Separating Wheat from Chaff

1940s Couple Leaving Home Carrying Luggage --- Image by © H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis

By the way people confidently couple-up, you would think that we were born with an innate understanding of how we’re supposed to do this.

Young ladies and gentlemen move from a few dates to regular sex to shacking up at speeds approaching that of light. Zoooooom. They are then left bereft and wondering at  what happened when a black hole sucks them up. Hey, no-one said space travel was riskless.

I too began adult life with this kind of confidence…until life smashed me in the face with the message I’d been missing all along: I wasn’t doing it well. At all.

The idea of inbuilt relationship skills falls apart under the slightest exam. (Not that we do examine it, which is my point.) Yes, the reproductive part is a functional app after puberty, but even that needs a few “Help” links. Everything else, from how to approach a person of interest to the matter of sorting the flakes from the good ones to how to share a living space requires some thought, or reading or outright instruction.

We are born with as much of an understanding of cordon bleu cookery as we are of how to find, court, meld, discover, be with and ultimately love someone. Easy it is not; straightforward it is not; simple it is not; learned it might just be.

That leaves us with the fatal question: How can I find good role models or books or any kind of resources about doing this better?

I wonder.

Take Me As I Am

It’s admirable it its own sad way. Limiting and probably mildly destructive, but still.

What am I writing about? The notion that people can take us or leave us based on precisely what they see.

Love me with all my faults, or walk away.

What you see is what you get, and if you don’t want it, too bad.

Take me as I am.

I’m too old to change now, so lump it or leave it.

These get stuffed attitudes are relationship defences. They are about defending a posture of blindness to the truth. State first-up that you have no intention of changing yourself or accommodating another person, and you can justify your singledom to anyone who cares.

I am alone because no-one can love me the way I want to be loved.

But no-one cares. Potential loves will walk away. They don’t care because we all know we can be better, even the self-protectors. Mature people understand that none of us is perfect, but that life is made more satisfying by working at getting closer. The humility of admitting to shortcomings signals insight. Making change, however small, is the basis of righteous admiration. Admiration is fuel for attraction.

My opinion is that it isn’t your dodgy past or bad habits or weird nose that keep you single. What keeps you single is insisting that someone else adopt your rigid attitudes towards your own potential. Keep your justifying biases, but don’t expect anyone else to pander to them.

Why should anyone else work harder at uncovering the best you than you?

Are You Interested?

Being single can become a habit.

Your view of yourself will gain a certain solid feel if you don’t take time to examine it. For example, I was at coffee this morning. A (male, married) companion asked me if I was interested in finding someone. He’s not one for indirectness.

As a bloke, it’s almost required to answer this with:

“Well, of course. Any filly who crosses my path and looks interesting is fair game!” etc etc.

But that’s a cliché. At fifty-two, with a more than full-time job and lots of plans afoot, the more honest answer is:

“Well, yes. But at the moment I don’t want the obligation, and I don’t have the energy. Meeting someone new, discovering if we’re a fit, and being mindful of them requires a LOT of energy. Which I currently don’t have. For dating, that is.”

Which makes me think that I really am in the habit of being single. Re-prioritization is in order.