Why I’ve been single for six years
My name is Jana Hocking and I see a therapist.
Yep, we're basically going steady.
I'm not bonkers, I don't go deeply into dark thoughts for extended amounts of time and I wouldn't deem myself 'crazy'- well, perhaps on the dancefloor, but this booty ain't going to shake itself, am I right?!
So I don't have any shame in saying it out loud, because lord knows it's done me a heck load of good with one very big dating problem I keep coming up against.
One thing I noticed when I first started talking about it with friends was the exact same sentence out of everyone's lips "Oh yeah, I've been to one myself."
"Really?!" I usually exclaim. "Sheesh, I never would have known."
Why? Because there's a stigma around telling people that from time-to-time I need a little look-see from a trained emotional know-it-all about what's rattling around in that ol' head of mine.
So why did I go? I hear you pondering.
Well, after years of going up and down the relationship ladder in 'kinda/sorta' relationships I discovered a very similar pattern.
The blokes I was dating were bad blokes. Like, serious duds.
Now I hear what you're thinking - surely I can't put all the blame on the blokes for my current single state, and you're right.
I will hand-on-heart admit that I am probably not the easiest person to date.
I work ridiculously long hours which can leave me a little sooky if I haven't had a nap, and the green-eyed-monster has been known to rear its head after a chardonnay or two.
That said, one thing that really stood out to me recently is that every bloke I look at with big, stoopid, puppy dog eyes has the exact same thing in common: he is unattainable.
My last boyfriend (as in a boy who I exchanged 'I love you' with) was in 2013. I kid you not, I had to scroll deep into my Facebook to find out exactly what year it was.
Since then, there have been numerous boys. Don't get me wrong, not in a hussy way (I feel your judgment you cheeky devils!) but there have been plenty of kinda/sorta relationships.
There was the soccer player who called me his girlfriend for one whole day. There was the lost soul I travelled to London for in the hope that our hot mess of a dating scenario would turn into something more serious (spoiler alert: it didn't), the journo I left for a slightly older TV presenter, who in turn left me for a more age-appropriate companion, and then of course there was the guy I was convinced was actually gay and decided to ask after a tequila (or ten) … he wasn't.
These are just some of the guys I have dated. Yet nothing has turned into a life-long commitment. Nope, none of them even made it to a year.
So pre-therapist, I took time to read New York Times bestseller The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F**k by Mark Manson, and I hate to sound like a cliché millennial … but it blew my mind.
One of the Oprah 'ah-ha' moments it shares is that it's important to take ownership of your situation. In my case, ownership for why I am still single.
He writes: "There is a simple realisation from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realisation that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. We don't always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.
"Whether we consciously recognise it or not, we are always responsible for our experiences. It's impossible not to be."
So I had a look at what all the boys I dated had in common.
None of them were quite boyfriend material.
Some were still in the midst of a divorce or freshly divorced (welcome to dating in your 30s) others were travelling professionals with no real roots in the earth and some were very open about the fact that they weren't looking for anything serious.
So sure, they'll go on some lovely dates, and have a jolly good time, but more often than not drop into conversation a few little doozy comments like "gosh I'm enjoying being single," or "I'm really not ready for the whole relationship thing yet."
And I'll nod, agree and sneakily think "oh, we'll see about that!".
Yep, that's what I do.
The blokes who don't say things like that, you know, the ones who give me the puppy dog eyes, I've discovered just don't push my buttons. *cue annoyance at my own darn self*
Hence the new therapist who was recommended by a friend. I decided it's 2019, I've been single for far too long, and it's time to get this dilemma sorted once and for all.
As a side note, my therapist wears fabulously outlandish earrings and it's got me thinking, I really need to up my game when it comes to accessories. More importantly, she has also taught me some bloody good tips on dating properly.
The one thing I will leave with you is this wonderful saying by the queen bee of all wise things, Maya Angelou, who said: "when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
How many relationships could you look back on and think 'Oh bugger, the signs really were there from the start"?
This story originally appeared on whimn.com.au and was reproduced with permission.