Earlier this year I read a book by Dr. Elaine Aron called The Highly Sensitive Person and suddenly my entire life made more sense. All the hours tucked away with a book and the general dislike of busy, social events had a valid reason. I wasn’t weird or touched in the head. Just a little more sensitive than most people I know.
Growing up people always wanted to “fix” me. I’d hear “You’re so sensitive!” or “You’re quiet, aren’t you?” as people peered into my face like they were examining a strange creature from another world. I even had teachers tell me, “You’re quiet but I’ll fix that.” (Spoiler: It never happened.) People would even laugh or glare at me when a film, book, or a beautiful piece of music moved me to tears.
As a result, I hated getting close to people because they usually viewed my innate sensitivity as a weakness and something to be changed. I learned to be a good “interrogator” asking people myriad questions in order to avoid talking about myself. And it soon became apparent that people would tell me pretty much anything because I am sensitive. (Which is why I’m pretty decent at my job.)
Unfortunately, the sensitivity has been a little difficult to deal with in my dating life. (Or current lack of dating life.) Sometimes the thought of having a man get close and then reject me (again) seems like a waste of my time and a lot of unnecessary heartache. Heartache that takes me ages to get over. And (as I’ve probably mentioned a hundred times now) I have a medical condition. The addition of POTS in my life makes me feel like it wouldn’t be fair to saddle someone with sensitive me AND weird dizziness that sometimes prevents me from being a good companion.
So, as you’ve probably gathered by now, my sensitivity is partially why I’m really quite content as a singleton. A recent study (I found this article at Psychology.com) states that some people are just as happy single as those in a relationship. Again, I felt validated because I’m not generally unhappy alone. Despite the occasional “freak out” moment (i.e. when my friend’s 21-year-old daughter got engaged) I’ve made enough of my life that the lack of a boyfriend/husband doesn’t feel like the end of the world. I value my autonomy and my alone time more than most people.
The article also points out that this is an “avoidance” method that I feel hits the nail on the head. I’ve avoided relationships in my 30’s because I’m sensitive to conflict (and feel like I’m not much fun most of the time). This is pretty evident by the fact that I am busy all the time. There’s always something to do on my radar to keep me from feeling the lack of a consistent companion. (One? I have dozens!) It makes me feel pretty good to be busy with a wide variety of interests. Some of those interests even include helping people which is a pretty big “natural high” as well.
Reading the article, though, made me wonder if “avoidance” was a lack of personal growth. Is it taking the easy way out? If dating scared the heck out of me, did that make relationships something I ought to pursue? Most importantly, I’m supposed to be trusting God to let me know one way or another if the single life is where He wants me. Does that mean I’m failing to trust and just taking matters into my own hands?
I’ll have to let you know if I ever come up with an answer to any of those questions. However, I will say that it’s possible to find contentment in the singleton life. Even if it’s because the thought having someone to come home to freaks you out.