I've never really been one to make a New Years resolution. I've always figured that if the need arose to join Weight Watchers, I'd try to get in there early so that by the time the January rush rolled in, I'd be the success story. "Just look at her now!" I'd be on the pamphlets.
That's sort of my approach to addressing most things that aren't exactly perfect about me. Most centrally, the fact that I am not in a relationship and would like to be. So for the past year rather than weight watching I have been trying my best to find true love. Only my search has been a two-steps-forward-one-step-back break dance. I figured that by this point I'd have stumbled head first into my J.Crew ad of love or at least not be waking up in strange beds with my hair matted to my face. No such luck. If you know me, though, you know that my search was probably doomed from the beginning, starting with the love business cards I created for myself and ending with getting fired from my three week stint as a date reporter.
"Let me ask you a legitimate question," my editor wrote after I'd emailed that I would rather sit at home and pick my cuticles than go out on a second date. "Are you excited about actually dating right now? Totally fine if you aren't, but I think it's something you seriously need to assess."
I'd been caught. Seriously, I don't know if I was ever that serious about any of it. I'm sure there were reasons: to do lists, pesky 2 AM "I really miss you text messages," and things about myself that I really wanted to be better. Also, I still had a twin bed. At the time, I didn't want to make room or even try. Well, I sort of tried...
I tried writing query letters to voodoo doctors, hoping that they could give me some of their juju. Sometimes I tried to go on normal dates with men who were normally interested in me. If anyone asked (or didn't) I regaled them with all the details of how hard I was trying. So if you were lucky enough to know me in the past year, you know how much I talked about myself and my love life. Never shut up about it. Everyone knew when I'd met someone, or stopped responding. Everybody knew when the sex was good, and when I wanted to hurl myself out of a car window.
Some of the guys gave me writing material, so I told myself it was worth it. There was the one who wrote me overly verbose, tequila-infused letters asking what it was that I wanted. There was the one whom I'd slept with one summer who I had the good fortune of running into on a Martha's Vineyard bound ferry, while vomiting into a bag. He and his girlfriend were wearing matching Sea Bands. There was the one who invited me on a top secret Valentine's Day date because I was the tragic single girl and thus couldn't be taken on a real Valentine's Day date that his friends might find out about. There was the one I always went back to. Always. There was the one who arrived with his own stories: model girlfriends, dinners with Mick Jagger, and yes, his marriage. They were always interesting. When it ended as every good story inevitably ends, I wasn't sad. I figured there would be another episode.
Until I was sad. It happened unexpectedly when one of my favorite stories nearly ran me over in an intersection driving home from the holidays with this real life girlfriend. I didn't expect to feel anything except annoyed that his dumb SUV was blocking the crosswalk. But when I arrived home that day, there were these gross tears. I shouldn't have even been upset: I'd told him he was boring and that I didn't want to date someone who ate chopped salads. But I was. Because for the first time it felt so much realer than how I had written it. He wasn't the heartbroken khaki suit who secretly still loved me but would be forced to settle for a life of boredom with someone who wasn't me. He had someone to take home for the holidays, while all I had were all my tales of love gone wrong.
It didn't click immediately -- what I'd been doing. I had to get drunk first, do a really nice walk of shame, and continue to talk about my love life for at least three more weeks. But after sitting in a sticky cab with a massive hangover and ripped tights, I think I got my resolution, so this year I've resolved to stop mutating my love life (or lack there of) into a fractured fairy tale. In fact, I think I will stop talking about it all together.
You're telling yourself that this is intuitive, right? Why has it taken me so long to learn not to kiss and tell? You've never believed you were the second coming of Carrie Bradshaw or Cinderella.
Lies. You totally have, even if you didn't take it quite as far as I did. You've posted photos to Facebook for the sole purpose of letting him know how freaking amazing you look, you've made your friends listen to you agonize over the subtext of his 'what are you doing' text message, and you've waited for the "Likes" to pop up when you change your status from single to in a relationship. It's cool, at least you didn't write a 1000 word essay about it.
But I think I've learned in the most mixed up way that love isn't just a really well written story. And most importantly, you don't really give it much of a chance when you turn everyone you meet into a potential Mr. Big.
So that it my resolution: shutting up. What's yours? How about to be more adventurous, to stop pretending or to give him (in spite of his oddities) a chance? I hope with all my heart that you give whatever changes you would like to make in the new year a fighting change. And I hope even more that when whatever you want this year arrives at your doorstep, you don't say a word about it. Just make room and let it in.
Are you making any relationship resolutions this year? Share them in the comments below.
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers. Learn more