It has been upwards of eight months since I've been on a date - and I'm not even sure that so called date counted. The last time I had any interaction with a male my age is too far back for me to remember (unless you count ordering at restaurants as prime interaction). Let's just say that my love life has been on hiatus, or more accurately, has become non-existent. As to whether or not it plans on making a comeback is a mystery.
This lack of a male presence in my life didn't bother me for most of the past year. It was over a year ago that my relationship with Dan ended and with it my desire for a significant other. We broke off our engagement on February 13, 2011. Those days are painted in my mind in the most strange fashion. On one hand the memories of the ending of that relationship can be remembered in sharp focus. The day it all fell apart my Mom and I were traveling to visit my brother and his family in Virginia. The dissolving of my soon-to-be marriage happened right there in my Mom's car. I remember my feelings of unbelief and shock and the music that played in the background - Sara Bareilles, to be exact.
And then there is a part of me that looks back and sees nothing but a blur. My future as I knew it was gone and it all happened in the blink of an eye. With a wedding already planned I went into the mode of canceling vendors and reservations while contacting everyone I knew to alert them of the abrupt change in life plans. There was so much to do that it has all become a big blob in my mind's eye. Who did I call first? How did I broach the subject with my family members? I don't remember the specifics. I just remember being overwhelmed.
Even though watching that relationship end wasn't easy, I didn't do much mourning. I cried but only for a brief time. I didn't sink into a depression or struggle to move on with my life. That came easily. For the next ten months I led a full life. First my life consisted of working for Captain Dent then school. My dating life was nonexistent and that was fine by me. I never felt the need to replace one boyfriend with another and I didn't need the attention of a man to give me self worth.
Fast forward to the past six months and my life has consisted of doctors, health ailment Googling and a lot of heartache. But not the heartache of a single love sick puppy. This heartache has been all about being sick, confused and utterly frustrated.
I can honestly say that I've spent almost every day since February 13, 2011 completely comfortable with my relationship status. I say almost because a few days ago I actually had a little twinge of longing for the comforts of romance. At first I thought I must have been dreaming. It has been so long since I've even thought about men, love and all things red hearts and roses, but I couldn't deny that I was thinking about the love life I don't have. And for a few moments I pined for the days of feeling affection from the male species.
The fact that my mind even wandered here for a moment stunned me. I didn't know I had these feelings! I didn't know I missed being "in a relationship" as Facebook would say.
So, I thought on my circumstances - my single hood. I started to realize what it is I'm missing. I don't miss having a boyfriend to text and call every five minutes. I'm relieved to not be glued to a cell phone and the constant communication that seems to characterize the modern day dating game. I don't miss the affirmation a significant other gives. Despite the physical difficulties I've endured, I don't have a poor self image. I'm not thrilled with my current look but I do understand that it is temporary. Some day (soon I hope) I will start to gain weight and my body will be restored. I look forward to that day - and look forward to how I will look. I prefer my body to be more than skin and bones.
What I was dreaming of was something far more basic. I was coveting the physical touch that love birds have the privilege of enjoying. No, not that type of physical touch. You know what I'm talking about: making out on a couch, hands roving and hearts pounding. That is NOT the physical touch I'm referring to. I was coveting something much more basic - and innocent. The simple pleasure of a hug or an arm around the shoulder. I'm a woman of simple pleasures I suppose.
I never realized how important human touch is until I went a year and a half without it. We are crafted to desire human contact. God made us to enjoy and share in physical embrace. This connection doesn't have to be sexual in nature or for adult eyes only. A fulfilling physical connection can be G rated.
I tried to recall the last time I've had real human physical interaction. I could think of only one place where I experience the blessing of human touch - church. When I visit my childhood church I get a month's worth of hugs from the folks that have loved me and prayed for me since I was a toddler. Everyone greets me with a warm embrace. After a church service with my New Life family I feel loved and cared for simply by the number of hugs I receive. There affection is overflowing.
Those Sunday mornings take away any longing for a significant other. That longing is replaced with comfort. My church family's love takes away the pangs of loneliness that creep in after long absences of physical embrace.
The other night I laid on the couch, my body feeling weak and my emotions running thin. My Mom sat across from me, pain filling her eyes as she asked me how she could make me feel better. I thought about that physical touch that I had been missing just earlier that day. No person at that moment could take away my physical ailments but the emotional pain could be eased. So, I asked my Mom to rub my back. As a child she used to rub my back as I fell asleep. It was always comforting and one of my sweetest childhood memories.
I realized after that night that when you are in need, simply ask. I don't need to day dream of physical embrace, I can seek it out. When I need a hug I can find it in the family that loves me. When I need to cry my Mom's shoulder is poised and ready for my meltdown.
To benefit from the blessings of physical contact I don't need a boyfriend - that isn't even what I truly desire. Dates, flowers and love letters aren't what fulfill the need for an embrace. A simple hug will do the trick.