38, still single

  This one feels very naked and exposed. This Is a reflection on my past as I see it. My perspective. It's worth noting that though I have had a few relationships most of them ended in under one year, a few of them made 18 months or 2 years. There are some men whom I have spent very little time with who made huge impacts in my life, this is not that story.

  For the sake of this article, and to avoid going through every encounter I have had, to qualify for this discussion I must have dated them exclusively(or at least I thought so) for more than 6 months consecutively( according to my memory).  

*All names have been replaced with alphabetical letters

  Let's just do a little review; When I was 18, I dated 'A', a man twice my age and we did a shit load of drugs, that lasted two years(maybe more, it's hard to remember exactly how that timeline went). Here, I Confirmed the idea that I would never be good enough, hot enough, interesting enough, worth enough. Then I met 'B'. 'B' locked me in a room until I had detoxed from all the drugs I was doing with 'A'. I was clean for the first time in years and I had zero sense of self. 'B' tried to make me into the person he wanted and was horribly abousive when his plans didn't work. In the aftermath of breaking away from this relationship, I ran off to Asia for a couple of years. I developed my sense of self and solidified my identity. When I came home I met 'C'. 'C' was the first person I dated who I felt really loved me. I learned I could be loved. Things were amazing! It was never ending fun, laughter, love and amazing sex. Until he left me to be with someone else, quickly realizing he had made a mistake he came back, as hard as we tried what we had was broken and we couldn't fix it. I just couldn't get myself to trust him and that ultimately ended things. A year later a few months were spent with 'D', he was funny, that was about it. I can't actually remember how long we dated, it may have just been a summer, it may have been a year, but I do remember he made fun of my paintings, actually got me to throw them out. So I stopped, and I haven't really painted much since. I dated 'E' for over a year. I don't think he actually liked anything about me. I'm pretty sure he flat out did not like all the things that make me, me. Then there was 'F'. 'F' was a lot of fun but we drank a lot together and I think we had too much collective baggage that hadn't been discarded. Both of us freshly out of relanships we were not treated well in. That was a real shame, I really liked him, we both loved to travel and we got on well, the sex was always really good, it just wasn't meant to be. The next year I dated 'G'. This was a complete relaps in life. 'G' was manipulative and abusive, lied about everything, what he did, who he was, doing drugs, how he spent his time, everything. He brought drugs and abuse back into my life. It was an absolutely toxic interaction. After recovering from that, I dated 'H'. 'H' was great, he was smart and very thoughtful. He actually made a series of Lani traps. Like a me sized spring loaded working mouse trap bated with organic cider. He was game to try anything but rarely came up with the adventure ideas himself.  He didn't challenge me or push my limits. He was intimidated by me and I couldn't live like that. I think it was a couple years before I was in a relationship with anyone else. 'I' followed that gap. Weird, narsassictic, incredibly needy and completely full of shit 'I'. Though I asked all the right questions and was very clear about where I stood he lied to may face repeatedly over the nearly a year we dated. During that time that he told me we were exclusive while he dated several other women. I didn't even find out about them until months after we broke up. 'I' was a horrible boyfriend even without that information. He just never wanted to do anything. Between hiding behind his recovery and only ever wanting to be seen by people in what seemed like a desperate search for validation by others, he was never able to leave the confines of east van coffee shops. Of course now I realise that he was so busy juggling multiple women that of course he didn't have time and never wanted to leave East Van. That relationship ended late fall of 2015, though I delt with him well into 2016. That pretty much brings us up to date. 

  Somewhere in the early stages of all this I decided that this relationship shit wasn't what really mattered, that I was going to live my dream life, regardless of whether or not someone was beside me. I can have it all, on my own.  And I have done a lot on my own. Who needs love anyway? To be honest, I'm not even sure I've ever been in love. I've been in lust and I have loved. I've had my ego crushed and I've been heart broken but have I ever really been in love? Once I thought I was, with a man who I thought could spend my life with but then it broke. I have plenty of time between relationships and most of my adult life has been spent single.

  So how is it that a woman can get this far and never have a successful realationship? I don't know, maybe it's me. I am the one common factor in all these relationships, I do take responsibility for my role. I do eat like a kid who's about to have her food taken away. Maybe I have man hands, or vulgar vocabulary, maybe it's because I actually burp and fart and I refuse to live a life where I pretend I don't, maybe I've just had other life requirments to focus on, maybe a relationship simply wasn't one of my top goals, maybe I needed to be my best me before I could be the best partner, I could never expect to receive more than I could give. Maybe I just have horrible taste in men or bad timing. Maybe I am a horrible partner. I continue to think the best of people even when my inner voice is yelling 'oh Lan, what are you thinking?' And even though I give repeated opportunity for redemption I have a relatively low tolerance for bullshit. I once told a friend that I felt that I was my best me while I was single and she responded with, of course you are. You're completely uncompromised. I think I'm a good partner but I probably wasn't always. I'm empathetic, I'm rational. I rarely get angry, though I do get excited and passionate and I am a very strong person so some people find that intimidating. The woman I am now isn't the woman who was in all those relationships. I am the woman I am in part because of those relationships. Those men were in the midst of their own learning journeys following their own paths. I have no idea how they were impacted by or viewed those relationships. I'm not here to bash, blame or judge. I continue to remain open to a relationship that keeps me uncompromissed, a partnership I feel is worth not being alone. I have learned that I can forgive someone and still walk away. Forgiveness does not mean, another chance.

 I like to think that my choices are improving.

  The truth is; at this point in my life I'm more concerned that I don't know how to have a relationship. I don't know how to be in a partnership. Things that are normal to couples don't even occur to me. How do you learn to integrate someone into your life? I have never had to consider anyone else in any of my life choices. After all this time alone, am I even capable of having a partner in my life? If you follow my blog you may remember I mentioned a man I had reconnected with before I went away. Well, I have been home for a few weeks now and much of that time has been spent with this man. Obviously, everything seems great in the beginning. As I sit here in the sun, writing, overlooking Howe Sound with a view of the Chief, I have no idea what is to come. I do know, everything is as it is meant to be, and I'm having a great time.