Here’s a news flash for you: Life with a broken heart is no fun.
It’s like walking around with a dead weight in my chest. I swear to God, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that my poor heart had congealed into a solid mass of brittle glass.
But nonetheless, somehow life is beginning to return to normal. I have started going out again with friends, joking around with co-workers, and my patience with my children has returned to pre-break-up levels. These are all very good signs.
Next step: dating.
(I actually held my breath typing that last word. Geesh.)
I know that I am not a fit partner for anyone right now. I’m not so daft as to believe that, a few weeks on, I’m all good and it’s all past. Nope. I’m definitely not good and it’s definitely not past. But I’m trying. Honestly.
Here’s another newsflash: I’m a picky dater. A really, really picky dater. I’m the queen of the “Thanks, but I’m not interested” button on match.com (although I’ve gotten better at using it since this fiasco). I signed up and was perfectly content to just window shop for weeks before I even started a dialogue with anybody.
But again, life laughs at me.
So, instead, it has delivered two men who interest me quite a bit, even in my crippled emotional state. Indeed, they interest me enough that I have even agreed to meet with each of them.
It’s crazy, I know. But it’s also incredibly rare for someone to capture my attention beyond an email or two.
I considered telling them both no, that I was simply not ready to date (ahem, never mind that match.com subscription), and quietly sitting out my grieving period in the metaphorical shadows. But then this little voice in my head said:
“Have you completely lost your mind? Maybe other people have neat little lives where they meet people when it’s tidy and convenient, but you don’t. You’re the girl who fell in love with a man literally two days before he moved to the other side of the Earth for two years. Get over yourself. Go. Have a nice time. See what happens.”
And so I will.
Should something develop with either of these men, I will certainly be honest with them about my emotional situation. I simply can’t be anyone other than exactly who I am right now or where I am right now, nor would I want to pretend otherwise. And it should be their choice whether to wade into a relationship with me, when I’m still bruised from my last lap around the pool. But that’s supposing that either of them still interests me after one date, which is, if we’re being frank, pretty unusual.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that this might actually be great time to meet me. I’m all softness and sweetness and sincerity right now. I don’t have any energy for walls or barriers or games or overanalyzing anything. I’m too numb to be needy and too hurt to be overeager. I might well be perfect first date material right about now. And now might be the perfect time for some great guy to swoop in and win me over with some small, gentle kindness, because, honestly, I’m on the lookout for small, gentle kindnesses these days.
As I’ve said before, one of the things that I actually like about online dating (I know, I know, it’s so unfashionable to admit to liking it!) is that I meet people completely outside my galaxy of experience. One of the men who asked me out flies his own planes. The other is a professional running coach (Googling him was a wee bit intimidating). These are not men that I would ever have bumped into in my circles in town. But now, at the very least, I’ll get to share a glass of wine with each of them and learn something I probably didn’t know before. And what’s not cool about that, right?
Match.com also has its share (or more) of oddballs and creeps and garden-variety players. My profile is currently being stalked by a man I went on one date with about two years ago. He’s a former pro hockey player who spent the entire date talking about his “glory days” (his phrase, not mine) in the NHL and the minor leagues and how awesome the groupies were (just what every potential girlfriend wants to hear, no?). Thirty minutes into the date, while I was planning my early exit, he put his hand up my skirt. No kidding. He emailed me tonight and told me he has a “fondness for me” and would like to make me dinner. Something tells me that I’ll be expected to bring dessert in my panties…. Umm, no, thank you.
Then there is the Eternal Graduate Student. I went out with him once, and Annie actually did, too, a year later. Sadly for him, we shared a single opinion (although, I think sweet Annie was even harder on him than I was!). No subject is nearly as compelling to him as his own life and accomplishments. And, to be honest, we live in a town of over-achievers. He’s not all that special, and he’s definitely all that pompous. But yes, he keeps winking at me. Clue to Mr. PhD: if you wink once and I don’t respond, I’m not interested. Winking another time (or 3) isn’t going to change my mind.
But my favorite this week has to be the Wyoming rancher who has tried every means possible to communicate with me. He’s a recent widower, and not a bad-looking guy at all. But in his profile picture he is holding an albino crocodile. I showed the picture to a friend, and she shot Diet Pepsi out her nose. “I thought you were kidding!” she coughed. Nope. Not kidding. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
But even the oddballs, creeps, and garden-variety players are still entertaining, when viewed from a safe distance. And right now, I need all the entertainment I can muster.
So here I go. Wish me luck.