Why Aren't You in a Relationship?
For the last long while I would get the question "Nathan are you seeing anyone?" And I would reply "no."
Not a bad question, except it was always followed by "Oh why not?" That is a much harder question than the first. After pondering it and attempting to answer honestly I would usually say something like: "I'm not who I want to be yet."
What does that mean?
"Well it means that I want to be a certain kind of person in life and until I become that person I don't even really know the me that I want my partner to marry. How can I ask someone to marry me if I don't know myself? I want to be kind and wise, I want to be patient and understanding. I want to be wealthy and generous. I want to be fit and sharp. I want to be exciting and interesting."
I have a friend who I respect very much who listened very patiently to me but then challenged me:
"That may make sense in your head, but you are confused about what marriage is."
"I know what marriage is" I replied. "Marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. It is the pinnacle commitment. It is mutual love and understanding."
My friend is wise, yet also has tact. He saw my problem, but instead of tearing me down he lead me to a realization.
"It is that and more. What else is marriage?"
"It is a responsibility. A sign of maturity. A right of passage."
"What else is marriage?"
"It is a relationship of service. Marriage is to always put the other before yourself."
"Yes it is. Why again did you say that you do not seek out a relationship?"
"Because I'm not who I want to be."
"Interesting. Tell me more about this relationship of service."
"A relationship of service is the act of putting down what you want in order to focus on the other. It is a trust that meeting their needs is all you will ever need."
After these words came out of my mouth a thought formed in the back of my head. My friend helped bring it to the front.
"When asked the question, 'Nathan, why are you not seeing anyone?' What is your answer?
"Because I'm not ready."
And when you are asked 'why are you not ready?' What is your answer?
'Because I want."
I wanted to be a better person before I got into a relationship.
Wanting to be a better person is not a bad thing, but being in a healthy relationship isn't about wanting anything. It is about giving.
Now when I'm asked why I'm not in a relationship, my painfully honest answer is:
'There are too many things I want. I'm not ready to give.'