In my former life I was a people pleaser. I loved to make people happy and would expend all my energy on trying to anticipate their needs. I would then feel taken advantage of, put upon, and generally used.
At my best I wanted people to be happy. At my worst I suffered from hubris and tried to control outcomes and reactions through my good deeds. Most of the time I fell somewhere in the middle and just assumed that the world was full of "givers" and "takers" and I was most definitely a giver.
Once one gives up such a malady as hubris and creates boundaries (yes, there's that word again- take a drink), there's very little left except to let everyone just live their lives. This goes with family, friendships, and dating. The old me was very attached to the outcome of every date, where it would lead, and future longevity. The present me doesn't think about that stuff. I really just see each date as getting to know someone a bit and seeing if I would like to know more.
What's strange is that the more I'm just in the moment the more I notice that men are not- they become more needy, they want to know where this is going, they accidentally admit that they told their godparents all about you (ahem, isn't this the 1st or 2nd date??). All-in-all, I find that there are more people pleasers out there than I thought.
Now that it's been a bit since I've been in a serious relationship, I've had more time to think about myself and my own needs. Sure I date but we're talking serious, all-encompassing love-to-be-loved relationships. I was reflecting upon this the other day when talking to a close friend and I'll summarize (and provide a more pg-rated version) of our discussion. The main point is that I now date like a guy.
Reason number 3 of why I'm still single: I'm just as concerned of my own needs as I am of my partner's (maybe moreso... okay... moreso).
Let's take the example of someone whom I've dated for awhile and we're, shall we say, intimate. The old me wanted to snuggle and bask in the moment, never wanting it to end. The new me... not so much. Let's use one of my exes to describe this:
A nice evening spent but then it was time for sleep- I had a meeting in the morning. This would be a perfect time to hug and kiss goodnight but something's wrong- he's not moving! As I yawn and stretch, "Well, another great time... mmm [stretch]... let's maybe get in touch this weekend or next..."
"Oh wow, it's almost 2am! There's bound to be heavy traffic soon... you might want to get a leg up on that..."
"Ah you want to stay the night? Wow, what a great idea, I mean normally and all but you see I have a meeting tomorrow and I need a good night's sleep... you see I toss and turn a lot... and whimper in my sleep- I snore! Right, right, I snore and don't want to keep you awake too. Oh, you snore too? Yeah, well I'm a light sleeper and..."
Finally I cede, knowing that I have lost the battle AND the war, for that matter. And I'm sorry, but unless I am head-over-heels in love with you, I want my own bed. Then, horror of all horrors, he decides he wants to snuggle! Okay, he means this to be all night, WTF? What happened to the men who would overheat at the thought of sleeping at a temperature over 40 degrees? But no, this ex wants to spoon all night. Now I'm starting to sweat and looking wistfully at all that space behind me where he could be sleeping on his side of the bed. I hear him sleeping and lift his arm off and away from me. Whew! That worked now lets' see if I can get some space between us. Oops! Rolled him onto his back and over to his other side but thankfully he's still asleep. Now, really put my back into it and I can scooch him over to the edge of the bed. Maybe he'll fall off or get so cold that he shivers throughout the night (I'm a cover hog). Either way, maybe he won't sleep well and next time go to his own bed for the night.
Okay someone could say that I'm a bit cold-hearted but still others could say that I'm a kickass girl. I mean, I don't require coddling (or cuddling) and am not trying to force intimacy. Just because we've reached certain stages in our relationship, I'm not expecting it to necessarily mean you're going to be the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. In fact, I'm not jumping to conclusions. Oh... you are? Wow, it's late... yes 6pm... (Really only 6pm? It feels like hours) and I have an early morning meeting...