"I got married, so I would never have to date again!" or so you'd think....
I'm married. 99% Happily (I will admit, I have my moments.....I'm only human) and 100% committed. But, I'm also lonely. This is a very real, very harsh fact.
If you're new to my blog, welcome! Check out why I'm here. But, to sum up, I've moved to my current area 4 1/2 years ago and I'm a stay at home mom. I did work for a very brief time before doing this, but unfortunately, it was mostly out of town.
The closest family live about 1,000 miles away. Most of my dear friends, are long distance ones. Thank goodness for Verizon's Family and Friends! (I have one best friend that lives here, and I would be absolutely lost without her.)
So, I find myself in an interesting situation--I'm dating.....again. I'm dating still. Except, this time, instead of looking for a husband, I'm looking for dear, hopefully, life long friends.
No man is and island, and women were DEFINITELY not meant to be alone. We're social, by nature. I don't want to go against the grain and try to be the lone ranger--I saw how that ended with the book, Into the Wild. Even he realized, after finally reaching his goal of Alaska, and solitude, that this wasn't really how it was supposed to be.
My husband always says-just go out and make friends. Men and their solutions--again, this is a nature thing--it's always in their nature to be fixers. They have solutions for just about everything. I love him, but friends aren't barbies I can go pick up down at the store and be set with. Friend finding, for me, is WORSE than jean shopping. Can anyone relate to that? (Why is it, that on that day, I gain about 15 lbs??? Moving on.....)
Here is my journey-I've started trying to meet friends every where. At Barnes and Noble Story Hour for the kids, the library, the park, through church, MOPS, kids events, through friends of friends, the list goes on. I feel out every situation, and use it as an attempt to make friends.
Friend dating is really a lot like dating in the real world-at first there is the first meeting, where you size each other up, find each other mutually acceptable in appearance and attitude wise, decide that based on your first impression, this might warrant a-GASP! Second date!
Second dates-depending-can done using the kids. Play dates, most people refer to these as, but if you're friend searching, call a spade a spade-it's a second date. Usually the "second dates," take place on neutral ground-again, story hour, coffee shop, park, generally a place where there are others present.
The further down the dating process you go, the more intricate these dates can get. Maybe you score a tag along with some other friends for a fun ladies outing! Or an invite to cake decorating class. (I have done this!) Maybe it's a little more intimate with dinner and drinks, a movie, things that slide into a more comfortable "Relationship Zone."
At this point in the game, you are still assessing the situation-paying careful attention to what you're wearing and what you're saying. Probably listening more than talking (don't want to scare them off too soon with the real you! Did you wear work out clothes and a pony tail to these dates with your significant other? Probably not.).
You are trying to envision a future--BBQ's, husband's hanging out, kids football and soccer games, dance, all small celebratory things, but also dreaming about the big stuff! Maybe your kids graduating together, taking a ladies trip to Mexico, shopping somewhere out of town, you're looking 2-5-10 years into the future.
You're also hoping for some intimacy. You're hoping for some hand holding and a shoulder to rest your head. Someone to swoop in and pick you up! Not the romantic kind, but the kind that friends do-when you're getting close to jumping into something new, when things are going bad, when you just need to vent, or just need to cry. You're looking for those people that can see you at your absolute worst and know exactly what to do to help pick you up from that mess, brush you off, and tell you--you're going to be just fine. Not only that, but you're amazing.
What you're looking for is true friendship, and people who make you want to be better, and help you better who you are.
This is a hard journey-and just like dating, this road is filled with a lot of disappointments. People who you have high hopes for that eventually don't make the cut. You have break ups. This is all part of life. Sometimes you realize the break up is mutual. Other times you are the one ignoring the phone calls and texts, and your children are always sick and busy. There will even be times you are the one on the receiving end of the "busy friend."
And last, but not least, let's not forget to mention the bait and switch people. I think we've all dated at least one type of this person. These are the people that make GREAT first impressions. They could sell you a filled diaper that reeks of death, and have you convinced it's the newest trend or potpourri. People that seem to be so cool and amazing. Things seem to go super smooth, until you finally reach the inner circle. Then you find out, it was all smoke and mirrors-that these people go through friends like I go through baby wipes.
There is a reason-because deep down, they are selfish. Exploiting too many good people for their selfish deeds. Making themselves look amazing, while really doing nothing for you. They don't hold your hand when you need them, they can never seem to give back what you give to them, they NEVER place your needs anywhere near their own. Ultimately, you get burned realizing that not everyone, can give and love the way you do, and perhaps this relationship is best left to be a lesson learned and a page in the history books.
Don't let these types of people and relationships deter you though! Good people are out there and just like with marriage, the ones that are meant to truly be there for you, are the ones that are worth the wait.
And just a small tip--when you find these friends-these treasures-remember to treat them special. We are all amazing women. We are all great at something.
Remind your friends how special they are, as often as you can. Tell them how much they mean to you. Even on the days that you're struggling, be thankful you have true friends. Remember how hard and long you searched for each other...Don't let them slip away.
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