Online dating is so much like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If you’re a woman, you can pretty much put up a profile, and if your profile is decent and your pictures are good, you can just dangle that bait in the water and watch the fish come swarming to your inbox. But then the real work begins. It’s just like Goldilocks sampling the porridge, the chairs and the beds of The Three Bears: this one’s too hot, that one’s too cold, will the next one be just right?
My mother used to say some things that were interesting when she told them to me as a child, but now, after her passing nearly a decade ago, I find them to be perceptive beyond belief. One of her favorite axioms was, “Most of life is boring.” She would usually say this in response to one of us kids declaring our boredom. She was unphased. “It’s life,” she’d say. “Only boring people get bored. Learn to entertain yourself, instead of relying on others to do it for you.”
My mother was right. So much of life is wash, rinse, repeat.
I get up, drag myself out of bed, and fumble my way to the shower. I go through my days doing mostly stuff that pertains to making sure my kids and I have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, electricity and heat, and a vehicle to get us to and fro. My weekend activities don’t vary much. I’m a bit of a cyclist and spend lots of time out on my bike. I tend to go to the same places to eat and socialize. I have fun, but it isn’t a constantly changing menu of activities and events.
Today, or rather, yesterday, I got up and decided I would drive my fancy new-to-me car to a small trendy town nearby and have breakfast at a lovely little place that is always packed and has delicious, melt-in-your-mouth menu items. I went alone. I usually go alone. I like to go alone. I’m really okay with this most of the time, but lately, maybe due to the car wreck with my kid, maybe due to the fact that everyone else around me seems to be having success in the relational field, maybe because I’m just tired of being alone all.the.time. Most of the time I don’t mind being alone, but lately I’ve stopped going out and doing things, because I was getting tired of doing the alone thing. Today, I didn’t care. I wanted to have breakfast at a nice place. I wanted to drive in my car. I didn’t necessarily want to have to be responsible for holding up my end of a conversation, but I somehow, strangely wanted to immerse myself in a crowd of people and noise, and fragrances and life. So, I went out to breakfast.
Several years ago, I may have actually been married but separated at the time, a happily married colleague of mine was sharing how she met her husband. She’d waited to marry and had been single for a bit longer than her contemporaries. I remember thinking that I envied her. Oh, how I wish I’d not rushed into marriage and had lived out my 20’s and early 30’s as a single person. I may have mentioned this sentiment to her. I’ll never forget her next comment, “Being single, and remaining single for that long, really takes a significant amount of self-esteem.”
Red and pink balloons, chocolates in heart shapes with red, pink, silver, and gold foil wrapping, cards, dinners…disgusting. Valentine’s Day is a day of obligation. It’s a day of duty. It’s a day of, “If you don’t get her something, your proverbial goose is cooked.” It’s a day I’ve never enjoyed, no matter my relationship status. It always seemed, when I was in a relationship, that the men I was with were anxious about the day. Or they forgot. Or they simply didn’t know what to do. Or worse…and this did happen…they didn’t care and they did nothing.
Ever notice how, when once you commit to something, the universe conspires to convince you otherwise? The minute you decide you are, for sure, going to go on that diet, all manner of beverages, desserts and delicious cuisine are offered you. The minute you commit to daily exercise the kids suddenly need rides right when you planned to exercise. The minute you decide that you’ve given up on dating, suddenly your dance card is full.
Early on, after my divorce, I figured I was racing the clock. You know, trying to beat that date on the calendar that somehow says you are now too old to be putting a profile up online. What that date is specifically, I don’t know. After a solid three years of meetups and a few relationships that lasted about 3 months before I was able to discern that, no matter what he said to me, he just really wasn’t that into me. Then there was this one relationship that I somehow completely missed the clues that he just wasn’t into me. Two years later, he’s disappeared into thin air and I haven’t heard a word from him since he left seven months ago. As I look back on it now, there were plenty of signs that he wasn’t as fully vested in the relationship as he said he was. Actions speak louder than words. I didn’t like the actions. Specifically, I didn’t like how they betrayed his words. I think I hung in there because I just didn’t want to admit that I had made another bad judgement call…again. I hung on when I should have let go. I was foolish.
“Mom, my graduation from my fellowship is Saturday, August 24th. Can you come? Dad can’t make it, and really would like someone here for me. Plus there are many key political figures I want you meet. Can you please come?”
How does one say no to child who asks, no begs, for you to remain present and involved in their adult lives. This isn’t because the apron strings haven’t been cut. No, this is my firstborn, the independent one who has chosen to do life her way since she was born. She drives herself to achieve impossibilities, she still fights sleep, she’s been tapped to lead a prominent campaign for a candidate of her political party, and she’s intentionally choosing to sit out a term of college to gain this experience. This is not a needy, clingy child who is having a tough time leaving the nest. This is strong, intelligent, independent woman we are dealing with here. So, when she asks, especially when she asks in this particular way, a caring parent pays attention. Even if she is not yet 22 years old. I was very close to having to tell my daughter no this time.
Why would I do such a thing?
The problem is a financial one more than anything.
More than once, this month, I’ve regretted the fact that I allowed the insurance company to pull The Gone BF’s payment out of my account. Sadly, he was attentive enough to our finances to wait until the payments had cleared before he decided to head out. More than once, over the last few weeks, I’ve wondered why I let this relationship go on an why I didn’t do something earlier about it. The fact that he is now gone, brings a different kind of sadness. It is a sadness that comes from realizing the truth when you worked so hard to ignore it. It’s a sadness that comes from realizing you had to work at ignoring the truth, that he just never was that into me, in spite of his helpfulness and wonderful words. He’s gone. I’ve no doubt he is glad to be gone. He hasn’t contacted me in well over a week. I don’t expect to hear or see from him again. I do wish I hadn’t been such a fool, but other than that my life is greatly improved since he left. But I am annoyed with myself for having paid his insurance bill.
I also wish my daughter, for all her competence, had informed me earlier. I would have planned this month so differently. Traditionally, the end of summer, with it’s back school registrations and expenses, is tight. This year is no exception. Even though I am past my bankruptcy, and I am doing all I can to improve my credit, I still don’t like using the credit cards. I have one with a small limit that I use and pay off every month, but it didn’t have enough on it to cover the expenses for this trip. On a whim, exactly a week ago, I applied for a credit card with a $1, 000 limit. Okay, in my past life, that’s a low limit, almost an insult. In my current financial recovery life, it’s an indicator that my life is improving. If you read through the credit repair literature, most suggest that it takes about a year to be approved for a credit card with that kind of limit. I was approved and it has been just over two months since I received my discharge letter. This was great news. Now to hope that I received the card in seven days rather than the ten of the 7-10 business days it takes to receive the card.
Waiting. As time drew near and my mailbox remained empty, I made up a Plan B. The Good Ex is usually great about giving me cash if I write him a post dated check. I hate doing this, but this was an exception and for a good reason. So, the stress was off as far as whether or not I was going, because The Good Ex was very good about it and payday is very near.
I have to say though, that in a situation like this that involves unplanned expenses four days before payday, having a credit card helps. What also helps is that this summer, I worked five extra weeks. What I spend this weekend will be paid off in a week. I will get to see my daughter and support her. But having that credit card would mean I’d have a cushion. It would mean some extra in case something happened. It would NOT mean a spending spree, it would mean I could enjoy the trip without worry.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was firming up our plans, I texted my oldest, “If that card is in the mail today, my life will be superior.”
I am pleased to report that my life is indeed superior.
Events of this evening conspired, from the very beginning, to sabotage a good night’s sleep. I should know better than to play a board game with my boyfriend before calling it a night. Besides both of us being very competitive people, he’s a poor loser. He’s even worse when in comes to winning. I do believe “ass****” was the word I used to describe him to his very face. On top of that, I absolutely hate playing games where it is a slaughter with me on the losing end. It isn’t all that fun for me to be on the winning end of a slaughter either; I much prefer a challenge where I, at least, feel as though I’m somewhat competitive even if I lose. After tonight’s third slaughter, with my beau (not sure that’s even an appropriate word for him right now) gloating ruthlessly, I just got up and walked away. Okay, huffed off, is more like it. I heard him laughing about it after I left the room. I didn’t talk to him the rest of the night. I detest arrogant ass**** winners. His words? “I don’t play to lose.” Really? Seems to me that you sure lost out on something tonight, with all that arrogance, Big Guy. Put that behavior on the top of the list of “Things That Kill Romance.”
Now, I’m not suggesting, by any means that he should have “let” me win. That, in a way, is arrogance in reverse order, in some situations. However, given that I’d played this particular game maybe five times total and he grew up playing it like some people used to play backgammon back in the eighties, it wasn’t exactly an even match. I think he could have saved his championship tournament play for another time. The whole scenario just didn’t engender any loving, caring, positive feelings in me for him. In my words, “Well, there’s really nothing about this that is fun for me.” If you win by a landslide, for crying out loud, at least have the decency to be kind to the person you annihilated rather than divesting them of their last shred of human dignity. Big romance killer. Just.don’t.touch.me.
As soon as I’d settled in to attempt to sleep, as if that was even going to be possible with my annoyance meter soaring off the charts, the dog comes into the room and begins licking herself. It’s a sound I hate. I mostly hate it because it happens incessantly these days. She’s licked off most of her fur on her haunches and she is LOUD about it. Loud. Lick. Lick. Lick. Lick. It is worse than a dripping faucet and far noisier. It grates on me.
So I banished the dog from the bedroom and closed the door. Most of the time, she will just sleep outside the bedroom door or find another place in the house to camp out for the night. Tonight, she decided to sit outside my bedroom door and bark. Bark….Bark…Bark….Bark. I get up and let her out. She comes back in; same routine. In the bedroom: lick, lick, lick. Banish to the hall: bark, bark, bark.
So, I’m infuriated and exhausted by the dogs in my life, and now, both of them are in the bedroom resting peacefully and I’m here typing away about ready to code out, I’m so frustrated.
And…I am out of sleeping pills.