Most people have heard the popular store of the Tortoise and the Hare. The story is about a race between a slow and steady tortoise and a speedy careless hare. The hare is so sure he will win the race because he is so fast. In the end his cockiness loses him the race. I have always admired this story, and I think it somehow influenced the way I live my life.
When I set my mind on something, I become totally obsessed with it. I carefully plan out my every move so that I make the best decisions along the way. I way out all my options, think about what the consequences of each choice may be, I talk it out with friends and family, I GOOGLE it, I sleep on it, I make lists, etc. Basically, it takes me forever to make a decision because I’m afraid of making the wrong one. This only goes for my personal life; my work personality is completely different. At work, I can quickly do a risk assessment and make a decision as soon as it needs to be made. I am more confident in my work decisions than I am in my personal ones.
This is probably because I make a lot less mistakes when it comes to work. Business has rules, there are right and wrong ways of doing things. My personal life, however, doesn’t seem to have a set of rules to follow, and this is what causes my apprehension when making decisions. My current battle has been finding someone to love.
I know this sounds like it shouldn’t be a decision, but it is. I have had two major failures in the world of love. The first was my 10 year marraige, and the second was a five year toxic relationship with an emotionally abusive man. I have had a few other somewhat long-term relationships, but they were not significant enough to influence my life. My two failures effected me in different ways.
The end of my marraige left me with guilt and fear of myself. I was young when I married, and I made a lot of mistakes. I really didn’t know what I wanted back then. My anxiety disorder had not been diagnosed, so I blamed my husband for my feelings of discontentment, anger, fear, and loneliness. I wasn’t happy, and I blamed him for it. I blamed him even though I knew he had done nothing wrong. He was a good man, and I hurt him when I left. The guilt was what ended up breaking me to the point of seeking professional help, and finally getting my diagnosis. I can’t say if things would have ended differently if I knew then what I know now, but I know for sure I would have handled things a lot better.
The guilt and fear I was left with from my marraige carried forward into my next relationship. I didn’t feel worthy of love, and I was terrified of hurting someone else. When I met my last boyfriend, I was broken. He treated me terribly, but I thought I deserved it. Every time he treated me badly, I thought to myself “You need someone who will put you in your place.” I gave up everyone of my needs and wants to be with this person, and in the end I no longer knew what my needs and wants were.
In the three years since the end of my last relationship, I have veto’d every man I have met. I don’t know what the right guy even looks like, but I know I want to find him. I found out about six months ago that my ex-boyfriend met someone new. As soon as he found out I was dating, he immediately found a new girlfriend. Eventhough he had been horrible to me, I remained friends with him because he would get so depressed every time I tried to detach. This would make me feel guilty, and if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I became co-dependant on his abuse. One evening, we had been having a few drinks together and I told him I had been going on dates. He became angry at first and then he acted jealous and hurt. Within a few days he put up a profile on a dating site and met someone new. He claimed he still wanted to be friends, but this was what I needed to be able to finally cut him loose.
Eventhough I know I shouldn’t feel this way, I feel like he won. I know that love is not a game, and that is why I am so careful this time. But what if he won in a different way? What if he took away the part of me that can trust and love another man? I feel ashamed that it bothers me he met someone. I imagine in my head that he treats her so much better than he treated me. I imagine he is the man to her that he wasn’t to me — and maybe he is. Regardless, I should feel glad that he is someone elses problem. It should free me of his constant criticism, but it hasn’t. He insulted my cooking, told me how to do my hair, told me to wear more make-up and shorter skirts… nothing I did was ever quite right. Now that he has someone new, I hear voices in my head telling me he found someone better. I imagine the two of them making fun of me. My rational and intelligant mind knows better, but I can’t seem to silence his voice from my mind. With every passing day that I don’t meet someone, the voice gains strength. IT tells me I’m not good enough, and I will be alone forever.
I can’t let that voice win. I am a tortoise in a race to win love. I am not in a rush, as I know I will get there by respecting myself. My singleness is not a reflection of who I am, it is a choice I have made. My quest is to meet a great man — not just any man. I want someone who will love me and treat me with respect. My failure to meet someone is not because I’m not good enough, it’s because I deserve the best.