Thursday, August 25, 2005

when i pray for rain... it pours

A few weeks there were rather difficult for me. I was beginning to feel that old troubles were returning, and I made up my mind to fight them with all I had.

I have the problem of being a timid, introverted perfectionist who has the need for reassurance. The combination of all these characteristics has led to some hard-to-handle times in my life. During those times when I most need the help of friends, I find myself too timid to ask for help, ashamed of the fact that I am not perfect and in need of help, and withdrawing further and further into myself because, as an introvert, I automatically tend to withdraw when I'm upset.

Last month as I struggled with the stresses of unrequited infatuation and near-certain homelessness, I found that many of the friends I would relate such trials to were unavailable. They had found other things to occupy their time and thoughts, or they were out of town, or I discovered that they were moving away soon, and I did not want to rely on them too much just before they left. I knew, however, that I needed the company of others to keep me from withdrawing into myself too much. I decided that I would use what was left of my summer to expand my horizons and to meet new people. And might I meet an eligable bachelor in the process? Well, it certainly couldn't hurt to try...

So I set out to meet people in the two ways I knew best - on the internet and at Church. After all, a good friend of mine met her husband on an online dating service - wasn't it possible that I needed to do the same? I then found a nearby parish that had a young adults' group and started going to that.

My first date, then, with someone I met online, wasn't too much of a surprise for me (I mean the fact that it happened). The second date, however, was a complete surprise. I went to the young adults' group and had dinner with everyone afterward and somehow ended up with a date for the next weekend. It was definitely a unique experience - first of all, that someone seemingly normal would ask me out just after meeting me - things like that just don't happen to me. I'm almost ashamed to say that my first thought was, "I wonder what's wrong with him." I also found it rather amusing that he drives a Lexus... and perhaps more amusing that I found this a bit of a turn-off. In fact, he came to pick me up in a Lexus SUV that he had while his car was in for repair, and I don't think I've ever felt more out of place in a car. Maybe my sister was right - maybe I am more of a hippie than I'm willing to admit.

Well, many email conversations and two dates later, I've decided I've had enough, and I'm reminded once again of why I don't date... It's not that there was anything wrong with the guys I went out with, it's just that once again I find myself confused about the purpose of dating. The way I see it, there are two possible reasons for such odd behavior. One, you are already friends with someone and are hoping for more, or two, there is someone you do not know who you would like to get to know better. This second possibility, however, often proves problematic for me. After all, what makes this different from just hanging out with someone? It puts on pressures and expectations that simply don't need to be there and, what I find to be worse, It tends to encourage growth of a "relationship" before the growth of a friendship. Perhaps my problem with this is personal rather than philosophical. This just isn't the way I tend to work. Yes, I may be attracted from the beginning, but just because a sexual attraction is there, that doesn't mean that it needs to be acted on immediately. I need a long time to develop a friendship, and I need to be friends before moving a relationship into other dimensions.

So what am I missing here? I certainly don't have a lot of dating experience, far from it, and from the outside looking in, it has always seemed wonderful, but from the inside, it is a completely different story. It seems contrived, a way of trying to force relationships to be what they are not.

Part of me seems to be saying that I should keep going, keep searching for "the one" in this, the way that the rest of the US has deemed best. But if this unrest, this dissatisfaction has shown me anything, it has reminded me that God's priorities for my life are probably elsewhere, and I should be focused on those priorities, not on my own.

So I discontinue my membership with the online dating service, and I try to be as truthful as possible with the Lexus Guy. I return to my state of singleness not with a reluctant acceptance, but with a renewed enthusiasm, knowing that what God has for me is perfect, regardless of whether I understand it.

After all, as George Michael says, "Oh baby I reconsider my foolish notion. Well I need someone to hold me, but I'll wait for something more, 'cause I gotta have faith, ooh, I gotta have faith."


Anonymous said...

" After all, what makes this different from just hanging out with someone? It puts on pressures and expectations that simply don't need to be there and, what I find to be worse, It tends to encourage growth of a "relationship" before the growth of a friendship."

The key is to appreciate without trying to own that person. Unfortunately, few could resist the temptation in a world touting ownership, isn't it? But I think later you have rediscovered that you already own God and His plan for you, and that you are contented with that (enormous)ownership.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't want to sound like touting abstinence, as that's absurd. In addition, I also think we need to heed the reproductive pressure - part of our natural creative urge. (I don't think God meant you a nun.) Except that there's no hurry at it. Anyhow, don't be afraid of your internal unrest. Unrest is what makes life. Bring it on.

~Penny said...

You're not alone. Sorry for having to move away from Sutherland rd. But Coolidge corner is not far away. Give me a call whenever you want to talk. I'd be very happy to talk with you, even when I am busy with something. That is what a friend will do.