My next assignment from TNT

The issue of dating and relationships keeps coming up in therapy for me, and to be honest it's rather relevant. I still don't have any friends down here, outside of the people I work with. And although many of my coworkers are nice and fun while at work, they're not exactly the kind of people I see myself being good friends with (ie, I don't do the beer and marijuana thing for entertainment).

So the fact that I've been living here for about 9 months and still haven't met anyone--romantic or otherwise--spurred TNT into pushing me into trying a variety of options, like signing up for a bellydance class through community ed and, yes, thinking about dating.

Seeing as my dilemma is that I don't even have the foggiest clue of where to meet someone because I don't know anyone and I do NOT do the bar scene, the logical next step (according to TNT) was doing a dating website. Thankfully, my older brother has taken the first step in that regards as he met his wife online, though it wasn't a dating website. I did it once before and the experience wasn't the best, although I was aware enough at the time that it had nothing to do with the guys and everything to do with the fact that I was deep in the ED. And pretty much unilaterally refusing to do anything with food made me a pretty awful date.*

My assignment this week was to sign up for a dating site.** I'm not going to say which one (if you're really curious, you can email me!) for privacy reasons, nor is my profile up yet. I started filling it out, and one of the categories is what you're looking for and why you're here. I said because I was new to the area, etc, and I also figured that writing "My therapist is making me" wouldn't exactly be an encouragement to people. Or at least, the people I potentially want to attract.

This brings up a whole host of issues, the biggest of which is the fact that I don't understand why anyone would date me anyway. It's this core self-belief that, basically, I suck. I know I'm not stupid, I know I'm not totally inept at writing, but the only thing I ever felt confidence in was my ability to be anorexic. Now that my anorexia is in the past tense and I consider my illness (mostly) in remission, I'm back to the old "I suck" mantras.

TNT wanted me to start dating to basically tell the "I suck" mantras to go, well, suck it. That I'm never going to believe that I'm a datable person until I start dating.

So here goes.

*This didn't, however, stop me from going even deeper into the ED because the problem was (obviously!) I needed to weigh less for someone to be attracted to me.

**Actually, it was my assignment last week, but I put it off because of a freelance editing job from hell. Facebook friends, you know what I'm talking about.

19 comments:

Charlotte UK said...

Darling

What is datable?

I am not being facetious. I am asking a genuine question.

What makes someone "datable"? Is there a special hair colour, shoe size, dress code, height range, IQ, car?

EmilyH said...

When my self-esteem is in the pits, I find myself asking my husband why he loves me and why on Earth he wanted to marry me!

He says, "Like I say every time you ask me that, I love you because you are you and being with you makes me happy. I know that you struggle, but you fight even harder, and I admire that. Now, sweetie, please be confident that nothing will ever make me love you less because I love you more and more everyday."

-Emily

Cathy (UK) said...

Mmm, dating... If someone told me I should start dating (again) I'd politely tell them to 'get lost'. I've lived on my own for over 20 yrs, I like my own space, I have some fabulous friends, but I don't want a partner. I just don't want someone in my living space.

I was engaged when I was 22, to the only guy I have ever thought I could share my life and my personal space with. 'P' was just as quirky as I am and we got along well. But, not only did AN get in the way, but also my ASD characteristics. I find the emotional aspects of relationships exhausting and I need solitude to do my own interests and 'chill'. I just don't crave affection. Post-AN the ASD characteristics remain and so I choose to be single.

Even so, I did try internet dating last year, for intrigue. At least, I put up a profile. My profile was very specific and it sounded like girl-geek-seeking-boy-geek. I did get some invites but I 'chickened out'. I've concluded that romantic relationships are just too complex.

What I'd say to you though Carrie, is 'go for it', if that's what you want. Of course you're datable! You just need to find someone who's right for you.

Melissa said...

Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I'm going through a similar experience at the moment and can really empathise with your writing. I have spent most of my life believing that I was unloveable, and that the only relationship I cared about and didn't work out was my one shot. Recently, I've started meeting people again and realised that I might have been wrong - on both counts.

For a long time,I was too busy with the eating disorder to even think about relationships - they didn't cross my thoughts. Now, I feel sad that I have missed out on meeting people and building those bonds. I'm still not sure what I have to offer but I do believe that I have a lot to share, which feels different.

It doesn't make the profile bit any easier though, so I'm with you on that...

Am rambling. Best of luck with your adventure - will be cheering you on and carrying out my own over here. Some man will be very lucky to meet you. xx

Amy said...

Besides being friendly and funny and smart, you're also someone with whom silence is comfortable (or at least it was on my end -- perhaps silence during our walk made you want to throw yourself under a horse). I'm not really sure why that sticks out or what it has to do with anything, but I think it's indicative of a greater personality trait that's worth someone's while. (Sorry if this made no sense. Short version -- you are totally datable.)

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Carrie! The flip side to having an eating disorder is having the courage and strength to face your fears, admit your flaws, and fight for recovery. Those qualities are far more valuable than the ability to lose weight. Your openness, honesty, and sense of humor as demonstrated on this blog would make any friend or date lucky to have you. And frankly, I doubt you’re the only person on that dating site whose therapist told them to sign up. Sometimes it helps to remember that everyone has struggles and problems—and if you had to be perfect to be “datable”, the human race would have gone extinct long ago.

Laura (Collins) Lyster-Mensh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura (Collins) Lyster-Mensh said...

I was a notorious dating disaster, serially, until I met Mr. Right. I look back and realize now that I'd been treating the whole process as a mirror, a reflection of myself that I would analyze - or accessorize with. I wasn't ready for him until I got over that!

They should teach dating in school, really. I don't know if there are any right ways but boyoboy did I find all the wrong ways!

Lindsey said...

Datable? You're smart, you're cute, you're funny, you're a good writer, and like everyone else, you come with baggage that makes you more human. I'd argue though that a lot of men would gladly take the "recovering from ED" baggage over "psycho ex" baggage or "insane family" baggage.

*Note to self- call Carrie to join us next time husband's friend Dave is in town. He's fun.

Caroline said...

i was in a similar situation to you, and i ended up having to turn to online dating to meet someone. it took a while and there were a number of bad dates along the way, but finally i met my partner through a dating website... and we've been together for over two years and living together for one :)

one of the things i learned in the process is that what you think you might like in a person, and the reality of it can be two completely different things. only when i abandoned the idea of dating someone who met all of my specific criteria i meet someone who made me comfortable.

good luck, don't let yourself be discouraged... it get's easier with practice :)

Lisa said...

I am currently going through the same thought process where I keep thinking..

"who would want to date me?" LOOK AT ME. i'm the girl with issues. the girls guys run away from...but...

then you have to realize that there are great things about you outside of these issues that people can see. We may be blindsided bc ED is a monster but we have wonderful qualities as well. :)

good luck!
xoxo
-Lisa

Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul said...

Dating post-EDs is a brave and honorable challenge. I'm excited to see that you're embracing it - er, at least willing to step into the ring. I personally think it would be awesome to see what kind of response you got if you put "my therapist is making me..." It would probably be the most honest response to that question anyone has given! And it might help to rule out people who wouldn't be comfortable with your cynical humor (which I adore!!!) and your struggle with mental health issues. Just a thought!

Tiptoe said...

Carrie, I'm in a similar boat. I've been here for almost 10 months now and really have not met that many people that I just hang out with other than my co-worker and neighbors.

However, it is great you are taking this step. As you may have read with my dating stories, it isn't easy, but certainly commendable to go for it. It's reminded me to that people do find me interesting and worthwhile even when I don't.

Another really nice thing about online dating is that you do find out what you like/dislike, want/don't want. There are many people on dating sites, and only handful will truly keep constant e-mail, phone, texting, etc. unless they are very interested.

If you're looking to meet people with common interests, have you thought about meetup.com? Some areas are very active in that, others not so much.

Amanda @ HopeHasAPlace said...

I know you say that you don't see why anyone would date you... I've been dating my boyfriend (soon-to-be fiance!) for years, and I still don't understand what he sees in me. But the truth is, you have something great to offer a guy and the world! Seriously, you are incredibly talented, bright, and witty. Don't underestimate yourself. Embrace who you are, and don't try to compare yourself to others---you are too unique for that! While I still struggle with my self-esteem (mostly because of body image and lingering ed fears), my boy has helped me to see that I am worthy of love.

Want to know something ironic? (I just randomly thought of this before hitting "publish.") My name, Amanda, means "beloved; worthy of love." What does your name mean? Embrace it!

Erica said...

hmmm, dating sites and dating with the purpose of finding a mate puts a lot of pressure on a person! How about signing up for a coed book club, or joining a church/synagogue with an active young professionals group? That being said, I think you are totally datable and if you lived in LA I could set you up with some amazing guys -- techie, nerdy guys, but guys!

Sarah said...

I think this is a great assignment, partially just because you have to market yourself (which forces you to acknowledge some of the good things about yourself!) I personally think you are very dateable because you know a lot about your strengths, weaknesses, goals, and coping strategies. Those things right there are what a lot of couples fight about--not liking each other's coping strategies, finding out their goals are different after they've been dating a while, or not recognizing their own strengths/weaknesses to the aghast of their partner. You're ahead of the game in those important areas, even if you're behind in some others. No person is completely 100% dateable and ready for a relationship when they start one; in my opinion, that's the point of relationships.

Example: two of my friends just got engaged to guys they met online; in one of those cases, the girl has a trauma history and the guy has a failed engagement in his past. In the other case, the girl is in recovery from an eating disorder and has been divorced, and the guy has been sober for 8 years or something. When you use person-first language, it's not just semantics--it reflects a reality. You're not an OCD, depressed, eating disorder--you're Carrie, a girl worth getting to know. The things in your past have led you to where you are today, and brought both good and things into your life. The right person will not only accept, but embrace this, just as my friends have for one another.

Kaz said...

I have suffered from being rather reclusive and isolative myself and I have found one thing that has helped me a great deal. It is something a member of my treatment team recommended, and it isn't a dating site though I guess it could be used as such if you wish.

http://www.meetup.com

Seriously? I have joined several groups and while some fit better than others, I am so glad I gave it a try.

I hope you can get yourself out there! :)

Crimson Wife said...

Take this with a grain of salt as I've been with my now-DH for 15 years next month, but I think the way to go is to join group activities that you find interesting. One of my good friends met her fiance through the Society for Creative Anachronism. Another met her husband through a running club. Another met her husband through volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Several met their husbands/fiances through their church/synagogue/worship community.

Good luck!

anorexiaoni said...

By the looks of things I'm the only male voice here, so here goes... ;)

Socialising is already a minefield, so dating - with all the extra emotional intensity and so on - is freaky beyond belief. As a forever single person who feels completely unlovable and is at a total loss when it comes to relationships I wish you the best of luck in your adventure Carrie!

Just remember that there are lots of scared men out there nervous as hell as they wondering "how the hell do I impress this intelligent woman? I'm afraid I'll embarrass myself! Why am I even on this dating site anyway? I'm so ashamed, lonely and stressed out by it all!"

Feel the fear (or discomfort) and do it anyway, right? Another important thing to remember is that there's no point forcing things if it doesn't feel right. Go for it if you want and see what happens. You don't need a partner to enjoy life or be a complete person. Still, this could be an interesting assignment and as for "I'm here because my therapist sent me": it's better than "I'm looking for sex"/"my children told me to"/"I'm 46 and my mother won't do my laundry anymore".

Best wishes and remember that you're ace and that being a member of the Lonely hearts Club Band is still a rockin' place to be.

James :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com



nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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