I recently dug up an old astrological profile that I’d received as a gift. It had my complete natal chart and a comprehensive reading to interpret it all. I was reminded of several things that I had forgotten but which, when viewed in light of my current perspective, would appear to suggest that my love life is doomed.
I’ve written before that I’m a Libra. One of my primary drives in life is to be partnered. My sign rules marriage / union and is the point of evolution from “me” to “we” consciousness. I feel most fulfilled in life when part of a “we,” and especially when that “we” is me with a romantic partner or mate. Consider, then, the challenges my other planets throw in the path of this inherent drive toward fulfillment:
- My ascendant or rising sign is Scorpio, is often referred to as the most difficult to manage, requiring a battle between the personality and the soul. (The positive aspect of this is that it means I’m an old, evolved soul.)
- Meanwhile, with my moon in Leo, I can be proud and often want to be the center of attention. (And I’m also a good leader.)
- Finally, my Venus is in Scorpio, it’s detriment (as Scorpio is ruled by Mars). Mars is outgoing and forceful, while Venus magnetically draws love to her. These forces don’t play well together…but they do make for some serious passion in the boudoir!
In other words, the stars suggest a certain amount of challenge as it relates to relationships; indeed, to fulfilling this primal desire for partnership.
And if that weren’t enough, I am the product of divorced parents. After their split, I lived with my father. I hear tell that those of us supposedly abandoned by our mothers are worse off than those left by their fathers. Not that I necessarily agree with this notion of abandonment; after all, I couldn’t possibly imagine living (as an adult woman) with my father, either, loving though he is.
Finally, in case we haven’t hammered enough nails into this coffin, I have a few skeletons in my closet that…well — in order for me to share genuine intimacy — are going to have to come out. And it’s not an absolute given that my past will be universally accepted and / or forgiven by the sort of morally upright dude I wish to attract.
I try not to put too much stock in these “barriers,” but there are times when they seem to rule the day. Still — and perhaps it’s that optimistic Libran nature of mine or some other planetary aspect — I have faith that my ideal mate is out there and, one day pretty soon, we’ll find each other.
I am completely obsessed with the thought of bedding a guy I know. I mean to the point of distraction. I mentioned my libido, right?!
I want to rub my hands on his stubbly jaws; I want to kiss his lips; I want to tear off his clothes and get at least as kinky as I’ve ever been. And maybe more. I’m practically drooling at the thought! He’s not the best looking, he doesn’t have the best body, we don’t even have crazy chemistry. I simply want what I want. And I think we’d have fun. I bet it would be really hot!
But I don’t know if he wants me, too. And I’m having a crisis of confidence. I don’t know how or whether to let him know, to flirt or to be direct.
Furthermore, I don’t know how he feels about me. He’s said some nice things in the past, but never made any real moves… Perhaps more critically, I don’t know how I feel about him. I mean, I don’t know if I can separate my physical desire from my emotions. If — no, when — it happens, will I be able to simply enjoy him in the moment? Or will I wish for more? If I developed deeper feelings, how would he feel about that?
And so, for now, I remain transfixed with the thought…
…except when I’m thinking of bedding the other guys who are also on my mind.
Earlier today on Huffington Post, I ran across an excerpt of You Can Be Right (Or You Can Be Married): Looking for Love in the Age of Divorce by Dana Adam Shapiro. The title of the article delivered what it was expected to, which was not of particular interest to me. That is, until I came across this gem:
“Ninety percent of the secret to being married is the commitment to the process of being married. Whatever comes your way — problems with sex, problems with money, whatever — it’s essential that you’re both committed to working out a solution where both people are represented, where the well-being of the other person is just as — if not more important — than your own. It’s an easy thing to say ideologically, but it’s really, really hard to do…”
For those of you who’ve been there — or are there — I’d love to know your thoughts on this. I, for one, completely agree. Commitment is easy, in the sense that it’s easy to commit…in that moment, when one is (or, more accurately, two are) in love. To remain actively committed — the process, as Ms. Shapiro describes it — is the challenging part. Or, as another friend put it, commitment is easy, marriage is hard.
Can marriage really be reduced to such simple colloquialisms? Since its demise, I’ve certainly reduced mine to a few simplistic phrases. I suspect we all tire of trying to explain away what didn’t work in our relationships. I only hope to one day find someone who inspires me to do the work, to commit to the process, so that I have no reason to explain away another.
I’m enjoying the way I get to know people now, a little at a time, no urgency. And I’m enjoying that the folks I’m spending time with also have children and don’t seem to mind getting a date once every couple of weeks.
Not only does this relaxed schedule take the pressure off me (when all I’ve done for the past week are manage logistics, work late, shuttle children around, do laundry and shop for groceries), but also allows a fellow to miss me, place a high value on his time with me and wait with anticipation to see me.
Kinda works in my favor..just a little…I think.
I’ve been away for a few days, my first fly-away girls’ weekend in probably a dozen years — for sure since before I’ve had children. It was relaxing, it was delectable, it was…a whole lot of estrogen.
And my deep thought for the weekend was…(drum roll, please)…penises are fun!
That’s right: I spent the weekend with a group of women and fantasized about spending it with a man. The scenery was spectacular, the food was wonderful, the entertainment was fun — and all of it was potentially romantic.
One evening, we gals sat around a fireplace and watched the silhouettes moving through the rooms of the resort around us. In some, we could see people getting ready for a late dinner. In one, we saw a couple as they got out of the shower, slowly get ready, start making out, start getting “unready” and then get ready again and leave their room. For a moment, we thought we might see some real action. (Note to self: close the heavy drapes when getting ready in a hotel room.)
And I sat there in silent ambivalence, enjoying the company of women, but wishing a for a proper lay. I fantasized about my ex (boyfriend, not husband), about more-like-it, about men I saw nearby… perhaps tellingly, I did not fantasize about the man I’ve currently been seeing (not exclusively). Hmm…
I think perhaps it’s time I went out and found myself some fun…the penises are fun kind of fun.
People tend to react strongly to infidelity. Perhaps that’s because we’ve all had some experience — whether we’ve been betrayed or betrayed another, or know a close friend who’s been jilted. Sit around in a group of women and, eventually, a story of someone’s wayward boyfriend or husband is bound to come up.
So why is that, lately, it seems every guy I meet has been the one who’s been cheated on? Even the best looking, most intriguing of them! And what gives with chicks who cheat?
It’s so easy to imagine men as over sexed and unable to be monogamous — the media and a bit of personal experience suggest it’s rampant. However, my more recent experience suggests that women are as capable of infidelity. And probably as over sexed.
So what brings a woman to cheat? Is it the same reasons men that bring men to? Or are women’s reasons different? Sure, sexual dissatisfaction could be a reason. Sure, there are players. But I tend to believe that most people don’t set out to be unfaithful. In fact, I think many who find themselves in the midst of an affair are baffled at how they got there and completely unaware of how to get out alive. I tend to think they get there because of some vulnerability; perhaps their emotional needs were not being met. Perhaps they or their partners neglected to nurture the one relationship that should be most central.
I’d like to think that I would never cheat on a partner. I can’t imagine it. Once in an exclusive, committed relationship, it’s simply not something I’ve ever done. Even against my therapist’s advice, I remained faithful until after my ex finally moved out. But I can remember those lonely, needy, unloved feelings during the worst times in my marriage. And who can say what might have happened if someone tender, loving and caring had come along when I was at my most vulnerable? I’d like to think I’m stronger than that. I’m pretty sure I am now.
Still, as easy as it would be to judge, I can’t help but feel a certain amount of compassion (and a little pity) for those who stray, even as I empathize with their victims.
I tend to be pretty direct in my communication. Yet I’m also an eternal optimist, the one who sees the silver lining, whose glass is always more than half full. And I try to be kind. Add to those that my job often requires me to portray difficult messages in the most positive light.
Add these qualities, habits and conditioning together and sometimes I end up coming off a bit like a spin doctor.
So I’d love to hear what you think: Should I continue to be kind and “spin” the message — or would it be better, more instructive in the long run, to be completely, blatantly, directly honest?
Consider the fellows I went out with last weekend. I mostly blathered something about not feeling any magic or chemistry between us. But if I shot from the hip, like this?
- To guy A: “Honestly, you dress like you come from an outer-ring suburb, you’re a stingy tipper and you eat like a caveman. That’s why.”
- To guy B: “You’re a whining infant, and I cannot wait to get as far away from you as humanly possible.”
- To guy C: “It’s because you wore shorts with an elastic waistband. The gulf is too wide for me to cross.”
As an aside, I’ve found it very amusing that, in telling my dating stories to male and female friends alike, the men I know actually had stronger reactions to the dude wearing elastic waistband shorts than the women. A girlfriend sympathetically said, “Oh dear.” The guys came up with questions and comments including these:
- “Did he take you to a buffet?”
- “Was he planning on gaining a few pounds?”
- “Wow. That’s not even trying!”
But I digress…
Like I said, I don’t want to be known for spin — and I don’t want to be known for being a bitch. But there may be a nugget of helpful information in my brutal examples for these fellows…
How much honesty is too much? What do you think?
The reason I took the step of dating online is because my time is compressed: I get the children out the door in the morning, drive to work, work, drive to pick up the children, scramble to put dinner on the table and try to catch up on work, housework or quality time with my angels in the evening. I usually collapse of exhaustion sometime before ten each night. In other words, I don’t see a lot of openings or opportunities during which I might happen across someone who shares similar interests, knows other folks in common or might otherwise catch my gaze from across the room, knowing instantly…
Ideally, this would all unfold more naturally: my wish is to meet someone who is part of one of my circles, with whom I get to spend time in groups — someone with whom a sense of comfort and interest will develop over time, blossom into a friendship and then become passionate over time.
So here is my wish to the universe:
- Let him have kind eyes and a warm smile.
- Let him get me and all my weirdness and idiosyncracies and love me not in spite of them but because of them.
- Let our relationship come at the right time and for the highest good of everyone involved.
- Let us bring out the best in one another.
- Let us be blessed with abundance so that we may give and share and be generous with the blessings we bestow upon others.
- Let him save a special look just for me.
- Let us love, honor and respect each other.
I realize this list is a great deal different from what I wrote many, many months ago — and which I haven’t looked at since I don’t know when, probably more than a year now.
I’m not sure whether or how this might happen, but I’m keeping the faith and holding space in my heart for the possibility.
Earlier this week, I removed my profile from the online dating site. Again.
I’m exhausted. And I think I’ve exhausted the group of men who found me interesting and who I found interesting enough to meet, as well. And there’s only one of them I’m going to see again. Frankly, I have no inkling or notion or expectations about whether that will go anywhere, but I know that the last couple of times we saw each other, we spent a lot of time laughing.
You know I’d been questioning why the heck I was doing crazy things like going on four dates within a 24-hour period… I’m not sure I know the answer other than to give it a chance, to see if just maybe something felt right with one of those fellows. But there was no magic.
So, as I look back over all the online dating I’ve done in the past year and a handful of months, here’s what I’ve gotten from it:
- I’ve learned that I am patient and have perseverance and that I can be incredibly kind while being honest about not wanting to see someone again.
- I’ve learned that men can be genuine and authentic in courting in ways that I hadn’t experienced in my younger years.
- I’ve learned that I have more important personal needs and priorities than meeting a slew of new guys on my child-free weekends.
- I’ve made a friend who, for some time, I resented for not sharing the same interest in me as I had in him…my god, I was so crestfallen when he Facebook friended me!…even as I knew our energies weren’t quite right together at the time (and perhaps never will be).
- I had a wonderful, loving, nurturing relationship in which I was accepted, adored, valued and in which there was honest and open communication. It was such a positive experience and a joy that I continue to feel blessed and grateful to have shared so much with such a special soul! Though we were not meant to last, what a gift it was to have shared what we did! (and p.s. that thing he did after an afternoon stroll around a sculpture park was pretty memorable, too!)
- I’ve gotten really good at being authentic about myself. I am fabulous — and also fabulously flawed. I have a freak flag, which I not only accept, but also wave proudly. So I’m no longer contorting myself to try to make someone like me or to meet some relationship need as I foolishly did when I was younger.
- I’ve learned how much I love my life, right now, and even through all the challenging times I’ve lived through these past few years.
- I was tested for and became more educated about sexually transmitted diseases.
- I learned to speak frankly to my children about dating and relationships (and they could not be less interested).
- I learned that I’m still learning how to prioritize myself — whether that means a massage or mani-pedi, getting a sitter, hiring a lawn boy to cut the grass, or finding time to exercise.
- I’ve learned that it’s easy to dismiss and not give second chances, but that life can be so much more rewarding when one does leave a door open, even if just a crack.
- I’ve met an extraordinary number of people I would not have otherwise met.
- Out of the whole ball of yarn has come only one lover, my ex boyfriend, who was generous and giving. And I’m okay with that part of the record, too.
It would be easy to say, “ugh, this sucks!” about online dating — and, in some ways, it does suck. But look at how much I’ve gotten from the experience. The whole thing is a social experiment, to be sure; it’s far more natural to fall for someone we’ve met in high school, college or a work place along the way, and with whom we share people in common who can vouch for or vet these potential mates.
And I think that’s what I’ve been hoping for all along…to meet someone with whom it seems that natural, with whom it all began as a friendship and…
On second thought, I’ve got to save some content for a future post. So I’ll leave it at that, for now.