A new friend and I were talking about dating. She has 3 kids and is recently divorced. She said, “It’s so depressing. I feel like the guy has to be really special because of my situation.” I held my tongue but I kept thinking, “Didn’t she always want him to be special?”
I hear comments like this over and over, especially, “Isn’t it harder now that you have a kid?” or “It’s so much harder in your forties fifties sixties.” I shake my head in bewilderment at these statements.
I have always wanted him to be special. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and most have kids. This is my dating pool. I have never found it easy to meet the right partner.
At 20, 30, 40 and now, it’s the same. The men have changed, the sex has gotten much better (because of my comfort level), and the decision to stay or go is easier because I‘m more clear in myself, but the joys and challenges are the same. I have been dating for 30 years and haven’t yet found the kind of love I know is waiting for me. I’ve dated wonderful men, not so nice men, emotionally unavailable men, and middle aged depressive men. At 26 I got engaged to a wonderful man. I broke it off because I sensed our love wouldn’t last and he agreed. We were desperate to fit into societal expectations and to have a life partner, but it was clear we wouldn’t make it long term. He married, divorced and remarried. It’s not easy for anyone.
My fiancé came with baggage and so did I. Each successor has brought his own baggage, even the man who stated he was clear and free and didn’t want to date anyone with a mother issue. (Of course, I wasn’t surprised to learn he had an upsetting relationship with his own mother.)
Yes, the baggage increases over the years, but everyone’s does. I’m not interested in a 25-year-old man anymore, or a 35 year old. I want a seasoned, greying, middle-aged man who knows what it’s like to be on this planet for a chunk of time. He’s going to bring baggage to match mine.
Maybe I’ll experience something different as I get older. Maybe I’ll be rejected because I have grey hair. Or maybe we’ll finally meet and start our lives together. I reject the statement that it gets harder because we’re older. I believe the people who find it harder are learning how to be picky and honor their desires. I have been accused of being too picky for 30 years. I am most definitely picky.
A wise friend once said, “We can’t control who we love.” I agree wholeheartedly. And I will never stop being open to meeting this man who will bring half a century of baggage and a lot of love to my life. I know he’s going to be special to me.
Photo: Flicrk/Olaf Gradin