(This is an article that I wrote, published by the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008)
|It all happened so fast. One day, a year after my 30th birthday, I woke up and realized that everyone I knew had gotten hitched or pregnant or was just too issue-riddled to ever have a serious relationship.
I didn’t fit into any of those categories, and I found myself experiencing a mini-crisis. I was seeing close friends gravitate toward “Mommy and Me” yoga classes, social events with other married couples or the singles bars and clubs of Phoenix and Scottsdale. I didn’t want to do those things. I didn’t fit.
But where did I fit? Who were my friends, and did we still share things in common? Had I become a nomad drifting in the desert looking for a spring? Would I ever find a love interest to call my own?
I was convinced that the longer my drought went on, the higher the likelihood that I would be single eternally. I felt alone and alienated.
The 30-something experience, for me, was exactly that, until luck (and five years of online dating on three sites) graced me with a satisfying relationship.
I suspect that many other good people who find themselves wandering through the Valley singles scene might share experiences similar to mine.
Dating is a difficult beast, and it is an exposing process that can inflict some harsh damage to a dater’s self-esteem.
It has power like a bad relationship does: It can make you really doubt yourself and your standing in your own life, and it will make you fear that your hopes of ever finding true love and happiness again are lost forever.
In this age of Facebook, text messaging and JDate, it becomes more difficult everyday to connect to a live human being, someone who’s not behind an electronic force field.
We learn that having and accepting abbreviated relationships, or have none at all, is normal and OK. Maybe we’re single because our internal messages tell us that others aren’t good enough for us, or we’re not good enough for them.
It’s easy to “click” off a person when disinterest first registers on our radar. It’s possible that we don’t even know that we’re doing these things in the first place.
What worked for me was doing three things immediately.
First, I started to focus on changing my “inner landscape.” I worked on changing my views, and cleaned out my closet of old, negative tapes that ran in my head.
I had to face a lot of fears of how I thought people would reject me, and how I thought I wasn’t good enough.
Second, I needed to start listening more closely to my gut, or intuition, which is really hard, especially when you meet someone you absolutely know is “The One” and he or she, of course, is not. You just really want them to be.
And the most important of the three things was that I became clear about exactly who I was looking for, so that I could communicate it to myself and get beyond those dates where I wasn’t really interested but I convinced myself to keep on dating the person. When it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
Working on those things freed up a lot of space to become open and accept someone great into my life.