Hopefully you laughed at that meme. I did.
I also recognize that at its heart lies a frightening truth. We ALL try to put our best feet forward during the sorting processes of getting to know one another. It takes time to peel off all the protective layers we arm ourselves with and really know someone.
This is nowhere more evident than in negotiations of love. I’ve been in two long-term loving relationships in my life. In both situations, I dove in far earlier and far more quickly than good sense and reason would dictate. In both situations that led to wondrous experiences of love and intimacy, both physically and emotionally. Both situations also ended badly.
In both relationships I think I can fairly summarize that they ended because we didn’t really KNOW fundamental truths about each other and when those truths came to light they were deal-breakers for one or both of us.
Hiding or glossing over our true selves were both the keys that led to the relationships even existing in the first place, but they also flipped the switch to their demise.
So, here I am today 7 years past any long-term relationship and super gun shy. I tell my teenage kids not to plan to marry until they have been dating someone at least a year. Four seasons. I’d hope for even longer but in their Mormon world I know the culture I’m competing with and it’s the mindset of days and weeks. A year in that world is super cautious.
In my world it’s not really much better if I’m really being honest. My recent dating attempts leave me feeling a grumpy old codger void of passion. I’ve certainly taken my turn on the merry-go-round of instant sex and one-off dating. I’m not really interested in that anymore. Looking for something more substantial where I can be myself and fall in love with a real person on the other end continues to elude me. I feel like my resistance or reluctance to immediately jumping in headfirst with both feet like a 15 year old girl keeps me on the fringes.
Take a recent example: I joined a dating site where I’ve heard that a few friends have had some success in finding a partner. I posted my profile and perused those who are designated as compatible with me. I get a few flirty messages and reply in kind. Then, one gentleman writes me the following e-mail. This is his second message to me:
Thank you for writing me and as for me am cool and lonely.i’m new to this online dating thing and you sound nice. More about me I am single never married with no kids and currently seeking for a real relationship, but not rushing myself.I`m 40yrs old an independent contractor by work and i believe fate as made us find each other . I really do not see age or distance as a barrier because i am ready to relocate with that special one if find , And i so much believe that fate as made us find each other because Arizona is actually where i will be moving to soon from California after my contract . I am mentally stable, physically fit,a bunch of laughs,warm, caring,honest, good listening and a positive person. I’ve got a great sense of humor,I am more conservative politically than liberal.I work hard,and know how to have fun. I am real easy person to talk to and a good listener. I love to play golf and I enjoy chilling` with my friend/family ,I like going to the movies,or watching movies in my room ,I like swimming , fishing,listening to music and dance to any kind of music, traveling,going bowling and also a good cook.I am a family oriented person..
I am really interested in wanting to know about what makes you the special person you are today,what are your goals, I want to know more about your family, your background,What do you do for fun,where are you really from ,where do you live , are you an outdoor person and where do you see yourself in the nearest future?I don’t wanna be too inquisitive so i’ll stop here talk to you latter.hope to hear back from you soon..Yours Friend ,Xxxxx
It’s really sweet except that in sentence 3 he already knows that fate brought us together. By sentence 4 he’s already moving here to be with me!
Slow the F#$% down!
Other than that he sounds really sweet, right? Well, there’s also that line about being conservative, but he seems like he wants to get to know me. I just don’t want to have to enter a relationship with a guy already making plans to move in. I have 3 kids to think about and some stranger talking about moving here creeps me out.
Then, I talk to other gay fathers who are in committed relationships about how they met and THEY caught fire almost immediately. In almost every case that I know if they fell for each other speedily and are already engaged.
Part of me thinks, “Been there. Done that.”
Part of me thinks, “Stop it! I did that too and it won’t work out. You’ll be me in 2-3 years.”
Part of me also thinks, “How cool that you found someone to love and who loves you. I hope it lasts.”
I once read a study of how people who found love once are more likely to find it again, and again, and again… I’ve found love before so it might not be completely hopeless. But this 7 year gap does have me wondering.
At a party last night I met a couple who have been together for about 6 years. One of them had previously been in a relationship for 20 years. His partner then died of a heart attack and 3 weeks later he was already with his current husband. That totally fits that model that love more easily finds love.
So, maybe I’m focusing too much on the fact that my previous experiences with love ended and not opening myself up enough to celebrate that I had them and letting the magic that brought them about happen again?
Perhaps, but I can’t get past the fact that speed and reckless abandon both ignite and kill passion.
It’s no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy.