Dating is all or nothing. It’s a shame. You don’t get to keep the parts you like and toss the parts you don’t. You don’t get to keep half the person and kick the rest of him (or her) to the curb. You have to commit. And sometimes that means walking your butt full out the door even when the couch is comfortable and the fridge is full…so to speak.
I’ve had a lot (A LOT) of practice dating…going on 25 years. (Take that you married peeps. It’s my silver anniversary of self sufficiency.) After lots of dating practice, I have a story about a coffee sloshing, alcoholic snow bro; a shy redhead distracted by the police out front that “might be looking for me;” and an epic trailer park fight after my man outted himself by saying, “If this is about Amber, I meant to tell you!” By and large though, I’ve actually had pretty good luck with the men who’ve come in and out of my life. They’ve been kind, funny, intelligent, sexy, interesting…and just not My Person.
Today, I said goodbye unexpectedly to the latest sweet, smart man. He had soft, boy-next-door features and a bounce to his step. (He also had a job and a house which was quite refreshing.) Our second date lasted 12 hours and we saw each other 6 of the next 8 days. When I had to go a week without seeing him, I was giddy to see him and reached up and stroked his beard and said, “I like you.” We stayed up til midnight just telling each other stories about childhood. Weekends were filled with simple things – grocery runs and hikes with the dog – and it was so easy I heard myself think this could be it. But then, other little voices started to nag me. I’d feel a visceral reaction to a comment he’d make and it would just seem…off. And I didn’t want it to be. I could see what a wonderful man this was, but I couldn’t shake that voice.
This morning, a conversation about the holidays tipped the scale and I had to fess up. I thought he was more “in” than I was. I was waffling and I didn’t know why. But he wasn’t waffling. And how do you stay half in with someone who is all in? He couldn’t. I couldn’t. So I hugged him and left. And cried. Why can’t it be simple? You find a good one. You fall in love. And all is well. The well of hope slid into a well of sadness. I liked his eyes. I liked his affection. But some damn little nagger wouldn’t let him be My Person. I am mourning be alone again. Mourning saying goodbye to a really great guy who understandably doesn’t want half of me (or any other woman). I don’t get to keep just the part of him I like.
Wouldn’t that be amazing? If I could keep the belly laughs and conversation from Brandon, the spontaneity and smarts of Scott, the passion of Casanova, the kindness and kisses of Mike, the mellow ease of Sean, the integrity of Dean. But you don’t get to go halvsies on dating. Do you like me? Check yes or no. There is no option for “maybes” after about age 12.
So I’m back. I’ll figure out this single thing again. My soul sister says, “Get out that book we got you, 121 First Dates, and get back on it.” Dear Lord. 121? I once counted all the roommates I’ve had as an adult – 33 – and that was sobering. Maybe I should sit down and count the number of first dates I’ve had. Maybe I’ll be closer to 121 than I thought. In the meantime, I’d better get going. If I can’t keep the parts to build a whole man, I still have some searching to do.