Tag Archives: loneliness

Signs of Progress.

13 Aug

After 26 million years and An Incidentâ„¢, Bob the Therapist has threatened to discontinue watching me ugly-cry a couple of times a month if I don’t start to show signs of progress.

What kind of progress does Bob the Therapist want to see, you ask? [Sidenote: why didn’t I introduce Bob the Therapist as a character back when I started this blog? Why didn’t I focus solely on dating/romantic escapades and failures as my essay topics/themes? I mean, the name of this blog is I CAN SEE WHY SHE’S SINGLE, not LOOK AT ME WRITE A THINK PIECE ABOUT DEATH AND DESPAIR BECAUSE I SAW A BUG FLY INTO A LIGHT. Should I go back and delete all posts unrelated to said topics? Why haven’t I updated in two years? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.]

You’re thinking that he probably wants me to present to him an updated resume as a first step towards fleeing the hellscape that is my current job. Or maybe a meal and exercise plan that’ll put me on the path to wellness. How about before and after pictures documenting that I’ve finally moved what remains of my grandparents’ belongings out of the house and even cleaned it up? Nope. Bob the Therapist has asked for tangible proof of my attempts to date and copulate. I hope I’ve partially misunderstood him as I’m not sure what kind of tangible evidence of that second one he’s expecting. Gross.

Bob the Therapist says that my chronic, severe depression (oh boy, here we go) and crippling loneliness (yikes) has not been very good for me and in order for me to not feel so devastatingly awful all the time I need to create healthy, reciprocal relationships with people who are not terrible. What a groundbreaking concept. I can’t believe that kind of insight only costs me a $15.00 copay. How is he only Bob the Therapist and not Robert the Psychiatrist?

That was mean. I’m sorry.

Bob the Therapist says that the average person of my age has married, maybe more than once, and has had children, perhaps even childrens. Bob the Therapist says that I belong in a relationship, that I’d do really well as part of a pair, that I’d thrive, even. Bob the Therapist says that I need to make friends, real friends, and express to them my need to meet someone, that they’d even be happy to take on the insurmountable feat of setting me up.

I was at a bar with this guy, and I asked this guy if any of his many male friends would be interested in meeting me. He said “I don’t know” while chuckling awkwardly and looked into his beer, so I chuckled awkwardly and changed the subject. I was out to dinner with this girl, and I asked this girl if any of her many male co-workers would be interested in meeting me. She awkwardly stammered an “I’ll see what I can do” type statement and looked into her cocktail glass, so I awkwardly stammered something that might have been “Okay, thank you” and looked into mine.

Bob the Therapist says that these conversations, however brief and awkward, were very good and to keep trying. I reminded him that I didn’t really know anyone else and that I also did not want to do it anymore. Bob the Therapist yelled at and wrote something mean about me in his notebook.

I explained to Bob the Therapist that I’d have to, yet again, give online dating a try. I don’t know anyone in real life; no non-homeless man has approached me in years; and the men I’ve approached FREAKED OUT and were never to be seen again. He said something about eHarmony, as everyone always does. I reminded him of my fear of marrying, or at least settling for, the first guy I go on multiple successful dates with. I reminded him that people that use eHarmony are Serious About Meeting Someone. I reminded him that I’d like to just casually date a variety of people, even be a little slutty. It is very hard to be casual and a little slutty using eHarmony.

Bob the Therapist is a luddite, so I told him about Bumble, Tinder, and OkCupid. I told him that since I’d actually gone places and done things this summer, I had full-body pictures that I felt pretty good about. Bob the Therapist said that that was all well and good, but if I wanted to continue to tell him mean secrets while he scowled at me over his reading glasses in his sour-smelling office, I’d need real proof. I’d need to plan a date with some weird stranger that really loves to hike (THEY ALL LOVE TO FUCKING HIKE). I’d have to swipe through pictures of him at a wedding (how great would it be if it were his own?!); the always disappointing to see shirtless pose, and him cuddling a cute dog.

Maybe I should just offer my walking/sitting services in my profile. We all know that’s what I really want: regular access to a dog.

I’m really angry and resentful about having to use the App Store to find someone willing to date me. I don’t know anyone else that has. No one, including Bob the Therapist, can or will tell me why I can’t and don’t meet anyone in real life. Bob the Therapist says that I’m blind to the affection of others. Bob the Therapist says that I could date whoever I want. Bob the Therapist says that he’s confident that people have been in romantic love with me, even though no one has ever told me so, and that I must be too shallow or cruel or narcissistic or stupid to have noticed. Bob the Therapist says that it’s all my fault.

I’m supposed to see Bob the Therapist on Friday. I, surprisingly, have three inboxes full of messages from middle-aged white men I could never imagine kissing. I could write back to them all and show him my progress. Bob the Therapist says I’m supposed to use people, whether I want to kiss them or not, as practice because I don’t know how to date. Bob the Therapist says I’m supposed to cut to the chase and ask Bill or Todd or Jim out for coffee. Bob the Therapist says to stop screwing around. Bob the Therapist says time is running out.

I could cancel my appointment with Bob the Therapist. That might be the biggest sign of progress of them all.

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Same boat.

14 Aug

Yeah. . . I wouldn’t want to be in that boat either. Source

Dictionary.com, one of my favorite websites (seriously), defines the idiom “in the same boat” as “in the same circumstances; faced with the same problems: The new recruits were all in the same boat.”

It’s a common phrase that those of us with some mastery of the English language probably throw around a lot. I’ve used it countless times I’m sure, but lately I’ve found its use towards me to be disturbing rather than offering the comfort that I think was intended by the speaker. If I am in the same boat with certain people, somebody pass me a life preserver and I’ll take my chances out at sea.

The first time I had to stop myself from audibly screaming out “You ain’t trapping me in a sinking ship with you!” was several hours after a family gathering. A relative was sharing the news of another’s engagement as we drove her home, and as I do with so many things, I made the conversation about me. I was happy for my family member, but felt like I was being once again left in the dust when it came to the milestones indicating a normal, healthy adulthood. The relative who shared the news with me has never been married. When I expressed my bittersweet feelings on the subject, rather than offering me the usual empty encouragements that a very single girl over 30 is bound to hear, my relative said the following: “You want to get married? I never married. Do I regret it? Well, yes, I suppose, when it comes to things like having to carry heavy packages or eating meals alone, but we’re smart, educated women. You and I are in the same boat. It may never happen for you, but so what? You’ll be just fine.”

I think I gagged a little when she said that. I didn’t want to be in the same boat with her. Her boat was leaky and lonely. She only had one broke-down oar to paddle with. The sails wouldn’t. . . sail (If you haven’t noticed, I know nothing about boats, ships, and/or sailing.).  I wanted her to tell me that I was on a jet ski racing off to the Island of Eligible Bachelors, not that I’d be “just fine” when and if I ended up like her. I’m pretty sure I cried after receiving my relative’s declaration. Those tears must have tasted particularly bitter because so far, my life is most like hers than anyone else in the family. The possibility of my being over 60 and still alone is creeping near; my relative is holding out her hand to me while I stand unsure and scared on the dock, ready to help me sail off into a lonely sunset.

Most recently, an old friend repeatedly mentioned that she and I were in the same boat. My old friend does not date and makes no effort to. In fact, she is contemplating swearing off any attempts at or offers of romantic relationships for the foreseeable future. My old friend isn’t one to talk about s-e-x, but I assume that if she did, she’d mention that she’d be just fine with never having it again. Ever. With anyone. Ever again. Forever. Yikes.

When she told me that she and I were in the same boat, at first I chuckled. Yeah, poor us. So unlucky in love. She’s the only person I know that is my age and knows what it’s like to go more than a decade without knowing the gentle touch of a man. It’s been years since she’s even been on a date. I yukked it up with her. Hell yeah we’re in the same boat! But the more she said it, the less funny it became. Did I really want to be in the same boat with someone who has given up on love? My old friend has plenty of justifiable reasons for her decision to swear off the opposite sex, but still. To not even try? And wait a minute. I’ve been trying. I’ve done online dating, I’ve gone speed dating, I’ve tolerated mediocre dates with men I wish I could forget. I’ve embarrassed myself by asking for sex because TV and well-meaning friends tricked me into thinking I’d get a ‘yes’ if I did. I can’t show my face in my local YMCA because I’ve tried (It’s not what you think, I swear!) so hard!

It’s not fair to be shoved into a boat where the captain (Skipper? Admiral? I don’t know.) has given up. The boat hasn’t even capsized, it’s just aimlessly meandering around and around, like a bathtub toy circling the drain. I understand that my old friend doesn’t want to halfheartedly row her ass to nowhere by herself, but that’s like telling a kid who studied for a test and failed that he’s just like the kid that didn’t even crack open the book. “I don’t know that shit. And you did just as bad as me.”

Maybe to some people I deserve my place in that boat next to my friend. I found myself having yet another bitch fest about my loneliness and frustration with Dick and Jane over dinner and I couldn’t shake the feeling that Dick was annoyed or bored or disgusted with me and what he perceives as my lack of effort. When I told them that a dating guide I’d stumbled across online read that women ought not rule out the bar scene after all, Dick asked me when I was going bar hopping. I stumbled and stuttered as I told him that I was afraid to go alone; I’ve seen way too many episodes of “Law and Order: SVU” to be okay with that. He rolled his eyes and muttered something about my making excuses. He found my outrage at being an unwilling passenger on the SS Pusty Dussy humorous, maybe because to him it’s exactly where I belong.

I like the water, but I’ve always been wary of boat rides, probably because that first one ended so well. I don’t want this post to seem as though I am claiming to be better than my never-married relative or my old friend who has (Temporarily, please let it be temporarily!) given up on love. I’m not. I know that I’m not. But what I do know is that I want to keep trying to swim to shore on my own. I’m not resigned to either fate; neither boat can take me where it is I so badly want to go. I’m going to keep floating alongside lots of different boats, waving at the people on board while I try to keep my goggles from fogging up. Could I try to swim harder? Of course I can. And I probably will.

But be patient with me. Just by being in the water at all I’m bucking a stereotype.