“Why are you single Julie Anne?” I’m so sick of hearing it! I have a million different answers and excuses for that, but the truth of the matter is much more complex than anyone, including myself, comprehends. In fact, people get me all wrong when it comes to love, and perhaps I deliberately lead them down that path. It’s an unconscious, well okay, conscious defense mechanism. I feel like a fairytale princess, but the truth of the story is it’s my heart locked away in that tower, and I’m not prepared to spend a kings ransom and decades of time on some shrinks’ couch to find the key to unlock it, besides, I’d be a shriveled up old crow by then anyhow.
Many seem to mistake my single status for my still being in love with Nick Rhodes. Why? Because I choose to speak positively about the father of my child? Because I’m tired of the many years of bitterness between us, and hard work it took to get back to some semblance of friendship with someone I admittedly loved very much, many years ago? The qualities that drew me to him in the first place are still there, he’ll always have a place in my heart, but I certainly would not mistake that fondness for forgetting what drove us apart. It does take two to tango, and trust me, Nick and I already won that dance competition! We could never live together again.
I was eight when I had my first “boyfriend.” He sent me a love letter during the summer break. My mother accused me of having sent it to myself. He also gave me a heart shaped box filled with chocolates for Valentines Day – which 30 years later I found in all the junk that my parents had stored in their garage – complete with petrified chocolates still in there. So you see, I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to remembering all of my exes – not just the famous one(s). And yes, there have been others I have not told you about. Everyone is entitled to a little mystery in their lives. I’m attracted to brilliant, creative minds – which may also be a large part of my trouble with finding longevity in love.
Some have maliciously mistaken that proclivity for being a gold digger. Let me set that record straight. I am allergic to wealthy men. I’m not “bird in the gilded cage” material, because I’m ferociously free spirited. Any inkling of incarceration sends me flying in the opposite direction. No, my affections are not for sale. It is the intoxicating cocktail of creative genius and intelligence that excites me, not a bank account.
From the age of eight until I was 38 years old, I always had a man in my life. I also destroyed several careers “for love” in the process. I let the man I was with define who I was – I had little to no sense of identity of my own. I went from one to the next without catching my breath in between, forever terrified of being alone with my own worse enemy, myself. Then I hit bottom. I was forced to spend time alone to find out exactly who I was, and to become the woman I was meant to be. Someone worth loving. Someone I could love. After a lot of healing, today I am quite comfortable in my own company. Perhaps too comfortable? Life is just so uncomplicated when you can afford to be selfish. It is also much safer – you don’t get hurt.
I admit, I’m still damaged goods when it comes to love. As a young woman I thought the greatest blow to any relationship would be infidelity. Sure, when someone you love is unfaithful it stings deeply, but many relationships survive these indiscretions quite successfully. Trust me, there are much more evil acts of betrayal that dig deeper to destroy the core of any love, even the strongest, beyond repair. And then there is “until death do us part.”
It is infinitely easier to amuse you with endless stories of the happier days with my ex husband, than to admit my heart was shattered by someone else. Someone I loved with every ounce of my being, someone I risked and lost everything that mattered to me for. Someone who unceremoniously dumped me, and left me reeling in the wreckage. I tortured myself for months wondering “did he ever love me, or did I just imagine it all?” I longed for him to come tell me it was all a horrible mistake, and then the fat lady sang. It was over. He took his own life. As filled with rage as I was at the time, I still loved him, and there simply are not words to describe the depths of despair. THAT is the greatest blow any relationship can take. The final word, no room for apologies, no room for hope, no explanation that can ever make sense. I don’t want to ever know that kind of pain again.
There have been dalliances since, but my heart still feels that old familiar cold grip of fear, eventually extinguishing any fire that might threaten to melt it away. However, it would be unfair to blame my self-imposed lone-ness (which is different from loneliness) on him. The truth is I owe him a great debt of gratitude for forcing me to take a long sober look at my own glaring self defects, or it might have been me in that early grave.
I’m also free of that proverbial biological clock ticking away. Unlike most of my generation, I did the whole marriage and baby thing early in life, and now find myself obsessed with forging a new career. I usually dismiss the thought of getting involved with anyone until I’ve realize those aspirations. I don’t really have the time to devote to a successful relationship, and this time around, I will not sacrifice my career for love.
Or, maybe I just haven’t met my Prince Charming yet? It could be I haven’t kissed enough frogs, or that I’m oblivious to subtle suitors, because I’m not out on the prowl? We’ll find each other when the time is right. You see, I do still believe in the fairytale, so you can STOP asking! He will be a lot of wonderful things, but he will also be as comfortable accompanying me to black tie affairs, as he is camping out in the African bush, or sharing a cozy bowl of chili with me at home, because he will love every aspect of who I am, and that alone will
set my heart soaring free. Moral of the story? I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. In the meantime, click on “EAT” (the recipe of the week) on the homepage for the lamb chili recipe, join JulieAnneRhodes.com for access to more recipes, and upgrade to premium membership for all of my delicious recipes to find their way to your Prince(cess) Charmings’ heart.
PS: Don’t forget to enter to win a signed copy of Joy the Baker’s new cookbook!
Addendum: So many of you have expressed your concern and want to offer advice, and I truly appreciate it, but I really am in a good place today. Please do not be concerned – I’m not unhappy about being alone, in fact I obviously prefer it for now, or I would be dating. My mother stresses (she’s from a different era and can’t comprehend my being content on my own), and because I talk about Nick on the blog people are always saying I must be in love with him. I ignore it from people I don’t really know, but a close friend challenged me on it the other day, which finally provoked my going public with why you do not hear me talk about the other men in my life. My life did indeed move on. I am not stuck in the past by a long shot. It’s just that my past is what people are most interested in reading, and they are happy memories so I don’t mind going there.
I have so much love in my life today – my amazing daughter and my whole family, Daisy (my dog who is a constant companion), and I am blessed with great friends. I’ve been married, I’ve known great romantic love (more than once) – maybe I have had my share and it’s just another chapter now – or maybe I will fall head over heals again tomorrow? Either way I really am happy and content most of the time, and no one, not even happily married couples can honestly say they are happy and content all of the time! Truthfully, I’m at a time of life that sex doesn’t matter so much to me anymore, and that is really the only part that is missing, so I’m just getting out of the way, and letting the universe reveal it’s plans for me in it’s own time. Now would everyone else please get out of the way too, and stop nagging! If a new romantic partner is meant to be in my life, we will find each other when the time is right, and if not that is okay too.