Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve not been the same since I had the euphoric hit with my first Tinder date. Nothing since has even come close. I’m actually taking an O2 break, and working on myself for a bit before jumping back into the dating pool. I mean, I’m looking, but I’m not interested in anything less that fantastic. And for THREE STRANGE DAYS I had it. But what changed? Do I believe her story? Or did something cool rapidly? Was there something I did? Was she actually a bit manic when we met and coming down a few days later, realized “Nope, he’s not what I’m looking for.”
Sure. It’s happened to me. I got intoxicated once by a woman who kissed like a teenager. The hope and inspiration in that kissing was all I needed. But it was a short runway. And before we attained flight, I had a moment to assess the actual woman rather than her lips and sexy texts and …
Okay, it’s an old story. Sure it’s a new dawn for me, but ONE close miss has been enough to upset my optimistic approach to dating again. I’m a bit jaded. I don’t want FIRST DATES. Ever! Okay, that’s not accurate. Let me try again. First dates can be a real drag. I’ve had about three, TOTAL, in four years that were worth the price of a cup of coffee. And I’ve had a lot more that should have never happened. I’m learning. But what my crush showed me, was how close I am to manic passion myself.
I was ready to leap. I was kissing and fantasizing and talking with this woman. And each time she showed up, all three times, I was again fascinated by her looks, her humor, and her passionate style. And she appeared to rise to the occasion as well. Leaning in on the second date, in the parking lot and kissing me with a fury. She texted me later, “I kiss like I make love.” SHIT. She was on fire. But perhaps she was also showing how out of balance she was in her life, as well.
It was a furiously fast pace. But when the chemistry is on, you know it. And with both of you feel it’s on, and are *both* able to express it… The rush is like a drug. You’re chemical romance revs up and you’re ready to go. Ready for whatever. Flexible. Encouraged. Hot.
Usually, I was the one in pursuit. This time I had a live wire. Was something off? Was it me?
And then a bump on the runway. An emergency exit. And a text that said
What? Where did “at least be friends” come from. It wasn’t in our vocabulary. We weren’t broken up, we hadn’t fought. We had merely paused with the understanding that her life had suddenly become unmanageable. Okay. That’s fine. But this was a breakup text. This was what you say when you’re shutting down a relationship.
Okay. Information received. And yet, she haunts me. I was flipping through my texts and her name showed up. “DAMN,” I thought. Rather than just a little break, a bit of time to sort out the chaos of her immediate life transition, she had kissed me off with a “be friends” text.
What does this say about where she was? Had I been led on? Or did we both merely feedback and connect and generate a lot of heat? Then, as things got complex in her life, I was the simplest item to eject? And sure, messy love is consuming. But she had fired up Tinder as well? She had said she was looking for the next relationship. She shut down her Tinder app within 24 hours of meeting me. “That’s how I do it. I’m not looking to date. I’m looking to find one person and see where things go.” I’m pretty sure that’s a summation of her story. And perhaps the “where things go” had changed for her after date/meeting number three.
I’m not obsessing. But I’m also having a hard time moving on from this moment in the sun of passion, messiness, and an enthusiastic partner.
On the flip side she had a few “um, wait a minute” items
- She was smashingly good-looking (a smile that melted me)
- She responded quickly and affirmatively to our Tinder correspondence
- We met within 24 hours and kissed late into the second hour of our first date
- She lit up with energy and joy when we met, but maybe it was just too good to be true, maybe it was *too much* energy
- A few unsolicited selfies moved things on rather quickly
- Her fluency with sexual communication came through in our early phone calls
- She gave me a heat rash when I thought about her (things were just a tad too hot)
Um, those can all be good things. But in this case they might have been too good to be true. Too energetic. Too willing to jump into the fantasy of where things could go.
As I browsed our texts and saw the enticing photos she sent me I was saddened for a moment as I recalled the hope she kindled. But it was a false hope. And this is obvious by the way she exited and removed all potential for the future with that one text. When I saw that again, I said to myself. “If you open this one back up, you are just spending wasted energy on a dead-end. She’d contact you again if she were interested. I mean, if *she* was as thrilled as you were, she’d be asking for another glass of wine as soon as things settled down.”
But it wasn’t the settling down that needed to happen for her. Her life had been chaos before we met, and was chaos when we began “dating” and it devolved into even bigger chaos. I’m happy and sad to have missed the madness we could have created together. But madness is not what I need. I’ve had a taste of that before too. And I’m not interested in heading back into something intoxicating yet lacking in fundamental integrity. And maybe that’s the rub. She was awesome. Or what she *showed me* was awesome. Maybe the chaos she was showing was only what she couldn’t hide of her maelstrom. Perhaps beneath the writhing and hopeful surface she was a vortex.
I’d meet her and kiss her today if she called. But I’m pretty clear now, that she won’t. And it would not be the best thing for me either. Heady, but not healthy. Oh love, you fickle bitch.
The Off Parent
back to On Dating Again
- Big 5 Relationship Questions to Answer Before You Start Dating Again
- The Cute and Happy Woman is Nearby, I’ve Seen Her
- She Came On Like a Freight Train – The Woman Who Says “Yes”
- 5 Early Warning Signs When Dating: Looking for Ms. Lovejoy
image: unknown woman image, russian photographer site vk, creative commons usage
Do I repeat myself? Then I repeat myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. — Walt Whitman
So much of this blog has been about trying to figure things out. Figure myself out (wants, desires, depressions, ecstasies), to figure out my divorce (what happened, how to get over it, and how to move on in a healthy way), to figure out single parenting as a dad, and ultimately, where we find ourselves (me) today, dating and the mechanics of desire, relationship, coupling, or not coupling. And this much is clear. I have no idea what I’m talking about.
It’s like trying to write about being a parent if you have never had kids. Or imagining what it will be like when you’re married, before you’ve ever experienced it. And I believe I’m on a similar precipice. I THINK I want the next relationship. But it’s only because that’s what I know, that’s what I think I’m comfortable with. “I’m good in relationship,” I like to say to myself, and occasional dates. I’m looking for that again.
But am I? Or is it just what’s familiar? I was married the first time for seven years. Then single and sad for a couple of years and married again for eleven years. So since I was 27 years old, I’ve spent most of my time married. So I kinda know what that was like. And both experiences were eye-opening and transformational. And it’s my natural tendency to want to get back in that couple-mode again. At least I think so.
As I am embarking on this more recent path of discovering myself in “dating” mode I’m not sure I have all the information or tools. I certainly don’t know what my optimal date would look like, though I’m trying to construct maps. I’m doing my reading, planning, and sketching thing, and trying to figure it out. But the real answer is this: There is no figuring it out.
I simply don’t know. And all the posts leading up to this moment, this awareness, are theoretical meanderings of a man who thinks he wants to be back in “relationship.” And they are all lies. Because I can’t know. I can’t imagine. I am trying to write the symphony to the next love of my life without having met her. How do I know where to begin? How can I dream her up, if she’s not revealed herself to me? Quite simply, I can’t.
Here’s what I can do.
Pause. Relax. Enjoy the process. There is no hurry. Really. Get this. There. Is. No. Hurry.
And I can keep imagining my treasure maps, but I have to be willing to be swept away by the unknown and unexplainable. I think that’s what love is. OH BOY, I used the L word. When and how does *that* come into it?
What I do know is this. Present moment exploration is the only way to go. Present moment conversations and discussions. Present moment dating. Present moment sex, if it presents itself. ANNNNDDDD STOP. That’s it. Stop. Stay with the “touch” part. Stay with the conversation about current events. Stay with the fascination about the person in front of you, and not the idea you have.
I do a lot of projecting. (Hello! Have you been reading this blog long?) And often that projection process is misleading both to myself and the potential date. I write love poems. And occasionally those love poems are inspired by actual events in my life, a kiss, a missed opportunity, a chance meeting with an old flame. But they are no more real than my maps of the “next relationship” or finding “The ONE.” Bunk. All bunk.
And yet… All very useful in self-revelation. I AM learning more about my desires. I am learning how to deconstruct my wants and desires and see which ones serve me and which ones I can leave behind. I’ve learned some really valuable lessons along the way, but they are not maps, they are notes.
I’ve learned that much of the programming I received about beauty came from pornographic magazines. But even when I was ten I was reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask, so I’ve been studying women and sex and pleasure for a while.
I’ve broken the idea, for myself, that youth is beauty. And what I’ve discovered is youth is more about the animal need to procreate and breed with the most attractive and available woman. And get this, women in their 20’s who are uber-fit and good-looking, will appear to be perfect mates, to my reptilian brain. And yet, I’m not interested in procreation, or having sex with 20-year-olds or really even 30-year-olds.
I’ve learned that the spark comes from the eyes, the smile, and the intelligence inside. If there is joy, it usually shows through the eyes. And if there’s deep intelligence, I find I’m more turned on than any physical attribute. Except of course the smile. And the joy.
I’ve learned that I don’t have much experience in dating after divorce. We are much different than we were “back in the day.” And our parameters and needs are very different. And our boundaries and priorities are very different as well. AND we won’t put up with much bullshit before we call a foul and move on.
I’ve learned that the real sparks are very hard to find. And valuing that connection is often more important than any idea or roadmap I’ve ever made up.
And finally I’ve learned that working on myself if the best strategy for finding who’s “next” for me. And that includes this writing (self-examination), exercise (health and self-care), and putting myself out there as “available.”
While I don’t like first dates, they are a necessary evil if you are going to date. [What does that word even mean? Date?] And I don’t like online dating. But I find it another necessary evil, like looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for the spark to set the haystack on fire.
And really that’s what I’m looking for, the fire. To feel the burn and intoxication again. This time with some tethers to the ground (and sobriety of my past experiences). But for the fire to come and burn my maps, I have to start with the spark. And since I’ve only seen a few sparks in the last four years, I know the journey ahead may be longer than I want. (I guess it already has been. *Grin* )
And, here I will repeat myself again, I am excited and terrified about the transformation that will occur when SHE shows up. And yet I am pushing towards her, calling her in, writing love poems to “HER.”
I can only imagine… And for now that’s all I’ve got. And these maps, which I will gladly set alight in her flame.
The Off Parent
back to On Dating section
- Online Dating Undercover Revelations: OK Cupid (Pt. 1)
- All Kinds of Women and the Sparks of Desire
- Little Turnoffs: On a First Date with a Woman
- Agua y besos: How Do We Gain So Much Energy from Love?
- The Sensual and the Sexual: Dating After Divorce
- Divorced and Dating Again: What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
For inspiration read this: Dating Don’ts for the Single Mom – from SingleParentingIsHard
image: screen grab from Republica video below.
+++ And though I say, “Baby, I’m ready to go,” I have no idea what that looks like.