Earlier this week, I was talking about dating with a male friend of mine (porn-star name: Easy Walnut) when he said to me: "Everybody is ready for a serious relationship if the right person comes along."
I can't tell you how infuriating I think this logic is.
There are a lot of us — not only men but women, my younger self totally included — who wouldn't be able to get into a relationship with the most perfect person in the world, if he came along, because we're just too screwed up.
For years and years, if you'd asked me, I would've told you I was perfectly ready to be in a serious relationship — that I was, in fact, dying to be in one, but I just couldn't find the right person! Because the guys who were seriously interested in me quickly came to bore me or appall me (even if I'd really liked them a lot early on). I was always more interested in the guys who didn't show much interest in me, or treated me badly. And I would figure the reason why the guys I really liked never liked me back was because I sucked.
But that whole thing — where you tell yourself no one you ever like really likes you — is actually a form of self-loathing.
Trust me. I know.
Back in those days, I desperately wished I could have the power to make anyone like me. I thought if I could only win the approval of some very aloof dude, it would prove that I was worthwhile. Attractive. Cool. Lovable! And whenever I couldn't win the approval of some dude with his nose in the air (which happened a lot), it seemed like more proof that I sucked.... Vicious cycle.
Constantly trying to get the attention of people who don't want to give you attention is a good way to prevent yourself from being in a relationship.
Telling yourself you must spend every waking moment working on self-improvement is another good way to avoid being in a relationship. I was constantly telling myself that if only I worked harder — wrote more, read more books, made more money, worked out more — I might eventually gain the power to make myself LOVABLE.
Did I understand all of this stuff at the time? Not at all. At the time, I truly believed I wanted to be in a relationship — AND THAT ALL I NEEDED TO DO WAS FIND THE RIGHT STUPID PERSON.
Now, finally, I'm kinda feeling more ready to (a) accept myself, (b) like someone who likes me back, and (c) sacrifice some personal time for a relationship.
But I'll be honest: It seems really scary to get attached to someone who could dump me eventually, after a year, or five, or eight. And that fear — that I will just never be lovable enough for someone awesome to love for a long time — is probably what started this whole commitment-phobia thing in the first place.
So ... I really don't think people magically become ready for a relationship, if they're not already ready, just because the right person comes along.
What I do think happens is that a lot of men and women who are ready but are in a relationship with the wrong person will say, "Sorry, I'm just not ready to be in a serious relationship," — when the truth is, they're just with the wrong person but they're too cowardly to admit it.