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Jewish Journal

Dating 101: Scrambling for Position

by Ilana Angel

November 8, 2013 | 7:32 am

Part of what makes dating so hard is that you never know if what someone new tells you is true. You never know if someone you’ve known forever is telling the truth, so the expectation someone new will, is a leap of faith.  It is not enough to just be attracted to someone. There has got to be a connection that involves a melding of lives.  At least for me there does.

I am not interested in a sexual relationship that does not involve relations outside of sex. If I am going to be completely honest, which I always am, I am lonely. I like being alone, and have a full life, but when it comes to having a man in my life I have been lonely. It is not about sex, it is about life. I want to have a witness to my life and the search is exhausting.

I am realistic about love.  Hopefully romantic to be sure, but still realistic. I believe love can be found and am certain I will find it, yet struggle most days to keep looking.  It’s not just exhausting to look for him, but is equally as tiring to keep yourself available for him to find you. When I meet someone who touches my heart I jump in without reservation.

People say things when they are beginning relationships that may be more about putting their best foot forward as opposed to complete honesty. It is not done out of malice, but out of a need to be accepted and respected.  I am unusual in that I am honest, open, and unafraid to communicate from the very beginning. I don’t want the confusion of dishonesty.

I am not good at guessing what someone is thinking. Assumptions are a relationship killer so I try to not assume, but if I am unclear on what someone is thinking or feeling, assumptions become required in order to calm my mind. I will be patient because the person I care about is worth it. I will not be stupid however, because I am worth it.  It is hard.

When you date at this age it is not about coming in 1st place. We have lived entire lives already so a person’s kids will come first. We are all working and supporting families, knowing we are getting older and will not work forever, so work comes in 2nd.  With busy schedules, work, and kids, extended family comes in 3rd.  If you’re lucky you get 4th place.

The good thing about 4th place is you can see the finish line and know you will make it there. You will eventually merge with 1, 2, and 3, and there will be room for all of you on the podium. It takes a conscious decision to prioritize a relationship within an already full life. It is made more difficult if you are not used to having a partner in your life.

I will happily settle into 4th place because I know it is a steppingstone. A man in my life will begin in 3rd place because my son is my only family here, with everyone else in Canada.  It is hard for me to be far from them, but the man in my life gets to skip 4th place, which is a nice thing. You see the finish line from 4th place, but it is hard to detect it from 5th place.

When the person you are dating chooses to make 4th place for everything else in his life, then assigns you 5th place, it hurts your feelings and makes you feel unworthy. Rather than striving for the finish line, you are faced with the decision of just throwing in the towel. In 4th place there is hope to medal, but it’s a long shot for 5th place, so why bother?

The frustrating thing about dating is you can’t assign yourself a position. Even if you are willing to come in 4th, which most women are not, you have to wait and see where you are placed. When you receive placement, you can decide whether you want to keep racing or give up and move to another race. For some they give up all together and just stop racing.

My son knows that no matter what my job, or who I date, he is in 1st place.  Kids should always know the feeling of getting gold in their family.  Work and family will always battle for their posiiton, trading 2nd and 3rd place often.  Assinging 4th position to someone new is a big deal and requires you to not only see their value, but know you are worthy of joy.

I am not sure if it is insecurity, loneliness, history, or simply the need to have clarity, but I am not able to settle into 5th place. I want to be with someone who considers me a priority not an option. I have met a truly remarkable man. He is funny, kind, smart, and sexy. He makes me want to be brave and gives me clarity on my blessings, but he has no open positions.

One can be hopeful about getting a better placement, but waiting allows stress and drama to creep in. I wish it were easier but I cannot be any clearer. I will be sad if this ends, and so I hope. Hope he wants to find a place for me. Seeing the finish line gives one hope, but sometimes hope comes when you simply hear someone cheering you on.

Dating is hard and the truth is that position matters. I am willing to be in 4th place because I believe kids come first, appreciate the pressures of work, and long for my son and me to be a part of a family larger than just the two of us. I will never accept 5th place however. Loneliness is hard but if we value ourselves and find our position, we can keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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