What’s Your Number

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How many relationships have you been in? How many sex partners have you had? How many bad dates? How many good dates? How many people have you dumped? How many have dumped you?

Dating in my 30’s has me constantly counting. What’s the magic number? How many days, months do you date someone before it is acceptable to fall in love? How soon do you know they aren’t for you? As early as that first ‘hello’, I knew that he wasn’t the one. On tinder. Okay, I know what you’re thinking– ‘It’s tinder, Steph. Did you really think you were going to find a true blue, perfect match on tinder????’ My optimistic and sunny disposition told myself it was possible. That was a lie I told myself.

In my 20’s, I was much more resilient and jumped head first into everything. If it didn’t work out, I hardly noticed because I was already onto the next thing. In my 30’s, I feel more analytical and it slows me down. And trying to find a good long term partner is really fucking difficult when you think about every little thing. Are they into me? I am into them? Am I stringing them along until I find something better? Is there something better? Is my excitement and giddiness a turn off? I will be the first to admit that I am not for everyone. I guarantee I annoy myself more than I annoy you. I’m loud, and jumpy (literally), and say whatever comes to mind. I dwell on more moments where I said stupid shit than when I’ve done stupid shit. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I digress.

I am 2+ years out of my last long term relationship and I’ve had a few short term relationship, a few REALLY short relations(hips?), and one that was exclusive for 9 months. But now I’m ready to find my next long term partner. Where do I find this person? Will they be a friend of a friend? Someone I met at a bar (unlikely, let’s be real)? Someone I met through a dating app?

Nearly all of my romantic relationships in the last 2 years have been through dating apps. There has been some success. Obviously not total success since here I am writing about trying to find a mate. I’m nearly ready to offer myself in a trade where my parents gain three cows and a goat so I don’t have to actually go through the ups and downs of finding a suitable person to tolerate for a good number of years.

Why can’t finding a partner be as easy as finding a pet. You pick out a few that you think are cute. You pet each one and make cute noises at them. Depending on how they respond, you take one home. And they are yours. For life. Unless you’re one of those people who ‘just doesn’t feel like having a pet anymore’. Which is basically divorce in the pet adoption world. Or they die, in which case that would make you a widow. A pet widow.

I may have gotten off topic… My point? (Do I even have one?) Being an adult — an independent grown ass adult — is really awesome and fun OR really obnoxious and exhausting. I still talk myself out of eating candy for breakfast. And dinner. And not even successfully. The best outcome I can hope for is that I eat cereal instead of candy. I’m not even reaching for the stars with steak and eggs. Where is my cereal of men? Maybe he doesn’t have everything I need for a nutritionally healthy relationship but he has some stuff that I require. And that’s good enough.

Right now

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I am happy right now.

This time last year, I have stepped out of my comfort zone, and went to meetups, and parties, and events that I was super hesitant to go to. I wasn’t sure if I was wanted there, or invited out of pitty, or what. But once I got my ass there, I met amazing people.

Those people have been unbelievably supportive, and kind, and funny, and awesome to be around. These people have changed my life.

This past year, I have made and maintained beautiful relationships that will last a long time. These people have made my life so happy.

I feel incredibly happy right now.

But also – Henry is snuggling the shit out me as I write this, and that also makes me happy x 10.

The Future

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I don’t know if it was turning 30, or feeling amazingly independent for the first time, in a long time – but all I think about is the future.

I would really like to skip to 5 years from now:
I’ll finally be graduated from college (yes, I’ll be 35 when I graduate) and getting a job in my field, I’ll be selling my condo that I’m just now buying (fingers crossed there are no hiccups between now and closing), and be married.

Age 35 will be the best year. But I have a lot of work to do between now then. A lot of homework. A lot of upgrades to my condo. A lot of learning to be a great partner.

Full steam ahead!

Love means nothing

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Okay, it doesn’t mean nothing. It just doesn’t mean as much as you think it means.

I thought- if I loved someone more than I’ve ever loved anyone before, then that person was going to be my person forever. I thought if I showed that person how much I love them, with my whole heart, and I loved nothing more, then that person would be my person forever. I thought if I told that person how much I loved them, more than anyone I have ever loved before, and more than I could ever love anyone again, then that person would be my person forever.

That is not the case. Love doesn’t work like that. And learning this, almost killed me. And I don’t say that to be dramatic, or figuratively or metaphorically. I mean that I thought I could have killed myself. I don’t say this lightly. But I say it because that was my mental state at the time.

When I started wake up and finally start to get my head out of that dark place, I realized I had no idea how love worked. Or didn’t work.

This past year I have read every article I’ve come across about love, relationships, marriage. When I realized I wasn’t educated in love or marriage at all, I wanted to soak up all the knowledge I could. I listened to hours, hours, hours of podcasts. Spent several days consuming advice written by relationship therapists.

(As a side, this may sound compulsive but that was my own personal reaction to having had everything I knew and loved taken away from me without my control.)

What I learned is – marriage has nothing to do with love. It has everything to do with kindness, generosity, being selfless, treating that other person better than you treat yourself.

I think people automatically want to think that marriage has to do with trust and respect and not cheating. But those are simply by-products of the above, in my opinion.

I wish I knew this then, but I’m grateful that I am learning this now. And will continue to learn. I have done so much to better myself as a single, independent individual and to hopefully be the best partner I can be in the future.

I want to be called out if I’m being a dick. I want someone to shake me and tell me I’m being silly. I want someone to make me laugh instead of cry. I want someone who can guide me and educate me and go on adventures with and someone who will fall in love with me.

Okay so there’s got to be love in there somewhere. But there’s gotta be so much more.

I’m not living the life I’ve written about in the past. I have a different life now, and, while I feel nostalgic to those memories, I am determined to lead a better life and be in a healthier relationship in the future.