on developing dating clarity

Earlier, I wrote:  “The brilliant thing about failure is that, with time, it brings about great clarity. It is because of the experiences I’ve had — my failed relationship, my attainment of a mediocre position in my career — that I now know more clearly than ever what is truly and deeply important to me. I have a fairly well-developed grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses, and have discovered what makes me feel whole, fulfilled and alive. I am grateful for these lessons learned.”

I am grateful for the lessons learned, but I find myself laughing at this sense of clarity I seemed to have for a moment in time. Refining one’s sense of self, sense of other and desires all seem to be ongoing processes. Perhaps at that time I had a great vision for what I didn’t want, and maybe that felt like clarity to me then. It’s the knowing with certainty which direction to go, which next steps to take — in relationships and career — that is the challenge.

Long ago, maybe even before my ex moved out, I began a list of qualities that I’d like to find in a mate. In truth, I probably began developing my list in a somewhat reactionary manner, including the many of the desirable qualities my ex lacked. Or any qualities in direct opposition to those he possessed. Whatever.

As time went on and I began to see the beauty in the world again, I saw more wonderful qualities to add to this list…

And then I worked on myself and spent some time acknowledging what I know about me and what I need and what I know I want, and I added more to the list…

By now, I have a pretty clear picture. Yet, I continue to meet, interact and spend time with men to keep refining and adding clarity. And, though I have silly notions about what kind of car he might drive or what clothes he might wear or how tall he might be, I do genuinely recognize how little importance those things carry. The substantive stuff has to do with the way he thinks and carries himself through this grand life journey.

In other words, I’m listening very closely to the language he uses and how he expresses himself, observing his manners and witnessing my own feelings when I’m in his presence. Most of my list is about truly noble qualities, rather than external factors such as looks or cars or career or income.

My dating experiences continue to inform this list, especially as I consider the type of man who might integrate into my little family. And I think this is particularly true of men with children. For example, I went out with one cute, quirky, computer geek who has twin boys who are younger than my children, one with ADHD and the other on the autism spectrum. I could see loving a man like this. I could even see welcoming challenging children into my heart. But I would likely view trying to integrate such a bunch into my mellow family as too disruptive to my own children. So add that to the list…

My last post was about resonance and dissonance — the things that we can vibe with or not. The thing is, I have a pretty broad, open mind. And I often allow myself to be talked into things. But I know what I like, what resonates. And if you try to persuade me to go out with someone who’s not a match, I’ll probably be convinced to give him a chance. It’s just that in the end, I usually find out that I was right to begin with.

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About failedatforty


One response to “on developing dating clarity

  • lafemmeroar

    I appreciate this article because achieving clarity about myself and others around me has changed my view about myself. Just when I’m at an age where I’m somewhat comfortable in my own skin, this comfort level shifts with each insight. Creating lists can be very grounding and informative … I need to do that myself.

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