- For years, I blamed the men I dated for my lack of committed relationships.
- I ran into an ex who reminded me I told him not to fall in love with me, so he did what I asked.
- This ex and Taylor Swift made me realize I was my own problem when it came to dating.
After hearing Taylor Swift sing, “I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser,” I could relate, since I’ve also become older without getting wiser when it comes to relationships.
I let men into my bed without ever requiring a proper date. I made those men leave my house before the thought of breakfast ever came up. I was into nighttime fun, but never daylight relationships. Later, when I developed feelings, I would ask for commitment, but by then it was too late. I became depressed and wondered why I was always single.
I used to blame the men I picked as the problem. But when I recently ran into an “ex,” he reminded me that I asked him not to fall in love with me on the first night I took him home: He didn’t take what we had seriously. Why would he, when I didn’t even take myself seriously? Just like Taylor Swift, I had to look at myself and admit I was the problem.
I had never had a relationship outside of my bed
I wanted him to love me and change his noncommital habits. Instead, I played the game I always played. We went days and sometimes weeks without talking. We admitted to having feelings for each other, but would never act on those feelings. Once I said we should do something in the daytime and his response was, “Like what?” I didn’t have an answer; I didn’t know what couples did in the daylight. I’d never been in a real relationship outside of my bed.
This same kind of pseudo-relationship led me to getting pregnant. When the father didn’t want to commit to me or my baby, I let him walk away without consequences. I wasn’t going to beg a man to love me and I sure wasn’t going to beg him to love my child. When he said he didn’t want to be a father, we never talked again.
In the music video, Taylor Swift opens her front door to see the version of herself that’s the problem, and sings, “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.” My own realization felt similar as I watched the two Taylors drinking together.
Taylor Swift and I have lots in common when it comes to dating
Taylor Swift and I were both born in 1989. Through her late teens and early 20’s, she dated what the media deemed a lot of men and criticized her for not being able to keep one; my friends could say the same about me. Because she’s never had a child, people view her as if she’s not a grown woman. Though I am a mother, I wondered if people also view me as not a grown woman since I’ve never been married.
On social media, I discovered almost every man I had slept with was married or committed to a serious relationship. I’ve been a bridesmaid five times and have been to countless weddings. As a side gig, I worked as a wedding photographer. At each ceremony I attended, I wondered when it would be my turn. I wanted to wear a pretty dress and kiss the man of my dreams. I hoped for a husband to love me, but more importantly, I needed to get over my past issues. I craved more than daylight hours and breakfast; I wanted a lifetime. My 5-year-old daughter asked when I would get married and give her a dad. I didn’t have a good answer.
I was my own antihero, but now I hope to change that.