I don't spend a lot of time talking about my personal life on this blog, but I've recently had an aha moment that's been a long time coming, and I'd like to share what I've learned.
I've been single for 4+ years, and I've enjoyed myself. I've gone on a
few dates here and there, but never really found myself pursuing
anything serious. I have a tendency to fall pretty quickly for men that meet certain qualifications (what those qualifications are I really haven't figured out, as they're often slightly different from situation to situation), and it more often than not gets me into trouble. It really is fascinating how liking someone can just make you ignore obvious problems, even when you've acknowledged that such problems bother you.
I've had two vastly different dating experiences within the last few weeks that reinforced what I've kind of known all along, but refused to deal with...I will admit to being a little ashamed to put this out there, but here goes: When I get into dating mode, I would rather have some attention from men, even if it's not an ideal situation, than no attention at all. Yes, you're all probably thinking "Thanks for that insight, Captain Obvious," but I hadn't realized just how true this is for me until recently. And I've come to terms with the fact that part of me is secretly terrified that I'll end up being single and alone, despite the fact that another part of me thinks that being single is awesomely fun.
I know that socialization has something to do with this - it ain't just me who feels this way. When we tell our girls and young women that securing a significant other is an important life goal, we're really setting them up for shit. When our culture consistently pushes the message that girls and young women are somehow worth less if they're not coupled, what do we expect will happen? That everyone will find their Prince Charming at age 18 and live happily ever after? HA! We end up with a bunch of girls and women lowering their expectations and sometimes settling for what I described above - not so awesome attention over no attention at all.
So what do we do? We stop pushing that toxic message. We continue to encourage girls and young women to pursue their passions and interests. We listen to our gut feelings when something feels icky, and we don't let our emotions cloud our judgement. AND, we speak up when we feel the need to, even if it ends up rocking the boat so much that we fall out. It's not easy to do, but it's necessary.
Onward and upward,