The One I Hope My Ex - Let's Call them "Boyfriends" - Don't Read

In all the sorting this month I came across a box full of my journals. I haven't always been a daily journal writer, but over the years I've written enough to keep you busy reading for an entire Sunday afternoon. It's some pretty entertaining stuff. And by "entertaining" I mean that often I come across as bat-shit crazy.

As I sat and mocked watched The Bachelor last night with a group of girlfriends I periodically flashed back to passages in my journals. It was unnerving. Could it be that I am so entertained by the particular brand of crazy found Monday nights on ABC because it's all too familiar?

Let's discuss. As a single girl, I never - thankfully - had cameras following me around documenting my downward spiral hunt for a man. I never, knowingly, dated a man who was simultaneously seeing 24 other girls. Most importantly, I most certainly was not in it "for the right reasons." I didn't want to fall in love. I wasn't trying to find my prince charming, my soul mate, a man with whom I could spend the rest of my days.

However, I see some similarities. Most of my dates were soaked in alcohol. More often than not there was a whole lot of surface-y conversation going on that never got to any heart issues. Typically there was cleavage. And basically I was "dating" for the thrill of the chase. I wanted to win. Ultimately, it was a game. Just like many of the contestants we see, if they would just have a moment of self awareness and honesty, I was motivated by my desire to beat the odds and catch the unattainable man. I wanted to feel the validation and affirmation that somebody wanted me. It didn't so much matter who he was; it mattered more how his attention made me feel. I too wanted the "W."

Perhaps it seems like I'm projecting an awful lot onto these ladies. But I can't help wonder if there is any other way to explain how deeply distraught most of the rejects are after the first few cocktail parties. Why are there tears on the first and second weeks? Seems 30 minutes of one-on-one time over a whole week might be a generous estimation of the time they've actually spent with the Bachelor. So, it isn't because they are mourning the loss of a great relationship. They aren't cutting a deeply embedded connection. No, I would argue instead that these women are crushed because they have LOST. I think it might be that pure and simple*. And in this case their loss takes the shape of a denial of their daily helping of male validation.

Folks, I'm writing today to tell you that I've been there. I never admitted it to the men for fear of seeming like I was needy. And, again, thank heavens there was no camera to document my post-game wrap up. But just like Shakira's hips, my journals don't lie. In most of my - we'll call them "relationships" for the sake of argument - I was looking for validation. I was looking for the win. In that way, I was just as wacky as these rose chasers.

So, unlike my friend who scoffed and said, "My single life was nothing like The Bachelor," I have to admit that at times mine was pretty stinking similar.

There but literally by the Grace of God go I.

The good news is my bachelorette days are over. And I can attest that they ended quite a bit before I ever met my husband. For me, the story didn't end in a tearful, defeated limo ride away from the mansion. Thankfully after one too many crazy yogurt stirring incidents, it became abundantly clear that the win that I was chasing was not all that satisfying long term. It was my faith that helped to paint that picture, for me.

Hearing that I was loved and cherished and cared for allowed me to stop chasing the icky boys and start respecting and honoring myself.

It was only when I realized that I certainly didn't need or even particularly want validation from men that I got the real "W." I won't lie to you and tell you that every once in awhile I didn't revert back to old habits - hell, there are days when I look for validation from my husband that he is humanly incapable of giving. Old habits die hard. But more often than not, the handsome hubby is the icing on the cake not the cake itself.

After all these realizations, I worry that the way I watch the Bachelor might change. Rather than belittling the crazies contestants I wonder if now I'll feel a compassionate kinship instead.

Nah, probably not. Because in the end, those chicks are whack-a-doo for chasing that guy like he's some kind of trophy and so was I when I behaved that way. Put yourself on reality television and act a fool, expect to be mocked.

Self inventory time: Ever find yourself longing unhealthily for the validation of a man?
(I promise not to mock YOU)

*of course another theory might be that a few of these women are a teeny, tiny bit delusional. But raise your hand if you've never caught a 24 hour case of the delusionals? Am I right?