And they lived happily ever after.
These are the magical words that neatly wrap up a story. As a child, I would hear this sentence at the end of my bedtime story and know immediately that everything would be wonderful. No more disasters. No more deaths. No more ill-fitting shoes or evil stepmothers.
This set me up very poorly for dating in adulthood, I have to say.
If I know a movie has a disappointing ending, I don’t bother watching it. If I suspect the characters in a book are heading for a grim fate, I either skip to the end or just abandon the story completely. Essentially, I don’t want to invest time or energy into something if I don’t know how it will end.
You can see how this is problematic when it comes to dating, that complicated dance in which the only certainty is uncertainty.
I’ve started seeing someone after many years flying solo. This was not planned. I did not decide that there was something missing in my life (there isn’t). I did not feel there I was failing at life because I was single (I wasn’t). I met someone and felt an instant attraction to him and, yes, it’s fun and exciting... but it’s also forcing me to confront a whole lot of old crap that's been lurking in my subconscious. My fear of rejection. My fear of becoming dependent on someone, at the cost of my independence. My fear that I’m not worthy of love.
None of this ever happened in the fairytales.
The fact that being with someone is triggering so many of my deepest fears is a good thing – it’s giving me the opportunity to clear them so I can move into a space of greater confidence and self-acceptance. As I’ve noted on this blog many times, when it comes to dealing with fear, the only way out is through. Hello, trust issues. Hello, fragility. Hello, guarded heart.
The challenge for me is to see all of these deeply imbedded fears, and to keep showing up and opening up anyway. To take the risk despite there being no guarantee of a good outcome with this guy, or any other guy, for that matter. To do this is to be vulnerable. To do this is to connect with another on a whole new level. To do this is to be the truest me I have ever been.
I’ve asked the angels to tell me whether this is a relationship worth delving into all these dark emotions for, and they won’t tell me. They aren’t saying it will end well, or badly, they will only tell me to keep going. That this is for my greatest good, and I don’t need to know what will happen. (I beg to differ, but experience has shown me that I am no expert in determining what is for my best interests.) I’m really not on board with this whole ‘let’s just see what happens’ sitch. I feel like if I knew how this will play out, I could make some smart life choices here – and, ideally, avoid emotional devastation. But despite having some ability to see the future, I’m not being shown the final page on this one. I can’t learn the lessons I need to learn without experiencing the middle chapters.
It would appear, in conclusion, that the Rolling Stones were right all along – you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. Which is pretty far from a fairytale, but it’s the best I’m going to get.
Maybe that’s the point – less focus on the happy ending, more on the new beginning.
And they all lived uncertainly ever after.