Norma Jean: Greener Pastures

Hello Norma Jean,I read your column religiously and am one of the "lucky women" who met and married the man of my dreams! It's been three years and I'm officially out of the ISO set of female friends who complain about all the men out there that love them for a week or two and then vanish before reality sets in. Believe me, I've been there. I spent most of my adult life single and in and out of downright weak relationships. At 39, I gave up chasing all the sex and fantasies about Mr. Right, mentor/protectors and all that crap. In the midst of my most honest life review, I found a great guy when I expected it least! It may have been a miracle but it happened.After being in a loving relationship now for the first time, I actually started to miss what it was like being single: my freedoms, the spontaneity to get up an go, my larger circle of friends (the men) and the freedom to talk about anything deeply personal. Everything has to be carefully planned when there are two lives and two unique styles of doing things. It takes practice and patience. At first, it's so easy to change yourself to fit into the relationship because you are "in love" and you believe you can change old habits just to make it easier and to please your lover. But later, the nasty old selfish patterns creep back into your life: like how selfish you really are after being single until age 40 or so. Add family, pets and children to all this and we can talk about the "bumps in the road" of marital bliss and a certain longing for your old self-involved (lonely) life.What I'm trying to say is that it's as hard to be in a relationship as it is to be single! Don't think that a partner will come along and fix whatever is hard for you in your life. If you spend a lot of time fantasizing about what could happen if you actually were in a committed relationship with whomever -- like your lifestyle suddenly becoming a jetset one, finally building the house of your dreams or having to work less -- it will only get weird. Keep moving forward without the imagined crutch of emotional or financial support.Thanks for all of your many insights, Norma Jean. I really applaud how you never glamorize finding true love and insist on "being here now" and taking responsibility for fulfilling your own dreams -- with or without a significant other!Janice BarrowAlbuquerque, NMDear Janice,We loners sure do like a reality check once in a while. It's so easy to imagine true love curing all that ails us: nasty moods, selfish habits, our finances and under-touched flesh to name a few. Even though it always helps to have someone to cuddle with, I know there are no free lunches, not even inside the golden gates of "soul-mate heaven." Thanks for your words,Norma Jean

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