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An epiphany over shepherd's pie

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"You're afraid of commitment, aren't you?" I was recently posed this question over dinner, and it caused me to chew a mouthful of shepherd's pie very slowly, biding my time to come up with a legitimate answer.

"No. It's not me. It's the guys I date that have the problem," I replied, reaching for my beer.

"Well, don't you think you choose them because you know deep down that they'll never commit?"

I took an obscenely long sip of my Miller Lite as Mr. Nosey Dinner Date grinned smugly and patiently waited for an answer

Jeez, I hate it when people have the enigma of "me" figured out more than I do myself. I always assumed that I was the one with the desire to be in a committed relationship. I see my friends who are happily married and naively think, "Golly gee, when am I gonna get to that point?" But I always find myself attracted to the guys you have to fight for (or with, as the case has been many times), and I've always assumed it's because I want a challenge.

Please, anyone who knows how much I love to nap during the day knows that I'm just too damn lazy to actually seek out a challenge. I'm attracted to these men because they won't commit, plain and simple. And even if they did, I know in my heart I could never allow myself to return that kind of dedication. So I'm just now figuring this out? Or rather, Mr. Nosey Dinner Date whom I've known for only a few months is? Dammit!

It doesn't make any sense! Coming from a divorced family, you'd think I'd take the initiative to find someone available emotionally, mentally, and status-wise, and try to carve out a monogamous, long-lasting relationship with them. I should've learned a lesson from my parents' failed marriage and tried to make good on my turn out of the gate. But on the other side of the coin, do I really want to open myself up to someone who can leave me high and dry at a moment's notice? Obviously fear of commitment and my lack of trust in people go hand in hand. So, for once, the convenient brush-off line is true — "It's not you, it's me." On top of this realization, I also like to think that something better is just around the corner.

Remember the Price is Right game Punch-a-Bunch? You Freakonomics lovers will dig this one. The object of the game was to punch out a paper-covered hole-in-the-wall, and pull out a monetary amount printed on a folded slip. From there, you could either settle with the amount, or keep punching out the holes, looking for a better cash prize. In a weird way, I think I'm playing my own little dating version of Punch-a-Bunch — I keep punching out holes, never allowing myself to commit to anyone at the time, because who knows what I'll punch out next. Between that and purposely choosing guys who aren't right for me, maybe it is time to seek professional help.

But then again who needs a shrink when you have Mr. Nosey Dinner Date to share a shepherd's pie with?

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