"…the myth of Prince Charming manages to sneak past Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny only to worm its way into our romantic expectations. We don’t write letters to the North Pole anymore, but somehow we’re still waiting to be swept off our feet."--Coke Talk
Sometimes I think my girlfriends and I should ban ourselves from ever watching another romantic comedy again.
But then I remember that, in many ways, I actually have been swept off my feet.
I've been on the receiving end of incredibly thoughtful, kind, unique gifts--a street sign with my name, a surprise picnic trip to the zoo or weekend in wine country, gift certificates to coffee shops in every neighborhood of my new city (to help me explore), music, books, art that "made them think of me", etc etc.
I've slow danced in restaurants when no one else is dancing; to the surprise request of "Dreaming of a White Christmas", right after I mentioned I missed the snow around the holidays.
I've been led down a hall by a dozen roses, each one containing hand written notes with memories for every month of dating-so-far.
I've woken up to emails, texts, messages of love and light and support.
So I don't know that we need to completely give up hope on good ol' Prince Charming someday romancing us, but maybe just cut the guy a little slack on the expectations front. And perhaps more importantly we need to recognize that romance doesn't solely have to come from a person of significant other status. That is to say, we can create romance in our own lives--for ourselves, by ourselves.
Did I tell you I've taken myself out of the dating game for a bit?
As of a 2 and a half months ago I woke up one day and said OK, that's enough, I need a break. I gave myself a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 (a girl has needs, after all--I ain't tryin to reach spinster status) to be truly, wholly, physically and emotionally unattached.
Why make this decision? Basically since I was 16 I've had a boyfriend, with very little gap in between relationships. I love being in a partnership. I love being a significant other. I'm pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. Adventuring with someone whose heart is as open as yours is the best way to spend a life. But, there's a saying in my hokey community that two halves don't make a whole, two wholes do. Which, mathematically speaking, of course makes absolutely no sense and is...well... false. But from a spiritual standpoint, this holds a lot of truth. How can I possibly be a great partner to someone when I still feel exhausted from the past 11 years of relationships? You mean it's actually OK for me to be alone for awhile? Jeez I wish I'd known this sooner.
So I'm taking a breather and I have to admit...it feels pretty amazing.
Trish, what do you want to do tonight? Cook yourself dinner, take a bath and not have to worry about sending the perfect text reply or straightening your hair for drinks? Do you want to head to your Zumba class, book club, volunteer gig, coffee catch up or museum tour while having the flexibility to spontaneously road trip if the mood strikes ya? Continue to work on projects for your apartment and future career endeavors? Spend time with family and friends, fully committing to your relationships with them? Plan a bad ass trip to Costa Rica?
I have so much free time to explore new things that it almost overwhelms me with excitement. I've officially taken the pressure off of myself for the first time in a long time. I have pretty much zero obligation to anyone but me. Phew! Fortunately, it's been my experience that the moment you let go and flow is the moment a shift occurs to bring along someone really great...and I am all about shifting perspectives to welcome in more love.
2012 is a year for me and a potential real partner. Emphasis on the real. I've certainly been asked out during this self imposed dating-time-out (which is, admittedly, a bit of a relief to my ego) and the "yes!" woman in me has struggled a bit to politely decline. But I've realized I have way more fun being alone or with friends than I do stressing over a man slice I'm not even that sure I want to get to know right now. Emphasis on the right now.
So, do I want to be in a partnership? Yep, absolutely! I look forward to my next relationship, there is so much love and fun to share. But do I need to be in one right this very moment? Nah, I'm good. I don't know...and this is really hard to admit...that I'm ready. Taking a breather, a hot second to just *be*, is the best decision I've made in a long time. This may not be the case for other people and I completely respect the varying degrees of a need for love...
...I guess I just also recognize the difference between that basic human need for love (you have it, I have it, kumbaya we all want it)...and the societal pressures that turn us into creatures who are needy for love--the ones that set Prince Charming up for failure and the rest of us for disappointment.
Do you see the difference?