Dating again after
All this occurred in the time it took to blink my eyes.And lest we lose track of things, let me remind you (and me) that this was a man I hardly knew and by no means was planning a relationship with.It was only recently, since I’d been living on my own and encountering my friends and colleagues as a single person, that I had begun to see how deeply loved and appreciated I was by the people in my life, love given to me as a grace, without merit. As long as I had chicken soup on the brain (and, I reasoned, the healing properties of this soup might keep me from getting the flu I had marginally been exposed to), I went to the store and bought the ingredients for the best chicken soup ever, along with a baguette of crusty sourdough. My kitchen filled with the aroma of love: love for myself.I have cooked hundreds of pots of chicken soup in my life and yet this was the first time I made chicken soup expressly for me. I enjoyed the soup and then had to email my sick acquaintance and offer to bring some over.I separated from my husband of 25 years a few months ago.After living with bone-crushing aloneness within that relationship for a decade, followed by months actively grieving that loss, I found myself ready for some companionship.Not a relationship per se—this business of being on my own and caring only for myself is intriguing and I’m learning too much to want to abandon it.I wasn’t interested in Match.com, nor a friends-with-benefits setup. Or so I thought until I went on the one and only date I’ve had (outside that marriage) in the last quarter century.
More than 30 percent don’t even know where to begin and nearly 30 percent say they find it too stressful (think back to those sweaty palms and awkward conversations.) For more than 40 percent of respondents, other priorities are simply more important, and nearly one-quarter say it’s just too difficult to date when you’re 50-plus.A day and a half after our dinner, he sent another smiley face via email. I wanted to reach through the screen and grab him by the throat: Explain yourself!A few hours later he posted on his Facebook page that he’d come down with the flu the night of our date.Rule #2: When in doubt, I will remind myself of my assets.Even when I’ve done that, though, I still can’t stop checking email like an obsessed idiot, as if the concreteness of my assets requires someone else to confirm them.
I almost went so far as to add a photo of that lovely pot of soup but, thank God, good sense and friends who love me intervened. Meanwhile, I’m gobbling up the soup, enjoying the baguette dotted with salty lumps of butter and dipped in the piquant broth. Or maybe this is just the nature of putting ourselves out there.