My new dating strategy: Learning to be lonely

I have almost completed my first quarter of my clinical psych program and I am devoting this post to a huge issue I struggled with this quarter.

I have learned, and really understood some important facts about myself. One of the biggest is a major abandonment issue. So I said to myself, duh, I’ve known about this since my own dawn of time. It makes complete sense to anyone who can add 2 and 2. My mother abandoned me (2) and then my father abandoned me (2). Hence, abandonment issues (4). Simple enough equation. So I know that but…what does that really mean?

I was watching Goodwill Hunting the other night for a school project, and even though I could never relate to the abuse that Will suffered as a child, I did feel a strong connection to him growing up as a foster child, and the instability that produces. In the movie, the therapist at some point explains that he surrounds himself with the tough guys from the neighborhood because they would take a bat to someone else’s head for him. And then…the revelation came.

Sure, I’ve dated plenty of guys. But who out of those guys have I been in a relationship with? Those that are big, tough and scary and would kill another person to defend me (okay, a little exxagerated, but you get the idea).

And besides the lame Hollywood ending of the movie, does Will really want to get into a relationship with a girl who seems stable, privileged and “normal”? Absolutely not. And neither do I. That scares the shit out of me.

And, like Will, do I ever want to lose the status of “perfect” in a relationship? Absolutely not. Because letting people into your “weird little world” allows for a new level of intimacy that allows for a deeper cut if the person leaves.

What does this look like for me? It means that unless I know you’re willing to jump in and beat the shit out of someone in defense of my honor, then you’re never going to know me. And yes, I do realize it is a vicious cycle because people aren’t generally going to want to protect me unless I let them get close. Hence my previous dysfunctional relationships.

So what do I do about this? As the great Phantom of the Opera song suggest, I learn to be lonely. I put myself in the trenches of loneliness and come to terms with what I am most afraid with. And then I will know that it is completely ok to be alone, and therefore I will survive if I am abandoned.

No more past relationships up in the air, no more clingy guys that contact me constantly, no more dating websites (for awhile) that make me feel adored every day, and no more quasi relationships. Yes, I am allowed to date. But if I don’t like you or it’s not going to work for whatever reason, it’s over. Even if I have no other options in the waiting line.

As for the guys that will defend my honor? I don’t think I’m ready to give them up quite yet.

Child of the wilderness
Born into emptiness
Learn to be lonely
Learn to find your way in darkness

Who will be there for you
Comfort and care for you
Learn to be lonely
Learn to be your one companion

Never dreamed out in the world
There are arms to hold you
You’ve always known your heart was on its own

So laugh in your loneliness
Child of the wilderness
Learn to Be lonely
Learn how to love life that is lived alone

Learn to be lonely
Life can be lived life can be loved alone

2 thoughts on “My new dating strategy: Learning to be lonely

  1. You know, I think that is a good way to approach relationships. I don’t think you can do really well in a relationship unless you also are not afraid to not be in one. It’s the only way that I relax enough to show those not-perfect parts of me 🙂

  2. Pingback: What am I doing? «

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