It was rough as a teen, rough as a young adult & by God, rough as a mid-thirties widowed single mom.
A funny thing happened though... at some point, I just relaxed and began to enjoy the process. If you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince then I've become quite familiar at avoiding catching any warts.
I figured out that I actually enjoyed getting dressed up & having a drink with interesting people... the key is leaving it at that. Not every dinner date has the potential to be your soul mate & once that pressure is off it's actually quite fun to swap stories and meet new people. Plus the stand up material is pure gold. I went out on a date with a guy who brought me a tie dyed rose dipped in glitter & two questionairres (along with pencils!) for us to fill out... it wasn't the worst date I've ever been on!
What dating has done is given me the space & experience to really sort out what *exactly* I want in a partner & a relationship. What I'm willing to compromise on & what I'm not. It's taught me to rely on my instincts... if something is feeling off, it's because something is usually WAY WAY OFF. That doesn't mean they aren't a wonderful person, it just means they aren't the person for you. I've also made a couple really good friends & you can never have too many of those!
Four months ago I sat down and wrote a letter... to God, the universe, whatever... laying it wall out. This is what I NEED in a partner, the must haves. And these are the things I WANT... would be nice but I not deal breakers.
More than anything, writing that letter made me feel good. I know who I am & what I want & most importantly I've come to a place where I feel good about my life exactly the way it is now... having someone would be wonderful but I'm in a really great place. Life is not what I thought it would be, but it's mine & I'm making it a good one.