For those of you who read and follow me regularly and have been doing so for quite some time now (THANK YOU), you most likely know that I’m very happily married.
I know I’ve written that once or twice now and I’m sure some of you are thinking we get it, now get funny or get deep otherwise I’m scanning, clicking on the like button and moving on to read more interesting posts. So, I’m going to try for funny and deep here, but it’s gonna take a while, so be patient.
I found myself flung out into the dating world at one point in my life when I didn’t expect it. I know some of you are going through that same thing now (you know who you are) and it’s a time that, well, you’re not exactly in your twenties, so it’s different.
Well-meaning friends try to get you out, want you to get back in the groove. You may meet someone through friends, blind dates (usually awful), work, classes, church, cafes, bookstores, grocers because your married/coupled up friends try to find just the perfect someone for you because they think that’s what you want. (But you don’t really, you just think you do).
All you see are couples. Everyone seems to be in love, everyone has someone. Except you. That’s all you see anyway because your thoughts are about what you don’t have, instead of what you do.
Stay with me.
What Every Woman Doesn’t Want But Does Anyway
Then you go the other route. You go to a bar. You go with friends (the only ones that aren’t coupled up or married and if they are, then they drone on about their honey) and when you’re an “older” (over 30) single, those seem to be few. At least that was the case for me. And yes, I know that some people meet in a bar and things turn out great. That wasn’t the case for me.
When a woman walks into a bar alone, a couple of things happen. One, she usually feels uncomfortable because she’s thinking everyone is staring at her and thinking poor girl, she’s got no one and she has to come hang out in a bar and you’re hearing this in your head (press it and the other ones below — they’re just short little snippets):
Two the most wretched, cheesy-line jerkwads’ radars kick into razor-sharp, heat-seeking missile focus and they’re thinking, lonely vulnerable woman, pant, gasp, pant, gasp…
You’re a bit paranoid because what if one of them is this? (press it)
And they’re hoping you’re this:
It’s truly a exhausting, confusing process and it brings the term “meat market” to a whole new level.
During all this dressing up, going out, making banal conversation, trying to quell down that panic-like feeling (that’s similar to the one you have in a naked dream where everyone’s pointing and staring), you say to (who is feeling just as weird as you are), “Yes, you can buy me a drink
because otherwise I don’t think I could stand another minute talking to you but you’ll get more interesting if I have more alcohol and I’ll have a white wine please.” Oh, what fun!
I hear it’s still kind of like that. Women going through this barbaric ritual in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Most of them, including me then, eventually say enough, we cry Uncle! I’m done.
But really, no matter what age. women want this: And we’re not going to be this: to anyone.
All women want this: And a combination of this: and this: in a partner:
Wallowing Wading Through the Self-Help Shelves
I alluded to having one of those aha moments in this post which resonated with many of you. I had a vast collection of self-help books during this time, enough really to begin my own small bookstore. I read one, then the other trying to be open-minded, saying a hmmm, yes, I’ve been there, I can relate, but most of the time, it’d be more like, this is crap and I’d stuff it back on the shelf (or throw it across the room) and then get another one.
It was like a rerun loop of a bad Lifetime movie. I kept doing the same thing expecting different results. This was over a period of a few years, mind you.
Then, I was shuffling through one of those books and it was about thoughts. How we can make our life this way or that through how we think.
For some reason, an airplane came to mind. How that began with a single thought — how it came into being, into reality. Despite the laws of psychics (you know, like a bubble bee — how do those whispery wings hold up that fat little body??), one thought in someone’s mind’s eye and believing that it was possible, started the whole thing. Then they made a list and mapped it out on paper. (I’m simplifying here, but you get it).
That was my moment.
That made sense to me. I knew what I didn’t want anymore and that was a step in the right direction. I wanted to know who I’d be without anyone. But just in case there was my split-apart (allegedly Plato’s mythic theory about soulmates) wandering around out there somewhere, I made a backup plan.
The Backup Plan
I lived in a trendy, midtown section of a city at this time. I had this great apartment — the entire top floor of an elderly lady’s mansion. Her daughter met me and thought I’d be a good person to live atop her mom’s nice digs and she cut the rent so that I could afford it. I know, right??
It was a rainy night. I lighted all these pink and white candles. Put on some Enya or Enigma — some twinkly, meditative-like soul music and drank a glass of wine (or two).
I had this set of calligraphy pens (I used to do wedding invitations for friends, write poems and frame them, stuff like that) and a large notebook of parchment paper. The kind that felt good to the touch, soft and whisper-thin.
I took the pen that had the finest nib, tore out one of those tactile-scrumptious sheets and wrote a list, a thought about what spoke to me — what I wanted in a someone.
I got in touch with that Universal Supreme Benevolent Something that many of us feel, talk to, feel within. You know what I mean.
I put it out there. I got specific writing my list (and I mean VERY specific). Physical attributes, mental, emotional, spiritual and even shallow stuff like what kind of car this someone would drive. Yeah, I know but it was my list and no one but me would see it.
I didn’t date for a year. A year.
The End and Beginning
During that time I did things by myself. Went to dinner by myself, the movies, short vacays. I found out what I liked, who I was with just me around. It was great — kind of like an Eat, Pray, Love thing way before that book/movie ever came out, btw.
I kept that list with me at all times. It was on my person wherever I went. I’d take it out and read it every once awhile, put it on my nightside table when I slept. Whether it worked out or not, I could feel something shifting and it felt very good.
After awhile, it didn’t seem as important as it once did, finding that someone. Maybe I was that someone, my own split-apart.
Then hubby showed up. He had to jump through hoops, do all that pursuing and treating me like a queen stuff — that was on the list too.
Once we’d decided to move in together and we both knew we were in it for the long haul, I pulled out that list and showed it to him. We still have it. He met all the criteria on that list — I’m telling you he did and he does. Well, he didn’t/doesn’t drive a BMW, but the Universe had to keep me humble somehow and there’s still time. 😉
And all that “dating,” years of self-reflection and all the rest really did give me what I’d been “searching” for all along– myself and knowing that I would be okay with or without anyone. But, I’m really glad he showed up.
After all, whether it’s a partner, soulmate, friend or just a someone that gets you, that knows you like no one else, that’s a good thing. It’s simple really, we want this: