Time to Settle Down?


There are two ‘big moments’ in everybody’s love life. The moment you realize it’s time to settle down and the moment you fall in love with ‘the one.’ This post is about the former. All in all, the latter appears to get a bit more attention.

I can remember ‘the moment’ I realized I was sick and tired of running around  chasing this one and that one. I was standing in a crowded bar in downtown Manhattan with a few of my friends at two o’clock in the AM on a Saturday night at the ripe old age of 35. The bar was packed with eligible men and women swarming around trying to meet each other in what felt like a feeding frenzy.

This was the ‘hot spot.’ The place that every one (at least everyone I knew at the time) converged on at the late hour after a night of drinking and partying. I remember standing there feeling a little different but not sure why. My heart wasn’t in it for some undisclosed reason. Regardless, I was trying to keep myself in the moment, responding to the laughs, and trying to get into the superficial interactions that were taking place around me.

For some reason, and I’m not sure why this happened to me, I lost interest. I stood there detached from everyone and everything with the thought in my mind that I was done with this ‘scene.’ Something had changed. It appeared to happen in a moment. I realized that I needed and wanted something better, more fulfilling for myself. I left, and walked home thinking about how dissatisfied I was feeling.

I never went back. Certain friends that were only associated with drinking and weekend partying started to fade. I remember detaching myself for a few months, maybe a year. I thought about taking better care of myself, less drinking, and maybe bit more emphasis on work. I started looking at people in my life as either healthy or unhealthy, as either good for me or not good for me. It was a strange time.

At some point in that period of time I consciously realized I wanted a committed relationship. I looked at people I met differently. I thought privately about whether or not they were at the point in their lives that I felt I was. If not I saw it. If so, I would try to find a way to talk to them about it. Sometimes to share the meaning of what was happening, some times to simply share the frustrations involved, in some instances to wonder whether they might be ‘the one.’

The way I understand it is, something had shifted inside of me. I had put in my time wandering the earth looking for simple pleasures. I now wanted something more fulfilling. When the shift took place, I initially felt like I was stranded on a desert island. Afflicted with some disease that separated me out from everyone else around me. Over time I realized that I had populated my life with people who saw the world as I saw the world at that time. I now had a burning desire to hang around with more ‘serious’ people.

Funny how I met and married about 18 months later. The shift that took place in my wants and needs had the effect of changing my world. It’s the only way I can understand the progression of events. I think it’s important to pay attention to what is happening on the inside. Changes take place, as if there is an independent evolution occurring in what we feel and need to be happy. Maybe it’s the emotional maturation that occurs despite what we are doing with our lives at the time.

If the changes coming at you from the ‘inside out’ are resisted, ignored or misunderstood in some way, we can go astray and lose out on the opportunity to find the true meaning of our lives by going with the ‘flow’ taking place inside of us. For me there was a time for the different things that I have done in my life so far. What I’m trying to communicate to you is the understanding that your choices in life should not only be dictated by what is going on around you, but also by what is going on inside of you.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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