Going from a long-term relationship to being single again is an adjustment process. When you’re with the same person for a really long time and then suddenly you’re not, it’s like you have to re-learn how to be single. In my case, the last time I was single for an extended period of time was when I was in my early 20’s and as I’ve learned, being single as a 30-something is a completely different ball-game. I’ve been single for two years now, but there are still things I’m getting used to. From having feelings for people to being rejected, emotions and situations will present themselves, catching you off guard.
Recently I found out that a guy I was into is now dating someone. Really, it shouldn’t be that big a deal. Although this person and I have hooked up in the past, we never made any promises to each other and I knew in the back of my head that the likelihood of anything more happening between us was slim. I knew this was always a possibility, it’s just the news hit me harder than I expected. It left me with this sinking feeling in my stomach that I’ve had a hard time shaking. As a so-called bad-ass sex and relationship blogger I’m supposed to have thicker skin than this, so why do I feel so…well, uncomfortable?
I read an interesting post a while back by Shannon of Frugal Beautiful about how her journey becoming a long distance runner has taught her to become more “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This is exactly how I feel about the “gladiator” fitness classes I’ve been taking. When I’m at the gym early in the morning trying to hold a one-armed plank, you better believe it’s uncomfortable. Your whole body is straining, often times shaking, and all you can do is breathe through it. It fucking sucks, but you do it anyways because the hard parts are what make it good. Thanks to years of ballet training, I’m no stranger to physical discomfort or pushing my body to the max but I’m not use to this emotional stuff.
In the past these kinds of feelings would have sent me off on a tailspin of vodka, impulse shopping, more vodka and bad decisions, however this time around I haven’t done any of those things. Last weekend I went out for drinks and politely declined several rounds of shots that were offered to me. Although I drank steadily throughout the evening, I failed to get drunk or do anything I’d regret later. I guess making myself numb isn’t as appealing as it used to be.
Instead, I’ve been working out like a beast, perfecting my roundhouse punch-kick-combo at the gym and being super productive at work. I haven’t even tried to eat my feelings and my carb intake is shockingly low this week. In other words, despite some emotional discomfort I’m actually doing really great.
I’ve realized that without the haze of vodka or acute anxiety to cover them up, I have a lot of feelings. I’m way more sensitive than I like to admit and when I like someone, I get attached (which has made me re-evaluate how I feel about casual sex in the first place.) It takes me a while to process all the feelings, but once I do I’m fine.
And that’s the thing – sometimes being single feels like you’re doing a one-armed plank with your heart. You’re out there, you’re vulnerable and sometimes it’s really, really uncomfortable, but unless you’re willing to become a hermit (which I’m not), there’s no way around it. You have to forge ahead.
So, here I am. Getting more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Breathing. Waiting for things to shift. Because I know they will. They always do.