So yes, as I was saying previously, I have been splashing around in the online dating pool since May last year – and what a splash it’s been! I’ve learned so many things about myself, about others, and about relationships. I’ve encountered both the good and the bad of online dating (and many in between) but still not the right man for me.
At first I was “just dipping my toe in” – simply putting myself out there to see how things went. Next thing you know, all my spare time and energy was pouring into dating. I was having so much fun…and I was also very determined to make up for lost time!
But during this process, I also put my own life on hold. On a basic level, I knew that I was doing this and I was more than happy to make that sacrifice. But somehow, between accepting my limitations around my fatigue and once again feeling strong enough to build a relationship, I lost my own sense of direction – perhaps you could even say that I lost my identity. I knew I wasn’t the old “me” anymore – that “me” simply wasn’t sustainable. But if I wasn’t that independent, adventurous, travel-hungry, writing-to-earn-a-living person anymore, then who on earth was I?
The strange thing is that because it was now glaringly obvious that my old and precious dreams were no longer possible, I somehow figured that it was best if I adopted someone else’s dreams instead. I reasoned that I couldn’t seem to do much on my own – I couldn’t work full time, so neither could I find a way to earn the money to travel, or even live independently – but I knew I could offer heaps of support to someone else! As long as he was happy to travel a little, provide me with a home to settle down in, and also allow me a bit of freedom – I could be the woman behind the man! I could make his dreams my dreams, and I would do everything in my power to assist him. It was brilliant!
But unfortunately this thinking was also rather flawed. Because underneath my new “acceptance”, I was still the same quietly determined and independent woman I had always been. Yes, my situation in life had changed significantly, but my values to which I measured myself against hadn’t. I didn’t realise it until much later, but adopting and focusing on someone else’s life goals would not make me happy – I needed my own goals. It didn’t really matter what my they were – raising a family, selling jet-skis, working a farm, studying medicine, creating a website blog/business – just as long as I truly and deeply connected with my goals, and felt fulfilled by them.
Of course, the men that I was dating did not know this. For a long while, I myself did not even know this, but it was true – not only was I looking for love, but I was looking for a man to provide me with my new purpose, in fact, my very reason for being! Yes, I had admitted to myself and (after a few awkward conversations) my date, that he would need to be the main breadwinner and support me in a more practical sense. But the other stuff, the life meaning stuff, was buried much deeper.
It wasn’t until I started delving into my current identity and core values with my new-found life coach, that I began to comprehend exactly what I’d been doing – and why – and what shaky ground I’d been on.
Hence, dating has now become a part of my life but not my whole life. I’m no longer pushing love away because I don’t think I have enough to offer, nor am I waiting for love to come rescue me either. Instead, I’m discovering my own passions and living my own purpose, knowing that once I’m happy with myself, that’s when the beautiful love I hope for will happen upon me.
So no, I’m no longer “looking for love”, nor am I “waiting for love to come find me” – I have now decided that I am instead “Living for Love”.
Have you ever felt so lost and/or stuck that you’ve adopted someone else’s hopes, dreams and goals?
Or perhaps you have felt the void, acknowledged it, and then decided to “try on” a lifestyle or way of being, just to see if it suited you?