Thursday, May 27, 2010

So now that I'm single. . .

A couple of months after C. and I separated, on the morning following one of many painful, draining, talking-in-circles encounters that he and I would have in the year to follow, I woke up with the urge to date. Crazy some might say, especially seeing as how I was not quite three months out of a six year relationship and I was very emotionally raw to put it lightly. But I'm a go-with-your-gut kind of girl and so without giving it a second thought, I promptly went online and joined a dating site. Within hours I'd been contacted by several guys and was instant messaging with one who asked me out the very next day. I knew nothing about protocol or safety for that matter, so I accepted. The next day I had what I could only describe as pretty close to a panic attack from nerves and the delayed reality of what I'd signed myself up for and that first date never happened.

But other dates did. I was still craving the sense of vitality that comes from new attraction and needing to know that I was desirable and could get back in the proverbial saddle, so I dated. Very quickly I met D. who I suppose in hindsight was my rebound guy. We spent a lot of time together for a couple of months, mostly at his house where I felt completely at home because I'd managed to situate myself into a relationship with enough superficial similarities to my marriage that I barely noticed the difference. The chemistry with D. was insanely good and that helped too of course. And we were together when my dad got diagnosed with terminal cancer, so he was someone to talk to and cuddle with when I needed it, offering me a different kind of solace than I got from my friends and family. Then reality set in and our incompatibility became obvious so we parted ways peacefully. It was quite beautiful in its own right.

From there I've gone on to date various guys with various levels of interest. Some bring a purely physical, animal attraction and that is an experience that I think every woman should have. You don't have to label yourself or feel bad about sharing that kind of energy alone with someone. Others have been entirely sweet and attentive and yet could not spark my interest as anything more than a friend. Still others have been so lackluster that I wonder if they had help with their online dating profile because the words on the page and the conversations in real life seem to have come from entirely different people. I've had guys want to make me their girlfriend after an hour together, others that call and text incessantly before we even get to the first date and others that revealed aspects of themselves early on that, thankfully, made me want to run in the other direction. All of this within about a year! And moreover, there were large chunks of the year when I was dating no one, sorting through my feelings over the loss of my marriage, then the loss of my father, then the attempts to save my marriage and back again. It's been a roller coaster!

So where has all of this gotten me? It's brought me to Happily Now. Single and dating was not where I thought I'd be in my late twenties, but it is where I am. And dating thus far has taught me some incredibly valuable lessons. First of all, I'm a catch. And I bet you are too. It is amazing to me how many strong, successful, independent, kind, energetic, beautiful, loving women are out there trying to find "the one". Know your worth ladies. And absolutely, resolutely, steadfastly refuse to settle for anything or anyone that does not add to your worth. You have a right and a responsibility to share time and energy with people that are going to fill you up, whether physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually or a combination of them all. Your time is valuable and there is no sense in using it up on people who can't take you higher on some level. Second lesson. . . sometimes that means being by yourself. And that is perfectly okay. Get to know you and be alright with spending some time without anyone else there. It doesn't mean you're alone. But it does mean that you know how to choose good company and sometimes all you need is a little Me, Myself and I-time. Third lesson. . . learn what you can while you can from every encounter. All the getting-to-know-yous, all the first dates that may or may not lead to more, all the guys you never want to see again and the ones who become your friends, ultimately these are there to teach you about yourself. Explore what makes you tick, what turns you on, what you need to be content in a relationship, what your strengths and weaknesses as a partner are so that when you finally cross paths with "the one" you'll be ready. Oh, and most importantly, have faith! It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when :-)

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