Dating. At 37. 4 years post divorce. 5 months post break-up. 4 months post mom’s passing.
In general I find there are two schools of thought when it comes to dating after a break-up. There is the school of “get back on that horse,” “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” The other school being “do you,” and “work out your shit for at least a year” before pursuing another relationship.
I married my high-school sweetheart and divorced at age 33 so my actual experience with break-ups and dating is quite limited. So far, I tend to be a “get back on that horse” type of girl, minus the “get under someone to get over someone” part. After a break up I have found myself online dating within weeks and meeting people shortly after. This has served me well in the sense that in 4 short years I have been on a lot of 1st dates and have gained a lot of general dating experience. I have had some awesome dates and some dates that deserve a whole blog post for themselves. I have also had the pleasure of building two relationships that started with a 1st date from an online meeting.
But this isn’t any normal break-up.
Not only was I in a very serious relationship that I thought would endure, but the break-up happened while my mom was dying. The grief from losing my mom has been front and center and at times it’s been confusing to try and tease apart the grief and the loss that encompasses both the break up and my mom’s death. In fact I had a delayed reaction to actually processing the death of my relationship and grieving it. As is often the case, I wasn’t present with this fact in the moment. I realized this over time and through my first experiences back in the dating world.
Not quite 3 months post break-up I randomly created a Tinder account. I have never used this app before and thought “what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.” I closed that account within 30 hours. I was completely overwhelmed with trying to comb through so many thoughtful messages of “hey,” or “what’s up,” or my favorite, “you’re pretty.” One of my girlfriends at work told me about the app called Bumble. This app is the same principle as Tinder in that you swipe right/left to indicate yes or no. The difference with Bumble is that once two people have swiped right only the woman can initiate conversation. This leads to far fewer messages to sift through but, at least in my case, far more “rejection” in the form of unanswered messages initiating contact. I have closed and reopened my Bumble account several times. I even went back to Match.com for a minute.
Here is the rub – or the good news – depending on your perspective. I am very in touch with my gut. I pay attention to how I am feeling and act accordingly. My gut has been having a very strong reaction to dating. I have gone on exactly 4 dates (2 of those were with one guy) and with each of these situations, at some point, my gut said “STOP.” Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t even have to be super in tune with myself to get these messages. After one date I literally had anxiety dreams about being in a relationship.
I want to be open to love. I am a person who loves LOVE. I love loving. I love being loved and I love being in love. I see myself as a partnered human. I don’t imagine myself growing old as a single woman. So, I try. Admittedly, I haven’t been trying too hard lately and that is okay. I know my profiles aren’t attracting a lot of men – at least not many men of quality. I could take more time to analyze that. After all, I have watched multiple TED talks on dating algorithms and creating the most effective profile. I am just not quite ready yet. I do know what I want in a man. I have a clear idea of the qualities in my dream man. I also really, truly do remain open to meeting him. If one of these dates is him, I will know it. Or, if he goes to yoga with me, we will find each other. I keep my eyes up and my energy open for the right man at the right time. I am just not invested in making it happen if it doesn’t come easily right now. At the end of the day I absolutely know it will happen. I know that one day, our paths will cross and it will be as though there was never a time we were apart.
I know this deep in my heart and my gut.