Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. As a Methodist, we don’t really observe it the same way Catholics do. It’s not “required”, and if we do observe it, we can choose what to give up. Once I gave up Taco Bell, another year soda, and I even tried giving up swearing. I never made it a whole day. But I did try, for each of the 40 that are in the lenten season.
This year, I’m giving up dating.
There are many reasons why. First, it just isn’t going well. 2017 was not the year of the Mr. Kristina (that’s what I like to refer to my hypothetical future partner as. Because whoever they are, them finding that as hilarious as I do is key). My one official boyfriend for the year tried to cheat on me and suffocate me with a pillow in the same evening. Then dumped me because that was easier than dealing with his alcoholism. I then got ghosted by a grown-ass man in his 40s after dating for 2 1/2 months (if you don’t know what ghosting is, you’re probably a decent human! Or just fortunate. Either way, it’s when you just disappear, with no explanation, as if you’ve become a ghost and have blown away with the wind. Or something like that. It’s acceptable, not great but kind of understandable, after a date or two. More than that, and it’s just plain cowardice). I also went out with a whole bucket of creeps, from dudes who wrote sonnets about my left eye to those who felt like decidedly not raping someone was worth bragging about. There was also The Date I Don’t Talk About. Sometimes referred to as The Real, Real Bad Date. But I’ve said too much already. There were a few good dates in there, too, but most of those ended up in just a weird state of limbo, and after a while of having no idea what was going on, we just wandered away.
Also, I’ve lost focus on my own self. Personal growth is exhausting, just like regular growth. I rest a lot. When I’m not resting (or, ya know, working and doing normal adulty mom things) I distract myself from the hard stuff by scouring dating sites and attempting to use my wit and charm to lure Mr. Kristina in via text. I haven’t taken interest in my own hobbies for quite some time. I’d like to remedy that.
I also need to figure out what type of partner I am, as well as what I want in one. Since I have the tendency to just morph into what I think the other person wants me to be, I need to do that without outside influence for a bit.
I chose to do this during Lent because my faith has also taken a hit lately. It’s something I keep to myself for the most part, but it’s an important piece of who I am. I need to regain my balance there.
When I brought this all up to my therapist yesterday (have you found a good therapist yet? I hope so!) she was intrigued by the idea. Then, she suddenly shouted (alright, spoke at a normal volume. She never shouts. She’s like a small, insightful, caring cloud.) “I’m seeing something here! You WILL be dating… you will be in a committed, monogamous relationship… with yourself!”. It was brilliant. The plan I was looking for, to get from my decision to my goal. I need plans. Things like “Trials make you stronger” and “You need to go through this to grow” make good posters and such, but I need to know exactly how. I need a map. This was it.
Now, I’m spending the next 40 days wining and dining my damn self. I’m gonna show me a real good time. Who knows what kind of adventures await myself and I! It’s kind of exciting.
So that’s where I’m at right now. No dating people that aren’t me, no online profiles involving pictures of people with fish, no sex, no stalking the Missed Connections page on Craigslist, no flirting. In the event that I learn how. None of it. Cold turkey. It sounds tough, perhaps, but I think I will be ok.
As well as getting to go out and not having to worry about something being slipped in my drink by my date (I’d never do that to me. Or anyone), there are actually other things I’m looking forward to.
First, I have a creative new excuse for turning someone down. “Can I get your number?” “Uhhhhh, I gave up dating for Lent.” *awkward exit stage left* It’s brilliant. And it’s the truth!! Even better.
Also, I don’t have to shave my legs for over a month. I should’ve done this years ago.