five years later…

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I gave up making much of an effort on dating years ago.  It was a personal choice for numerous personal reasons in which I will probably touch on story by story as this blog progresses, but for the purposes of this story, the most prevalent reason is self-preservation, and we can leave it at that.

Now, let’s rewind my life back five years…

I was still in the part of my life where the only thing that was constant was change.   I had moved for my third time within three years, switched jobs, and then switched jobs again. And again. (I was doing contract work, so it wasn’t so much job hopping as projects were beginning and ending.)  I was finally in the last apartment I would ever live in before I bought my house and I had finally gotten hired at the job I was planning on keeping for the long haul in the position that was my college goal, so life was kind of working out for me for a minute.  I was settled into my new city pretty well, I had a steady job, life was not a drama-filled circus, so I convinced myself I was ready to try dating.  Again. Seriously this time.

I’m going to be honest with you all–because we’re all friends here and that’s how I am with my friends.  Dating is a self-fulfilling prophecy for me.  I’m pessimistic about it most of the time which is why I don’t really do it.  It’s not fun for me.  Maybe I’m just not as thick skinned as other women, or maybe I’m just not as much of a fighter as other women, but whatever it is that gives people the drive to continuously pursue finding love, I don’t have it for myself.  I have it for other people though…when they want love, I want love for them too.  And when they find it, my heart soars through the atmosphere leaving trails of rainbow sparkles behind… and when they are denied of it, my heart deflates for them, sulking in a downtrodden lopsided heap, wiping away tears of unfairness.

That being said, no matter how hardened and walled off I have become about finding love for myself, I see it in everyone else everywhere and that gives me hope.  It does work out sometimes.  When it does, I’m telling you what–it is powerful and amazing and beautiful.

And I miss it.

Which is where I was when I tried dating again five years ago.  I meticulously typed out my profile and searched through my cutest digital pics and made adorable little flirty jokes and absorbed the writings and texts of some pretty quality guys.  At least four out of six of them that I was interested in meeting even turned out to be quality guys.  Here was the quick and dirty run down:

One I stopped speaking to immediately after we had a text fight about something ridiculous–I don’t even remember what it was, but I do remember it was really dumb and I knew he was too immature for me before we even met. The other five I met.

One of them I had a lunch date with and I really liked a lot, but he didn’t act like he was very interested in me even though he was super nice and pretty dang cute too.  He was one of those guys who would text you every five days or so and just when you thought he had disappeared, a text would come from out of the blue from him.  I think he had other stuff going on.  So I just abandoned the situation.

One I went out to “dinner” with, although he forbid me to order food, he insisted I drank, he proclaimed he had wolfed down some Chef Boyardee before he met me at the restaurant, and then slammed his fist down and proclaimed that his wife run off on him and the kids with his best friend and that he didn’t have his kids full time because he couldn’t handle them, so his parents did.  Okay sweetie–you don’t need to be dating, you need a therapist.

One I met was at a park where we walked and talked and he was nice, but just not my type at all.   Another I met for Mexican.  He had substance.  He was super nice.  We got along great.  He was cute and kind. His kids were grown and he held two jobs–one was a business he was still growing. If he ever called me again, I would date him, but he left it in my court.   I didn’t get back to him.

One was a teacher, and he was also sweet and cute and kind.  He had a son who was a little younger than my son.  My daughter liked him.  He was attentive, but not overly so.  He made an effort.  He wanted to see me.  I liked him.  So we dated a little more seriously for about a month or two.  Maybe a little less.  I started to lose interest for a few reasons, none of which I will write about, but I ended up breaking things off–indirectly and we just ended up drifting apart on our own. We were not meant to be. I hope he found someone nice.  I don’t have any regrets.  Breaking things off was not a mistake.

Also right around the time that I decided I was going to start dating was when my son’s father started to interject himself into our lives where he had previously been welcome, but had never taken advantage of the opportunity.  Weird.  Random.  What the…?

I soon found out the only reason he decided to re-evaluate his fatherly role was because his current girlfriend wanted a baby and he did not want to “start over and have another baby”.  I don’t remember his words exactly, but he told me he told her something similar to, “I don’t want a baby, but since you want a kid, I have a kid we could raise…”  I remember his words trailing off as if he had just realized the incredibly stupid words he had just uttered to me. Which for some crazy reason he thought in his head that I’d be totally on board with, but then all the sudden, it dawned on him, that I would not be.  He also explained that he wanted to get full custody of my son and take him away to Australia.

I believe my exact words were “Over my dead body.”

With that, all of my energy focused from dating to defending the stable life I had established for myself and my kids.  That was the last time I seriously dated anyone.   My son’s father gave up quickly and went away for awhile. He briefly reappeared after he and his girlfriend had some kind of spat, and then eventually he disappeared forever.  I’m 99% sure he and his girlfriend are married now, which means I am 99% free of every having to talk to him ever again.  Ours was a very passionate, but extremely toxic relationship, and getting over him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  I never want to let myself get that attached to someone so unworthy of me ever again.

Which catches us up to present day.  I own my own house now.  I’ve been at that job I had just started for almost six years.  My kids live in a stable and happy environment and we have a good relationship with each other.  I still don’t actively date, but I think about it.  A few weeks ago I had been thinking about it a lot, so I decided to do something only semi-crazy, and I re-contacted the guy that I had met for Mexican food.

No, I’m not kidding.  I know, it sounds certifiable, but I randomly texted a dude I went out with once five years ago to say hi.  What?  No really, what?

Here’s “what”: I remembered him fondly.  I remembered that I really wanted to get to know him better and I felt I was unfair to him and that he just kind of fell by the wayside when the other guy came along and that I always felt like I had let him drift away.  I always wondered what happened to him and that is not like me.  I couldn’t shake the “What if” and the “Maybes” of the situation.

So maybe it was a little crazy, but I still had his number in my phone.  Sometimes life gives you all the signs you should do something–then it’s up to you–take action or don’t.    I know it’s ridiculous, but I followed my instincts.  I felt compelled.

“Hi B, this is a completely random out of the blue text, but I just wanted to see if you remembered me.  This is The Social Chick and we once went to a little Mexican restaurant…”

He texted me back right away.

“Hi Social Chick.  I do believe I do.  How are you?”

I’m great.

Exhale.

I’m great.