Stepping Back Into the Breach; Dating Again After Divorce

Stepping Back Into the Breach; Dating Again After Divorce

It’s not that I don’t like online dating, it’s actually that I don’t like dating. What with it’s unanswered questions about what’s next, where are we going, how long can I stay here. I want to be past the dating thing, and back into the relating. And it’s not sex that I’m talking about specifically. It’s more the feeling you get when you are SEEN by someone. And then deemed as worthy and worthwhile of attention.

So the “date” last night started well and ended well. It was the first date in all six of mine, that I immediately felt at ease. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to her. I was trying to express myself and my pursuits, but she was way too familiar, in a good way. It was as if we had been friends in high school or something. An easy way the conversation flowed between us. All so heavy with promise.

And over three hours later she asked, “Well, are you ready to go home?”

“No,” I said.

She smiled.

We chatted for another 15 minutes or so and she said she actually did have to go home. Her kids would be waiting up for her. (Now that’s a new and funny concept.) And we walked easily across the parking lot as I grabbed a CD out of my car to share with her. And then she was gone. But not after both of us admitted out loud that we had a good time and looked forward to the next time. And she did something very cool.

“Did I give you my phone number?”

Not dating, but being friends, we plugged her number into my phone and I called her and learned her last name. And I was thrilled. I TXT’d her with a tease after I got home. I believe we were both smiling most of the night.

And that’s the point. We were both smiling. Sure things can get hard in a relationship, but when the spontaneous smiling ends the tenor of the situation changes. Okay, so we’re in the opening minutes of our relationship, whatever that will be, but I have to say, I am not afraid.

My divorce is supposed to be over in three weeks. But, “The relationship had been in trouble for a while.”

“Yes,” she agreed. “It’s never just over. I mean, I guess the person CAN just walk out, but something had to be going wrong for that to happen.”

We were balancing the fact that she’s been divorced for 10 years and me not even 10 minutes, yet. Sure, I know there will still be bumps on the roller coaster of being divorced and being a single parent. But somehow with her, I was ready to be on to the next stage, just hanging. I was sad to leave but exhilarated to think about the next time. “Call me anytime, even if you just want to hang out,” she said.

The trajectory with kids is so much longer than we might have experienced without them. I mean, I don’t even have a place at the moment. So there’s really nowhere to go, to hang out. And next weekend I have MY kids. (Blessings!) And so the 15 miles between us might as well be light years. But it doesn’t feel that way.

What it feels like, is I’m not afraid to imagine what the WE might be. Even if it just means putting us on a couch watching a movie together. With her, I imagined this might happen. Whereas, when thinking about any of my other 5 dates, I don’t even really want to have coffee again.

“I think chemistry is very important,” I said. We were midway through our meal and I was beginning to explore the “relationship” idea. Not moving things forward in a hurry or anything, but I wanted her to know that the chemistry was very cool for me, at that very moment. We both laughed and chatted about that for a minute. And about the oddness of online dating and why people our age sometimes seem like old people.

She was not an old person. And she was radiating in my attention. As she should be.

So with that, even for a week, I am — in theory — off the market, off eHarmony, off the matching of match.com. Because all that “dating” crap is really distracting when what you really want is a friend, not a date.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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