.  So if you do or don’t want to see them again..that’s great.  Put your full effort into finding what the person is like, what they enjoy, and what makes them ‘tick’.  Don’t put effort into figuring out what a future would look like until you’ve at least had dinner with the person! 😉

The Return of Q&A Tuesday

Acquaviva Picena , "I love you" &quo...
Image by pizzodisevo via Flickr

Most every Tuesday I answer questions submitted by readers on my formspring.me account.  I invite questions or insight anonymously on the site and answer them in a post the following week. Submit your questions for next week’s edition by clicking this link.  Link opens in a new window.

This week’s question deals with the three most lovely and dangerous words of a relationship–I LOVE YOU.

What was your first “I love you” like?

The first time I said I love you was to The Boyfriend, as he was my high school sweet-heart.  In fact, it’s all so story-book in the fact that I had a little elementary school crush on him, too, before we got to high school.  Aww, wasn’t that sweet?  Eh, whatevs..

Anyway, the actual moment isn’t that great.  I remember being overly cautious with the “I love you” phrase and I don’t think either of us said the words until at least 4 months into the relationship, which is probably a long time for puppy-love high school romances, and maybe even a long time for “adult” relationships.  The bottom line is I probably felt it long before I said it, and I remember actually refusing to be the first person to say it.  If memory serves me correctly, we got into an argument about who had to say it first.  The words were uttered around 1am on the telephone.  I know it isn’t glamorous or movie scenic at all, but it’s a funny memory and I’m not so sure I’d change it.

Funny enough, even after I said it the first time, I never got comfortable saying it in public and especially in front of my parents; it was an unspoken rule that I wouldn’t say it on the phone if my mother was in the room.  This phase continued through our relationship even into my twenties, and now that I look back on it…that’s a little (okay…a lot) strange.  In the end, I think it caused my mother to question the seriousness of my relationship.  She seemed to think there was something wrong with The Boyfriend and his commitment to me long before there ever was a problem.  And the shock that she must’ve felt when we split and I was devastated wouldn’t have been a problem had I been more open about my relationship.  I know she questioned how I could be “so in love” if I absolutely never said it.

Hmm. This ‘cute little story’ quickly turned contemplative and depressing.

Incidentally I’ve said the three words to someone else, on a consistent basis, and the story surrounding that first I love is not something I’d like to share on a blog.  Let the lesson be this:  Never, ever trust a man who says a phrase after he’s gotten something he wants. 🙂

Goals from this formspring Q&A session?  To say “I love you” first and to mean it.  Also, to be genuine with a relationship in public?

Wow.  Sorry to be a Debbie Downer today. What was your “I love you” like?

TBLTB Presents: Freedom Friday, Lucky Edition

Found Love
Image by LexnGer via Flickr

After yesterday’s post where I discussed the line between being a happy single and a relieved-but-alone person…I’m supposed to sit down and discuss how happy I am to be free? Hard to motivate myself.  But I refuse to skip a Friday.

There are plenty of things to be glad about.  I am thankful that I am single.  It’s a very exciting point in my life, most of the time.  But I have faith that this is just a phase.  I feel, in my heart of hearts, that one day, I will meet someone and we will make it work.  Someone once asked me if I worried about being alone forever.  I sit here and tell you now, and meant it, I honestly am not afraid that I will grow old and die alone.

I know, rationally, that I am a funny, attractive woman.  I have interests and passions.  I am smart and independent.  I am eager to share my life, my space, my heart.  And more importantly, I believe that there is a lid for every pot.  That is, every pot that wants to be covered.  I think that with time, effort, and luck, I will be able to share my life with someone.

I don’t want just any someone, though.  I want the person to fit me well.  I’m not saving we have to be a perfect match.  I’m not sure a perfect match exists.  But I want someone who shares my goals and my values.  Someone who respects me, loves me, and wants to share their life with me.  And someone who makes me want to respect, love and share with them.  I think the greatest part about being single, now, is that I am able to take a step back, evaluate who I am and what I want, and then I’ll be able to communicate these desires to a partner in the future.  In my previous relationships, specifically the one with The Boyfriend, I was too young.  Things I wanted were either unrealistic, unattainable, or I flat-out changed my mind from ages 15 to 20.  I think that’s normal, too.  But if you both change and go in different directions, it’s impossible to maintain.  But as I grow up and become more stable and sure of my desires, I can take these and find someone who is a good fit.  A good fit, for a long time.  I’m glad I’ve got this opportunity for a while.

I think in the end, it’s great that I am happy where I am.  It beats the alternative, which was being sad a lot and having no fun alone.  But as long as I remind myself that it is temporary, and that eventually I have to let others back into my world…I’ll be fine.  If I ever forget this is temporary, then we’ll have problems.

A Thin Line Between Strong and Strange

Single Ladies

It takes a lot of work to psych yourself up to be alone again.  Especially if you haven’t been ‘out here’, you know, in the single world, for a long time.  Sometimes you fake it until you make it, actually.  From personal experience, I started telling people how much I value this ‘alone time’ far, far before I ever felt truly blessed to be in the middle of it.

But at some point, something shifts, and you start enjoying your own company.  You start valuing the time you have alone to make a small dinner, read a book at night, or watch trash TV without having to defend your choices.  And it becomes fun. Good Lord does it become fun to do whatever you want, whenever you want!

You can do whatever, whenever.  Dinner, drinks, dancing, staying in, sleeping, turning off your phone.  You can do everything and nothing and suddenly it’s enough.

But at what point does that go too far?  When do cross over from fun, single girl to pathetic, cat lady? It’s a thought that scares me a little, I’ll be honest.  I don’t know where to draw the line.  This article, sent to me by a friend, outlines one man’s perspective on the idea of the line between happy and being “too single”.

Three stages of solitude, each with it’s own milestones, are outlined in that article. Phase one, you remember what life was like before you were single and value your new life (CHECK! How often do I write articles here stating this almost word for word?).  Phase two, you fall in love with yourself and become a little smug when you see other couples in public who are clearly suffering one of the unpleasantries of coupledom.  Um…guilty.  Way, way guilty.  It’s almost like you start dating yourself.  You take yourself to dinner, give yourself a bottle of wine.  I gotta tell you, ladies and gentlemen, I’m pretty smitten with myself these days.  But I’ve settled into the comfortable phase of the relationship with myself.

Can I tell you that I recently had an argument with myself over how I would spend my evening? Yeah.  I did.  I couldn’t decide between reading a book, watching a T.V. show, or taking a bubble bath.  I was literally so excited at all three possibilities that I had a mental “Oh no!” moment when I realized there just weren’t enough hours in the day to spend with myself.

The third phase is probably the most concerning. I’ll directly quote the author of the article who so eloquently states the position:  “Relief that I’m alone, relief that I’m no longer so hard up for someone to make me happy, relief that I can choose to be present, or be by myself.”  To me, the benchmark of this phase is when you turn from being okay with being alone for awhile. Now you’re actually relieved to be alone. There is a difference between happiness and relief, and I didn’t realize it until quite recently. I’ve hit this point, friends.

More than a few times, I’ve caught myself actually saying out loud to a friend “This is exactly why I am single.” Usually they’ve just finished a story involving a partner and an argument they’ve had.  Sometimes it’s a big issue, like religion or family functions.  Other times, it’s something miniscule.  Like, I don’t know…at what temperature the thermostat should be set.  The friend will describe the situation, tell me how it all went down, and the first thing that comes to my brain is a wave of relief that sweeps me off my feet and is intoxicating.  I’m not just relieved that I didn’t have this argument or situation, I’m literally overcome with relief that there is not a person in my life to create this problem.

Somehow, in this whole empowering life lesson I’ve been living, I’m afraid I’ve trained myself to view people, specifically the opposite sex, as a burden.  Somehow I’ve created a situation in my mind where I pick out everything bad about relationships and counter it with everything good about single life.  It’s given me some sort of Pavlovian response.  The bell dings in my head and I’m relieved to be single.

There are excellent parts of being single.  But as fun as it is to be alone, I don’t want to be perpetually alone for no reason.  Just as I don’t want to date someone for the sake of dating someone.  I want to be with the right person.  I want to experience things. I want to share.  I want, I want, I want.

So I’ve definitely crossed through the three phases of solitude.  But have I gone too far? What is the remedy for coming back?