Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Wounds of Repeated Rejection

Emotional Wounds are tough, especially when you start noticing triggers. I decided to stop dating about a month ago. It is tough but I really didn't have a choice. Sadly, I do not fit into that world nor does dating fit into my world right now; whether that is financially, emotionally, or any other word ending in an ly.

I first noticed this when I would see an attractive female. Where a year or a few months back I would be interested to talk to her, get to know her, maybe become friends or ask her out.. well, I noticed I began to cringe inside. All those thoughts of all those times I was attracted and got rejected for relationship and friendship came flooding back. In my mind, why even approach her if it will all end up the same.

Sure she might enjoy talking to me but she might not want to be my friend. Maybe she wants to be my friend but already has a lot of friends or I like her "too much", tell her how I feel and when she rejects me I lose a friend as well. I want to be serious here when I say EVERY female I have ever told I liked them or expressed interest has rejected me and stopped being my friend after I expressed interest.

This is not to say I haven't rejected a few, maybe 2-3 females - but I have asked out far more than that over the years. Our culture is constantly saying that men are too picky, I have even had my mother tell me this one time as a suggestion why I am not meeting someone. I hate that statement because it isn't true. I have been attracted to a variety of women and typically what attracts me to them, besides cuteness, is usually their love for God.

The sad thing is, I am not sure many of the women I have asked out could say the same. Of course, I typically hold back when talking about faith considering my job and our culture, not because I want to impress but because I simply want to get to know someone. Sadly though, part of me holds back spiritually because when I opened up before I was rejected with "you are a great guy and I know you love God, but I am just not attracted to you in that way. " 


The sting of rejection doesn't just affect me spiritually but emotionally and physically as well. Overeating at times, cringing when I see an attractive women, sometimes even just seeing a females great smile or hearing her laugh, which should trigger me to feel attraction and desire, these now send out warning signals, a shield, telling me to be weary, be fearful, all that is behind that smile is rejection. It is a facade. That if I pursue anything beyond mediocre conversations and casual topics, I will be the creep, the stalker, the desperate guy. I will have to face rejection all over again, time after time, after time.

And I really try not to be pissed off at God or at people in the church who are usually always married, telling me to pray more, volunteer more, stop thinking about it and she will magically appear. I try not to be bitter or resentful. I try but it is tough. The truth is we all want to be loved, to be held, hugged, live life alongside someone else, to share our experiences, our joys, and our sorrows. However, when you are single and 33 years old you don't really have an outlet for these feelings and desires, especially if you are male.

New college students are coming to my church tomorrow. The church is sending them care packages, signing them up for families to meet with them throughout the year so they feel loved and appreciated in the community. Honestly, besides on Sundays I don't feel very loved. I feel ostracized, in the church, because I am single I am not really invited into the life of the church. I am not invited to dinners or game nights when other couples open up their homes and houses. I see a new couple walk in the door and how people flock to meet them, to surround and support them, to ask them to go out to eat or to come over to their house. This doesn't happen when you are single (Ok, in two years maybe a handful of invites). I am pretty sure the church just doesn't know what to do with me... except maybe to observe me there sitting by myself in the pew, perhaps they feel pity, maybe they feel nothing, or they pray I won't be so lonely (yes, read that phrase one more time and let it sink in), that I would find a spouse when all I'd really liked is just an invite to hang with them at their house, even if the kids are running around, spitting up the oatmeal they just ate, or pooping on the floor. I guess to others they ask why would I want to be there, in that chaos. It is because I'd rather be in a community with chaos and conversation, hurting or laughter, than be alone.

Most nights after working one of my two jobs, I come home and my apartment is quiet. I go to sleep and it is quiet. I wake up and it is quiet. No one ask me how my day was, what is going on tomorrow? No one asks me if I had a good or difficult day? And there is no one for me to listen to. I want to hear all the details about others. So I browse Facebook, hoping to connect to others but most people censor themselves online. Every married person is always happy and every single is always happy. And the ones who aren't happy people try to make happy.

I try to connect but sometimes my messages are not returned, just a notification someone got on their smartphone and then ignored or forgot about. I am just  a blip on someones notifications.

I want to be more.

I try and try and try but to no avail. I am tired of trying so I've stopped caring. I scroll through my news-feed and see pictures of new babies, children growing up, relationships going on. I suppose we post about what we are proud of and for most people that is their family, their spouse, their children, their grand-kids; but when you are single you post about your new job, what you've read... but no one wants to read about how you went to the movies alone, read a book alone, called a friend on the phone, messaged someone.

You don't get Christmas cards from single people because a card with just one person seems lonely, is lonely, feels pitiful. Yet, we are alive. We live and feel. We have wants and desires too. We have the family we grew up with and thoughts of the family we might have.. and maybe the one we might never have. We grieve and are joyful for our friends who are married, we just wish that we felt like others grieved or felt joy for us at all as well. We feel lost. We feel on the outside. We are many yet feel so alone.

May God bring healing to those of us who are single and may be bring married people who live open lives so we know marriage is not all warm and fuzzy. I pray that one day the married and single divide in churches may fall. Alas, for now, this wall is held high and is thick. It will take both sides working to make it fall, tumble, and realize that married or single, we all desire and want community, and for those of faith, married or not, Christ should be are the forefront of our mind. For the singles this means crucifying our desire to be married as highest priority and for those who are married it means crucifying their spouse on a pedestal and putting God first where God belongs. Truthfully, all of us still have a lot of spiritual and emotionally work still to do.

~ Single Me