Sunday Edition #6: My Column in Yellow
I am turning 39 in a few days and have only dated 3 people in my life. I haven't ever really liked any of the guys I've dated and can honestly say I've never been in love. I'm feeling a little hopeless as I get older. For the most part, I'm very happy being single. Being in a relationship has never been comfortable for me. But still, I'd like a meaningful relationship. Part of the problem is that I'm introverted -- but far from shy. I am confident and will talk to anyone. I know I have a ton to offer -- I'm talented and fun -- so that's not my issue. The issue is that I prefer to spend time alone and don't hang out for hours in groups and crowds of people. I guess my question is a general one. Given all of that above, what are your thoughts on someone like me finally finding someone I want to spend time with?
First things first… Happy Birthday!!!
Okay, now let’s get into it.
Your story is a familiar one for many people, including myself. Often, I too feel hopelessness about meeting someone who matches me. It seems near impossible to fathom that two people can cross paths, catch each other’s attention, all the while be in a healthy emotional place to support a relationship. Maybe it’s the cheesy teen romance movie I just watched (guilty pleasure of mine), influencing my answer but I do believe it can and will happen.
It is easy to point the finger at introvertism as the reason why the other side of your bed is empty, but I would like to challenge this rationale and point out a different hypothesis.
It is a struggle with connection.
Without connection, a relationship is nothing more than a superficial acquaintance -- which is exactly what drains energy from introverts. You might think that because you spend everyday (and even sleep in the same bed), with someone, a connection exists. That isn’t always the case.
To connect with someone you need to be emotionally open and available to them. I always describe it as a softness. A sigh out with a long breath in. There is a feeling of trust and you don’t mask who you truly are. Both experience a sense of being understood and heard. Everything is out on the table. Connection grows from a mutual vulnerability.
“Here I am. You can have all of me.”
No one can walk into your life if the entry door is closed. Commit to doing the work to keep the door open so you remain vulnerable to new possibility. Your mindset creates your reality so don’t let the hopelessness win over you. Change the conversation from “I’m too introverted to meet someone”, into “My introverted nature causes me to think deeply and also makes me mysterious, which is insanely sexy.” Also, make space in your life for someone. This can mean keeping your home clean so you aren’t embarrassed to invite someone to come over or leaving room in your schedule to go on dates.
Meeting people doesn’t mean you need to throw yourself constantly into situations that make your introverted self feel overwhelmed, but it does mean you need to challenge yourself to try different ways to be out in the world in a receptive manner. Slight changes can make a huge difference like walking without headphones, putting your phone away at the coffee shop so you can make eye contact with people or saying “yes” when the guy working at Maison Kayser asks you out.
I want to take a moment and say how great of an accomplishment it is that you are happy being single and already know how much you have to offer. Confidence about who you are is sexy and magnetic to those around you. Many of the relationships out there we see and covet as outsiders are built on the fear of being alone and the fear of not being good enough to find someone else. You have the foundation of "Self Love" that is necessary to support a meaningful relationship. Once you meet the person you feel a deep connection with, you will want them to stay in your life rather than need them to stay.
And from this deep connection, Love will follow.
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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.