Single Again… The Pretender

By Kenneth Stepp

I’ve been single again for ten years this month with the exception of a time in 2021. I say that I study people all the time and find them/us fascinating. Yes, even myself. I have learned that when we want a relationship badly enough that we have the ability within us to pretend it will work. That startled me. I have fallen prey to this very thing several times.

I’ll try to unwrap this so that even I can understand it. I have learned that love isn’t enough to have a successful relationship. I learned it the hard way several times. I fell in love, deep and undeniable love. 

We had different goals, and I pretended it didn’t matter. We were culturally at odds and I pretended it didn’t matter, we had different passions and I pretended it didn’t matter. Even different political affiliations and I pretended it didn’t matter. 

The only thing that mattered was that we were in love. Once you choose a thing that matters and pretend it doesn’t, the loud thud in the back are your dreams hitting the floor. Love at first sight is another one. Two people meet, two lost, eager, and beaten down people convince one or both that destiny is at play. I assure you, love must be time tested or it’s only gooey feelings.

I spoke with a friend recently and she painted a picture of what her future will look like with her man. Basically riding off into the sunset on horses. While everyone knows that’s a movie not real life. Boarding, feeding, caring for horses isn’t a romantic movie, it’s work. But that’s the life her goals are wrapped around. Her love should at least embrace that picture in her head. And he might have his own picture. Blending the two is key.

I have watched people I care deeply for get in and out of relationships. I always pull for them, I really want them to be happy. And if that person makes them happy and they can survive the onslaughts of distractions that plague anyone who dares to try to be a couple, then God bless them. Picture me in the stands cheering for them.

I think when I was young that relationships were much easier. Even more so when my mom and dad were young. Raising boys to be good men in an age of technology has its roadblocks. There are many distractions in everything in life. Two people trying to make it work must know that each has a past, each did things they won’t do again, and each has something to hide.

The last one must sting a little because when I mention that everyone has something to hide these days someone inevitably says, “I don’t have anything to hide”. But trust me, they do. I was with someone once that somehow magic happened. We got to a point that we had no secrets with one another. It was amazing. To have no hidden self with another human was intoxicating. I lost her in 2021.

Today I am working on myself and I am working on my future. Today I left all the singles groups I was in online. I’m an hour and a half north of my house in the mountains. I met someone who has been so patient and I no longer have to pretend anything. Will this stand the test of time? I can’t tell the future. If I could, my life would look very different from today. And maybe that’s why God doesn’t allow us to know what’s next. Because in our effort to make it better we would destroy what He has for us. 

I hope all of my friends find happiness that doesn’t make us pretend anything. As I sit pecking at the keys on my laptop I am so hopeful. Hopeful one more time.