You have to believe. Or give up. Don’t give up. Love is out there.
Oh, impatience. It’s not my best trait. I want a partner right now. I want a lifetime partner right now. I want to recover from the pains and punks of the past 11 years and get on with “what’s next” in my evolution. Okay, hold up…
What You Want
I’m actually unclear about my relationship goals at the moment. I mean, except for the big audacious goal as stated above. In this moment of rebuilding, I’m left with an ache, but also a weariness of what “dating” means today. I’m not a fan of online dating. I’m not a fan of being alone either. So, what are my EXPRESS options for finding a permanent lover?
There are no express options.
Coming up on my 11th year anniversary of the divorce, I’m conscious of how much work I’ve done is reforming, relaunching, and rebranding myself. And here I am, alone again. It’s okay. But it’s a bit frustrating to read my latest book of poetry (See: I’m Trapped Like a Vapor) and see in black and white, romantic poetry, that I’m struggling with the same issues. I’m guessing if I looked back at one of my other books of poetry, I’d feel even worse about my perceived evolution, and yet my actual stuck state. What am I doing that keeps me going for partners who have limited bandwidth or limited emotional intelligence? (This is not a slam of my past partners.) But, I have a pattern. I fall for women who do not have it all together.
What Will It Take For Me To Be Happy?
I don’t think we’re ever finished evolving. I don’t think I’m some relationship guru or even expert. I’m a man, and I’ve been working on myself since my divorce. And I’ve been working hard to define the things that are important to me in my next relationship. But what I really want is NO NEXT RELATIONSHIP. I want my ONE. Am I fantasizing? Is there some unattainable uber-woman that I’m looking for? I don’t think so. I think I’ve been close. I’ve been with some partners who were amazing. I’ve been careful, in my mind. I’ve been mindful in my choices. And even in the leaving, I’ve tried to be loving and considerate.
And here’s what I’ve learned up to this point.
- Authentic love is rare
- Chemistry and sexual desire can often lead to unwise choices
- Emotional intelligence may be the most important feature of a new partner
- My criteria for “attractiveness” is flexible and broad
- I’m drawn more to joy than physical beauty
- I want 100%, I’m not going to settle for almost
- In my pursuit, I am fearless (or getting there) in asking for what I need and want
- When the future horizon grows dim, I know it’s time to move on, reset, try again
Reset, Reboot, Retry
The real skill is not to give up. Not to settle for near misses. And to keep optimistic and energetic about “what’s next.” And it’s hard as hell to do.
Looking into online dating again, I’m even more discouraged. That’s the part that gets me feeling a bit overwhelmed with my loneliness. It’s a long road ahead when we’re back at square one. And if you’re like me, and a bit type-a and driven, it’s frustrating to NOT GET IT RIGHT. And yet, here we are.
The trick is in resetting your own life, then rebooting your approach to dating, and trying again until you get it right. I’m still confident that I’m getting warmer and warmer with each relationship. Like I’m building towards the right woman. And perhaps it’s me that’s not quite up to snuff yet. Certainly, there are a lot of rough edges in my life. And, I’m impatient to get my own act together, so I can get on with loving and learning to love even more, with the next partner. The uber-ultimate-last partner.
Where Do We Look For Hope?
A few of the things that give me hope are the simple joy I’m experiencing right now in my life. Alone. Alone, and I’m still happy. I’m impatient and lonely, but I’m happy at the core. I’d like a partner. I’m hungry for affection and closeness. I’m ready for someone else to make me a priority like I make my lovers my priority. I want to reshuffle my priorities and put someone else first. For a while in life, it’s our husbands/wives and then we get divorced. Then it’s our kids. And then, as we get a bit further down the road of single parenting, and our kids are older, it’s back to JUST US.
At the moment, I am the only priority in my life. And right now, this is exactly as it should be. I still have so much to learn. I still have so much evolving to do. And somewhere, out there (and I do really believe this) is a woman who is ready and willing. A woman who can adore being adored. A partner who’s ready to “travel” sure, but more importantly, ready to evolve together.
We’ve Got To Keep Learning
If you’re not falling you’re not learning. We used to say this about water skiing. If you’re not pushing the boundaries of your skill and strength, then you’re not getting better. The point of our journey is to learn and get better. The point of our path forward in dating and love is to keep getting better. To ask for what I need more clearly and with more flexibility. And to listen for what my partner is asking for. Let’s see if there’s a join that will give us both comfort and joy.
I am learning to ask. I am learning to fall completely head-over-heels in love. Perhaps my choices have not all worked out, but they have all involved 100% effort on my part. And my love has soared to higher highs than I knew possible. NOW, to tether those highs to a solid and centered woman. That would be ideal. Or wait, that would be not idealistic, but realistic. I’m learning. She should still be learning and evolving too. And together we’re going to evolve into something great.
I just know it’s possible. I’m betting on it. In some ways, all this poetry and writing about dating is like sending love letters to myself. And perhaps, to my future lover.
Let me know how I can help you along on your journey to find a healthy relationship. And if you have ideas that I’m missing, please add them to the comments. (The comments are always open.)
As a certified life coach, I’ve been helping men and women find lives after divorce. If you’d like to chat for 30-minutes about your dating/relationship challenges, I always give the first 30-session away for free. LEARN ABOUT COACHING WITH JOHN. There are no obligations to continue. But I get excited every time I talk to someone new. I can offer new perspectives and experiences from my post-divorce journey. Most of all, I can offer hope.
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
- Braving the Wilderness – Brené Brown
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce – John McElhenney
More articles from The Whole Parent:
- Heal Your Heart from the Fear and Loss by Opening with Vulnerability
- Self-Care and Appreciation: Can I Love All of Myself Right Now?
- 3 Required Traits for Building a Lasting Relationship
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue