Confessions of a Serial Dater

27 03 2011

Forgive me readers for I have sinned.  It’s been four days since my last post, and I really left you hanging.  I apologize.

We had left off with my date with the Scorekeeper, how sad it had made me feel, and how it had made me cry.  So, I suppose I need to explain.

Well, there are a couple of things.  First, I was saddened just by the sheer fact that the date had been going along great, and then had been so abruptly shut down by the Scorekeeper’s question about whether or not I wanted to kiss him.  And, it wasn’t even really the request for a kiss that was the problem.  It was the pressure for a more complex answer about why I didn’t want to kiss him that followed that had felt so stressful and off-putting.

When a woman says no, she means no, and it’s time to shut up about it.  Period. Let it rest.  If something is meant to happen, it will happen without all the pressure.  Pressure about such things just feels shitty.

The Scorekeeper actually sent me a message after my last post, explaining his intentions, and saying that he did not realize his question would be so upsetting.  I called him and we talked about how the communication had gone wrong, and there are no hard feelings.  Enough said.

The biggest reason for my tears though, and anyone reading this blog may find the thing I’m about to say shocking, is that I hate dating.

Yeah, that’s right. I hate dating. I hate it.  I absolutely, fucking hate it. 

One of the things I had been overjoyed about when I got married, in addition to being in love, of course, was that I thought I would never have to date again.  The Scorekeeper’s question had simply reminded me of all the things I hated about dating and the process of trying to get to know someone new, the awkwardness, the interview-like questions, the pressure, and the disappointments.  I hated it.  What I really wanted was to have a man, a friend, I could trust, someone on who’s shoulder I could rest my head, wrap my arm across his chest, close my eyes, and feel warm and safe and secure.  It was something I had mistakenly thought I had found, that I thought I would never have to seek again, and it was gone.  It was completely gone and I was alone.  As much as I know I’m happier now that my husband is gone, I still found myself mourning the idea of what I had wanted that relationship to be. Instead, I now found myself like Dante Alighieri…

“nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.”  Dante Alighieri, La Commedia Divina

In the middle of our life’s walk, I found myself in a dark wood where the straight path was wholly lost.

Here I am at the threshold of a new frontier in my life, and I don’t know what lies beyond or whether or not I have the fortitude to go there.  Everything is uncertain.  Everything feels new and different.  I don’t know who I will become on the other side nor how I will get there.  This is NOT what I had imagined for my future and now I find myself completely lost.  It is totally uncomfortable and overwhelming sometimes, and the fear is very real.

And so, for a moment, last Wednesday, I stopped to cry.

Why on earth would I put myself out there to date 100 men if I have so many fears about it?  Well, the way I see it is that I have three basic choices.  First, I could be in denial about what has happened and try to go about my life pretending my divorce was not happening.  That’s one option, and one that some would choose. 

Second, I could become existentially disappointed.  We’ve all met this kind of person. You know the ones.  They’ve been hurt at some point along the way, perhaps by a past love, or maybe a mother or father, and they don’t believe that love exists. Everyone is out to get them, and even when love does come knocking on their door, they can’t see it or let it in. They actually chase love away and therefore perpetuate their belief that love does not exist and continue their cycle of disappointment.

But, both of those options involve closing the door to a new beginning and turning away from life.  I could stay huddled away in my house with my dog, but then I would not be growing.  So instead, I’ve decided to face dating head on, on my terms, one date at a time, but it doesn’t mean that I always like it or that I’m comforable with it.

Overall, my 8 dates so far have been good.  Even the bad dates have taught me something new about myself, and the good ones have been fun and interesting and an expansion of my circle of friends.

I spent Thursday and Friday at a retreat focused on leadership and courage, where on Friday night, in fact, I had to speak about my own reflections on leadership, and I included some of the very sentiments I am sharing here.  The things I heard over those two days have certainly bouyed my spirits and are reflected here, but I would like to include a poem that the poet, David Whyte, shared with us from his book, River Flow, which is much more eloquent than anything I could write to explain that place where many people find themselves after a divorce or other life altering event.

START CLOSE IN

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
question,
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something
simple.

To find
another’s voice,
follow
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
listening
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

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11 responses

27 03 2011
Dee Child

Hello,

I met you last night at Jerry’s party. I have loved reading your blog so far. It is freshlingly honest. I would also suggest you try speed dating. Only to be fair that you try “all” ways to find a date. That might also speed up your way to 100 (if you consider those to be dates).

Cheers!

27 03 2011
mydatingprescription

Thanks, Dee!
I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the blog. Thanks for the suggestion to hit a speed dating event. There’s one coming up that I’m going to try to go to. It was a pleasure meeting you!

27 03 2011
Anne

I’ve been divorced twice, and I can totally relate to your moments spent wondering how you will ever get through the emotional healing process, move on, and find love again — a healthier, more compatible love. For me, the healing process always evolves one breath, one moment, one day at a time. I admire how you are approaching the dating sort of as a job and as a healthy way to get yourself back out into the world. But I hope you also set aside some time to discover/rediscover/celebrate parts of yourself that you might have lost during your marriage. There can be great loneliness in between relationships, but it’s also a great opportunity to give the gift of yourself, your already-wonderful self, back to you. You are very honest and courageous, and I admire you for many reasons. I wish you all the best!

28 03 2011
mydatingprescription

Thank you, Anne. I try to do a couple of things each week that are just for me, and you may or may not have noticed that I rarely have a date on a Saturday night. That’s because I’m either out with my friends or out with my kids. When I do forget to slow down and take better care of myself, I have a couple of great friends (and readers like you :-)) who remind me to slow down and be gentle with myself. Thank you!!

28 03 2011
Julie

As difficult as this whole process (undertaking) is, remember that nothing worthwhile was ever achieved easily. Here’s a quote that I like and hope you do too
“!No one would ever have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.” ~Charles Kettering

28 03 2011
mydatingprescription

Thank you, Julie. There is another ship quote I like that seems to fit this endeavor.

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
–Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Thanks for the words of wisdom and encouragement.

31 03 2011
Dkl

Well, are you gonna get back in the saddle, or am I going to have to ask you out myself? 😉

2 04 2011
mydatingprescription

I’ll get there. I’ve been out of town, and didn’t hook up with anyone while away.

3 04 2011
Back in the Saddle « My Dating Prescription

[…] acceptable level. Someone will let me know. I start receiving emails asking if I’m ok, and comments threatening to drag me out on a date.  It’s all good.  It’s nice to know that someone […]

8 02 2012
Rom Com and the Blog « My Dating Prescription

[…] explained to my friend how the whole thing got started, and emailed her links to  the first post, Confessions of a Serial Dater, and Man #11, Il Mio Nonno Italiano so she could get an idea of what the blog was […]

18 07 2012
Yes, I’m A Picky Bitch « My Dating Prescription

[…] I should get back out there and date, I thought he was a nut job. I will also remind you that I don’t particularly like dating.  In fact, I think it sucks.  If I could meet the man of my dreams and never have to go […]

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