To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance
– Oscar Wilde
In the realm of dating, if I’ve learnt anything it’s that every potential date you meet is different! Okay you can meet certain “types” for sure – nice guys, bad boys, players, introverts, extroverts, creative, tradies, suits or whatever. They are all individual humans though and no two are ever exactly alike. There may be a million reasons why you just don’t click when you meet a potential suitor…but I recently posed a question to a number of friends that really got them (and me!) thinking…
Could you date yourself?
The reason I ask is because as you know from last blog post “Relationship is not a dirty word”, I’ve really been thinking about my own readiness to be in a relationship. Not just any old relationship either, mind you. I mean a bona-fide, grown-up relationship with a guy who recognises my value and thinks I’m a little bit awesome.
When I started to think about my readiness for such a mind-blowing adventure I wondered if I could date myself.
It’s a huge question and one not easily answered. In asking myself this question I needed to try to cast an honest and watchful eye over myself whilst trying to remain objective, and not too critical. What I found fascinating is that most people I asked immediately thought of all their negative traits instead of their positives. Most said they wouldn’t date themselves!
I was trying to analyse myself as a potential date and that’s a bloody interesting concept!
It has taken me a very long time to feel really comfortable in my own skin. Hell, I’m 44 years old and the concept of loving myself is still fairly new.
I have learnt to look in the mirror and be comfortable with what I see. Sometimes I’m a little surprised that I’m actually in my 40’s but I think I’m holding my own okay on the age front. I can’t hold back progress. Yesterday I discovered with quite some horror that I had the first grey hair on my head! I ripped it out of course and then I jumped onto Google to see if it’s true that two will grow back in its place. (It’s apparently not true! Phew).
I think I have a vibrant outlook on life and I’m energetic. I drink a lot of water. That helps, right?
So I need to clarify here. Looks aren’t the big issue. The bigger question is – What could I bring to a relationship?
It was much tougher to analyse myself and then be prepared to put my findings out here into the universe! So I weighed up my pros and cons, and realised there was a third column for attributes that could be viewed as either good or bad depending on the circumstances…(for example I talk a lot. Sometimes it’s an asset, sometimes not!).
By this stage I realised this was hard work and poured myself a glass of wine!
When I found myself out in the dating arena again, I spent too much time worrying about all sorts of things. I worried about my weight (even though initially I had lost a lot of weight – The Marriage Breakup diet plan is not one I would recommend!), and then gained some back. I worried if my thighs were too heavy in my favourite jeans. I worried that no man was ever going to accept my stomach, left ravaged after three children. For the first time I worried about laugh lines and wrinkles which I hadn’t focused on before. I worried that maybe I wasn’t desirable enough, sexy enough, funny enough, smart enough…honestly, looking back I had the confidence completely knocked out of me!
So for the purposes of this blog post I put together my list of positives and negatives and doing so felt that I have quite a bit to bring to a relationship. Ah, but like all lists I then realised that it’s all a matter of perspective.
Sure I have some great stuff on my list. Honest, loyal, kind and considerate. Thoughtful, romantic, affectionate. Nurturing, creative, friendly and social. I’m open-minded and patient. I’m articulate and emotionally intelligent. I’ve loving and gentle. I’m independent, and confident. I’m accepting and I’m actually fun to be around. I’m faithful. I’m sensual. I’m positive and I smile a lot. I know my own worth and I won’t take someone else’s worth for granted. I’m a great mum and friend and I can turn any house into a home. I’m comfortable in my own skin enough to have accepted my stomach will never be flat again and that yes, I do have cellulite.
Now that all sounds fantastic (not the cellulite so much) but the reality is it is more logical to accept that what I perceive to be my best qualities won’t appeal to some people. In short, I’ve discovered that I have a lot to offer but of course I’m not going to be everyone’s cup of tea!
Assuming this to still be a useful exercise, I still needed to think about the hardest question of all. What am I looking for in a partner?
The simple answer would be the man whose values and attributes compliment mine. Honesty is the first thing on the wish list. He will offer me emotional security by being monogamous. He will work and take pride in what he does. I think intelligence is sexy. Book smart is nice, emotional intelligence even more so. He’s going to be passionate about his interests – whatever they may be – music, books, films, art. He’s thoughtful and he’ll treat me with respect. He will challenge me. He will be able to laugh, at life and at himself. He’ll make me laugh. He will respect my kids. He will make me blush. He will make my heart flutter when he looks at me. He will be curious about life. He will be calm when I’m busy, and vice versa. He will hug me when I am down, and allow me to support him when he needs it. He will laugh at me when I’m silly! He will like what he likes, even if I don’t and I will respect that.
Of course there will be chemistry. He will be honest and he’ll communicate. He will respect his fellow man (and woman). He’s tall, possibly because I’m not.
He will, I hope, occasionally hold my hand.
He will be brave enough to love me.
So here’s the thing. No, I couldn’t date myself!
I guess because although I value myself and quite like myself, I’d rather be dating someone who compliments me, not someone who is exactly like me. Yes, we will share some of the same qualities I’m sure, but sometimes it’s the differences that make it something special.
My relationship with myself has gotten much better with time, making it easier to share myself with someone else. Of course I’m nervous, but that’s normal and it means I’m human. Mostly though I know I’m worthy of being in a relationship.
I’m smiling at the thought. Now, that’s progress!