Date in Deep Water or Shallows?

Gulp. I got called out by a man who is looking for a long-term relationship; love, compassion, a true connection, not a hit and run kind of guy. I’ll preface this with, he’s attractive. Hot. Introspective, yet fun. Likes to dance. Is mesmerized by sunsets and emits alpha waves–big time, yet women confuse the hell out of him. Women like me. His question, “What do women really want out of a new relationship?

“This…what we had, is what woman say they’re looking for,” he said. “We can click, have a great time together but they want to date…not lock into a substantial relationship with ties that bind. What’s up with that? I’m not nineteen anymore. I want more than a date or playtime.”

He set me on an introspective mission. I need to get real. Own up…especially since I’m one of those women looking for a modified relationship—that wants to wake in the morning on my side of the bed with nothing more than a steaming cup of coffee to lure me into my slippers. Maybe…definitely more on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Hot sex. Hot coffee. Companionship. A weekend visitor filled with passion and playtime, but transient.

Do I only play in the shallows? Am I finally being honest about what I want? Or am I settling for and protecting what I have…claiming to want the perks; the cream and sugar, without the bitter after taste, because I’m scarred from my past? Do I expect all men to be romantics until they reel us in, then expect them cast their lines over and again into different streams of not necessarily single, but available women? Do I hear a harsh remark and imagine temper tantrums ready to erupt? Rumpled wrinkles in their best behavior displayed while dating?

I am a little afraid of those things, but not paralyzed by them, and don’t make that statement lightly. I’ve been absorbed in this all morning. Those of you who read my book know I don’t mince words with you or with myself. That voice in my head I call ‘Grey’ is a bitch who doesn’t let me get away with bluffing or bullshit.

If a man with all the pieces came along, would I allow his pieces to fit in, join with mine, for a together forever puzzled picture I could commit to?

Maybe.

I’ve discarded the possibility of being more than close friends with some great guys I’ve dated, since moving to San Diego. Now, they’re like best friends with different plumbing. I feel safe here. Why didn’t I want to take it further with them?

Grey is scowling, thumping her foot, daring me to tell you the truth…that I don’t know why. I just wasn’t there. Maybe I had my heart and soul tangled up in LEAVING YOU…for me, a memoir…personal, raw, explicit in segments. A catharsis as I transitioned from married at seventeen to single at sixty-five. I wrote about what it took to stay in my dysfunctional marriage for over forty years, what it took to leave, and I didn’t stop there. What’s it like reentering the dating pool after a long-monogamous relationship? A lifetime? Truth is, there are both dangers and deliriously passionate moments. I wrote about both. Not to titillate or arouse my readers, but to break out, break the silence. Be bold instead of behaving.

Is that where I and so many of us stand in the romance arena, too? Are we tempted to misbehave because it feels great to be free and unfettered? Do we love the sparkle of Mardi Gras beads, the music, dancing, dining, to be touched, held…kissed out of our sandals, but we don’t want to be part of the clean up crew in the morning? Face the mess, so…we stay for the parade and the party…and then we go home where it’s clean, safe and uncluttered. Our controlled environment. Is this what I need to confess to?

Am I…are a lot of us rebellious after decades of demands from our parents, our grades, to marriage to motherhood, jobs, aging parents, dressing properly for the PTA meeting, projecting the image everyone would approve of? Judgement, expectations and demands. Do I now stake boundaries to keep these things at bay?
Are transient relationships…ones I stay in long enough to feel wanted, but not long enough to risk rejection, a nice ride or a power trip? Are other divorced women like me?

Boy. I started out to answer a man’s valid question and ended up with a bucket full of my own. What will I tell him? I can’t live with less than the truth, even if it isn’t a pretty picture…or maybe it is. Storm free and sunny.

I’m adventuresome and courageous. Brave enough to like being on my own. I’m wiser. I understand The Principle of Least Interest, accept that it is true 100% of the time; The person least interested in a relationship controls it. That would be me. Will I confess this to him? No. It’s enough to admit it to myself. I need to wrestle with this on my own for a while.

What will I say?

“We’re all a jumble of different puzzle pieces, so the best any of us can do is ride the highs, bask in the shallows, and maybe someday become part of a puzzled pair that somehow fits together. Lots of women are romantics. Brave.”

I’ll keep a life line nearby in case one of them gets swept away by the rapids. Me? I’ll keep suntan oil and an umbrella handy…along with a spare pair of sandals.

 

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