I have been online dating now for a relationship since February/March, so for 5-6 months. This latest rejection has been very hard – I do not know if I will do it again. My response is to want to hurt myself, self destruct. Like many women (in particular), painful feelings I experience are directed inwards rather than exploding in outward anger at the person who has rejected me: Women, be more like men; direct blame outwards.
People around me agree with me (I don’t want them to, I want them to tell me it will be OK, that its not that bad, that my time is just around the corner) but here’s the truth: there are many more attractive, emotionally developed, kind, interesting, lovely, sexy available women out there than there are men.
My therapist (yes I have one – how on earth I would get through this with any sense of self worth left at the end I do not know) says – men still have the power in this too. They are the ones doing the choosing – because they have so much more choice than we do. Its disgustingly unfair that the only thing I have ever wanted in life should be dictated by such forces, be dictated by bad luck where people around me seem to all be coupled up. These are first world problems yes, but of a devastating kind.
Women are in an impossible position. We are being asked to be passively chosen by a man (this is still the case whatever the dynamic presents itself as). Its the man that has to feel something for us, to choose us, and fall for us. And the way we are supposed to do this? By being passive – he is allowed to do the chasing, because that doesn’t put women off in the way it seems to with men.
There is no reward in this world for women who pursue men – believe me I am (or at least have been) one of them! In my experience they don’t like it. Most men need to feel they are doing the choosing, maybe they feel emasculated by being chosen/being the passive ‘choosee’. And women have to do all of this ‘being chosen passively’ in fierce competition with 100s of other women!! Talk about a fucking impossible task!
So womens power is doubly removed. Once because they cant do the choosing, and twice because there are about 10 gorgeous women for every eligible, vaguely emotionally functioning available man.
I am reminded of this sketch from brilliant comedians, Cardinal Burns – because in this sketch, what the guy auditioning is being asked to do is so unreasonable, ridiculous and downright impossible. This does get a bit weird…but I think it describes so well how baffled I am by what it is I feel I’m expected to do to navigate this path (if it in fact is one…) to securing a happy relationship. I often feel that I am being asked to walk an impossibly shifting tightrope – to be both extremes of something at once, with no rules, shifting rules, or just rules that feel impossible to interpret. There seem to be weird power games going on and these experiences can be humiliating.
Add to the mix the throwaway culture of dating – where people are 100% disposable as there are so many others out there to choose from (a false reality that means people just don’t give eachother enough of a chance), and well I mean, as just one of 100s of other women saturating the market – what chance do I have? What chance do we all have?
I sat in therapy yesterday and I said ‘this is beginning to feel like some kind of nightmare. I am actually going to have to let go of what I assumed if I did enough work on myself, I would be granted, and growing up, what I only ever wanted – a decent romantic relationship. A long term boyfriend I love who loves me back’. Nevermind acceptance, I am still in a state of shock that this is looking like its going to turn out not to be an option for me. That I am really going to have to give up on it. Because if I stop being in the dating game and choose to build my own family by having a child – that’s what I will be doing, for a few years at least.
The ridiculous thing is I know even when you get them relationships aren’t all that great. Well, on balance – certainly not worth the kind of suffering that all this rejection & lack of success is starting to put me through. At its worst rejection feels like rotting flesh in my torso. I feel rotten inside, physically, when I am rejected romantically – I think it is so easy to forget how awful this feeling can be if you haven’t had it for a while. I am also rejecting others, I imagine it feels pretty shit for them too. I didn’t want to be pulled back into this, into believing that romantic happiness was possible, I was trying to stay firm, elated as I was with my New Paradigm view of the world. But I let myself, to give it a go, give it one last chance. Well, I shouldn’t have, it’s making me beyond miserable. And when I think how I could take control of my life, create my own family – I start to feel better again. The challenge then is actually taking the leap…
I don’t know what I am waiting for, with the baby thing. In fact I’m not sure I will wait much longer. I have signed up to a dating site till October but I don’t know if I will use it again. In fact I must confess, I have already started taking steps towards the baby option, because quite frankly I don’t want to live my life like this, it’s just not worth the pain. And I don’t even know if I want the relationship I’m going after. People tell me some of them are great & worth it in the end, but do I just take that on trust when I have the capacity to start planning my own life and just get on with it?
This morning, walking to work listening to music I felt fire in me – anger, frustration, but somehow a positive force too. Listening to my music (music is my tinder now…) lit that fire in me and I felt it start to give me drive, purpose.
And later in the day, one of my best friends called to tell me she was giving up drugs & alcohol. I have worried about her for years and she has been so sick. This time it was her telling me – it will be OK. You feel like this now because of the rejection, but it wont last. Her being the positive one, her telling me all the affirmations she has put up around her room, on the mirror for herself (this is unprecedented).
I was so taken aback, so delighted and grateful – ‘this is my blessing, my huge blessing for the day’ I told her. And we struck a deal. I promised:
‘I can feel OK with myself even though I have been rejected, not want to hurt myself, if I know you are getting better.’
It just could not have come at a better time – I don’t believe in fate but I believe the universe was trying to send me a message of comfort today and it really did.
And I realise something else too, there is one thing I want more than a partner – and that’s my health. For now I have it, and someone I love dearly is on her way to getting it partly because of me, and that, plus the capacity to notice and be grateful for it, is about the biggest blessing, the greatest antidote I could have asked for today.