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17. No this isn’t the number of the bottles of beer on the wall. It’s not the age I was when some particularly momentous occasion happened. It’s not my lucky number. 17 is the number of times I’ve been rejected by a guy since I was in high school…that I can remember anyway.

I was remembering a time recently after my past relationship that I was completely confident and hopeful that I would find a relationship again. Of course at the time, I was still kind of “seeing” my ex so I was operating under the guise that I still had someone interested in me which, for some reason, always makes it easier to be more confident and hopeful.

All 17 guys didn’t follow after that, but a good chunk of them did. I hate that I let it happen but I did. Slowly, I let each almost-relationship, each failed dating stint, each guy that lied or deceived, slowly chip away at me. Slowly chip away at my hope. I’ve done some rejecting myself as is normal when you’re dating and trying to meet people. But the scales certainly tip much more heavily in one direction.

So now, here I am, many years later and I just don’t have that hope anymore. That’s not to say that I think it’ll never happen ever…anything is possible. But I just don’t have that sense of assuredness anymore. I’m too tired to have it. I’ve been the girl that doesn’t get picked way too many times to want to expel much more energy into the idea anymore. I feel my time and energy is much better spent doing other things. Things that I know will make me happy.

At the same time, I know how invaluable this time has been for me. I was so dependent on people for so much of my life. I was afraid to ever do anything alone. The idea of being single once I was in a relationship seemed like the scariest prospect ever. But in actuality, it’s been one of the greatest gifts. I’ve gotten to know myself. I’ve been able to do so many things that I love when I want to do them with who I want to do them with. I’ve been able to be totally selfish with my time. I’ve been able to step outside my comfort zone. I’ve shown myself that even with some minor obstacles (i.e. falling and not being able to get up), I can do just fine on my own. I somehow needed to prove that to myself.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hope of finding someone again back. I’m not even sure if I want to. I jostle back and forth between how much the fear of rejection rules my emotions and how much I simply don’t want a relationship. Maybe it’s a little of both.

It’s hard to put a positive spin on that much rejection (which I’m sure so many of us have unfortunately endured) but in the end, if those 17 guys somehow got me to this place…this place of solitude paired with happiness and overall contentment, then that’s a victory won.

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