Single Again… We’re All Damaged

By Kenneth Stepp

I’m a mess… I say this all the time. I’m a caring, sensitive, kind, naive, and hopeful man,  but I’m a mess. I hear it all the time, she’ll be a lucky lady. Why do I hear this? Because the world can be a rough place sometimes. And the singles community is worse than that. It’s sad that a person can simply be kind to others and they stand out. This can and does cause people to overlook the bad things while focusing on the good ones. Meaning? I’m still a huge mess.

I use myself as an example. Not because I’m better than others, I’m not. But because I know me better than I do others. I know the good and the bad that I bring to a relationship. While what I bring to the table is different from what someone else brings, there is always bad with the good. And because many see the good and ignore the bad, relationships fail. The bad will always show up. And what was built between the two will either endure or become just another memory.

So how do we keep this from happening? Set your standards and be upfront about them. You shouldn’t begin to build a relationship with someone and then spring something on them like, I need someone who brings XY or Z to the relationship. If it wasn’t there to begin with, you should have known that before you began or committed to this person. Now two people are hurt, two people have more baggage, and two people are more confused than ever.

By setting standards or criteria, you avoid most of this. For example, if you have a political leaning and you want a partner with the same leaning, do not date someone who isn’t like you. If you want someone in a certain tax bracket, do not date someone who isn’t. If you want to marry again, don’t date someone who doesn’t want to marry again. These sound simple and logical. But one day you meet someone who looks great, treats you great, and makes a part of you happy. Then you overlook things that matter for longevity. It never works.

I’m working from home today and thinking about so many things. Mostly I’m wondering, why after 7 years am I still single? I’ve dated, I’ve loved, and I’ve met many wonderful women. Yet I remain single. I partner well, I’m a caretaker by nature, I never argue, I don’t have a temper, addiction, or criminal history, I’m a gentleman and always nice. What happened? I wonder how many of us take inventory of ourselves like I just did. I know a lot of singles who, like me, want a partner. I stay confused about these things.

We’re all damaged… I’ve seen damage make people ugly humans, and I’ve watched as others pull themselves out of a fiery mess and become beautiful. I suppose attitude, tenacity, and integrity have a lot to do with what people become when things happen. Life has humbled me. I’m not bitter or hard. I am a little broken though. I find I am attracted to these qualities in a woman too. I also want someone who needs me. I know these things about myself. I believe we should all know what we are attracted to. Integrate them into your standards.

Have you ever felt, “on hold” with your love life? If you have, what do you do with that time? I believe your answer will say a lot about you. If you continue dating randomly, your on hold phase will keep those meetings just meetings. Nothing wrong with that at all. Just know yourself well enough to recognize this for what it is. Usually when I feel on hold, I stop everything and work on me for a while. It’s happened to me 4 times in a little under 7 years. 

I’ll wrap this up with some sound advice. Be nice. Everyone you meet has been hurt. Some through divorce, some with the death of their partner, and some through a few failed attempts at love. Be kind and respectful. Everyone is loved by someone. Look for the reason someone loves them. I am loved. You’ll have to ask my mom why though. I’m sure she’d tell you. I’m the youngest of 3 boys. I once heard my mom tell a friend of mine that she only raised gentlemen. Maybe that’s it.