With a bevy of bachelors virtually at my fingertips, thanks to the world of online dating, it
isn’t impossible for me to have a date with a different guy every day of the week. Yet there are some weeks where it feels like that truth is too terribly close for comfort. Yes, it can be fascinating to meet new people regularly for a while, to learn about various passions and pastimes—from piloting planes to mastering the martial art of jujitsu to living hardcore as a raw foodie. I admit it can also be rather flattering to know that something about me, perhaps even something as superficial as looks, can appeal to such a variety of people—I’m not a conventional beauty, nor do I lead a very conventional life. But I can honestly say that for me, sampling from the buffet of singles can get pretty old pretty quickly.
Call me old school if you like, but when it boils down to it, I do my best dating one man at a time. I am what is known as a serial monogamist, tending to go from one committed relationship to the next, with breaks of varying lengths in between. However, in the last few years, it seems there are more frequent periods of being single in between. In fact, it’s been more than a year since I’ve dated someone for anyone longer than a couple months—my longest drought in 10 years.
With one major exception, the fact that nothing truly stuck with any of the guys I’d been on dates lately hasn’t been specifically heartbreaking. For about six months, I didn’t go on dates at all, focusing instead solely on my health. However, now that I’ve been tasting mini relationships again the last few months, the yearning for a real, lasting relationship has been building up strongly again. Yet inching back into the dating world, I feel like somehow the scene has irreparably changed.
Everywhere I look, I am meeting more and more people truly terrified of commitment to something real. Or maybe I just keep winding up being drawn to and drawing people who underneath it all are terrified of fully committing again. A couple guys have come in with heavier, pointier baggage than others, wearing their pain and hesitancy like a red flag; their eventual goodbyes, while still disappointing, are never really a surprise. With others, their mouths say they want to be in something incredible with someone special—read: me—and then, after a time, they become terrified and try to find some problem they can’t even explain to themselves much less to me, or they make excuses for how busy and committed they are to everything else in their lives, and pop fizzle zip—it’s over.
So the last couple weeks I am finally connecting with a guy who lives with my same
philosophy—if you’re not going to jump all in from your head to your toes and risk getting your heart smashed, then why even bother? In love and in life in general—this isn’t the dress rehearsal, this is it! The time is now to live life to the fullest, to embrace and feel completely with all your senses, and walk with integrity and honesty to others and yourself.
When this man and I are together, we are drawn to that passion and zest for life we share, and we can literally talk for hours about those things in life that really matter, the essence of self. We vibe on those values and beliefs that we should be seeking first in a prospective partner, before we look at their portfolio, how many kids they want and where they see themselves professionally in five years. If you and someone else are clearly dancing to completely different rhythms, it doesn’t matter that you both love listening to Maroon 5, eating Indian food and running marathons, and that you want to live in the city and not have kids.
Take, for example, the last guy I dated, who was married for 26 years to a woman who loved to do many of the same activities as he. She, seven years his elder, coached him how to be a man and was patient in showing him the ropes in adult relationships. She didn’t, however, especially like to communicate in depth, and he comes to life talking about feelings and opinions, discussing culture, politics, the environment, health and wellness and so much more. The former Mrs. also never really knew and supported his sense of humor. I asked how could he live that way for so long, swallowing such a key aspect of his personality? He answered that it was rather cold and grim for a long time.
Then, one afternoon he and I spent a long drive talking about our respective childhoods, sharing crazy tales. Afterward, he said I probably knew more about the stories that left these deep imprints on him forever in a few hours than his ex-wife had in the 30 years they’d been together. This, with whom you’d planned to be the love of your life—how truly, utterly tragic!
The prospect of winding down a similar path has kept me from marrying the wrong man more than twice in the past, and I’m truly grateful that I was self-aware enough to listen to my instincts as painful and difficult as it was to get out of those long, emotional relationships. Yet somehow I even find myself hesitating as I go on more dates with this new man who I seem to synch with so well. Am I suffering from the scars of the crash and burns of the past as well?
Yes, we connect on the deep soul level, which fuels a potent physical chemistry. He has a sensitive yet strong and independent spirit, a brilliant mind and a compassionate heart, and he knows exactly what I mean when I wax poetic about spirituality, culture and wanderlust. So why exactly then did I go on a first date with someone new this past Saturday, several hours after I left our first sleepover?
It makes for an even longer story, so stay tuned for next time when I give you the full scoop.