Are you like me, over 50, and perpetually single? Pretty much every year Valentine’s Day feels like yet another reminder that I lack a love interest in my life. I realize that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, fabricated to sell stuff, and geez, have you noticed the ‘stuff’ is EVERYWHERE?
Like many of you, I get my idea of romance from the movies. I dream of meeting my very own ‘Richard Gere’ who climbs the stairs with flowers in hand as he did for Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman.’ Or there was Billy Crystal who ran down a wintery Manhattan block because he realized he could not live without Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally.’ My reality feels more like the Carrie Fisher character in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ when she sends herself flowers with a love note with the hopes of making her lover ‘jealous.’
I did not date in high school, there was no prom date or hand holding and Hollywood’s interpretation of romance formed my girlish romantic aspirations. I found myself decades later participating in codependency recovery as I started to recognize my ‘worthy and loveable’ pieces. It was through this recovery that I realized that I had let my childhood emotional trauma and fear encapsulate my single self in a bubble of protection that has lasted my lifetime. While there have been brief moments of ‘maybe he’s the one’ they just never worked out.
We all have limiting beliefs and for me, one of my ‘reasons’ for not dating was ‘my weight’. Though I no longer struggle with weight. In addition to my weight, I struggled to feel worthy of a relationship because of my chronic condition, and then came my vision impairment and visible deformity. Under all those ‘reasons’ is a deep-seated belief of self-doubt and fear.
Do you wonder if you can be vulnerable in a relationship? Can I let someone really know me and my wacky, insulated world? Supposedly when I meet the ‘right one’ it will be seamless, and he will accept all parts of me for who I am. I had a coach once tell me I was a justified hider. I hated to admit it, but she was right. I ran from any thought of real intimacy.
Yes, I have tried the online thing. All I can say is OY. I know, there are people who have met their partners online. My girlfriends have literally stolen my phone to create a Match.com profile for me. I have come to realize that I really don’t like dating. I find the meaningless small talk exhausting and with the energy I have spent online dating, there hasn’t been one that has ended in a second date. I often wondered if something was just wrong with me. I have, and hopefully for good, taken down all my online dating profiles.
With another Valentine’s day here, I find myself reflecting on why, at 51 years old, I have yet to have a real, long term, and committed relationship. In doing the work, I received some hard to hear spiritual guidance. The questions posed to me- What is this a mirror of in my life? What’s being reflected back at me? Since we know everything in our environment is a self-reflection, then the question becomes what do I need to transform in my own life?
Ouch, yes ouch. It hurts to have to face myself and how my life long limiting beliefs continue to run my life. I find myself going back to the drawing board, determined to manifest a breakthrough where I experience the healthiest, happiest, most non-complicated relationship possible. My new mantra, a gift from a very wise woman in my life, – let it be easy.
Step one of my 5 Steps of Transforming Trauma to Triumph is Determination. Now I can’t make someone fall madly in love with me, but I can honor and respect myself, hold firm to healthy boundaries, and love myself, regardless of my relationship status. I am working to let go of the shame and disappointment I feel about my life without a significant other. Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and holidays make the feeling of longing that much more significant. This gives me another opportunity to master my mind and strictly put, just not go there.
I have decided to embrace my singleness, I am determined to be hopeful about my future while being happy with my life as it is. I remain focused on self-care, work to stay in the moment, and enjoy life’s activities. As I stay hopeful, I remind myself that it is not too late, I am NOT TOO OLD, and love will enter my life when the time is right.
If you are like me, celebrating Single Life, please know that I feel you my single sisters and I am here for you. We are strong when we support each other. Let us do ourselves a favor and make the dream a reality by doing for ourselves! This year let’s buy OURSELVES flowers and a teddy bear because we are worthy of self-love, and simply put, why the heck not!