Men want activity partners. I have never, in fifteen years of dating, been asked or expected to be anyone's activity partner. I have been invited to baseball games and weddings, only to have those invitations reneged and the relationships fall through. I have acted in ways I found appropriate, and maybe they are, just not for every relationship I have been in. Maybe I am using the word "relationship" loosely. Needless to say, no man has ever been crazy about me. My last relationship ended with a bouquet of flowers that thrived for days after the relationship's end. Now I have a child and I can't be anyone's activity partner even if I want to go out and do things. No one has asked me out to do things. No one has ever asked me out to do things with any seriousness. It stinks.
My parents and grandparents always discouraged me from ever being a professional woman or a woman with a husband and a child. I clung to these limiting beliefs even when I found myself free from hearing them after my maternal grandmother died. I never found a real career or work I loved. I always found more makeup and pretty dresses and men who didn't truly value my efforts. Maybe I didn't value myself. Now I am all alone with a child and these pretty dresses I can't wear anywhere. I am stuck on a guy who has moved on with a woman he is crazy about taking out and being social with. I feel I should be that girl. Maybe I would be had I grown up years ago (and maybe had he. It works both ways.). I am also watching in awe as the younger woman next door enjoys her new home in the way I had once envisioned enjoying mine. I don't see anyone outwardly objecting to her success as they did mine. I hear belly laughs coming from their frequent afternoon parties. What I would give to have an afternoon party where I am happy and my guests are happy!
My maternal grandfather always joked (Ha!) that I couldn't start dating until I turned thirty-six. I am turning thirty-eight in July and I have never really dated anyone. I have been involved with men I have never actually dated. Even my last entanglement stemmed from a year long friendship. Unfortunately, we never got to go anywhere or do anything because I would have needed a sitter and he would have needed to actually like me enough to value me and the relationship. My love life isn't working. I am a single mom of one willful child and two adult cats. I want so much more fulfillment in addition to this. I want a love life (and a marriage and more children) and a rewarding professional life. I know my family couldn't support me in these ways. They probably thought I wouldn't want this life had they lived forever to tell me no. Instead, I let them tell me no in my own mind for many, many years.