It’s strange how finding peace within oneself can be an impediment to a relationship.

Given a choice I’d rather hang out with my female friends than my male ones. I just prefer the company of women, and even though I’m fortunate enough to have some really good guys in my life, somehow manage to relax just that little bit more when in the company of the fairer sex.

Weird to think that I was once the most socially awkward person you could possibly meet, who’d alternate between a hot flush and a cold sweat just at the thought of speaking to a girl. Put it this way, I was no Casanova, and missed out on some great opportunities to meet some wonderful girls simply because I was too shy to talk to them. To be completely accurate, I couldn’t string a coherent sentence together due to all the self-talk and chaos going on within my mind.

I thankfully outgrew that phase and found I was able to connect quite naturally with women. This discovery came to me post divorce, at a time when I really didn’t want to get into anything too deep or committed. Without the urgency to find someone ‘special’, I became far more relaxed and had no agenda whenever I met anyone new.

Before long I found myself with many more female friends that male. Their company just seemed so much simpler, devoid of any male competition or typical ‘lad talk’. They were deeper, and the discussions were so much more diverse and enlightening.

I suppose in part, they understood my role as a single parent, and were sympathetic and supportive. Yet it was always a two way street as I listened to their man troubles and tried to offer a perspective. Sadly these troubles often involved deeply insecure men who couldn’t understand their partners having a guy as a friend, and I lost touch with many of them for this reason.

But not to worry, there were always women in my life, and it was nice getting to know someone new and slowly developing a friendship. In many aspects, it was like building a relationship without the physical side.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any attraction to start with, as there often was. But as soon as I knew I really liked someone as a person, I’d feel less inclined to risk a potential friendship by complicating it with sex. I guess I knew deep down that I wasn’t in a good enough space to get into anything serious, and using someone with the knowledge that I couldn’t commit would’ve been dishonest.

One thing I’m very good at is compartmentalising my emotions, and once I saw someone as nothing more than a friend, then the other side disappeared.

As the years passed I was able to achieve a wonderful sense of balance in my life, and found a level of peace I’d never before encountered. Life will always throw curve-balls when you least expect it, and whatever level of Zen one achieves, there will always be fresh challenges to overcome.

Stressing so much less about what may or may not happen, I found I no longer wanted to talk about my own worries or fears. I guess the only way I can describe it, is that I found an inner strength that gave me the confidence to overcome anything; and with that comes peace.

What I didn’t realise then was that my personal development was going to change the friendship dynamic considerably. Part of the process of building a relationship is sharing experiences, good and bad. It builds rapport, as each party grows and understanding of one another.

I felt comfortable touching on certain past experiences to give a little personal history, some context for being who I am today; but I no longer wanted to get too deep about all the baggage I’d mentally left behind. It’s no longer relevant, and the only thing that really matters is the future.

I suppose in hindsight my reluctance to share, led to an imbalance. I was always willing to listen, offer advice and be supportive. Yet this now became the primary focus, at least it seemed to me as I no longer required reciprocation.

Could it be that the reason it worked so well before was that it really was a two way street, with both parties sharing equally? I guess that makes sense when I think about it, sharing experiences and matching levels of emotion.

Did I become just a little too reserved? Unwilling to open up? I don’t think so, at least I hope not. I just find it uncomfortable giving too much away too early; and yet I think my willingness to be open, and somewhat vulnerable, was a key component to me connecting so readily with women.

For the time being, I’m happy as I am. I have some good people of both sexes in my social circle, and I value my time with them. Though strangely these days I’m closer to my male friends. Maybe change is afoot.

Perhaps I’m finally at the stage whereby I have room in my life for someone special. Having gone for so long without the need for anyone, I no longer know what it feels like, but I’m keeping an open mind.

Until then I will still love the company of women, but feel the need to hold back and keep a certain amount of distance until such time as someone comes along to cause a change in my way of thinking. That’s not to say they have any responsibility to do that. Only that I suspect a change will occur due to their very presence.

I suspect it’ll be someone for whom emotional codependency isn’t the strongest driver. It’s lovely to think they’re out there somewhere in my future. Until then I’ll enjoy the anticipation.