I started dating because that was what I thought I should do. Isabella and Michael both thought so. “You don’t want to end up alone. Do you?” “You are such a nice person. You can easily meet a good guy! You are such a catch!” To me dating sounded like a good way to meet new friends. When I thought of dating conceptually it was no different than meeting someone new at work. I also told myself that I had boyfriends before. Surely I could do it again: meet someone I like, go out, and have a real relationship now that I was older. I got this! But did I?
I sat in my living room trying to picture a man walking in my apartment. Is that better? Will I be happier? I wasn’t sure. I wouldn’t have all the space to myself. Am I selfish? Am I controlling? I didn’t think so. Where would his stuff go? There was no extra space in my apartment. We would need to get a bigger place and leave my home that I loved? Yes, I was jumping a hundred steps ahead and then back. Would he cuddle next to me while I read and write? Would he demand getting a TV? Would he make me watch sports and go to the gym to work out every day? Would he be allergic to cats? What about dinners? Do I have to cook for him every meal like some of the Isabellas I know? Do I have to pick up his dirty laundry if he was messy? Or what if he thought I was messy? To think of the unthinkable, what if he hits or yells or cheats? What if life was a thousand paper cuts?
I realized I was afraid to ask and hope for someone who would be a wonderful life partner to me. We would understand each other. We would be able to talk and work through what life had to give us. Between us, there would be mutual respect. We would have companionship. He would be someone I could spend my life together one day at a time. If neither of us wanted to cook, we would eat out and no one needed to cook. Or we would both agree to try it if that was what we both wanted. Maybe he would not need TV like me. And if he needed a TV, I would be okay with that and read while he watched TV. I am skeptical that would work for reading but I know I would be flexible. We would grow old together, if we were both lucky enough to live a long life. For things more important than TV, we would believe in the same things: liberty, freedom, diversity, equality, and a welcoming country for immigrants. He would believe in global warming, #metoo, black lives matter. He voted or couldn’t because he was extremely ill!
Honestly, I don’t believe that I would meet someone like that. I want too much and I have too much at risk. I value the way I live my life not having to compromise with anyone about how I choose to live my life at all. I have peace and quiet. Isabella asked me once when we were talking about marriage and children, “Do you like to take care of other people?” She was single and ten plus years older than me. It took me a few years to really internalize her question. You know what, I am not sure I know that I want to sign up for taking care of someone for the rest of my life. I realize that I am not romantic when my logical brain is in charge even though I love romantic comedies. Having a life with a man sounds like a lot of work to me. I believe in all the extra work and am skeptical about all the good things.
Meanwhile, I continue to date to see who is out there. When I went on dates, I were incredibly giddy and hopeful. I usually had a good time and enjoyed meeting someone new. Every man I met, assuming he was on his best behavior, I wondered if he was going to stay in my life. My brain took a back seat. What if?