Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To date or not to date.. that is the question.

Thank you, Mister Shakespeare. I'm blatantly stealing from your Hamlet soliloquy. Now I think we all are probably at least somewhat familiar with that scene in Hamlet. The one where he's weighing it all out.. and thinking that it feels better to just give in and kill himself - rather than to keep pressing on.

Don't panic. I'm not talking about suicide. Not in the literal sense. But in terms of dating. Confused? Just wait till I get going.. ;)

So I've got a confession to make. And perhaps your story will sound a bit like my own. I didn't have my first REAL boyfriend until I was 27. I didn't date in high school. I didn't have any undergrad love affairs or hookups. Well maybe there was one or two. But they weren't necessarily good situations. But essentially, I am and have been pretty clueless when it comes to relationships.. maybe moreso than the average girl. I'm most definitely a late bloomer. I fell in love with my (unbeknownst to me) gay best friend and for 2 happy years, I thought we were dating. Imagine my shock and dismay when I discovered "happy pictures" on my computer. That's an entirely different therapy session.

So my first boyfriend. Ben. I seriously thought he was the one. That's how naive I was. My first real boyfriend... thinking he was the one. How cliche. He broke up with me 3 months into the relationship because I wouldn't sleep with him. Whatevs... I moved on. I had some wild oats to sow. And this is how I became a player. Oh yes. Little old inexperienced me. I juggled 6-7 guys at any given time. Not that hanky panky was going on with all of them... but I had a date whenever I wanted - and I wanted a date 7 nights a week. I did this for 2 years and finally decided I was too exhausted to keep that up.

Fast forward to nursing school.. I dated a few guys, but it still wasn't working. One of these guys became a stalker. For a YEAR. Cuckoo crazy, my friends. Perhaps we both were. When I broke up with him, his response was to start crying, hyperventilating, and clinging to my leg. I cannot make this stuff up.

I moved back into player mode. It felt safer. All the while, I was struggling with my weight. And my self image. See?? I really did have a point. So my self image. Funny thing about having a date anytime you want is that it feeds the ego - but not necessarily the soul. I was continuously giving of myself and really getting nothing back in return. For me, it was an "acceptable" form of self-destructive behavior. No one even questioned it. Knowing that these guys were not long-term material, I could just blame things on my weight or my appearance when it didn't work out. Freud would have a field day.

As years went by, I started gaining some wisdom. And I had my epiphany. I was only attracting guys who were as emotionally healthy as I was... and I was essentially scraping the bottom of the barrel. And I realized that if given the chance, I probably wouldn't date me either. So I did the necessary emotional overhauls.. which took some SERIOUS work. And moved along with my life. But my outside still didn't match my inside. And I was still attracting the wrong kind of guy. Most of the guys who were interested in me were couch potatoes and emotional eaters with baggage that rivaled Kate Winslet's in Titanic. NOT the kind of guy I'm looking for.

Which leads me to my dilemma. I ended a serious long-term relationship last April with a man I probably would have married. But he just wasn't the right one for me. I would have been settling - and sadly, we both knew it. So now I'm 38.. single.. kidless.. and SO ready to settle down. In my group of close girl friends, I am the only one who isn't engaged, married or at least a single mom. (Yeah, I know... the grass is always greener...)

I've done a lot of the emotional legwork, although I feel like that's a daily process. And I've had my surgery, lost some weight, gotten some really good habits in place. I feel like I am a fantastic catch, but most guys aren't looking past the physical to see who I really am.

Will dating/attracting quality men become more of a viable option once I get more weight off and can be even more active than I currently am? Or will it be the same old crap? Do I give up on dating and wait until I'm a more "attractive" version of me? Do I "get thee to a nunnery" and forget about settling down altogether? Or do I just keep swimming... inquiring minds want to know.

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