OK, confession time.
Conversations have come up recently on various blogs and facebook posts about things that people fear. Of course, there are the usual culprits - spiders, snakes, mice, bugs, dentists (oh, wait, that's one of mine), flying (also mine), crossing bridges, things like that.
But honestly, none of those things bother me that much in the grand scheme of things. (Well, maybe dentists...)
My biggest fear in the world is....
Yep. There you have it. I said it. And my skin immediately began to crawl. Literally. The little hairs on my arms are standing up on end from just thinking about it.
Ever since Ex2 and I split up over 2 years ago, people have asked me when I was going to start dating again. At first, it was easy to brush it off. I had too much drama in my life due to the separation from him, too many bills to pay, too much legal stuff to deal with, too many emotions related to the whole thing. My life was just too much.
But now, things have calmed down. A LOT. Mentally, I'm in a much better place. We are situated in our new home, ghetto-like as it may be. I have dependable wheels. Our financial situation has improved, and the bills are getting paid. I'm taking better care of myself, and I feel better about myself in general.
So why is dating so terrifying to me?
It's not that I haven't had the opportunity. I've gone out on several dates in the past few months. Most of the guys have been wonderful (well, there was that one, but we won't go there....) and they have treated me well. But then I freak out and I push them away. Why do I do this?
I admit, I'm independent. Maybe too independent. There aren't many things around the house that I can't do by myself. I don't "need" a man to help me mow the grass (well, except for today when the mower decided to take a dump and die in the middle of the back yard) or to replace a faulty light switch or to take out the trash. I can do all of that on my own.
I like being single. I like not having someone watching over my shoulder, criticizing me for every little thing that I might do wrong. I like being able to drink my Diet Pepsi straight out of the 2-liter bottle in the fridge with no one pestering me about it. I like being able to nuke a frozen meal for supper if I don't feel like cooking. I like being able to buy the food that *I* want to buy at the grocery store. I like being able to just pack up and go on a road trip with a girlfriend (or by myself) whenever I want to do it. I even like waking up alone, because I am NOT pleasant in the morning and the last thing I want to deal with when I first wake up is a morning person.
But at the same time, I hate being single. I hate that when I sit down to watch a late-night movie, the only guys that I generally have with me are Ben & Jerry (not that I don't love them, but you know what I mean). I hate falling asleep alone. I hate not having someone to keep the kids amused so that I can take a shower without having to be a referee for the fist fights that happen on the other side of the shower curtain. I hate that I can't keep up with my running/walking routine because I don't have someone who can watch the kids for me while I go. I really hate that I have to call 911 when I hear a noise that terrifies me because I don't have someone who can go out and check on it for me. I also really hate being the only single person out of my friends, and feeling like I stick out like a sore thumb at the few social gatherings that I attend.
My life finally feels good to me. I feel like I am at least somewhat in control of it. I feel like at this point in time, the kids and I are living in a drama-free bubble, and I like it. No, I love it. I am terrified of allowing someone else into our bubble, for fear that it may pop. But at the same time, I am afraid that if I continue to think like this, I may miss the chance to meet the man of my dreams (ok, even saying that makes me want to hurl, but it's true).
I am torn between just wanting to stay single for the rest of my life and wanting to be in a relationship. And really, it's not the relationship part that scares me the most - it's the dating that is necessary to get there. I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again: I suck at dating. Given my track record, as colorful as it is, I am afraid of meeting someone great and getting all goofy and happy about it, and then having it fall apart. Yes, I know, that's an inherent risk. But, damn, do I have to deal with that crap? And then there's the age-old question about when to introduce the hypothetical guy to the kids. And what guy in his right mind would even want to deal with a woman with 5 kids from 3 different fathers? I mean, really, my kids make me want to run away sometimes - how can I expect someone else to deal with them on a regular basis?
Previous men in my life have not been nice to me, to put it mildly. I have been called every name in the book. I have been embarrassed publicly by them, I have been insulted, I have been beaten down both physically and mentally, and I have been through hell. Not every man, mind you, but a large percentage of them have treated me like crap. Why would I want to put myself back into a position of vulnerability again?
Oh yeah, because one of these days, I'll find one that will treat me like I deserve to be treated. Or at least that's what people like to tell me.
Am I completely mental? OK, I know I am, but am I more mental than usual over this? Or is this normal? This is the longest that I have been single in *cough* probably 20 years *cough*. Is dating supposed to be this scary?
Seriously, I need input here.