I've been reading the book All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister and it is fabulous. I never thought that at 41 I would still be single. At the same time I was never the type of girl who day dreamed about her wedding.
I do want a partner in life. I want someone to share my life with, and yet at the same time I want a relationship that affords me the freedom to pursue my passions. I'm strong, independent, smart, have a decent job, pay my own bills and I'm building a business.
In my teens through my mid-twenties I was in a relationship. Someone I loved with all my heart who pushed me to be better academically and intellectually (without his support I may have never left my family to go to college) and yet he cheated on me.
I went into that relationship not knowing I deserved more. My mom and stepdad got married because his younger sister was about to get married. He felt like he should get married before her. That's it. Their relationship was not good before they married when I was twelve and it only got worse.
I was raised by a verbally abusive sexist man. My mother was responsible for all of the household chores and even for making sure he had money in his wallet before he left the house. He called her woman and me little woman. My mother finally divorced when I was in my twenties and she delayed telling me because she was afraid of what I would think. My response was "thank god".
So going from my father's house to a seriously flawed relationship was actually a step up. By the time my next serious relationship started (we had been friends for years) I had done some healing but I was still not in a very good place. I ended up with someone who had their own flaws and wasn't able to be a 100% present in the relationship. We lived together, shared a bank account and at one time I thought we would get married.
Yet, I was the one responsible for the home. What people don't realize is that it is not the time it takes to vacuum, cook, clean and do the grocery list, it's the mental energy. I felt like there was more to life and a lot of living I wanted to do and so I ended things.
After that relationship ended I took french lessons, dancing lessons and started going to different events throughout the city. I started dating, although that was really challenging because I hadn't had to date since I was 16. I was offered a job in Iraq and with no hesitation I took it. When I got back I started a business, got a new job, did this crazy thing called Fear Experiment. My life was full of exciting adventures and an amazing community.
On and off I try dating but with every short failed relationship I need to take time to recoup. I try to be open and hopeful with each new person I date, but that is emotionally taxing.
Over time I find myself choosing myself. I would rather be single then in a relationship that does not provide me a solid foundation to live my life and I've found that there is a lot of life worth living.
While I don't have a man in my life I have some awesome friends who are like family to me. My interior design business is starting to thrive and my life is full. Do I want to be with someone? Yes! But I'm not willing to sacrifice my career or desires for someone else.
I'm willing to bend and compromise, but not when it causes me emotional harm. So, for today I will continue to be single. Although I did spend the weekend redesigning my bedroom, which makes me think I might be ready to date again!