By Barbara Pierce
At the start of every new year, there’s an energizing “clean slate” feeling in the air that makes it the perfect time for a change — a time to reconnect with work, possibly change jobs, and maybe even get serious about making a relationship happen.
As that’s not an easy thing to make happen, I’d like to share some things I learned, things that worked for me and for people I know and may work for you. I’d been divorced several years. I was fine with being alone; my life was full and happy with work and raising my daughter. Then she grew up and I was ready for a relationship.
I looked and looked for the right man. I tried all the things I heard: visualize what he looks like and he’ll appear — that was a total bust. Get out there and expose yourself to a whole bunch of single men and surely one will be right for you. Yes, I dated many men, but no one who really worked for the long haul.
Then I went to a workshop called: “If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?” by Susan Page. And no longer after, taking what I learned from her, I found the perfect man and married him.
What I’m sharing here I learned from her. (She wrote a book with that same title.)
First, think about the reasons you’re not with anyone. Run through all the reasons you can, off the top of your head. Take your time; let your mind wander through all the reasons.
Maybe you’ve said, “I just haven’t found the right person,” or “I keep getting involved with people who are wrong for me,” or “It’s just too hard!” or “I don’t have the time!”
But, if you really want to be in a relationship, whatever your reasons are, no reason is good enough.
That’s right. There is no reason not to be in a relationship, if you really want to.
Here’s the real reason: You’re on the fence. You’re ambivalent, being pulled in two directions. You’re not totally committed to finding someone and you’re not totally committed to being single.
Ambivalence is the most powerful reason why people are single.
Author Sue Grafton’s character Kinsey Milhone describes it well in one of Grafton’s novels:
“Being single can be confusing. On one hand, you yearn for the simple comfort of companionship. Someone to discuss the day with, to celebrate with, who’ll commensurate with you when you’re sick. On the other hand, once you get used to being alone, you have to wonder why you’d ever take on the aggravation of a relationship. Other human beings have all these habits, opinions, mannerisms, peculiar tastes, not to mention mood disorders and attitudes that in no way coincide with the correct ones, namely yours.”
You probably aren’t even aware that you’re ambivalent. But whether you’re aware of it or not, it’s sabotaging your efforts to be in a relationship.
If you’re not wholeheartedly committed to love, if finding love is not your top priority, you may be talking as if you want love, but holding back on your follow through.
Learning this changed my life. Officially I was “looking” for someone. But I kept getting involved with the “wrong” men. Of course, they were men I met in singles bars or men who were scared of commitment.
Most of us aren’t sure. If this describes you, what do you do? How do you get off the fence?
The only thing you can do is start acting “as if.”
One side of the fence is being single. You may want to stay on that side of the fence or now; that’s fine. Then start acting as if you really enjoy the single life style. Throw yourself wholeheartedly into being single. Be glad you don’t have the complications of another person to deal with.
When we’re single, we wait for that special person to come along to buy nice furniture or fix up our place or go on our dream trip. Instead, act is if you really enjoy being single, buy nice furniture, go on that trip. Appreciate your time alone.
On the other side of the fence is being in a relationship. You have to give up many things to be in a relationship. You have to compromise on so many things.
If you really want to be on the relationship side of the fence, you will need to act as if this is your priority. You will need to be determined to reach this goal; to persevere in working towards this goal. Proceed steadily towards your goal and overcome the obstacles that will be in your way.
I have a lot of suggestions for you on ideas of how to do this. I’ll share them next month [in In Good Health].