Dating: An Unexpectedly Positive Experience

So, it’s true. I did get called a “stuck-up punk bitch”. And a manhater. But, that was while messaging online. On the other, and much more substantial side of the coin, the four in-person meetups I have had, with four different men, have all been positive in different ways.

The first man wrote one of the kindest dating rejection letters I’ve ever received, in which he said I was awesome and listed out a couple of reasons why (easy to talk to, doing something inspiring and admirable with my divorce/keeping the family together/new partnership). He said he wasn’t the guy for me, and wished me best of luck in my search. It was a genuine note, and I really appreciated it.

The second man and I spent three hours talking at a restaurant, followed by an hour and a half of conversation later on. When he started texting me multiple times a day following that date, and then queried me about my lack of response (in one day), I told him that I’d meant what I said about not wanting to jump into a relationship, and that daily messaging like that felt too much like I was treating him like a boyfriend. He wrote an appreciative text back that started, “Wow, you’re direct. I like and respect that.” He understood and has respected my boundary, and still was willing to extend himself emotionally by telling me that he was really looking forward to our second date. I don’t know if I’ll wind up with romantic interest in him or not (way too early to tell), but so far he’s definitely someone I want to get to know better.

The third man was interesting, direct, very affectionate in nature, very interested in me. I don’t think he’s the guy for me (not a very involved parent, super sure that men and women are fundamentally different in wiring and makeup, a frequent interrupter, among other things). But he was nonetheless respectful, and asked if he could kiss me (thank god, because I HAVE to have that sort of commitment to consent, or I run the other way – too much really negative history) which gave me a chance both to say no and to thank him for asking.

The fourth man was sweet, shy, funny, shared some significant personal history with me, and is an admirable and very involved father. I am not, at least on first blush, attracted to him physically. So I replied to his post-date message telling him that I would like to be friends (which I would; he is someone I want to get to know better). In reply, he sent me acceptance, and a most wonderful compliment it took courage for him to be vulnerable enough to offer, in which he told me “you have a heart-melting smile, so someone that lights your fire should be along soon I’d think”. I was so moved.

This is all a new experience for me. Not adhering that closely to the beauty standard, and as well being insecure and sometimes downright self-hating, I have not been a person who has attracted the interest and attention and desire of multiple men at once. Doing so now feels like a challenge to my self-identity, in fact. But it is also revelatory in various ways. I weigh more than I ever have in my life. But I am as comfortable, if not more so, with my body than I ever have been in my life. I am carrying myself differently. I am inhabiting my body differently. I am more centered, more sure of myself. I am not going on dates worrying about how I look. I am not worrying about whether the guy in question will be attracted to me or like me. I am more open to possibility at the same time that I am not feeling the need for any particular outcome.

And I am meeting men who are willing to share their hearts and minds with me, who have all been kind in different ways, and who have all had interesting stories to tell, and who have been interested in mine. It’s a diverse bunch of people, too, in terms of race, background, profession, etc.

I did some internet dating in 1999, and again in 2005. This is by far the best experience of the lot overall. I think it has partly to do with age: by the time we’re pushing 50, many of us are more relaxed, more experienced, and more open. And it has to do with where I am and how I’m expressing myself.

I’m really grateful.

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Bus, firefighters, studio project, bedtime

Well, today didn’t end so well. But there was a lot of positive in it anyway. Hazel and I took the bus together this morning. I combined a trip with her with a needed errand to the bank, but it was all fun. We went to the bus stop only to discover that the posted schedule was incorrect after I checked with an online app. So, we took the opportunity of a wait for the bus to go to our coffee shop where Hazel had a hot chocolate, I had a steamer, and we met not one but three very friendly firefighters. They took us over to their fire truck after we were done, and gave us stickers and cards as well as info about how the truck works, and an invitation to come by the station any time. Lots of warm fuzzies all around.

Then we caught the bus and checked out the scenery as we rode up to our destination. We walked down to the bank so I could make my deposit. The woman who helped me with that then gave me tons of info in response to another question I had. While we were talking she provided Hazel with highlighters, crayons, and paper. It was lovely to see Hazel having so much fun while I got some necessary home-related work done.

We walked quickly back to where we were going to catch the bus home, which was then late. But that was fine, because we were outside enjoying the beautiful sunny day together. We got home a bit later than intended to very sleepy babies. The sleepiness helped out in terms of nap, and Joanna had been asleep for almost two hours when I woke her up later on.

We met with our contractor this afternoon, and have a bunch of choices to consider, as, of course, there are components to the job that are turning out to be more expensive than he originally anticipated.

After that we went to the park to see friends, a couple of whom we haven’t seen in years, since the daughter (Hazel’s age) was a small toddler. That was loads of fun. Seeing the kids playing together is a delight.

Unfortunately, we didn’t take care of ourselves and left too late, so were rushed and stressed in our night-time routine, and lots of mistakes, crying and unhappiness resulted. Another lesson to learn…

But what I want to remember are Hazel’s smiles and snuggles today when we spent time together. I love getting to experience that.

Acts of kindness, going out on the town

I read a post today on a friend’s FB page that reminded me of something that happened when I was pretty far along in my pregnancy with the twins. I’d gone out to dinner by myself, to my favorite Indian restaurant. When it came time to pay my bill, the server told me that a guy who’d been at the next table with his family celebrating his daughter’s 21st birthday had paid my bill. Seeing me there had made him think about her birth and his wife, and he wanted to make the gesture. They had left the restaurant by the time I was paying my bill, and so gave me the space to just have a nice meal without having to even thank them in person. I was so touched. It was so generous.

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Tonight Ted and I went to the first half of a concert on which a friend was playing a concerto. It was nice to get out, and we ran into a musician friend of mine with whom I was able to make some silly musician jokes and giggle. That is good for the soul. I felt quite a bit lighter when we came home.

As we mounted the stairs, I heard crying. Our babysitter had accidentally broken Hazel-protocol and opened the lid of the gummi-vitamins ALL THE WAY instead of just loosening it for her to open the rest of the way. Tragedy and tears ensued. And seeing us, she burst into tears even more passionately. However, after a few hugs I came downstairs to feed the babies and chat with our babysitter, and Ted put Hazel to bed. It went smoothly. And apparently the twins both ate quite a bit of food tonight. We have learned that Joanna likes banana, and Emily likes avocado. They both ate a half of their respective fruit. Maybe that means they’ll sleep longer tonight. One can always hope.

It is amazing how much more inner bandwidth I had to deal with Hazel’s feelings, given a short night out. We left at 7:15 and returned just two hours later, but that was enough to give me energy and help me feel sufficiently centered that I could see Hazel crying and feel compassion for her, but not take it personally or let it stress me out. Time off is good!