Doin’ the do-si-do’s impossible to do by yourself.
I spent lots of years hanging out with girlfriends or not hanging out at all, which was more likely to be true. Most times, none of us even had someone who filled in for love. I’m not ashamed to say there are times I would’ve settled – my need for affiliation was that great – at least for awhile. Although I did draw the line at that Mafia guy.
Being un-paired suggested to me that who I was was unacceptable; someone whose standards, suggested Mom, were sometimes too high. This time she was right.
The upshot was a 10-year marriage I never wanted and that didn’t work, anyway.
And when, post-divorce, I found someone to love, conundrums followed double-behavioral-messages and I was as heartbroken and needy as if I were one of those women who stand uncomfortably on the periphery of social situations. How humiliating that, when I bought myself a dozen roses to make him jealous, he knew no one else had done that but me.
If you haven’t been there, done that, and are newly-bummed by Valentine’s Day, here are some thoughts:
1. Scoundrels are plentiful. Scoundrels will always be scoundrels. Scoundrels become scoundrel-ier the more you like them.
2. Singles gatherings are very sad. While such encounters are billed as “fun”, they never are. They’re too often a forum for people to tell their bad/sad story. While good forums for social science researchers, mixers like this can suck the breath out you for weeks.
3. Visit the zoo. Animals who live in enclosures have other fish to fry so they’re not upset when your dump truck of emotions backs onto their turf. Just don’t dump on their food.
4. Develop a mental solidarity with women who become collectors of cats. Every cat-loving woman I’ve ever met understands how this happens, and is comforted by knowing that homeless felines are plentiful if all else fails.
5. Diet only if you want to. A hungry person is a grouchy person, not at all lovable. By the same token, if you’re ashamed of evidence of those ice cream orgies, remember that a shamed person often lies.
6. Going to a bar is noisy, phony, expensive, sometimes dangerous but often depressing, especially when your friend gets hit on and you don’t. People sucking up the bar scene are generally alcoholic, shopping for a good cut of meat, or both.
7. At the first sign of abuse run. Fast and far. Never look back.
8. Everything you’ve ever heard about kissing frogs is true. These days you really can get warts.
9. While the world feels like Noah’s Arc. fact is that with the divorce rate at 50%, out there’s a pretty big pool of people rejected by someone else. And they’re yours for the taking.
10. A clean bill of health is as important as it was to have a passport in Nazi Germany. The consequences are about the same, too.
Pairing up is about lots of things, many of which we have no control over, like the biological imperative to reproduce our species, and to protect what we create. Humans are meant to affiliate; we’re social animals who rely on, and need, each other. The herd is enormous – 7 billion and growing.
The odds are in your favor.
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Coach who’s been in private practice for the last 17 years. She works especially with the invisibly disabled. Kathe finds real-life adventures in Front Range Colorado, where she lives with husband David and their hooligan cats, Petey and Lucy. Neither of them has square danced since they were in 6th grade. Learn more about Kathe & David Skinner and the Couples Communication Workshops they teach at http://www.BeingHeardNow.com and be sure to keep visiting Kathe’s blog at ilikebeingsickanddisabled.com. P.S. Pass it along!
©2014, Being Heard, LLC
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