This is Tristan. He is, clearly, my Frog Prince. He sits on the corner of my desk and 1) makes me smile, and 2) reminds me that somewhere out there, in this vast, confounded universe, there is a guy who will get me, want me, love me.
Now, I'm not one of those women who needs a man to feel complete. I know women like that, who wander from relationship to relationship because they don't want to (or can't) be alone. I don't do that. When my marriage ended, I waited 2 years to even consider dating. I made mistakes I didn't want to repeat. I was hurt by my ex and I wanted to make sure I didn't take out the anger that resulted from that pain on anyone else. So I learned to be alone. And I liked it. But the fact is, I'm just not that interesting. I got bored with myself and decided maybe it would be nice to have someone to talk to who wasn't me and who was older than 7 and who didn't have 4 legs and fur. So I gave dating a shot. Lordy, lordy.
I turned to (where else?), Match.com. Don't judge, people (yes, I’m talking to you, oh Gurus of the Internet). I was 41, a single mom, working from home, newly-moved to the middle of a cow pasture, with no local friends to provide fix-ups, and a family who, along with their friends, voted for Bush (read, 'no viable dating options'). Like I said, lordy, lordy.
After a few less-than-stellar Match dates, I met my perfect guy... a university professor, smart, funny, attractive. Whoo hoo! He was also very firmly entrenched in his comfort zone, which included the physical and psychological need to imbibe copious amounts of alcohol on a daily basis. Relationship Status: Over
The next guy was great. I loved him. And he loved me (of course he did – I’m very loveable). He just didn’t love me in ‘that way’. Ugh. Rejection. He’s still in my life and no, I don’t love him in ‘that way’ anymore, which is good, really, ‘cause I figured out he’s incredibly annoying and he would have driven me nuts. Relationship Status: Still Friends
The third guy was lovely, but he was just too much like me… in some of the ways I’d like my match to be like me… and in all of the ways I definitely don’t want him to be like me. Relationship Status: Still Friends
After all that, my heart was hurting. A lot. And though I do believe you have to risk your heart to find real love, mine was getting the crap beaten out of it. So I gave up for a while. Then (because I’m clearly a glutton for punishment) I gave it another shot. I met lots of people (and a few Trolls, religious fanatics, narcissists, etc). I made a few more friends. I kissed a few frogs. After several months, I met a man I thought might have the makings of royalty. I broke rules with him… talked too long before meeting, got attached quickly. After hours and hours of conversation and our first date (which went amazingly well), he asked a question because "it might be an issue down the road." Yup. Uh oh. It turned out the fact that my daughter is half Hispanic was "the issue" (see my “Brown, It’s Just a Color” post from July 30 if you’re interested). A bigot. I went out with a bigot. Relationship Status: BEYOND OVER
I gave up again. And I’m still in that place.
So, why this dissertation on dating tonight? Because I got yet another email from one of the many amphibians I’ve met. This was the Playboy Toad… you know, the guy who made it really clear right up front he was only in it for the sex. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that sort of clarity. I’d rather know it up front than find out after a few dates when I’m thinking ‘possible relationship’ and he’s thinking ‘definite tadpole crawl.’ I told him (back when we met) that I respected where he was in his life and I appreciated his honesty, but I just wasn’t in the same place. Now, just to be clear... I like 'tadpole crawls'… LOVE them, in fact. I just love them a lot more when they’re with frogs I have real feelings for. One-night-lily-pad-stands just don’t do it for me anymore. I just wonder why these sorts of croakers keep hopping back into my pond. I don't get it.
So for now, it’s just me and Tristan. I’m happy to hang out alone for a while longer and he’s happy to remind me there's a prince out there for me (and by 'prince' I mean 'just a normal, funny, smart, cute guy')… that somewhere in this vast, confounded universe is a guy who will get me, want me, love me…