This is one of those posts that has the potential to prompt many responses, both for and against. That’s not the purpose behind this post. Rather, it is intended to give insight on, and hopefully put an end to disputes about, my status as a single male…
Albert Einstein is credited with saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. With this definition in mind, I am quite happy to report I have regained my sanity. At least when it comes to the topic of love.
Once upon a time, I wanted to part of a couple just like everyone else. Looked forward to it, even. Growing up, I had a ridiculous number of crushes, especially in high school. But, being the painfully shy kid I was, none of the girls I liked had any idea. Since some of those girls-now-women may be reading this, I’ll refrain from using any real names. I also had crushes on a few of the girls in my congregation. Again, shyness kept me from acting on any of my impulses. Except one fateful evening…
In my late teens, I attended a formal dance. It was lots of fun, and I had a great time, but of course shyness prevented me from actually dancing. Then, towards the end of the night, I finally summoned up enough courage to ask a young lady (we’ll call her “June”) to dance. Now, I must say that typing out what followed truly doesn’t do it justice, as you are unable to hear the tone of voice, or see the facial expression that accompanied her reply.
I approached “June” at her table, where she sat talking with a group of fellow teens made up of mutual friends, and several teens I didn’t know. I asked, in my terrified way, “‘June,’ would you like to dance?” She paused, scrunched her face, and answered: “sssssss…ummmm…no.”
Under normal circumstances, that would have been uncomfortable. Add in the fact that it happened in front of many friends and strangers, and I just wanted to disappear through the floor.
It was quite a while before I approached another girl, but eventually it happened, and with a similar result. Then again. And again. And again. But that’s the nature of insanity, right?
After a while, though, I caught on. I finally figured out women just are not attracted to me that way. I’m great as a friend, or confidant, but not as a boyfriend. Women will talk with me for hours, bearing their souls, but are not attracted to me romantically. That’s not said in order to garner pity or sympathy. It is simply a statement based on what is now decades of experience.
So I gave up trying to date for close to ten years, living quite happily by myself. All the while being told I should not give up; that “she’s out there somewhere,” or “you’ll find her when you least expect it.” (I’m always amused by how my married/committed friends make it sound so simple) And while I know they mean well, hearing “you’ll meet someone eventually” gets very, VERY old after a while. As do the random surprise “fixups” by friends. Even my new boss is determined to get me married off. If I say I don’t want to date, that I don’t want a relationship, why does that always lead to a half hour discussion about why I shouldn’t stop looking? Why can that never be enough?
And yet, having said all that, I let my insanity get the best of me, one more time.
Late last year, I met a young woman. A stunning young woman. “Way out of my league” kind of stunning. No longer the shy kid I once was, I engaged her in conversation, and learned she and I shared many common interests. I had more in common with her, in fact, than anyone I had ever met. Actually, a little too much in common, as it would happen, because when I eventually asked her out, she informed me she didn’t want a relationship.
Come on, even I have to laugh at the irony.
So, we remained friends, enjoying our common interests. But over time, it seemed to me as if we both wanted more. So, hearing those insane voices echo in my head, saying “don’t give up,” I asked her yet again. This time, the reply was “I love you, but I’m not in love with you,” and she restated her desire not to get into a relationship.
My spirit was crushed, certainly, but a small pat of me understood, since that was my mantra since the late 90’s. But what was truly devastating was learning a month later that she was now in a committed relationship. So, in hindsight, when she said “I don’t want a relationship,” what she really meant was “I don’t want a relationship with you.”
That cuts deep.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain no malice was intended, so I bear no ill will towards her to this day. The blame lay with me for giving in to the insanity, and expecting a different result after so much experience to the contrary.
And so, I have once again regained my sanity. The cycle has ended, and I am once again resolute to remain solo. While recently in Auburn Hills, MI, a colleague and I were talking about my move to Oklahoma City. She commented that the fresh professional start would be conducive to a fresh start in my personal life as well. So, I informed her of my stance on the topic, the fact that I have no intention, whatsoever, to get involved ever again. To which she replied: “I’ll bet you $100 that, within 2 years, you will be in a relationship serious enough that you will change your Facebook status.”
Easiest $100 I ever made…I just can’t collect until May of 2013.