I keep meeting nice guys. Perfectly nice guys. Guys without any big flaw, at least not any obvious ones. But there isn’t that thing. You know that thing? So I keep moving on to the next nice guy.
It is a slog, albeit one with plenty of coffee and beer (not at the same time). I’m not overly affected by it, not down in the dumps or anything, but it’s been a while and it does take a bit of a toll. You set up a date, you get excited but try not to get too excited, you have a good time but you’re just kinda disappointed when it’s over.
Mostly I’m okay. I am living under the “three weeks” mantra I mentioned a few weeks ago from my new friend Elizabeth. All it takes is one person and a little bit of time and everything can be different. In three weeks, my entire dating life could change. I could be in a really different frame of mind about so many things. It helps. It keeps me hopeful.
But I do wonder about that missing thing, that spark that hasn’t happened yet. (With one exception.)
I wonder how important it is. I know that spark can fade, it usually does. There are people who are lucky and manage to hang on to it. That’s what I’m shooting for, and that’s why I rely on the spark to guide me. I know the reality is it probably won’t last, but I’m letting my gut do some of the talking.
It does get me thinking. What does my gut know? What does that spark matter? How much does it affect outcomes? It’s not like you get to have a whole bunch of relationships and then use the lessons you learned from them. Because if you have a whole lot, they probably aren’t too long, and they don’t prepare you for the long haul of working with a partner. And one long relationship won’t prepare you fully for the next one, which will operate under its own set of rules.
You only really know how your relationship will work after months and years together. I don’t regret my marriage, but if there’s one thing it taught me it’s that you can’t predict from those early days how things will go later.
So what do I know? Sure, I know myself, and I know of the early years of my marriage when things were really good and felt solid. But that’s about all I know. Besides that my relationship history is spotty. And that relationship history is of me from a decade ago, compared to current me who is living a very different life. One that involves a couple of kids and a rather big change in world view. I have no idea what kind of person has potential for a long-term relationship with me where I am right now. A decade ago me wasn’t in high demand and fell for pretty much anyone who expressed interest. Current me, on the other hand, is trying hard not to be too picky so that I don’t rule out someone who could be right for me. I’m much more in control now than I was then, not that it makes this version of waiting around for something to happen much easier. Just busier.
Dating is such a strange thing. So much of it is walking around in the dark trying to feel your way around.
Love is stupid. And as a person who likes rational, predictable things, that sucks.
But on the other hand, it’s the irrational stupidity of love that I enjoy so much when it comes. It’s having your life all turned around, it’s not knowing how or when it will hit you.
This doesn’t keep me from date-binging a little bit. Trying to cover as much mileage as I can, trying to minimize the amount of time before I get knocked upside the head again. Today is my first day with no kids and no dates and no plans in weeks. And I feel that impatience nagging at me. When I send someone a message I think, “Can’t it just be you? Please?” And I spend my time waiting for the date hoping this guy has something about him that I’ll be able to see right away, that I won’t have to talk myself into finding him attractive, that it will be in his walk and in his face and in his clothes. I hope that we’ll have that kind of immediate connection where we just can’t stop talking. I hope that there’s a kiss with real fireworks. But mostly this isn’t what happens. Mostly it is a normal person, a basic and not-completely-unattractive person, a genial and kind person, but there isn’t those other things. I want that spark that I sometimes try to talk myself into it. But it can’t be done. The spark cannot be asked for, it cannot be controlled, it simply is.
So I’ll just keep keeping on. Hoping I don’t get too much whiplash from my raised-and-then-dashed hopes each time there is someone new. Hoping that wait is a little shorter every day. Hoping that three weeks will be just enough time to change everything.