My last serious relationship ended eight years ago, and to this day, I feel no rush to be someone’s girlfriend or wife. It has taken me years to admit this to myself and say it out loud to others. Preaching self-love is one thing, but actually walking in that truth every day is another.
The closest I ever got to falling in love was with my ex. Let’s call him “Will.” He had a stable career, was caring, and was ardent in his pursuit of me. Or so I thought. I should have seen the signs when I broached the subject of dating exclusively after months of courtship. His response told me everything I needed to know: He barely made eye contact, was non-committal, and didn’t seem to be interested in what I was saying. He wasn’t “rude,” but the enthusiasm wasn’t there. I admit that I didn’t see the signs and chalked it up to him being stressed over an upcoming trip with his family. He agreed to become exclusive with his words, but his actions told me a different story.
The man I was trying to love was an illusion. With time, we grew distant. Speaking twice a week, seeing each other once a week. Will never saw a problem about the gaps in our communication. After calmly explaining why I thought we should work on increasing the time we see each other, his response was: “I guessI can work on that.” I should have let him go then, but he was an old friend-turned-boyfriend, so I wasn’t ready to let go of the relationship yet. However, after that conversation, I started planning my exit, observing more and responding less. It wasn’t too long thereafter that I broke it off with him.
Settling down and getting into a serious relationship because it’s the “mature” thing to do is a terrible idea. I was 27-years-old and making moves to leave a horrible job I’d held on to through the recession (that’sanother blog post). And I thought: “Gabby, you’re almost 30 and it’s time to grow up. This guy likes you and it’s time to get serious.” There was no soul in my decision to date Will, just a time-appropriate directive. Never attach yourself to someone you’re not that into – attachment isn’t the goal – getting your needs met is the goal.
That’s the problem with trying to live life on everyone else’s timeline. You don’t create any space to ask yourself: Is this what I truly want? Because I was nearly 30, I thought I had to catch the first guy that showed me serious interest. Even if that voice inside of me said: “I don’t think he’s the one.” Agreeing to be in a relationship with somebody because “they seem right,” even when you’re not really that into them either, is time wasted. What would have been the worst thing to happen to me if I had have let the relationship fade away and focused on myself, instead? What bus was going to run me over for being 27 and single?
I look back at myself during those years and I wish that future me could have descended down and told 27-year-old Gabby to be ruthless in the pursuit of her ownhappiness. Work her ass off to leave that soul-pulverizing, low-paying job in Century City. Start running again. Take regular trips to the nail shop, waxer, and hairdresser and start looking for freelance/side hustles that support her aspirations as a producer/development executive. Do the shadow work and don’t hide from the parts of yourself that aren’t so great. Be honest with yourself and take constructive criticism in stride.
After feeling more alone with Will than I did alone, I broke it off with him that January. The last thing he said to me was “I’m here if you ever need anything.” Had I not learned to accept the end of that relationship, I would have slammed the car door in his face. His lack of awareness was a gift, a confirmation that I made the right decision to break up with him and never speak to him again. I know the hollow feeling that comes with pretending to be happy while someone less emotionally invested slips away, little-by-little, day-by-day. I’m never going through that again.
I know that communication once or twice every week and seeing them three times a month isn't going to cut it for me. Even extremely busy people make time for people they want. Furthermore, I know that anybody I can’t be explicit with in terms of my sexual and emotional needs isn’t worth my time. I’m an adult, not a 17-year-old on prom night. I get lonely sometimes, but I would rather be happy alone than try to convince someone else to love me.
I learned that when we obsess over what we don't have in life, that's our cue to focus on building up what we do have. I'm healthy, on my way to financial freedom, and am manifesting career success, while building my own business. I have an active social life and I work hard to stay healthy. Maintaining myself takes up enough of my energy and time, so if a relationship isn't working out, I'm quick to move on. They wouldn't hesitate to do the same to me.
We come into this world alone, and we leave this world alone. What a shame would it be to meet your maker knowing you never got to know yourself, the real you. I learned to be less judgmental and that our experiences are largely a projection of our own reality. Single or in a relationship, it’s up to me to be happy – not anyone else’s. I have options in this life and I get to use them to my benefit. I'm open to the right relationship for me...but he’ll get here when he gets here. In the meantime, I’m building the best life possible for myself.