I’m single. Does that make February a hard month for me? Not at all. Being single doesn’t mean I’m lonely. I have a full time job that I absolutely love. I have family that lives nearby and an adult daughter who lives at home while navigating through her own busy albeit single life. We have our individual and collective social lives.
Don’t feel sorry for me, for us.
We’re not that lonely.
We play games together. I write. She bowls. We cook, clean, run errands together. We spend time apart. She bowls. I do coffee. We’re very busy.
So we’re not that lonely.
Mind you, I often think it would be nice to have someone taller and stronger around to handle things like cutting down the trees that are still standing or bagging up the endless piles of leaves they leave. Someone to pay the dinner bill once in a while. Someone to replace the light bulb. Carry the grocery bags. Someone to share life with. But I don’t go to bed alone and cry about it. I just don’t.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in a local store. Not finding what I needed, a worker offered to search storage for me. Sure enough, he returned with the goods. We chatted a bit. It was nice. He was nice.
A few days later and I returned to the store. We struck up another conversation. He was very easy to speak with. Attractive. And that second most important factor: age appropriate.
The conversation went well, but I had a nudging feeling. Something not quite right. I called him on it. He’d said he was divorced but his finger was shaped as if a ring had just been removed. Then he said he was living with someone.
I asked him why. I was curious why someone would be in a relationship and think it’s okay to ask someone else out. He said he’s with her “because it’s comfortable”. Because it’s a place to go home to. But that he really liked me.
I’m sorry. But I’m not that lonely.
I was a little discouraged, and yet encouraged. I can be just friends with him. I was upfront with him. I’m a Christian, I’m a single mom, and I don’t play games. The only thing he would get from me is conversation in the store. Not even a phone number? No, sir.
I have to admit, those first few non-dates were exciting. I liked the attention he gave me. The compliments. The conversation. In short periods of time we discussed faith, family, jobs and relationships. At first I thought he was on the verge of leaving her, and I thought I could wait. We talked of going out: Where would he take me? What would I wear?
It was new. It was nice.
And then I came home and looked at myself in the mirror.
I am nobody’s Other Woman. I never have been, and I never will be.
And so to him, and to anyone else who wants to know me enough to date me, here it is:
You don’t get me.
In this household, I live by example. I show my daughter what’s acceptable and what’s not. I live out my ministry in my world by trying to be the person I want to be for others. And I don’t want anyone to think it’s okay to cheat. To cut corners. To not care about the ones you’re supposed to care about. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, sometimes, I do get bouts of loneliness. But these rewards are worth more than a fleeting dinner or a stolen kiss.
So you don’t get me.
In this household, we do deep. We do real. We do honest. And we do love.
Not the way you want it – not the fast, replacement, lonely-filler kind of love that you think you have to offer. Not the selfish its-all-about-my-needs-and-I’m-tired kind of love that you’re demonstrating.
We do love-your-neighbor love. We do get-in-the-trash-if-that’s-where-the-treasure-is love. We do the hard crying when words fail. We do the laughing so hard people think we’re crazy. We do the public hugs and the private conversations and the dinner at the table and the leave-me-alone times.
We do it all.
And you know nothing of that.
Because you’ve never asked. Because you saw a single woman and called her “beautiful” and expected me to open up to you.
You so don’t get me.
I’m so much more than a conversation in a store or a cross around my neck. I am complicated and sweet and smart and confident. I live for God and I live for other people. I love coffee and Italy and Disneyland and cats and everything there possibly is to love about life. And I love people who can’t love themselves. I share stories and I hold things in. I am oxymoronic every day. I am strong and secure and scared and shy all at once.
But I know who I am. I love me the way I am. I love sharing my life with people. I want to feed the world and save the homeless and cure cancer and shout everything from the highest mountain and be still under the stars.
I want much out of life. But I don’t want you. I don’t know you.
Except you’re willing to compromise. You’re willing to rush into something you have no business rushing into, and people will get hurt in your wake.
I will not be one of them. Nor will I be the cause for one of them.
So you don’t get me.
Because I’m not that lonely.
And all I can say now is, I hope someday, you’re not that lonely either.
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
You may also enjoy reading:
Who I Am
Nail Polish: If You’re a Guy, You Just Don’t Get It
“As Long As You Love Me”