never married, over forty, a little bitter

Month: February, 2012

dating alone

I used to be friends with a very pretty, smart, successful woman with an enviable career.  She was just a few years younger than me and, like me, she couldn’t find a relationship that was right for the long haul and had one disappointing encounter after another with online dating.

In fact, when we compared notes, it seemed our experiences were almost identical.  We even dated some of the same men!  I admit that it heartened me to know that someone seemingly so desirable was going through the same gristmill.  I had so few single friends left at that point with whom to compare experiences.

Our friendship broke up for a number of reasons, but one of the things she used to complain about was that we only talked about dating.  I reflected seriously on her complaint, because I had another single friend at the time with whom I discussed much wider topics.  I realized that often when I brought up other topics with this friend, she didn’t bite, and vice versa.  We just didn’t have a lot of other things in common.

What I wanted to say to her, but didn’t have the guts to, was, “So what?  Let’s just be there for each other when it comes to dating.”  One of the things that is stressful about dating at this age is not having friends along with you–people who can relate to what you are going through.   It’s so much lonelier and scarier without that.

a dog’s life

I’m sure we’ve all encountered those people who adopt a dog (or cat for that matter) and spoil it like crazy, only to ignore it once they have a baby.  The dog then goes from being playful and full-of-personality to being quiet and docile, only to have it’s personality reawaken when someone gives it some loving attention.

Sometimes I feel like that dog.  Like my personality has gone under wraps, and I’m yearning to have someone notice little things about me, playfully tease me, and light up when I walk into a room.

not by choice

full circle

When I first arrived in this large city, I found that there were lots of men online who met my criteria.  Five years in, a good third of those same men have been online without a break.  Granted, I’m back on there again too, but I have taken large time-outs.  You have to wonder about people who have a profile up for five years running, especially since many of those men never responded when I wrote them.

Over the weekend I contacted someone who looked promising, and he responded that we had been on a date before, five years ago, when I first moved to town.  I had forgotten what he looked like!  To me this seems like a sign from above that it’s time for me to move on.

it’s nice to know…

I’m not alone in this:

good at things

What I’ve learned from working is that oftentimes the only reward for being good at something is… more work.   The one thing I don’t need more of in my life is work; what  I need is a personal life.

At my job, I routinely work on special events that involve lots of talented people.   At the end of said events, after the air kisses goodbye, I never hear from anyone again.  No dinner invitations, no party invites.

I’m afraid that the contours of my foray into the theatrical world are taking shape, and I am finding myself in the same old pattern.  I’d been hanging out on the fringes of that world, hoping to make some personal connections.  I thought that by kicking things up a notch– putting on my own shows– I would bridge the divide.   It seems, though, that once the lights are turned off and the “thank yous” are said, I am back to silence.

I’ve got a great group for the next show but have little reason to hope that the pattern will be broken.  It’ll probably be my last one because of that.  I’ve proven that I can do it, but that was never my motivation.

wishful thinking

A few years ago a friend of mine was dating a handsome, younger doctor who seemed too good to be true.  Sure enough, his behavior became erratic and immature.  I advised her to break it off, but shortly thereafter they reconciled, moved in together, and got engaged.

Another friend of mine was dating a younger man who fought with her because he didn’t want to get married or buy a house and wasn’t ready to have children.  Within a few years, they had done all three.

A third friend was dating a man who said he wouldn’t be ready for children for at least a decade.  Out of the blue, the friend got pregnant.  She didn’t particularly want to work as a new mother, but they couldn’t afford for her to quit.  She didn’t discuss her pregnancy with her employer, just assuming she’d get leave.  She finally had a discussion with her boss about a week before her due date and was granted the customary time off.  When it was time for her to go back she tried working from home and then half-time at home, half-time at the office and then just half-time.  I was amazed that her employer was going along with all of it, since none of it seemed to be working.

I have enormous empathy for all women because it’s very difficult to find the right partner in time to have children and, in this country at least, it’s challenging to raise children if you aren’t wealthy.  At the same time, in each of the above situations, I felt angry that taking the mature path– breaking it off with crazy men, taking men at their word when they said they “weren’t ready,” realizing that my current career would be incompatible with raising children– had perhaps been the wrong one to take.

Cut to today.  The first friend and the doctor have still not married, although it’s been about six years.  The second friend is getting divorced.  The third friend has recently been “let go” from her job.

On the other hand.  The friend and the doctor are still together, the second friend is well-set with alimony, and the third now gets to be a stay-at-home mom.  So what do I know?

the outing

I didn’t meet anyone at the Valentine’s-themed event tonight, but the change of scenery did me good.

I explored this city every chance I got when I first moved here, but eventually I settled into a job and, like most people in large urban areas, began to stick to my enclave and certain social venues.  Tonight I ventured into another area of town I don’t visit very often and drove down small streets I’ve never been on before.  I got lost, which forced me to interact with people in the lively local establishments and to walk around a few blocks in search of my destination.  Once there, I was around an entirely new crowd of people.  It was refreshing.

I will confess that this is the same general area of town my frenemy moved into with her new boyfriend.  I’m angry at her behavior and, of course, jealous, not only that she has found someone, but also, I realized tonight, because she is moving on.  It suddenly became clear to me that I’m ready to move on also.

It’s logical that I would create a routine for myself here, some sense of doing the same things and seeing the same people for the sense of security such behavior brings in the face of chaos and fear.  I realized tonight, though, that my routine has gotten a bit stale and that socially I feel I’ve been beating my head against a wall.  Perhaps I owe it to myself, before giving up on this city completely, to try new things again.

the bright side

I don’t mean to give the impression that the last few years of my life have been all gloom and doom and my move was entirely for naught.

As proof, I’ve created a little summary of the good things I’ve done since my move:

Flew up the coast on a small plane for a solo adventure. Drove up the coast with a friend.   Danced in numerous historic venues to live music.  Swam in hot springs on a windy night.  Went on a weekend trip to the mountains that involved a boat and a hot tub.  Met my celebrity crush.  Knocked boots with a few men; went on dates with numerous others. Took surfing lessons.  Went on hiking trips through historic neighborhoods.  Visited an arts community in a cove.  Journeyed to Hawaii.  Got a big job promotion.  Visited wine country.  Saw a lot of comedy shows; laughed.

a walk in the park

I pass through a park on my workdays when I go to lunch.  Often there are groups of women there with their children.  Last week I passed by some women seated in a circle, each holding an infant or toddler while chatting with each other.  I felt wistful that I have missed out on that and have instead spent the last two decades working without a break.  Or almost, as I have taken a few short breaks between jobs– I refuse to go directly from one job into another.

When I first moved here and was looking for work, I babysat for a neighbor and would take her child to this same park.  I would occasionally meet this friend for coffee or a meal, so our relationship was not solely about childcare, but I felt she was a bit bossy and that I reverted to my teenaged self around her.  Her main social life was with other couples with children.  One evening, while I was babysitting and she and her husband were out with another couple, it occurred to me that I was, in fact, older than her.  I decided that evening that I was done with the babysitting, as I had secured a professional job at that point.  It just seemed unhealthy for me.

I have one more memory from that time period.   One evening when I was babysitting her child, the couple she was going out with left their baby with me as well.  He was probably around one.  I unexpectedly fell in love with this child– it was as if I had developed a romantic crush.  I thought about him for weeks afterward, wondering how he was doing.  I didn’t know the parents though and have never seen him again.  He would be about five years old now, I guess.

A poster to this site recommended the Friendship Blog, and yesterday I found this post.  I like the part about “orbiting around someone else’s sun”:

If you click on the “childless” tab at the end there are a couple of other posts on the blog that reflect things I’ve written about here.