Loving Effortlessly

I think I enjoy being between relationships as much as I enjoy being in them. Being in a relationship makes you feel secure, because you’re with someone and you intend to make a life with that person. Being between relationships, however, helps you evaluate the things that worked with each person and helps you realize what you don’t want in your future relationships. In doing so, you become secure in knowing what you want and what you’ll tolerate.

I probably should not have joined OKCupid so soon after my fiancé ended our three-year relationship. Mind you, I gave myself a week, a very agonizing week where I felt every emotion I knew how to express. After I joined, I knew I was sticking my toe into the piranha-infested cesspool that is the hookup culture which is so prevalent on internet dating sites.

I got a few bites! I shouldn’t be so excited about that, since I was a “new member” who happened to be a female. Also, the guys who wrote to me weren’t looking for a relationship, at least not with me. My time in New Jersey was running out, and I knew that I wouldn’t meet any of these guys in person, so I might not have been as kind as I should have been.

And then I had a guy who wrote to me from Japan. He was polite, he introduced himself, and he kindly asked if I would write back. At the time, I was playing MindSnacks to learn Japanese, so I responded partially in Japanese but was questioning how formal my response was. His English is far better than my Japanese, so English has been our default language.

After talking to him for some time, I learned a number of things about him and what he wants in life. He wants to have kids, which isn’t something that has motivated me in relationships. However, when I questioned myself about that, I decided I’d be willing to try to give him a family. Since one of my fears about giving birth involves my health, he had one request: for me to get healthy.

There are two issues with trying to get healthy at this time of the year. For one thing, you can’t go for an hour-long walk without freezing in the snow. Second, have you ever celebrated Christmas? If you’ve ever had Christmas cookies, you know that trying to lose weight is unthinkable.

I can postpone the healthy living for a few months. My main priority is getting a new job now that I’m back in New York state, and that’s the current thing that concerns the guy from Japan. I’m trying to find retail jobs to start with, but it’s December and every store has already hired seasonal assistants. I would love to apply for more professional jobs, but my professional attire is in storage in New Jersey. I’m also looking at side jobs that I can do to make a quick buck while I wait for steady employment.

None of these things are easy. Knowing that it won’t be easy to lose weight and become healthier, I could dismiss the guy from Japan for even asking me to consider such a thing. I could dismiss him for pestering me about getting a job, because I don’t need to be reminded of how I need to improve my life while I’m sleeping on a friend’s sofa.

About a week ago, I started talking to a guy from the area. He reminded me that Syracuse does have an “Oriental” food store, which sells Japanese and other Asian foods. He doesn’t ask that I lose weight, and he understands my job situation. He’s funny, and he’s a sweetheart. And he wants me to be happy, which he said after I told him that all my groceries don’t have to be Japanese food.

There’s just one issue, or maybe a few issues. He’s too nice. He’s too accepting of me as I am. I should also include the fact that he lives nearby. He also says he’s reclusive, but it sounds like he does leave his house from time to time, not that that’s one of the major issues in this instance. Overall, I’m not really attracted to him, because I feel like everything would come to me too easily.

It also means I don’t have to do any self-improvement. If I lose weight, I won’t have half of Japan nudging me and humiliating me into better health. That, of course, is assuming I manage to travel to Japan on my own merits, or assuming that something happens between me and the guy from Japan and I end up traveling to Japan to be with him. Getting employed isn’t exactly self-improvement, it’s a necessity, but I feel like it matters more to the guy from Japan instead of the local guy. Also, if I get back to learning Japanese, who would be a better person to go back-and-forth with when I start learning how to form sentences?

Both of these guys could fall off my radar in a week, a month, maybe sooner than that or even later. After that, I might find two more guys just like them, and be in the same situation.

If I don’t challenge myself, then I’ll be in the same relationship I’ve been in three times already. It will start out loving and kind, then it will become something else. Did I mention I just ended a three-year relationship about two months ago? Having reached that point, I understand that relationships take work. I’m willing to put in that work now. I don’t want to look back and think that love came so easily and so effortlessly. If I have the interest of the guy from Japan, I want to keep it. If I improve myself and I’ve lost his interest, then I will have opened myself up to a new group of guys who hadn’t noticed me before.

No, I don’t want to think of that. I want to put in the effort for him, if he wants me. I will belong to him, if he’ll have me. I won’t do everything he asks, because I’m not going to be one of those mindless women who gives up her autonomy because she thinks her man’s love depends on her obedience. I’m secure enough in myself that I believe this is what I want, this is what I’m willing to do, and if not for the guy from Japan then I’ll do it for the next person who catches my interest just right.

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