One of my very favorite bloggers, the Slowvelder, is having a bit of a tough time moving on after a rough breakup. Not because she’s hung-up on the ex, but because she didn’t properly deal with the emotions and baggage that came from the relationship ending. She’s feeling a like she’s broken in the romantic emotions department.
I just wanted to say that you definitely aren’t alone.
One thing to explore more is that you’ve made a huge change in your life. Your goals and expectations for yourself have changed. And the things you are working towards have such a huge effect on how one views the world. Especially how you view people you may bring into the new life you’ve created.
Personally, I have found that making the choices I have over the past 2 years – to leave the “career path,” to go back to the farm, to remove myself from the constant pressure to acquire/spend/go/do – has shrunk the dating pool even more than it was before (and it was pretty small even then). It’s not that I don’t meet nice people. As you said, it’s still wonderful to make new friends. But I can’t even pretend to be romantically interested in someone who can’t, or won’t, share this part of my journey with me.
Before, I needed a partner with a kind soul, who was passionate about something, smart enough to outsmart me every now and then but humble enough not to make a big deal out of it, who had a good sense of humor and was quick to laugh. Now, that same person needs to be happy to live without all the bells and whistles of modern life, willing to trudge through the mud on a cold and rainy morning to help feed the animals, brave enough to watch me slaughter chickens, kind enough not to laugh at me if slaughtering the chickens make me cry, and crazy enough to think my desire to have water buffalo for milking is the best idea they’ve ever heard… That’s a tall order.
And it’s one of those things that you almost know right away when you meet someone. Because if this life isn’t something they could be passionate about, it would only make us both miserable to try to make it work.
What I have found true for myself is that I have to be 100% ok going it alone. I have to embrace the fact that I choose this life for myself for a plethora of good reasons and that it really is what is right for me. Partner or no partner.
But I never want to shut myself off from the possibility that the person I described is going to walk through the door any minute. Maybe it will be a customer. Maybe it will be someone at the feed store. Maybe, in this crazy internet age, it will even be a blog reader (as happened with blogger/author Molly Wizenburg on her blog, Orangette).
So friend, do what you need to reorganize your emotional closet. It is always good to pull everything out, dust it off, and discard whatever doesn’t help you be the best you possible (which is true in life and in our hearts). And when that chore is done, hopefully you will be able to head back out into the beautiful African bush and the rest will take care of itself.