Every once in a while I think about dating. Actually, I think about being in a relationship – not dating. I’ve never been a dater. I’m a relationship girl. I had 2 long term relationships before my marriage. Before, and in between those relationship I went on as few dates as possible. The only way someone got me to go on date was to pursue me relentlessly, until it was easier to go on a date with them than it was to avoid them. Unfortunately for them, my self-esteem was so low that as soon as they started to pursue me I was sure they were a loser, so they were doomed before they started.
I’m curious about people who date. I know a number of women who use Match, and other internet sites, to go on frequent dates. I know one woman who is working her way through the alphabet; not in order, but she’s working on each letter. And she’s about half way there! At least once a week she asks me when I’m going to date and I ask her when she’s going to stop. She’s been at it for 4 years and ….. well, she’s still at it. Every week she has new story of horror. What is the point to that?
I can’t stand the awkward social situation, which is what most dates are. Isn’t going on dates the same as going to job interviews? After all, if you have met online you have reviewed each other’s resumes, you are both familiar with the basics of the job description, and, when you meet, you ask each questions. Job interviewing is one of my skills, because I spent years in Human Resource Management, so I’m actually really good at it. I’m also good at dusting though, and I don’t want to do that on Saturday night either.
There are times I feel lonely. There are times, when all of my boys are out socializing and I’m home writing, that I wonder what my future alone will look like, and think that might not be what I want. Then I think about dating, and I turn up the heat on my electric blanket and settle in, content in my solitude. After all, we all eventually end up alone anyway, right?
Obviously my desire to date is colored by the past 25 years with a covert narc. There is one thing I know for sure: I have bad judgement. I married a man I thought was the salt of the earth, steadfast, religious, strong caring man. Instead, I married a psychopath. To add insult to injury, I still replay the last 25 years in my mind trying to understand it all. It was clear from the love bombing stage, in retrospect, that he was a sociopath, and I completely missed it. After an initial rocky first year, it seemed like he was a really good guy. In retrospect I mistook his willingness to do home improvements (not cleaning), as a sign of him being a good guy. I thought that his ability to cook, and willingness to do so for any party, was proof he was a great husband. I thought his constant desire to go away, take road trips, stay overnight in a fancy hotel, was proof that he wanted to be with me. I felt very confident that his flexibility in our lives was proof that he lacked the rigidity and quest for perfection I “relentlessly pursued” (according to him). His willingness to spend money, stating “everything will be fine” was just a nice respite from my fear of financial ruin. All of these things made him the perfect man.
Here’s the truth about each of those things.
- Maintenance: He was always willing to renovate a room, tear down and replace a kitchen, paint or strip wall paper. He was not willing to clean, help with laundry, grocery shop, meal plan & cook on a regular basis, take care of the children’s daily needs. Why, you ask? No one gets attention from those things. Has anyone ever said “hey, great job feeding the kids health food all week”? No. People notice the new kitchen, the new carpet, the new paint or wall that’s been moved. And, they comment. “Great job renovating that room”.
- Cooking for Parties: Of course he did this, because again, what do people notice at a party? The food. No one notices the table setting, the music, the activities, they notice the food. And they compliment the chef. Attention.
- Road Trips: These had nothing to do with me. He has an insatiable need for stimulation. Sitting at home playing cards with the kids, or movie night, or just watching a tv show, are not what he wants to do. He claimed that this was he wanted while he was love bombing me, but in reality, these are the activities that leave people thinking, feeling and evaluating their life. Not his cup of tea.
- Flexibility: This is an easy one. Flexibility = unaccountability.
- Money: His “willingness” to spend money is nothing more than delusion. He lives in a perpetual state of denial. Every other year or so he’d write a household budget, because I nagged him to, and not once did our income equal our outgoing. If I questioned him, after being accused of emasculating him, he’s say “don’t worry, it will work out”, not because it would, but because he has no place for reality in his life.
I wrote my “story” about a year ago and I recently re-read it. I had know my ex for 6 months before he came after me, and in those 6 months I knew he was a total dick. When he came after me though, all those memories were gone. A few months into the love bombing phase, which was happening while he was married and had an infant, I came to the following conclusions:
- his wife was crazy and the cause of all of their problems
- he was staying with her because of his son and his religious upbringing
- he was totally in love with me
- he was the most steadfast, strong man I had ever met
- he was a victim. I actually wrote “he picked me because I not only bought the idea that he was a victim, but I would shout it from the rooftops that he was a great man, taken advantage of by a crazy woman”
I look at all this and feel confident in my decision not date. I just suck at it. I have terrible judgement, I’m easily led astray and I hate making small talk. I also have relentless anxiety that often leaves me paralyzed with fear. So, I’ll forgo the dating scene in favor of my laptop. I’d rather be lonely on the occasional Saturday night then find my next 25 years as crazy as the past 25 have been!