“The pain that comes today, is here, then goes away” –from the song “More than Life” by the musical artist Whitley
I have been on the dating scene for the past two years and it has been a roller coaster of emotions: exhilarating, fun, exciting, gut-wrenching, neurotic, hurtful and confusing. A mixed bag of good, bad, and mediocre. After having been in a tumultuous six-year relationship, I gave myself about a year of the single life and then, while dressed up as Freddy Krueger at a bar one balmy Friday the 13th, someone hit on me. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at dating again. I had wanted to give myself a lot of time to heal from my last relationship, but on that balmy evening when the young man came up to me to flirt, it was the first time since my break up that I felt the “butterflies-in-the-stomach” feeling again.
Nothing came out of that situation, other than one date and the realization that I was still a vulnerable open wound, the first layer of my emotional skin just barely having scabbed up. I gave myself credit for trying and pushed the thought of dating onto the back burner again, focusing now on a new project: planning a four-week trip to Southeast Asia. It was senseless to start anything new when I would be leaving for half the summer, I figured. If something came up I would be open to it, but my main focus was to travel.
My travels were invigorating and I met a lot of new friends along the way, this was the experience of a lifetime traveling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for four weeks. When I arrived back in Oregon in early August, reality hit me like a ton of bricks and it was time to hunker down and find a job. Dating was low on my priority list over the next two months. Halfway through the job hunt, I met a handsome Brit and the two of us engaged in a weekend fling. He flew back to London the following morning, leaving me feeling used, but I realized that it takes two to tango, so I had to take some of the blame.
After finally landing a great job and working a few months at it, I found myself going out to more and more social events. I figured that traveling the world was here and gone, and having landed a steady job, the time seemed to be right to start dating again. At all the social events I was attending, I figured I would easily find a partner. Months went by and I never felt a spark with anyone, or if I did I would later find out the potential suitor was engaged or in a serious relationship.
The next logical step? Online dating. As Augusten Burroughs once stated, “Don’t try a new venue–like online dating–thinking you’ll meet “better” people; try a new venue because you’ll meet more people. It’s like with diamonds. It can take more than two hundred tons of ore to yield one high-quality diamond. Nobody is obsessing over all this ore; they are focused on that diamond.” There is a definite stigma to online dating, but in this modern era, it feels only natural to meet potential partners this way.
In the last year and a half, I have met a handful of people via online dating. One of them became pretty serious, an on-and-off again year-long affair until it hit me that it was only serious to one of us in this two-party fiasco, he was still seeing others from the online dating world. The rejection from that one hurt bad, really bad (lost 12 pounds within one season bad). So I took another break, three months of the single life, and felt well enough to open an account with another dating site.
I fell into the exact same trap as before: I met someone, fell for him and got the biggest rejection of my life: the kind that makes you feel like you’ve been punched hard in the gut. The kind that brings you to your knees. The kind of rejection that makes you feel as if you have fallen down a well and gives you the feeling that there is no hope for light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, as I write this my gut is still twisting and turning with hurt and anger.
But then, the rejection can also be beautiful…because I know that it is temporary and it’s a lesson. There is always a lesson from the hurt, every time. There is also a passion that comes from the hurt: a passion of falling in love with myself again. Every single time I have gotten hurt, I get through it because life goes on. Look at all this life around me: the kid at the beach who is putting a chunk of sand in his mom’s purse and getting yelled at by her, the two puppies that ran over to me as I was sun tanning on my beach towel, licking my hands and climbing all over me, my friends and family reaching out more to me and letting me know that I am loved.
The anger from hurt and rejection can be difficult to deal with, but every time it brings me back to myself. It reminds me that I still have a lot of work to do. Judging by the kind of men to whom I have been attracted to lately, it seems that there is a lot of stuff from my past which I still need to deal with. I get angry towards them, but if I really loved myself I wouldn’t be attracting these kinds of men into my life in the first place. In dealing with the anger, the following Acceptance and Forgiveness Meditation has helped me a lot. It’s from the book by Judee Gee, Intuition: Awakening Your Inner Guide.
Acceptance and Forgiveness Meditation
(Recommended time: 20 to 30 minutes)
–Breathe, center, and bring yourself into your heart. Be present with yourself, and available for this exercise of healing.
–Imagine someone with whom you have had a problem and, because of this problem, you suffer in your heart. Call the person and imagine he or she comes into your sphere and sits down, facing you. Stay in your heart and express to this person the things you need to say…”What I need to say to you, that I couldn’t/wouldn’t is…” and unload your heart of all the unsaid things.
–Imagine the other, open and available to listen to you, simply listening, accepting what you say. Feel your heart opening, letting go…Allow the emotion, the feeling, to flow. When you feel ready, say to the other, “I accept you as you are,” or “Please accept me as I am” or “I accept myself as I am.”
–Be in the atmosphere of acceptance and be aware of how it feels to accept in your heart. If you wish to explore forgiveness, imagine yourself in front of the other and say “I forgive you,” or “I forgive myself,” or ask for forgiveness: “Please forgive me.” Feel the atmosphere of forgiveness and allow this quality of energy to open your heart, to clean your heart, and heal the wounds of the past, freeing you to breathe and to feel the deepness of your heart, open, available to live and to love.
Repeat this meditation for as many people as needed, as often as you like. This meditation can also be done as a letter-writing exercise.