Updated: Aug 19, 2019
It was supposed to be easy.
Create profiles on dating sites, chat up men, go on dates, have fun, and fall in love.
What was I thinking? That men were simple? That they were easy to understand? That they wanted to find a woman like me and fall in love? Boy was I wrong.
I am a confident, intelligent, and easy going woman. I can talk about a number of issues and create an environment where people feel comfortable telling me their stories. I love stories. I love listening to all the things people have gone through. However, the minute I meet a guy for coffee I get nervous and turn into a babbling idiot who can't shut up. I talk and share and talk and share too much, until any quality guy gets up, shakes my hand, and says "Thank you very much," before running out the door.
Men and women need different things. We communicate differently. We have our own agendas... And... We are emotional opposites who react in a way the other gender finds completely mysterious. Trust me guys, women are just as mystified by your behaviours as you are by ours. All this difference causes miscommunication and hurt feelings.
Not to mention, by the time we are over 40 our hearts are covered in scar tissue and the lessons we learned from those who hurt us hinder our ability to trust others completely.
I have read Facebook posts by women whose husbands cheated on them. I talk to men who tell me their ex-wives stopped interacting with them in the bedroom. I read about women who were left with nothing because their husband's took all the money. I have met men whose wives racked up numerous credit cards over and over again, causing them financial hardship. There are numerous reasons why marriages fail.
My marriage failed because I couldn't keep a house clean enough or find a full time job. I tried. I tried hard. Every day I was yelled at and threatened because I couldn't keep the house showhome clean and wasn't bringing in money. During the last five years of our marriage, I was unable to find a secure full time job and it destroyed my self confidence. The more my confidence was chipped away, the worse my marriage became.
In the end I became - Unlovable.
The thing is, after divorce we are all insecure. Both men and women need something from each other to boost our self-confidence. Once again, we need different things. Men need to feel they are sexually attractive to bed as many women as possible to feel 'Good Enough' as a man. Women need to feel they are sexually attractive to be loved and cherished by one man to feel 'Good Enough' as a woman. These two goals are in direct opposition to each other and cause the other to feel 'Not Good Enough.' (Note: There are outliers - Think of these behaviours as masculine and feminine, which both genders can adopt in varying degrees.)
Like many recently divorced people, I was a mess after my divorce. My ex told me every day I was not good enough to love and showed me the proof by pointing out all the mistakes I made. One of the reasons I'm Unlovable is my reaction to making mistakes because if I do something to upset someone I care about, I get scared and withdraw.
Online, men have used words and actions to feel powerful as they punish me instead of their exes or were looking for something they missed or their exes didn't give them. Most men messaging me asked which acts I would perform, as if they were ordering off a sex a la carte menu and that was my only value. I have big boobs. A curvy figure. And sexy eyes, or so I've been told by countless men trying to convince me they are actually looking at my eyes and not the large melons attached to my chest. Basically, men seem to have a hard time seeing beyond my ample assets to find out who I am underneath.
I took every comment, every slight, every cruel act as more evidence of being "Not Good Enough" to love, until I believed I was unlovable and the proof was in how men saw me, devalued me, and treated me. They did not want to know me as a person. They did not care how their actions hurt me. They did not care if they ground the last of my self confidence into dust. Most men I met online did not want to know me, they only wanted to know what I could do to them or for them.
I became bitter and jaded.
I was at Fault
As long as I tried to get them to see me, value me and love me, I enabled them to grind away at my soul. I jumped through their hoops to get their attention and was surprised when they then tossed me, belittled me, or dismissed me. I did not demand they treat me a certain way through healthy communication and I didn't stick around long enough for them to get to know me.
My rule was, if they made me feel bad about myself, I was gone, and it didn't take much for them to hurt me. I went through a lot of men, most of whom I never met in the real world because they made me feel terrible before we even got to the 'Let's have a coffee' stage in the process.
I believed their behaviour towards me proved my ex-husband was right - I am "Not Good Enough" to love. By constantly showing up online and engaging with them, I collected more evidence of my lack of worth and this lead me to believe I am Unlovable.
I never saw their behaviour for what it really was, their own pain. They didn't care about me, they didn't even think about me, they did not know me. Their behaviour was not about me or my worth. They were only trying to put a salve on their own cuts, meet their own needs, and find what they wanted. They had no idea they were being cruel and when I started to tell them how their behaviours affected me, they disappeared because it added to their own self hatred and pain. By calling them on their shitty behaviour, I was providing proof they were unlovable, which was not a kind thing to do.
When I say, "I am Unlovable," people tend to balk and push back because how can I possibly think so negatively about myself? Truth is, in today's middle-aged, online, single environment, I am Unlovable because I do not 'fit' what men online are looking for. I rarely meet men in the real world, and if I do, I always seem to read the situation wrong and cause some sort of issue. I don't let men who behave poorly into my life and most middle-aged men in the dating pond have their own hurts, issues, and walls. They are doing their best to get what they want from women without getting hurt. We are all trying to make a connection and we keep missing the mark because we are all protecting ourselves.
I come across as a strong woman. I am a strong woman in a lot of ways, however, I do have an achilles heel, dating, where my weak side emerges. I lose all the dating games. I need more communication from men than they can provide. I need clarity because I get confused easily by men's behaviours and end up on the wrong side of a conversation, left hanging unsure what to do next.
Embracing Being Unlovable
I am Unloveable because of my protectionist behaviour. I inhibit love because it takes more trust than I have to be open enough with a man about who I am. I have little patience for men who want a booty call girl and less patience for men who disappear and then reappear. I am Unlovable because I choose to not let men's bad behaviours into my life and walk away when they treat me wrong.
I am Unlovable because I choose to be single.
A guy I met five years ago recently messaged me, he asked if I'd found love.
"I gave up on love" I said.
"Why? Because you couldn't find a Prince to Save you?"
"No. Because I discovered life as a single person is better than being with someone. I enjoy living life for me and not having to consider another person."
Five years ago, my response would have been:
"Men don't want to love me. They want to have fun with me but won't be seen with me in the world. I'm too fat for quality guys to love and the ones I do attract don't want to love me."
How I define Unlovable has switched from 'They won't love me" to "I choose to not be loved." This makes all the difference in my life because I am in the driver's seat.
Hurting Each Other
How men and women are treating each other online is a vicious circle. The way each side communicates with the other to get what they want with little regard for what they can give is killing any possibility of a healthy relationship. As we continue to disrespect each other, we are creating more pain.
Women complain about men treating them like objects, wanting only one thing, and talking to them like they are some a la carte menu item. Thing is, men complain about women having the same behaviour, the only difference is the subject matter. Women are looking for good jobs, cars, homes, and to be taken care of. Men are feeling who they are doesn't matter, all that matters is their bank account balance. Hardly indicative of a loving objective.
We all bring our baggage into the world of dating and we all pour it out onto others hoping they will heal us and find we are lost in a sea of garbage instead. Online dating makes it easy to find single people and some married ones who shouldn't be there, however, it also makes it easy for us to talk to each other without respect.
I don't judge anyone. At least I try not to. I've been judged by others who claim to love me my whole life and I come up short every time. So, I don't want to be that way with to others. However, when a guy, on on online dating site, asks me if I'll breast feed him before he even says, "Hello," it's kind of hard not to make a snap judgement and delete the message.
I am a Writer.
At least I call myself one.
I write about life as a woman in the 21st Century. A story about being married, seperated, divorced and all the humour, heartbreak, and absurdity that comes with it. I draw from many real life online dating stories, both mine and others, to write the story.
I have no idea where this story is going to go. All I know. Is dating is not easy. It sucks and I am terrible at it. I think there is a funny story in there and maybe, just maybe, I'll find myself by writing it. Judge me if you want... I really don't care anymore what others think of me.
Come along on my journey with me.
Original post was from 2016 - It hasn't gotten any better 3 years later
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Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN, a marketing professional, a single mom, and a divorced woman trying to find love in Vancouver, BC Canada. Her daily life is filled with struggle, humour, love, and stories. She encourages you to follow her and come along this journey with her.