I have been on this Earth for close to 32 years. For 11 of those years (consecutively), I was in four serious relationships, and frankly, I am exhausted. It would be one thing if I could claim that each one was a great learning experience full of growth and friendship, only to peacefully dissolve with mutual love, respect, and understanding.
But, I can assure you they were not.
It was one hellish roller coaster ride after another swirling with turmoil, drama, and codependency; but we can save all of that for another day.
I would be remiss to say that I didn’t walk away from each failed attempt at love without learning some type of lesson. I did. Unfortunately, it would be many years after each ending until I would finally wake up and realize what it was I was supposed to gain from the experience. After all, relationships are two-way streets, and not one person is always solely to blame. That’s a lot to swallow, so I knew I had a lot of work to do within myself.
After several years of relationship trial and error, two cross-country moves, a few jobs, and even more apartments- I had decided that I had reached my limit. I needed a break. I physically and emotionally could no longer put myself out there, so I fell into the whole “Guys are awful, fuck ‘em!... etc,” spiral. Whatever I was doing was certainly not working so why bother? Honestly, I was tired of even more failure.
At that point in my life, I was rounding the corner to 30, and I was completely unsure of what I was doing with my life. I am from a small town, and after a few years of living out of state in a large city, I dragged my ass back home, defeated. Everyone in my friendship circle was either married, engaged, pregnant or all of the above. I felt like we weren’t even orbiting the same planet anymore. I was a weird outcast looking in. The thought was a little overwhelming and even more disheartening.
A few years of that, and that’s when the peer pressure kicked in. I love my friends- I truly do. I’ve had the same group of friends essentially since grade school, so they’re more like my extended family. Much like any real family, everyone wants what is best for you, and they each have their own ideas and opinions as to what that is. At the end of the day, there was one major underlying theme and that was to encourage me to “get out there again” and to “find Danielle a nice guy.” Woof.
I caved. I don’t know if it was the pressure I put upon myself to fit in with them, loneliness, or sheer morbid curiosity. I downloaded an app. I don’t even want to admit which one it was, so that should tell you enough on its own.
I downloaded an app, swiped right, met someone, and then I fell for them. Like an idiot.
I’ll summarize the entire three month debacle by saying, despite all of the soft words and warm promises, I was wearing a very stylish pair of rose-colored sunnies. Ghosting is a thing, it is real, and that is all I will say about that (for now).
That was just over one year and one Lemonade album ago. Thirty-two is just around the corner, and I found myself going into 2017 with a more hopeful outlook on life. 2016 was one of the most difficult years of my life for a variety of reasons, and I was just thankful to have survived. It was also one of the most eye-opening and life-changing, internally. 2017 would be a year of less worries, no self-imposed pressure, and zero expectations for my romantic life (but like, in a good way).
So why the fuck is it that after I have proverbially “given up on love” that I find myself going on more dates than I ever have in my life?
No seriously, WTF. I blame the election year- it was like everyone suddenly felt the weight of impending doom, and people were starting to scurry to the lifeboats. Except in this scenario, am I the lifeboat? I legitimately have no idea what’s going on.
Since the beginning of the calendar year, I have already had to navigate my way around a long distance pen-pal who apparently has had a years-long crush on me and requested that I fly across the country for a weekend adventure, a former childhood schoolmate who moonlights as a part-time nude model / full-time dreamer, and a very handsome fellow who I actually met in real life (remember when that was still a thing?) a few years back, but it took the power of the fucking Internet to get us together (that one I am actually still working on).
It’s become glaringly apparent that I have no idea what the year ahead will bring me, but for once in my life, I am just taking a backseat to the whole show.
I guess this is what happens when you swear off dating.