How do you even begin to describe yourself in a positive way if most of the thoughts in your head are negative? How do you make a few boring interests seem … well … interesting?
I’m joining an online dating site. Or at least I will be once I can figure out how to describe myself in such a way that won’t make anyone reading my profile run a mile. I’m asking friends for help with that: I like to think I’m pretty good with words most of the time but when it comes to talking about myself my descriptions tend to be rather negative.
Online dating… Part of me wants to run a mile: the thought of meeting people through the internet just doesn’t sit right with me. That’s probably mostly the twelve-year old inside me remembering all the warnings given at school when a lot of girls in my class spent their lunch breaks sitting in online chatrooms.
Five years. That’s how long I’ve been on my own. The idea of sharing my life with someone is completely alien to me. But I know it’s what I need. I don’t do well on my own. It’s all too easy to shut myself off when I don’t have another adult to be accountable to.
I spent a long time thinking that I could cope on my own. That I was meant to be alone. That I was happier that way. And when I got lonely or unhappy I felt that I deserved to be in that state. The way my brain works is ridiculous. It’s like the emotional parts and the logical parts just cannot communicate with each other. I know that I deserve to be happy but I don’t feel that I deserve it.
I do sometimes feel like people judge me for being a single mum. As though it is my fault I’m in this situation. That there’s something fundamentally wrong with me that means that any men that might show an interest quickly change their minds. I’m starting to get passed that. I picked the wrong men. I settled for convenience rather than waiting for someone who would actually be good for me. And then when things went wrong, as they were bound to do in that situation, I blamed myself.
But punishing myself further by shutting myself off and not trying to better my situation: that’s just stupid. I have trust issues: I don’t trust people to like me and certainly not to keep liking me. But humans are made to be in relationship. Social relationships, romantic relationships and relationship with God. I’m learning to accept God’s love; I’m slowly developing social relationships and opening myself up to people. But I don’t even know where to begin with the other...
I’ve chosen a Christian dating site as I think one of the most important things to me now is to find someone who shares my faith. Other than that my list of ‘requirements’ are pretty basic. There’s a few fickle things: I’d like ‘him’ to be taller than me and slightly older, I want to find someone with a good sense of humour, a love of books and the ability to argue intelligently. That’s not too much to ask for is it?
So now I’m praying for the ability to articulate who I am, for the courage to put myself into a vulnerable situation and for the wisdom to know a good thing (man) when I find one.
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR JUNE 2012 MAGAZINE