swiping left and right

I’ve been at this swiping thing for three or four weeks now, so let’s suss out a few more lessons / observations on seeking life-long love on Tinder…

First, here’s my approach — and don’t hesitate to tell me if you think I’m wrong on this one:  Swiping is my “first move.” In other words, if I’ve swiped right, that’s my move. I’m probably not going to send the first message, too. Why? Because I want the guy who likes what he sees and reads to reach out and make his move. And, yes, I’m definitely discerning the content of the message. A simple “hi” doesn’t score many points.

Here’s where things go from there:

  • Some guys just keep the conversation going on too long before making a move. I don’t want a pen pal; I just want enough back and forth to know we have common interests and the guy can carry on an intelligent conversation. Then ask me out already! Isn’t the entire idea to meet?
  • I’m cutting guys loose quickly. There are a couple I’ve simply un-matched on the app because I didn’t feel like conversing any longer. Some I’ve simply said, “I don’t feel our communication styles are meshing.” And one guy who was messaging and texting me, then somehow found me on Facebook and sent a friend request (denied! stalkerish!), and then got really sarcastic bordering on belligerent, so I’ve blocked him from contacting me on my phone as well.
  • I’ve seen one guy — I’ll call him Brad — three times. Wasn’t exactly excited about our first meeting…until we were laughing together at the end and he kissed me. A little forward, I’ll admit, but I like a bold man. And as skeptical as I’ve been about certain things, he has proven himself intelligent, capable, funny, and so much more. He doesn’t seem to have been broken by his divorce; he has a rich, full life. Like Mr. Meltsmyheart, he constantly surprises me in the depth and breadth of our conversations and his pursuits. And he has not yet said or done a single thing that raises a red flag for me, aside from physically having his foot firmly on the accelerator — and I can put the brakes on that. From the get go, he was in it to win it! We have the ever-elusive chemistry in spades. When I’m with him, I feel really ready for a relationship in a way that’s difficult to articulate and something I don’t recall feeling for a long time…”ease,” I guess. We can be quiet or we can talk. We’re still getting to know each other, sure, but it’s comfortable and there’s no friction. And then he was told he’d be out of a job at the end of the month — surprise! — and he’s not in hot pursuit mode anymore. I like him enough to be a little scared about what the timing of this means… And yet he has great perspective about it and invited me to go skydiving with him to celebrate a good three-year run at that gig. Good thing I’m dating other guys to keep from investing too much before its time and to keep my wits about me!
  • The other guy I’ve seen three times — call him Mark — is a good conversationalist with good taste. We have more than a little bit in common and I enjoy his company. And when he kissed me goodnight on our last date, I couldn’t help but wish he were Brad. Uh-oh. The chemistry is just not the same. And, in comparison (and I know comparisons are so not fair!), he does seem like his divorce broke him and he’s still picking up the pieces. I want a man fully realized — a homeowner with some semblance of his life in tact, not a guy still living in a shabby apartment. I don’t feel broken and, as I’ve said so many times, I’m only looking for an equal.
  • The guys I think I’m going to like are often not the ones I like the most and, based on text messages before or after first or second dates, the front runner is always changing. I wanted to like Chet, the successful sales guy with a home in an appealing suburb, more than I do. And I haven’t even met Adam, but his text messages make me think I’ll really like him.

In other words, I’m still feeling it all out…trying to be aware of how I’m feeling in the moment when I spend time with someone, take it all one day at a time, dig into the nominal drama I’m creating in my head and deal with it. So far, it’s mostly happy hunting.

coming home to an empty house

Last night…

I had a great night out — fun times and great conversations with truly amazing friends. I love nights like this!

And, at the end of the night, I came home to a child-free home…a home that seems too silent, too empty. A part of me knows I should relish this. I should take some sort of pride and joy in coming home to a place that I own (I mean, well, there is that bit with the bank…) and being able to do what I choose with my time. And I do relish a break from parenting…

Yet I can’t help but wish that I was coming home with someone or to someone special. For me, there is no great joy for me specific to being a single woman. Don’t get me wrong:  I am more than fine. I am proud of my own accomplishments. I am happy with recent choices and, by and large, with my life. I am strong and my life is full. And yet there’s a sense of longing on nights like this…I still believe it could be so much better with someone to share it all.

This is not a new feeling for me. I recall a time in my early twenties when an older work colleague told me about his younger sister, a thirty-year-old lawyer and single woman, who had just bought her first home and burst into tears as he helped her move. She was filled with melancholy by this milestone. At the time, we were both flabbergasted that a successful and strong woman should feel anything but pride at her accomplishments.

And, yet, only a few years later, I met the same milestones with feelings of pride and accomplishment at my successes, countered by my own feelings of ambivalence and yearning. When one does something fantastic, one wants someone special with whom to share the experience.

Of course, as I know from experience, it could also be so much worse…I could be coming home with someone with whom I’ve just fought (as I did several times) or coming home to a stressful environment (which was especially true when we ceased fighting and, indeed, talking). Certainly neither of these situations brought much comfort, either.

And so I fill my own heart, go about living a rich and wonderful life, and leave space for the possibility that someone who has also filled his own heart, who is also living his own wonderful life, and I will one day find each other and decide to come home to each another.

there were things I hated, too

I wrote awhile back about how much I loved simply co-habiting and sharing the daily stuff of life with a partner…

Well, as it turns out, I was having coffee with another divorced, single mother in a similar field…and we got to chatting about our personal status. She shared how much she liked having her home, routines, closets, television remote and bed to herself, and said that she not only did not miss her ex-husband, but also had no real desire to let anyone else in to her life in the same way. And then I confessed how much I loved living with someone, and we continued this conversation about benefits and shortcomings of space sharing…until suddenly the stuff I hated about living with my ex bubbled through the surface and out into the open.

For example:  his retreating immediately to the living room after dinner, lying across the entire sofa with a transistor radio and headphones in his ears, listening to god-knows-what programs about UFOs and conspiracy theories and the like…

The woman across the table from me cracked a smile, which became a cackle and then a guffaw as we both began to laugh aloud, our bodies shaking, and I saw in stark relief, for the first time, how freakin’ bizarre this scene was! And I realized that, in fact, I did not love everything about living with another person, at least not when he was so emotionally checked out and disinterested in relating.

So let me revise my initial treatise to confess that I loved living with my partner…when he was a partner. Time’s passage must have colored all my memories rosy, because I seemed to have forgotten how hard it was, at times, to accept and forgive when he’d shrunk a favorite sweater in the wash or broken my grandfather’s China while doing the dishes. And it especially sucked to watch his escape into the crackle and faraway voices of a transistor radio, a stupid little hand-crankable, battery-powered device, as its allure replaced any desire for my company, closeness, unity or intimacy.

I am describing what I believe is some sort of undiagnosed, untreated mental illness…nothing extraordinary, possibly just your run-of-the-mill depression. To see it and face it is difficult enough; to suggest or cajole that a loved one seek help is even more potent; to watch as it slowly erodes any hope for a positive future is devastating. And I’m sure it’s no different from anyone else’s experience of realizing that their relationship is doomed, that the end is near and that they are utterly powerless to do anything to save it. But living with that sucked!