I often tell clients not to date until they don’t need to. The fundamental premise behind such a cliché is that if I am unhealthy, or needy, or on the rebound, or broken than any legitimate concerns I have become massive, obsessive. I begin to catastrophize what is going on. I lose my objectivity and it isn’t long before I have a hole in my heart that I am looking for someone else to fill. Dating when you are vulnerable or broken is a sure-fire recipe for relational strife, no matter what Cosmo tells you.
Finding the right person has less to do with romantic bliss than we have been led to understand. Being the right person – whole, happy, not needy, that is the right goal to pursue. If I am healthy enough that I do not need another to fix me or complete me (gag) should be our goal. Dating then becomes an opportunity to share who we are with another without the needy blinders on. Settling for whatever is available isn’t even an issue.
Singleness is not a disease.
I was a single parent for years and after I got over the self-indulgence, the pity, the tears and the loneliness I began to realize that it was awesome to be alone. The healthier I got the less I needed a woman to approve of me or assure me I was ok. By the time I did date again I was not an emotional vampire that needed to be filled. I found I was no longer as needy as I once was. I began to like who I was. All of this was only possible once I learned to live with myself.
I can honestly say I like myself today (I find that hard to write). I still don’t like what I look like in the mirror or some of my obvious faults but for some reason that doesn’t hurt like it once did. Singleness was a gift that I never wanted. It was a gift that changed my life.
If you are single today it is perfectly normal to experience loneliness and momentary unhappiness. I believe they call that “life”. You are not a second-class citizen, a third wheel, or the odd person out. You are free to be who you truly are. Don’t miss the opportunity, like I almost did, to allow yourself to learn who you really are apart from someone else with all their baggage, needs, quirks, foibles and insecurities. If you aren’t complete without someone else filling that hole in your heart chances are you won’t be complete with someone there.
Trust me on this – don’t date until you don’t need to.