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Actions (Not Intentions) Will Determine How Long I’m Single

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Single moms are sexy. And if they play tennis… Well… I’m getting the picture.

Relationships are a force of nature. When we don’t have them we suffer from loneliness, boredom, ennui. When we do have them we suffer from feeling smothered, codependent, and overwhelmed. And of course, there’s the up-side. When your single the options are limitless. You’ve got online dating sites, apps like Tinder, and all the potential dates you could possibly imagine. And a lot of free time to spend searching, buffing yourself up, and putting your best foot forward.

As I begin the conscious move away from online dating and into real-time dating, I’m aware that it takes a lot more energy to actually go out. In truth, we get lazy. We think that browsing online profiles is kind of like dating. We tell ourselves we’re upping the odds by adding our own hopes and wishes to the online pool of potential partners. But mostly, for me, I’m understanding that I’m lazy. The effort is 100% up to me. And some nights, even when there’s a known woman at a known event, I skip it.

I’m understanding more about what’s going on when I opt-out in the real world.

  • Online dating (the browsing and contacting part) is easy. There’s very little risk. It takes very little energy. And, in theory, you are browsing hundreds of available women in your area.
  • Online profiles cannot translate any of the feeling that you get when you’re in proximity to another person. When there’s a spark, you can feel it, before anyone has spoken. Without it, well… you’ve just wasted an evening and several dollars trying to find out.
  • Even great pictures AND great text/emails don’t equal a match. I’m learning to reel it back in a few notches. I used to engage in long romantic chats with potential women only to be sadly disappointed when we finally met.
  • The lack of energy required to “date” online is equal to the energy you are going to get back. Feeling lazy, too lazy to go out? No problem whip up OK Cupid and cruise the internet a bit.

So what are some of the things that make putting yourself out there in the real world more challenging? What are the things that keep me at home on a Sunday morning, when I know there’s a spiritual service nearby that is likely to include several attractive single women?

  • I’m not feeling too great about myself. This can be energetic, spiritual, or physical.
  • I just don’t have the energy to put my a-game together.
  • I’d rather do something else.
  • I’m afraid of rejection or looking like a fool.
  • I’m just a little bit comfortable in my aloneness.

But in two years of seeking, I can tell you that a love poem is never going to get the girl. It might get someone interested. It might even elicit an email when it’s published online. But it’s only the intention without the action. It’s the romantic longing for romance without the risk. It’s not easy to get excited by someone and be let down by their lack of resonance. I was just looking back over a near miss post from a few years back. (See: Met My Match)

The women in question has popped up on OK Cupid again. She still looks as delicious as she did. Well, she’s using the same profile and the same pictures, so of course, she looks good. And she reminds me of how I can imagine everything is ON when it’s not. What she showed me, for the first time since my divorce, was dating and finding the right combo of looks, intelligence, and joy, is tough. It’s not as easy as flipping through some profiles, having a nice hello and … even after two hours of inspired conversation… it’s still a NO?

Okay, so what’s different for me now? What needs to be different in 2015 for me to find my next relationship, not date. I’ve had two dates since my divorce. I’m interested in moving out past the three-month mark, making a statement with someone. (Probably not adding them to my Facebook profile picture, but that’s a different story.)

I know what I have to do.

  • Focus on myself.
  • Be radiant and potent in my walk through the world.
  • Get fit because I deserve to be stronger, healthier, and more energetic.
  • Go out even when I don’t feel like it.

I was in a cardio workout yesterday with two very attractive women. I was noticing my own joy at just being around them. I did not have any designs on them. I did not proposition either one of them. And the banter during the workout was hilarious and untethered to any idea of “dating” or romance. Oh, I guess I should mention, they were both married. BUT… two weeks ago, when the same two women were in the cardio class with me, I’m certain that the “friend” was not wearing her ring. A certain antenna perked up in my brain and I noticed how I took her in with slightly different eyes, imagining that she was a single mom.

Single moms are sexy. And if they play tennis… Well… I’m getting the picture.

Parenting is a life journey that I’ve committed myself to. My partner should have the same orientation. And tennis, being my favorite sport, is a passion that if shared, can unlock a lot of positive feelings and shared time together.

New direction. I must find a partner for the mixed doubles league. And yesterday I took a step in that direction. I asked one of the two women if she knew of anyone who would be interested in joining a mixed ladder as a team.

She smiled and asked, “Would you prefer a single woman?” The banter between us was rich.

“Well, that would be a double win, but not necessary.” Then she delivered the kicker.

“I’d do it if I didn’t already have so many commitments. But I’ll give it some thought.”

Just those two little ideas generated a nice warm fuzzy inside of me. She would… She’ll think about it on my behalf. And because I know we already get along (this woman has been coming to the cardio class for months) I can imagine that she will. And of course, she does have a lot of women friends who also happen to play tennis. And maybe that happens to be single. Who knows. It’s not about her or her friends, it’s about the intention, the idea, and the action.

Update (5 years later): It took a while, but I do believe this is the way. I am in the next relationship of my life. And some of it has taken place on court 6, pictured above. Do what you love. Find yourself and your joy again. The relationship is there.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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This post really began with these two ideas:

And this earlier run at online dating:

You can find all of my books on AMAZON.

image: it’s a bit frosty on court 6 this morning, cc 2014 john mcelhenney, creative commons usage

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