Under the Microscope
Inbox: 472 new messages
What? How do I have 472 new email messages?
I clicked and knew instantly what went down. I lost a bet, and he wasn’t kidding…
A well-intentioned friend of mine made a bet he knew I’d lose. Consequences of losing? He opened an online dating profile on my behalf. The next morning, I had 472 emails from GodKnowsWhom. That was not fun, but it was eye-opening. I didn’t have the profile password, so it took me a few days to shut it down. That was four or five years ago when I thought I was ready to get back out there, but I sure wasn’t ready for a cannonball into the deep end!
Now I have a different appreciation for why single parents go this route–no community spotlight.
First off, let me say I am an almost annoying level of giddy with the most darling man. He is kind, sharp, hysterically funny, light-hearted, easy-going, so handsome, and genuine. He makes this single-parent dating fiasco seem, well, easy. Just him. Delightful piece of cake. We never seem to run out of things to talk about, he’s a wise friend, and an extraordinary amount of fun in every kind of situation.
We live in the same small-ish community, and sometimes it feels a bit like we are under a microscope.
Maybe that’s because we are, or maybe it’s because I don’t have any other experience with dating someone in a community where people run into each other at the grocery store. This doesn’t bother me–it’s just one more thing I find notable about the process of moving on with life.
Think about it.
After a divorce, it takes some time to wade through the what-went-wrong, learn what one might do differently next time, and shut down the negative messages that aren’t helpful. When that’s sorted out, it’s onto building a new life with new routines in the day-to-day business of functioning adulthood. Maybe take the opportunity to try new things, meet new people, explore different options as they present themselves. And suddenly the realization emerges that things are going to be OK. It takes no small amount of work to get there. I won’t even throw parenting in that mix, but the constant responsibilities and joys and heartaches require no small chunk of emotional and physical energy.
One day, it feels like getting back out there might be a thing that’s possible. Terrifying, but possible.
So dinner out with someone turns some heads. I didn’t notice and don’t really care. Then come questions and phone calls beating around the bush, asking what’s going on when you don’t really know yourself. Ignoring these little annoyances might be the smartest thing I did. I decided I didn’t really care what anyone else thought, outside of the two people getting to know each other better. Bottom line–it’s none of their business. That’s really easy to know, but it can be slightly more challenging to remember sometimes.
These days, I consider it even less, but looking back I realize it might not be that way for others. Dating after you’ve been burned is hard. Letting your guard down equals taking a risk. Risks don’t always pay off, but no one ever got anywhere just doing the same old thing. I mean, what miles of unknown beauty does one miss on a stationary bike?
As time passes and people ask what’s going on with us–some with genuine happiness for two people they call friends and some out of blatant noseyness–I shrug my shoulders with a smile so large I can’t hope to hide it and think to myself “I don’t know, but I’m loving the journey.”
People are interesting. As adults, we hope everyone in our age bracket would act accordingly. Sometimes that’s not how it works out, and it’s easy to feel different as a single person and like all eyes are watching, waiting to see what’s going to go down. I subscribe to the I’m not interested in their intimate relationships so mine is off limits. That takes good boundaries and confidence.
When I get how’s it going with So-and-so, I say ” Absolutely wonderful.” And nothing more.
Off for more smelling the roses…
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