It’s official, I’m divorced. I’ve actually been divorced for two months now. I happily feel that it was the best decision for me, without a doubt. Even though I was separated for a year before the divorce, it was important to me not to start the dating process until I was officially single. I have spent a couple months getting some important life matters taken care of and now I’m ready to see if I can find love again. I have been working towards putting up my profile on a couple of dating websites. Being the dutiful over-achiever that I am I have been “studying” to make sure I’m successful. Is there any way to be truly prepared?
A couple of hurdles come to mind as I, again, peer over the hedge into a new world. The last time I “dated” was in the 90s. I think a few things have changed since then – not the least of which is the age of the men I am compatible with. It is odd that I continue to think of myself as youthful and see the pictures of my potential dates as “old”. My mirror confirms I am not 18 anymore but my heart does no such thing. Another hurdle is that I never actually learned how to just have fun. I was a very serious person as a teenager. Oddly, I was more serious then than I am now. I had no patience for guys who didn’t fit my perfect ideals so, needless to say, I had a lot of first dates and very few 2nd dates. I think I’m much more prepared to be light-hearted about my time spent with the opposite sex. However, I still feel the rule that if I don’t really like them I’m not going to waste my time has to remain high on my list.
Whether for good or for bad, I have fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube research. I have found a few favorite male dating coaches that I have been adamantly following. They have some differences in opinion about things, but what they all seem to agree on is that women who want a “real” man have to be feminine and not chase the guy. They all agree that sex is not required after the 3rd date. They also highly recommend not having dinner as the 1st date, too awkward and unspontaneous. It would seem that the only way to find someone I will really like is to find topics to discuss that are non-interview style. Tell me about your job, is not a question that needs to be asked, unless I want to bore the guy to death. Another agreement they seem to have is that I’ll have to touch base with dozens if not hundreds of men to sort through to get one that will stick. Wow, is it really like sending out a hundred resumes so you can go on a dozen job interviews to finally land the one job? What is the payoff? At least with the job you get a steady paycheck and health benefits. With a relationship it is tenuous and uncertain, and you can still get fired!
What do I want from all this? I recently meet with a counselor who recommended throwing out the rulebook from my YouTube gurus and just focus on being playful, having fun and keeping my antennae up on what makes me feel authentic and engaged. Whereever I am at in the process keep asking myself “Am I having fun?” If not, redirect or move on. It is great to be at the stage of life where I don’t have any clocks ticking to move me closer to something. I don’t want any more kids, I don’t really care if I remarry, and I am financially in a good place. I’m looking for a life partner that I truly enjoy. What does that look like? Great conversation, which may include playful sparring and disagreements but all for the sake of digging into the issues to have fun conversing, not to argue a side. It looks like being able to just sit together without feeling the need to entertain or force conversation too. I want to feel like best friends and great lovers without feeling trapped or obligated. I want to wake up every day and choose the make the commitment to continue in a relationship that has flowing energy, not stagnant, festering energy that is soul-draining. Passion is important too, but I’ll leave those details to the imagination. I want to have fun!
My nature is to embrace both stability and change. It may be an odd combination but I have to have movement, hence the change to keep things interesting, but I also have to have grounding and security. I want my relationship with my life partner to be that way. Like the swing set at a park. It is cemented to the earth to keep it from flying off or toppling over but yet there is free flow of movement. Sometimes it can go slowly. Sometimes it is moving backwards instead of forwards. However, sometimes it is exhilarating. You can choose the speed and it takes work but it is experiencing both flow and stability.
In my work, I spend my whole day solving problems and creating order. I am looking forward to dating to not solve a problem but to just experience the chaos of life and meet new and interesting people. If dating is like any other situation involving people, there will be plenty of people I don’t like, find annoying and just simply don’t want to spend time with. However, there will be people I find fascinating and even if it isn’t a long-term relationship will find value in having known them for whatever time they have graced my life. The important thing, I believe, is not to try to “manage” it but to just experience it. I need to trust my intuition, keep important safety protocols in place, and enjoy the experience.