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I’ve not dated in a very long time. And when I say, “very long time”, what I mean to say is “ever”. I’ve not dated in adulthood.

I have not connected with another person (wink wink) in more than 6 years, since before the end of my marriage.
One of the reasons I’ve avoided the dating world is that it’s daunting to me. There are so many unknowns. It seems like so much work.

I’d love to meet someone who has been vetted. I need a “yenta.” This is someone who is a busybody; she knows everyone’s business, but this works to your advantage, like a Jewish Grandmother-Matchmaker lady.

I haven’t been on any dating sites. I fear they’ll feel like a kind of slave trade, or market place where I’d be assessed on the strength of my teeth and the curves of my body. Success would rest on just how well I could sell myself. I shudder at the thought.

I’ve certainly thought about dating. Sometimes, I find myself looking at the faces of other drivers on the road, and it feels like I’m casting lines. It’s an automatic and emotional thing, as if on some level I think I could anchor there, or there, or there. On a busy road or intersection, this can feel exhausting. Glance, cast, accelerate, over and over. And then I realize I’m doing it and try to snap out of it. I think this is fairly new, and I don’t like it one bit. It makes me feel needy and small. That is not who I am. So, what the hell?

Even if someone came along pre-approved by a trusted source, I’d still have a kind of litmus test for any prospective dates. Largely, this comes down to three questions:
Do you listen to NPR?
Do you support a woman’s right to choose what she does with her own body?
How do you vote?
Other things are important to me, (do you LOVE film, do you read books, do you have a curious palate, and more) but the answers to these first three questions would mean the difference between additional conversations and the door.
Surely, there’s a liberal, well-informed, tree-hugging, pragmatic, non-smoking meditator out there for me?
I know. If I don’t get out there, I won’t know, right? Here’s where that yenta comes in (now accepting applications).

I dated as a young teenager, but that doesn’t really count. At that age, I had some friends. We’d hang out and get closer. A connection would be felt, so we’d “go out” for a time. I had one serious Love, and he was so sweet. But we were young, and he naturally moved on. Considering the state of my life at the time, I think he probably ran for his life, and good for him. Good support, guidance and safety in general were sorely lacking for me then, so I was running for my own life.
When I was 16, I got pregnant and gave birth to my son. Parenting became my central focus — the single most important thing in my life. I wasn’t looking for dates.

I had an older friend (much, much older). When my son was 2 ½ years old, we casually dated for about 3 seconds. He dryly suggested we live together since I was attending school and working in the city (a long commute), and he lived there. All very pragmatic. Six months later, he proposed marriage in a similar fashion. It went like this: We live together; you aren’t earning nearly what I’m earning; let’s get married and you’ll be a tax deduction for me—that would mean more money in the household, so how about it?
I know. I should have seen the warning signs. So very many warning signs over the years. I’m working on forgiving myself for being such a slow learner.
“Slow learner?” you ask. Yes. We were together for 25 years and had two children together. Maybe I’ll write about that (what I learned, what it meant to me) another time. Suffice it to say things did not work out well for any of us.
Because of the nature of our relationship, I was alone a lot, even when he was in proximity.

You learn a lot about yourself when you’re alone for a long time.
I’ve learned:

I don’t want or need a co-parent/partner. I am raising my children on my own. There’s such freedom in that.

I can’t imagine wanting to live with someone again. I value my own space.

I am not a person who feels I need another to complete me.

But, there are a few things I’ve never experienced and I think they’re important. These are things I feel deeply, in a kind of non-verbal way. Since we can’t yet do that Vulcan Mind Meld thing, I’ll try to put some of it into words for us both:

I think it would be amazing to have another person really hear and see me. I’ve never had that.

I think it would be wonderful to feel cherished in the way a lover would. To feel their heart swell for you? I’ve not had that.

I think it would be incredible to feel beautiful in the eyes of a beloved. I’ve not had that.

I think it would be life changing to be safely raw and mutually supportive with a lover. I’ve not had that stunning kind of intimacy.
I don’t need someone in order to feel real.
But I long for these things, in order to feel more fully alive.

~

Lift your face softly and
take that step forward; open-eyed, hands wide, feet firm, and willing.
Let your heart feel so full it stretches
the edges containing flesh and soul, till all you know is that bittersweet ache that straddles the lands of Longing and Enough.