August Journaling Day 14: Dating

I’m not sure why the next few days of topics all ended up in order together, but they’re probably the four that I’m most nervous about writing about. Which on one hand is good because I want to face my fears and nerves and just be open and honest when I can. However as someone who isn’t all that private, a few of these topics are things I usually keep to myself or my close friend group. However part of this exercise I think is to be open, honest, and vulnerable, even on topics with which I might not be comfortable doing so fully or at all.

I’ve started and deleted this paragraph a couple of times now. I don’t think I want to just write about my dating history and how I got to this point in my life as a single person at age 42. But I think I want to write more about how I’m viewing dating now and going forward. No doubt my dating history has led me to where I am now and probably how I might feel about dating in the future. But I also feel like such a different person now than 2018/19 which was my last real relationship. I think a lot of my dating for much of my adult life has been in an unserious nature. I always gave priority to my career and dated with the thought that I was going to have to pick up and leave at any time for a new job opportunity. And a couple times it did happen where I left as I was dating someone and they generally just kind of ended right there and then.

I didn’t date at all really from 2015 to 2018 because of my anxiety issues. I had a long term relationship for much of 2018 and into 2019 until I left for Monmouth and Colonial to announce. Knowing I was going to be gone for six months and likely going to be gone a lot going forward, we decided to split up and just stay friends. Which we have done. There were other factors as well, but distance was kind of the last straw.

I figured with moving to Tampa and making that area “home” going forward that I would really try to actively date there when I got down there. My heart wasn’t really in it though for reasons I don’t want to write about here. I met some very nice people but no true matches. It became a bit discouraging just because i knew after May I’d be on the road for a while and it’s obviously hard to start something when you’re one place for a month, another for two months, etc. So right now I’m not really dating. Although, I really feel that I’m in a good place that if I do meet someone, I really want to do the work it takes to make it work. I know because of my situation with work I’ll always be apart from someone part of the year. And that’s a deal breaker I’ve found for a lot of people. But I feel like I know the work it takes to make long distance work, if and when it’s necessary. I’ve never dated anyone in racing just because I’ve always wanted to keep work and personal life separate. But that’s easy to say when nobody in racing has ever been interested in me haha. I do think I’m more open to that now just because it’s possible someone who works in racing will understand the lifestyle a little better.

One thing I don’t think I really did enough of in my earlier dating life was be open and really communicative. I think because of years of shame about my weight and mental health, I kept a lot of my pain and issues to myself. So even when I was with someone, I wasn’t being real about where I was either good or bad. I just wanted to always keep things kind of light and fun and stuff like that. When I was struggling I’d pull away without really talking to them about it until I just completely detached. I think all the work I’ve done in counseling and with my mental health will hopefully help me when I do find someone to pursue a relationship with. In a weird way I’m actually kind of excited to have those hard conversations with someone just because in my friendships I’ve found that level of communication to be both very connecting and very important.

So we’ll see what happens going forward. I’m open for what’s in store and I truly do hope to find love and make a special connection with someone. For so many years I was so hard on myself and often saw myself as unlovable. I used to always have the thought that I’m the kind of person someone settles for when they’re like 60 and realize they don’t want to be alone the rest of their life. I’ve worked hard to fight those thoughts because they aren’t true, even if I do sometimes want to wallow and believe they are. But mostly I believe that I can be a good partner and that I possess some good qualities as a person and partner. I’ve had good fortune to meet and date some amazing women in my life. I’m still friends with a few of them and they’re meaningful people in my life. Relationships and feelings are so complex and it’s amazing how they can change, grow, etc.

I think it’s easy to get down on dating when it’s not really happening or is frustrating. Or when you get your feelings hurt. I’m trying to stay optimistic and I am hopeful.