In my fit of existential crisis last week, I went back and signed up on dating apps again. Any bets on how long I’ll be on it this time around? My longest record is 2 weeks before I deleted my account (lol).
This isn’t the first time I made an attempt to go back into the dating scene within the past two years of being single. During the first year, I was fairly sure that I was not ready for another potential heartbreak. I was still *drumroll please* writing letters to my ex (which can be found somewhere in this void called the internet) whenever I get the urge to do a cinematic run back into his arms (or call him in the middle of the night while crying). In hindsight, at that time, no matter how much I told myself and everyone around me that no, we are never ever ever getting back together, I still clung to the idea of maybe we truly are meant for each other. It was also the reason I limited my contact with him. I knew that with more contact, I would give in to the urge of staying together – even though I knew deep down that we were better off apart.
Our breakup anniversary also marked the start of lockdown. Year 1 had me partying and impulsively booking trips to places whenever I would feel that hollow ache in my chest. I thought I could manage it by doing the same thing until I fully recover, but the pandemic had other plans.
So on Year 2, I had no choice but to actually work on sorting out *all the feelings*. We talked a lot more during the pandemic, and I could tell how much he matured during the past year. While I was happy for him, I also felt a bit resentful at the idea that I needed to be pushed to the point of walking away for him to realize that he needed to do better. I remember not responding to his message when he told me he quit smoking because I just started ugly crying. All I could think was: he didn’t deem me worthy to deserve the best version of him. I stayed for more than a decade, through every single thing, and yet I was just a wake up call. Some other woman is gonna benefit from all the growing up he had to do after he inflicted that much relationship trauma on me. Not gonna lie that there was also a voice in my head screaming “why does he get to work on himself while I work on fixing the trust issues he gave me?” – which by the way, is a valid feeling but as therapy taught me, not healthy in any way.
But as cliched as it can be, time has the ability to water things down. Eventually, what was left of my raging river of resentment were puddles whenever it rains. Most days, I can think about him now and genuinely be happy about his progress. It is now only on days when I’m being hormonal (or hit by the aging blues lol) that I still get mad about spending the entirety of my youth with one person I unfortunately did not manage to end up with. I can now look at all the souvenirs from that relationship and think about how I was happy and supported for most of it. I have learned to appreciate the fact that at the core, my ex is a good person. Our relationship was amazing in a lot of ways, which was why it was so hard to let go of and why I found myself in a lot of disappointment when our timings just did not match up. Like my therapist used to say, you cannot control when other people will decide to work on themselves. The only person you can control is you.
During last week’s bout of existential crisis, I couldn’t get an available slot for my therapist until at least next week so I went and signed up for dating apps again. Maybe it’s trying to tick a box into the list of things I feel like I should have at this point in time. Maybe it’s having to write “I love you”s on packages when someone makes a gift order for their partners – and missing saying that to someone too. Who knows? But I can’t help but keep my distance with everyone which makes trying to date again tricky (health crisis aside). For a long time, I believed that someone was “The One”, and have had to actively de-program that in my head. And with that comes a lot of insecurity.
Will I ever be accepted by someone with all my imperfections – the way I’m either clingy and possessive or so absorbed by being in my own bubble that I forget to send messages, or how petty and passive aggressive I can get, or the fact that I won’t stop talking about things I’m excited about, or how much I like getting my way?
Will I ever be able to love someone as purely again or will I shy away from giving much of myself?
Will I ever be able to forgive as many times as I did or will I leave quickly in order to not waste any more time?
Will I ever be able to put my complete faith in someone (and something) again or am I bound to spend the rest of my life living in my cute little home with my pets (which doesn’t really sound so bad, to be honest)?
I really hope I someday find answers. And I hope that by the time that someone from the future arrives, he’ll be ready. And I will be, too.