A Disappointing DateSep 21, 2023
Great question, okay let me give you the DL and be sure to get to the end because boy do I have something to say about love!
I went through a phase of telling anyone who’d listen that I didn’t want a relationship. I was happy on my own, thank you very much.
It started in lockdown when dating became even more problematic than it had ever been.
I’d crank up ‘Independent’ by Destiny’s Child and dance alone in my kitchen with not a soul on the street outside the window. As my unwashed hair flailed around I thought, “this is actually pretty good”.
I was making my own money, displaying questionable hygiene standards and finding that there was a lot of space opening up now I could legitimately put dating down.
No one expected me to date in the pandemic. The pressure was off.
During this time I began to question if I even wanted a partner. The weight of want and disappointment are heavy things to bear. Putting them down felt like a relief.
So began the Spinster years. I really settled into single life during the pandemic.
I studied vedic meditation and sat in silence a lot. I did my Kundalini Yoga training and spent a long time being with myself, learning about myself and finding peace within myself. The great love of my pandemic life was undoubtedly me (and my dog Theodore, of course).
When restrictions ended and life resumed, my single flag stayed high. I’d fallen head over heels in love with myself and I was happy, thank you very much.
And then I went to see a psychic called Ann.
Ann lived slap bang in the middle of suburbia and had a fading Liverpudlian accent.
The first thing she said to me was “you should be wearing an engagement ring.”
I was immediately irked by her. I wasn’t there to discuss my love life. In fact, the only reason I was there at all was to keep my friend Nicola company on the Lord of The Rings type trek out of metropolitan Melbourne (who am I kidding, it was freeway the whole way). I figured if I was going on a road trip to the ‘burbs I was gonna get some cards read!
Now I don’t really buy into psychic mediums but if any pseudo prediction was coming my way, I wanted it to be about work.
Ann, tell me you see millions of dollars, book deals and TED talks in my future. I want shattering crystal balls, shaking tables and 100% guarantees for my 80 bucks.
But alas Ann was giving me no such thing, What she was giving me was the disappointment card. I lost count of how many times she shuffled her tarot cards, knocked on the deck and laid out my fate in a pattern on the table between us. But I do know the disappointment card was pulled 5 times.
I get it Ann. This whole thing is one big disappointment!
The reading ended with Ann sending me on my merry way with a tea light (I kid you not) and a crystal with instructions to do something on the new moon. An IKEA candle and a rock didn’t seem like much for 80 bucks. She’d point blank refused to tell me anything about work.
As I waited in the car for Nicola to have her reading I couldn’t shake the irritation. Why was I so annoyed with Ann? What emotional battle was taking place inside me? What was I trying to tell myself that I wasn’t hearing?
And then it hit me.
That bloody disappointment card was right.
I was disappointed.
The truth is, it was just easier to say I didn’t want a partner than feel the disappointment of not having one.
Once you realise something like that, you can’t unrealise it.
Nicola came out an hour later clutching an IKEA tealight and a crystal (I kid you not) and we ventured back to the safety of the city.
But I had to concede that my 80 bucks had been well spent.
Who knows how long I would’ve kept convincing myself that I didn’t want a relationship as a way of protecting myself from feeling disappointed that I didn’t have one.
Well played Ann, well played.
This is the point in the story where I’d love to tell you that I started dating and met my perfect partner. But that’s not what happened.
Instead I went out into the world with a new awareness of my desires. Yes, I want love. But I was no longer willing to tolerate the disappointment of not being in a relationship.
I began to get really savvy to the stories that I was telling myself and that others were telling me.
There’s no shame in being single but society still loves to try and convince us otherwise.
As a 42 year old woman who grew up mainlining Disney videos and then backed it all up in my teenage years by railing rom coms, I was trained to believe that my main character energy was only about finding and securing love. From a man.
Centuries of patriarchy that commodified women and had our economic safety tied intrinsically to marriage meant that the very idea of being single was enough to send our parents (and certainly our grandparents) into a headspin.
So of course we’re still unpicking, unlearning and forming new truths about what it means to be single.
We’re dismantling the idea that relationships automatically equal happiness.
We’re blowing up the notion that being single means we haven’t “been picked”.
We’re laughing in the face of the stories that told us our worth was tied to our relationship status.
But the individual work is where it counts.
I have learnt how to understand my disappointment through the societal lens I live in which has given me freedom to decide a whole lot of other “truths” about my relationship status.
I am loved and single.
I am worthy and single.
I am safe and single.
I am whole and single.
I am enough and single.
That’s how I handle being single.
Would I like a partner? Yes.
Will I make sure that my life is wonderful with or without one? Yes.
Am I trying to make a bit more of an effort to actually meet and date people? Also yes.
Over the weekend I went on a date with a perfectly pleasant man who, despite excellent banter via text, didn’t make me laugh once in real life. It was what one might call a disappointing date.
But that doesn’t make me disappointed.
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