Eighteen months after leaving my relationship, I’m mourning the end of another (albeit fleeting) flirtation with love.
During this time, there has always been someone (a man) at the back of my mind or in my life, taking precedence in my thoughts and keeping me focused on the future: Is he the one? Will we end up together? Does he love me?
When monogamy wasn’t working, I tried polyamory. And when that got tricky, I quickly fell for someone who was unavailable.
Curled up on my couch, soothing myself with tea and chocolate, I am inconsolable. Why does this keep happening? Why didn’t he choose me?
There is a common belief that being single is a temporary, liminal phase of our life. Society has told us that like adolescence, we will eventually grow out of it, and all the people who are single are either desperate for love (why haven’t they found someone yet?) or scared of commitment (they need to grow up eventually, right?).
When I made the decision to consciously choose to be single, fear immediately came to my mind: What if I met them tomorrow? What if they don’t want to wait for me? What if they find someone else in the meantime?
But then it dropped in – and I saw the reflection. Where in my life was I not choosing myself? And how could I expect someone to fully choose me if I wasn’t choosing myself?
The answer to this led me down a barrage of situations and I realised that in many areas of my life – relationships, my job, even my ‘purpose’ as I’ve come to define it – I was following what my mind believed would create safety and love for me.
Relationships are experiences with the potential to bring us deeper into awareness and acceptance of who we are.
Our relationships require a lifelong devotion to mining the heart, and learning to love who we are in this moment. And when we remember who we are, and fully love and accept this, we become magnets for people who see and love this.
So here are the reasons why I made the commitment to be single for 2019:
Relationships are an inside job.
The quality of the relationship to one of both our parents forms the foundation for our unconscious beliefs about love. If this was perceived to be conditional or traumatic in any way, our adult relationships will continue perpetuate this story about love. This is not good our bad – it just is. However, once we become aware of how these beliefs are impacting our relationships, there may be some we want to let go of.
Of course, this can be done within an existing relationship – in fact, stories and beliefs will continue to come up and forming a deep inquiry practice will benefit any stage of a relationship.
However, what was coming up for me for was a longing and desperate need to be chosen by a beloved, at any cost; but
If that choice is not informed by an understanding and communication of my own needs and desires, then it is a relationship where I cannot fully be myself.
By choosing to provide for ourselves what we so desperately want in a beloved, we start to vibrate at a frequency which make us irresistible to the partner we want.
To prioritising pleasure and dating myself
This equally applies in the bedroom as it does to life more broadly. Knowing what brings you pleasure in the absence of a partner is crucial, because every single person you meet will meet you differently in this. When we don’t know what we want and desire, how can we communicate and honour this?
I used to desire a relationship because I longed for the romance of novels and films. And because I associated romance with love, and love felt conditional, I would quickly relinquish my own desires in order to please them.
But when I found out the definition of romance is “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love” I realised that I feel this most intensely when I am single! Playing in the pleasure of the unknown is what is ‘truly’ romantic for me, so this year will be all about dating and romancing myself. Think coffee dates, art galleries, book shops, the movies – with myself.
Single doesn’t mean an absence of connection
Recent experiences have shown me that it is really easy to get swept up the connection for what it could be, rather than what it is.
I am still going to date. But I am going to be prioritising my own energy and boundaries more than I have been up until now. But the focus will be on how I can be present and surrender to the connection in each moment, however it looks or feels.
I am still going to have a full, erotic and vibrant life in the absence of an intimate or sexual relationship. But the more I focus on creating this in my life sans mate, the more this relationship will compound the love and pleasure already in my life.
For me, this year will be a break for my soul to dive deep into the life I want to create without changing or compromising my plans for another.
It will also be a journey in creating relationships based on freedom, presence, love and vulnerability, absent of an agenda.
And this will mean sometimes stepping into discomfort. But the burden of choice I felt in the past left me flailing and clinging on to familiar relationships patterns and stories out of fear of the unknown. Because when it is all up to us, which direction should we choose?
It might mean reaching out to friends when I feel lonely, and showing up for the people already in my life, rather than constantly seeking newness to avoid deeper intimacy. And it will definitely mean truly coming to terms with my aloneness, and cultivating the practice of choosing myself.
So instead of asking your heart “Why won’t he choose me?”, try asking: “Where am I not choosing myself?”
This article was originally published on Elephant Journal. You can subscribe for less than $3/month and access thousands of articles by gifted writers, and passionate soul-driven entrepreneurs.