Today’s post is about guilt and fear, two vulnerable subjects that I sometimes experience in a specific way as a single person.
I am sure we’re all familiar with the process of meeting a new person. If you’re open to new romantic or sexual partners like I am, you’ll ponder a person. Then, their availability, personality, and compatibility determine whether you might move forward or not.
This thought occurs to me whenever I meet a new, single guy, and occasionally with women. Sometimes the thought is more fleeting than others, but I would be lying if I said it’s not there.
More often than not, I am not physically attracted to a person. It’s a rarity in my hometown, where attractive ratings tend to skew low. Often, I find myself considering if the positive aspects of a person’s personality are enough for me to “settle” with someone if I am not really attracted to them. I have only once found this to be the case. Although, I have sometimes waffled because someone did possess some impressive personality traits. More often than not, these people are interesting and kind. I am more than happy to be their friends. If someone else was writing this, they might accuse me of putting them in the “friend zone.”
Truthfully, I find myself calling these people “good guys.” I say this because it typically occurs with men, but I would think of a woman much the same. I enjoy their presence in my life, but I just don’t feel like we’d achieve a level of compatibility — either sexually or romantically — that would make it worth trying. When describing these people, I’d laud their positive qualities. I have recently described a new friend as a “good guy” and one who “makes people feel good about themselves.”
But even though I know the friend zone is a bullshit concept and my hackles raise when any person treats me as a vending machine that should dispense sexual or romantic attraction when anyone drops a kindness coin into a slot, I still feel guilt. It’s not guilt caused by that person, at least, not directly. It’s just a general sort of guilt that there is a very good person who I have deemed not good enough to date or fool around or sleep with. And if I am so quick to point out their positives, why am I so reluctant to give them a shot?
It’s more than that, however. The guilt is tinged with fear, the fear that this might be the last “good guy” whom I ever meet. Or the fear that a “good” person who has expressed interest might be the last person who will be interested in me. Who knows when the next person will show up? Or if I will ever be interested in someone again.
And while I know that the reality is I will keep meeting people for the rest of my life and the people who are interested in me and the people in whom I am interested might overlap in a Venn diagram that leads to exploring our sexualities or emotions (or both) together, that fear creeps in on the coattails of consideration whenever someone pops up on my radar. It only makes me feel more guilty.
I am sure I am not alone just as I am sure that some people rarely give credence to such irrational fear and guilt. Still, it’s a mantle that weighs heavy and has been difficult to remove and one that has been ever-present in 2018, a year in which I have been in this precise situation several times. At the end of the day, the fears of settling for the wrong person, misery, and mediocrity are certainly stronger than any guilt I feel over not choosing someone who is good but perhaps not good for me. But wondering thoughts still make their presence from time to time.