I live a life of themes. Maybe this is true for other people, too. I go through phases of having all sorts of people in different areas of my life talk to me about the same topic. Or perhaps I go through phases of noticing. Anyway, those of you who have been reading for a long time may remember a time when it seemed that I could go nowhere without hearing about "boundaries." It was irksome. I think I really was hearing more about boundaries then, because now I hear people say the word occasionally and I no longer want to vomit, although I frequently disagree with their conclusions.
So, those of you who remember the no-B-word days also know that I have been known to use this blog to vent about themes, and say in a generalized way the things that would be rude to say to particular people when I know they are well-intentioned and just haven't thought about how it might feel to hear their statements from the other side.
This is one of those posts.
I have recently been subject to an abundance of relationship advice. Not that I am actually in a relationship, mind you, but I guess that seems to be the thrust of the advice. I know that all of these people have in their minds a wish for me to be happy and fulfilled, and for them that means that I should be partnered. I am at a point in my life when I think that I have a more positive feeling toward being partnered than I have at most times in the past. That is to say, the idea of being in a relationship doesn't make me want to run screaming.
My mistake is expressing this to people, for then they get the impression than I have suddenly embarked on a rampant date-hunt. People, I don't have time for a rampant date-hunt, and even if I did, welcoming the possibility of a relationship is not the same as desperately searching for it. And even if it were, some advice is simply not helpful. For example, the ever-useful, "You just need to put yourself out there." I am out there. That doesn't mean that the perfect person is going to magically appear.
Also, I have become convinced that people in relationships don't really know any more about relationships than anyone else. They claim the authority of their marital status when they say things like, "You just need to be more open and willing to take risks, and not expect everything to be perfect." And then when that doesn't pan out exactly the way they envisioned, they claim equal authority in saying, "You just need to let it go and move on; you don't need to deal with that kind of obstacle." If I followed the advice I've been receiving lately, I would have thrown myself at someone in a mad display of affection, proceeded cautiously, made major career decisions based on a mere chance, written off a friendship, made an ultimatum, and dashed away to the next guy...all in the span of a day.
I'm being more open, and taking more risks with my heart, but that means I'm going to get bruised a bit. And I need to be the one to make the decisions about what risks I'm going to take, and when, and with whom. I'm going to do that anyway, but I'd prefer to do it without people shoulding all over me.