Romance: The Ultimate Fantasy

I am afraid of dating and romance. I am hiding myself away for fear of experiencing more hurt. I trust myself to heal from emotional pain. I’ve done it to varying degrees dozens of times. The difference now, and the thing that’s bothering me, is this: I don’t want to.

The only possible outcome of dating I can envision is intense emotional pain.

I don’t want to feel all that pain again, and I cannot envision any other possible consequence of dating. And this, I think, is what is bothering me the most.

As hard as I try I can’t picture dating bringing happiness or joy. My brain can only imagine disappointment. Judgment. Criticism. Condescension. Or, if the person is someone who treats me well and who I enjoy… Rejection.

Today is the annual event that my friends and I consider the kickoff to the holiday season. I am excited and know it will be a lovely time. And yet, same as every year, I wonder if there will be any interesting men there with whom I might strike up a conversation. I mean, there never are. It’s always couples or groups of folks far below my desired age range. But I always wonder and, on some level, hope.

Mostly, though, what is on my mind is the stark contrast to my headspace at this time last year. Oh, how different my headspace was. I was about to start dating. I was excited. I was going to have fun with it and take nothing seriously. I was going to explore romance without expectations.

I successfully did it for a bit, and it was lovely. Then I hit a wall, bounced off it, and hit the ground hard. It hurt. And then I kept running headlong into that wall for months, continuously hurting myself, over and over again.

It’s good I am taking time off from dating to reassess and regroup.

The issue is that I feel closed off and pessimistic about love.

This is not me, not who I’ve been in the past. I’ve always believed in love and romance and felt they were possible for me.

My desire for romance still exists, but it contradicts my belief that I’ll never experience it.

I am in conflict. I want romance and long for it, but in the same way that I wish I had magical powers or small woodland creatures who will clean my house.

It would be amazing to have but I don’t actually believe it possible.

Any happiness that is in store for me will be of my own making, not in any way dependent on others, and certainly will not have anything to do with romance.

The question then becomes, what do I want out of life and how do I achieve it? Or, on a lesser scale, when I think about things that may bring me joy over the next year or two, what steps can I take now to help me achieve them?

Those are the things I can focus on and channel my energy towards. Things like getting healthier. Controlling my finances better. Decorating my home. Planning travel.

Are these distractions? Are they a substitute for romance? Is romance what I really wish I had, and are these other things simply a way of attempting to console myself for what I feel is a void in my existence?

I don’t know.

Featured Photo by Shane Kell from Pexels

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