Like any good writer, I want to rewrite everything as soon as I put it up. And so it has been with the previous three blog posts. Were I to do them again, they might look something like this:
B is for Body (we go into dating with the bod we have, not the bod we wish we had, and certainly not the 35-year-old body I had last time I dated, 22 years ago. This time it’s different!)
A is for Age (or I’m old enough to date a 70-year-old? When did that happen? Maybe 70 really is the new 50.)
C is for Compassion and Curiosity (both necessary tools for this adventure, both as lenses through which to see ourselves and those we encounter. What drives us? How difficult have our journeys been to this point?)
So, that’s part of the Do Over part of Do Overs, Deal Breakers, and Dumped. Maybe I’ll start over again with A on May 1 and see how far I get.
Onto Deal Breakers. Turns out dogs and kids weren’t deal breakers. Who knew? Last year was chock full of surprises that way. But what might a deal breaker be? Where do I draw my boundaries?
One of my aforementioned BFFs (see A is for Alcohol) has been at this far longer than I and had a few words for me at the outset: “Write down your non-negotiables up front. Know what they are and screen for them right away.” Her non-negotiables? They had to have been married before, and any potential dates have to live within 25 minutes of her house. She doesn’t want to waste time traveling, which seemed reasonable. She also suggested I screen for age.
Those parameters, applied to lesbians in this county, left me with exactly no matches. And besides, how does Has to Have Been Married work with lesbians, anyway? We couldn’t get married until 2015. And many of us were together with our partners for so long we were essentially married. So, that couldn’t be one of my deal breakers. To my BFF, never being married signaled a certain type of inflexibility. I don’t think it is the same in the lesbian world.
And granted, Second Date, she of the sexy hybrid, had lived in town for many years and weirdly, our paths had not crossed until we met on Match.com. We had maybe two people we knew in common. But otherwise, slim pickings here. So, distance could not be a factor. I dialed that option wide open: Portland, Seattle, Eastern Washington maybe.
As for age . . . well. My preferences skew north. Anyone who knows me knows that. I am technically a Baby Boomer (I should probably say that quietly these days), albeit a boomer with no pension who may not ever see a social security check or Medicare coverage, so sit down millennials. I just was born about ten years too late. I spent my early relationship with a woman 12 years my senior and became very comfortable with her friends who were even older. It’s my comfort zone, and I find myself attracted to older women. I’ve decided to lean into it.
Life is just too damn short for arbitrary lines in the sand. We can’t protect ourselves from heartbreak and search for love at the same time. We can’t. The two are mutually exclusive.
So what IS a non-negotiable for me? Addiction. Sedentary lifestyle. Lack of self-awareness. Inflexibility. An inability to turn toward the other with kindness. The Gottmans have a great article on the need to turn toward our intimate partners, to move to rather than away from. The ability to make connection with our partners/spouses helps love last.
I got dumped rather unexpectedly and unceremoniously in January. It hurt. I recovered. Life goes on. Love will return. If we let it.