Love can be amazingly elusive, we all search for it, covet it, honour it and hope once we find it, that love will stay. But true love is not easy to find. The odds are greatly stacked against anyone meeting that special person – being in the right place at the right time and, being ready to embrace that new person in their lives, yet thousands and millions of people do find love. Their lives meld beautifully, they have common interests, their circumstances fit, it just happens.
So why can’t I find love?
It’s a question I have asked myself many times over the years and for a long time I imagined that it would just happen, I would kind of stumble over that single other, we’d start chatting, cupid would appear, the magic would spark up and that would be that. I anticipated an easy amalgamation of two lives.
When I was newly single in my late 30’s, I never imagined in a million years that 10 years later, I would still be alone. I didn’t want to be single per se, I would have chosen to stay in my marriage – if there had been any chance that it could have been a happy one. But once the foundations of a relationship have started to crack and you feel unappreciated, unloved and life becomes volatile, there is just no point.
I have tried to meet men over the years, believe me when I say that in the UK, it was like a dating frenzy, a conveyor belt of eligible individuals from all backgrounds, circumstances and with a multitude of experiences. Dating became an integral part of my life, I enjoyed meeting new people and gained a lot of new friends. I even met some men who, with hindsight, could have been quite special but I pushed them away and therein lies the problem.
When you have been a victim of any type of abuse, deep inside you are vulnerable. You get on with life, you do your best to make it good, you cover up the hurt and to the outside world, you may seem contented again, but your deepest insecurities start to affect every single thing you do. I turned down chances to be happy because maybe, there was a part of me that didn’t feel I deserved it, or that these nice men didn’t deserve to be with someone who was damaged and who couldn’t be romantically giving anymore.
I met people readily but only allowed the wrong men to get close. Why? Because instinctively, this behaviour was familiar, it was comfortable although it was wrong, and it didn’t really matter if I walked away at some point, because they didn’t deserve better.
For many women who have endured domestic abuse in any shape or form, they probably feel the same and although most women will tell you they deserve more, they might not believe it deep down. If they have endured condescending remarks from their so-called love ones, or they have been physically hurt, the pain deep inside remains, for months and even years afterwards. It never truly goes away unless that woman faces it head on. They feel insecure, unlovable, unlikable or unworthy. Let me tell you, that feeling sucks.
Recently, I came to the stark realisation that there’s a big part of me that wants my life to remain as it is . No matter how much I think about dipping my toe back into the dating waters, I can feel the barriers shutting down and firmly locking, barring the way forward. In many ways, it’s a relief. I have dated too many men who were controlling, manipulative or just plain volatile.
I can’t go through yet another destructive relationship. It’s too hurtful, damaging and soul destroying. Subconsciously, I’m protecting myself, because many single men of my age seem to have an agenda. They want an instant relationship, they don’t want to take time, they want to take over. I have met many men in recent years who have abusive qualities, they were all different in their words and actions, but believe me, I can now (finally) detect the signs.
I don’t mind being single if I’m honest. I have learned to really enjoy my own company, to choose who I want to spend time with and to not bother with those who are not genuinely caring. I like being able to live the life that I want without having to fit a partner into my busy schedule, but deep down, I know if there was someone truly nice, I would make that effort.
I’m not writing this to incite sympathy, rather it’s part of the cleansing process that I am going through. It’s the next part of the ‘stand up and be counted’ stage and I finally feel that it’s time for me to have my say. I strongly believe that being single is not so bad, I’m not just saying that, there are truly many benefits to being alone and I often feel genuinely happy with my life. When I think back to those relationships that have hurt me so badly and the men who treated me as if I was nothing, I breathe a huge sigh of relief because I am free from that. I can honestly say hand on heart that being alone is far better than being with someone for the sake of it.
I still hope that one day romance will make an appearance but I’m of the mind that it will happen if it’s meant to. I think it would take a very special person to break through these barriers now and if that person is prepared to do so, then I look forward to that moment. If not, I have plans for my single life, I recognise that I have some wonderful and caring friends and my family of course and I have plans to travel and experience all that life has to offer.
If my words strike a chord with anyone, then know this, life can be good after bad relationships – even if it means choosing to be alone for a while. It may be a necessary part of the healing process.
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