Today I want to rant and vent about something that’s been bothering me and it is entirely unrelated to food. Please feel free to come back tomorrow for my regular programming that is a whole lot sweeter. I promise the navel gazing stops after this post.
Since my return to singledom in February, I’ve been trying to figure out what went wrong. It’s not the dissolution of one romantic relationship that has me baffled. There are actually a handful of them that mystify me to this day. So I ask the question that many single people inevitably wonder: what’s the matter with me that I cannot sustain any long term romantic relationships?
It’s not for the lack of trying. I went into every relationship with sincerity, respect, and maturity. I did everything to be the best girlfriend that I can be. I packed away jealousy and insecurity. I keep improving myself to make sure that I am an attractive, intelligent, and interesting companion who has a lot to contribute to the relationship. I strive to be friend, lover, and partner. Spontaneous adventures, fancy night out on the town, relaxing night in with scrumptious homemade dinner, outdoor experiences with friendly competition, exploring new places and novel experiences, I master them all and can make them into lasting memories. I celebrate your achievements and I listen when you’re down. But as all the exes showed me again and again, my best was not good enough. I’m stumped. What else do I need to do?
Last night it occurred to me that I’ve been asking the wrong question. What I need to figure out are things that I should stop doing.
I replayed years of memories and tried to see patterns. During my drive home last night, a pattern emerged. Before every break up was a solo vacation abroad. I am accustomed to the idea of traveling on my own for my entire adult life. It did not occur to me that it is unusual, especially for a romantically involved individual, to spend a week or two in a foreign country for the fun of it. It’s not like I always exclude a romantic partner from my travel adventures! I don’t see why the two cannot coexist.
That is my perspective. How does it look from the other side of the fence? How would a person feel when his significant other dash off to another time zone and enjoy every minute of it without him? Men say they like independent women but is this too much independence to be acceptable? Did I inadvertently say I’m fine without you? Does it mean weekend trip with the girls is cool but week long solo sojourn is not? The fact that I do not see it as strange or even a problem…is a problem in itself?
I cannot read minds so obviously I am blind guessing at best here. All I can say is I am totally okay when the table is turned.
I grow up in a generation that prize independence. Between my parents, my peers, the media, and society, the message is clear. Needy women are not attractive. You do not need a romantic partner in your life. You should be an autonomous individual who does not require another person to complete you. You find happiness from within. These ideas are ingrained in the way I live. I am a good companion exactly because I can be a lot of fun on my own. Does it make me too independent to be romantically fit?
I do not see it this way. I can handle life crisis on my own but it is easier when there is someone beside me. I can find joy by myself but I smile a little broader when there is someone to share. I believe in romance because two people together is better than one. It is not a co-dependent existence. Together, we make each other into better and stronger individuals.
Alright, that’s enough self-indulgence for a while. Tomorrow I will write more about chocolate.
In case you’re wondering what’s the deal with these photos, they are all self portraits I took over the years. During solo outings, of course.