Confessions of a Skeptical Romantic

I often wonder what falling in love will be like. Will it be a sudden moment, a shared glance across the room with the man of my heart, an instant in which I know without question that he is my true love? Or will it be a long progression, a drawn out affair in the style of Russian novels, lengthy and gradual? Or maybe love is always there, lying in wait. Maybe it isn’t a matter of falling in love with someone, but rather choosing to recognize that love is there.

I’ve never been in love. I’ve been in like, deeply and passionately infatuated, but never in love. At least, I can’t believe it was love. I don’t want to imagine I would let something that precious slip through my fingers. Love is meant to be treasured and cultivated. It is beautiful and wonderful. Love is something I long for. One day it will be mine.

But not today it seems. And most likely not tomorrow. I can’t imagine falling in love next week either, or even in a month. Perhaps my heart isn’t ready for it. Perhaps I’m not sure I deserve it, not yet. Love is something so terribly grand. It seems as if it is beyond me. I honestly cannot imagine what it would feel like to be so consumed by such feeling and passion, and to have that directed at one person who returns it twice fold.

There was a time in my life when I thought myself to be unlovable in the romantic sense. I’ve never been a woman to invoke the passion of a man. I go unseen, passed over, ignored. Men simply don’t look at me, not like the novels say. As months roll into years, I can’t seem to find that elusive romance. I watch as it possesses those around me. Sometimes I come close; I see Romance and Love dancing about in front of me, taunting me almost with its lovely possibilities. It shows me glimpses of what could be, only to fade to nothing as I reach for it. Or maybe I don’t reach out. Perhaps I let it fall away into nothingness.

I wouldn’t know what to do with Romance if I were to catch it. If a man was to write me a love letter, give me a gorgeous flower, hold my hand with our fingers entwined, or pursue my heart, I would melt. But I’m not sure I would believe in it. I’ve never been given a reason to trust my heart. It usually ends up a bit battered, though never quite broken. I’m careful now not to get too close. I know my limits; what I can handle.

I’ve turned myself invisible. I fade into the shadows, away from the things I want most. It’s easier to save myself from a broken heart if I go unnoticed. I allow myself to admire from afar; one person in an audience, enamored by the star in front of me.

I’ve imagined myself into many relationships, testing them out in my imagination to see how they might fit in real life. I’ve dreamt of men I could come to love. In my dreams, I sometimes find myself married. My husband whispers words that fade into poetry in my ear. He holds me close, loves me desperately. He sees me, finally, as a beautiful woman worth loving. And then I wake, alone and cold, left wondering if it will ever be real. God, the emptiness undoes me.

Is it possible that not everyone is meant for love? Not that certain people are unlovable, but that they are meant to find happiness and contentment in other things?

Could it be that romance is not my story?

Or maybe I want it too much? Maybe I’ve built Love and Romance into something too fantastic for reality to ever live up to. Maybe love eludes me, because I can’t recognize it for what it is, imagining instead what I wish it could be.

Some days, I allow my romantic heart to be darkened by cynicism. It’s a coward’s way out, permitting yourself to demean the thing you crave most. But that’s what my life has become – convincing myself romance is overrated, because I can’t imagine experiencing it for myself. Though I never fully convince myself. The cynicism, though strong, never truly wins. There is always that secret part of my heart that will wait, patiently or impatiently, for the love it deserves. I will always and forever be the skeptical romantic, longing for what I can’t have but desperately seek.

Someday, I hope it will find me. One day, I will wake up and find my dreams have been made real. When I’m ready, I pray the right man will find his way to me.

Until then, I love myself. I revel in the aloneness. I wait amid the skepticism and romance, pulled in two, but never broken.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

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12 thoughts on “Confessions of a Skeptical Romantic

  1. I know how that conflict between cynicism and romantic yearning feels like. I also know how it can drive a person absolutely crazy figuring out which way to think and conduct oneself is right. I just came back from watching Silver Linings Playbook, and I thought it was brilliant. I also noticed, both leads seemed to represent both sides of this spectrum – one yearning and bending backwards self-destructively to deal with attaining a fantasy, the other almost giving up that special idea that there is more to other people and themselves than what reality had so far given. Both people are broken, though, and without spoiling, it’s the connection we as Christians must have with, well, everybody. To be honest, I actually had to be the first one out of the theater once the credits rolled because it was so convicting, especially with me.

    So yeah, I haven’t figured out a solution. But as with any other person dealing with these feelings and thoughts, I guess we really should remind each other more often, and perhaps one of the reasons we should be glad love in all its dimensions exists – you’re not alone.

    • I love this. And I agree with the idea that everyone is a bit broken in their own way. And everyone needs love. And I believe that each of us will find it eventually, even though it sometimes seems as if we won’t. It’s just a matter of pushing through and being positive, which does not always come naturally to me :)
      Thank you very much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Cassi

  2. This is beautifully written, Cassi! I love it! I can relate completely. Sometimes I feel I yearn so much for love that it isn’t going to happen for me, and I think that would hurt a lot.

    • I’m right there with you. I’m learning that it’s okay to want love and long for it, but not to let that want rule my life. There are so many other things I could be spending my time on rather than worrying. But some days, it is easier said than done. It’s a learning process, I suppose.

      Cassi

  3. Okay, I love your posts! So real!! I have to say, I was married at 27. I now have 3 kids. I love it! But, I’m so thankful for those single years and how God used me and all the adventures and missions trips I could take. If I had known then who I would end up with (a really wonderful man) I think I would have spent less time worrying about it and enjoying my single life. You sound like you are doing great!

  4. Wow, what a relatable post! I felt like this for so many years. I’m 32 years old, and I didn’t have many dates in my twenties. At all. I certainly didn’t have any boyfriends. And I never felt a connection with the people I dated, never felt what I guess people call chemistry. I suppose I never fell in love.

    It’s funny. It’s funny how people like you and me, especially young people, tend to wait for Cupid to strike in the few romantic situations in which we do find ourselves, waiting for the sparks to fly, waiting for the lightning to strike. It wasn’t until I hit 30 or 31 that I began to understand how chemistry really works, and even then it happened only because I was really coming into a sense of myself as a person and as a woman.

    As a woman, I discovered that looking for love, or waiting for chemistry to strike, was a counterproductive way of going about my romantic quest. Coming into myself as a woman, I find that the process of discovering chemistry between myself and a potential partner is a more visceral process, more subtle, more instinctive. And it encompasses the way we experience our entire lives, not just the sexual part. I have found that chemistry between two people is the result of the combustion of character, personality, mentality and chemicals that causes a nuclear reaction of attraction. One cannot experience that if one does not know one’s own personality/character/etc., or what to look for in others, or how. This, more than anything, is the problem I faced as a young person.

    In order to experience chemistry, we must know what to look for, and how to look for it, and how to experience it. The union of souls that true chemistry represents is not possible unless the conditions for such a union are present. These conditions, for me, had to include self-love, happiness, and security. These traits allowed me to recognize the potential for chemistry when it existed – for example, when someone shared my passions or temperament – and to feel comfortable enough with myself to explore them as a person on an intimate level. But I had to know and live my passions first.

    “Love and romance,” as we traditionally understand them to be, are superfluous. What matters is the wattage of the connection between yourself and your mate – the intensity of your chemistry, the breadth of your connection, the depth of your love. When you love yourself and start to recognize the potential for love in others, and start making authentic connections, you won’t care whether your partner “brings you a gorgeous flower” or takes you out to eat at Taco Bell. ;)

    I don’t know if this advice will be helpful. I know that, since I have recognized these facts for myself, I have had several high-wattage connections that, to me, have felt as close to love as short-term dating relationships get (the romantic candlelit dinner at the exclusive Italian restaurant where we fed each other with our hands took the cake). But it was more like falling INTO love, not falling IN love. I guess you won’t know the difference until you experience it. Or maybe someone else has something to say about it. Was I crazy with passion? Well, no. But I felt drunk with love. Maybe that’s as close as I’ll get, for now. Until God sees fit to REALLY send me a whammer. ;) But I think I’m on the right track.

    The Satisfied Single
    thesatisfiedsingle.blogspot.com

  5. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately. Thank you. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one in the boat of being always single and never had a boyfriend at age 25. You get it and while reading this, there were many moments of “hey, me too!” Thank you again.

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