mardi, juillet 19, 2011
Dating the never-married "him" (or "her")
I've canceled a coffee meet-up for tomorrow, because I have a story to write. He does seem like a genuinely nice person, so we'll probably meet up. I spoke to a fellow this evening, and he'd like to meet sometime to talk further. There's the Englishman (well, technically, two guys who come from England). And a few others.
All are younger -- but not significantly (within seven years).
But a few of these men have been married before. I find that situation a little odd.
It wasn't until recently that I stopped and reconsidered my knee-jerk response to dating a man who had never been married.
Up front, this meditation doesn't apply to younger folks -- it's for us middle-aged people, who have been around a while, and had some shots at crafting a life with somebody else.
My previous line of thought went something like this...the never-married folks haven't had a lot of experience dealing with the difficult parts of relationships. Sacrifice. Forgiveness. Hanging in.
Mostly, I wondered if the never-married got in "so deep" - and then decided to jump ship. If they had gotten to "my age" and decided not to tie the knot (or run away, screaming), they might have intimacy issues -- as in a failure to want to commit.
If they didn't have children, I feared that they might not be empathetic to the demands of my lifestyle.
And then I saw a few interesting, complex guys putting themselves out there in online profiles -- and I started to wonder...why not?
I began to rethink a few things.
First of all, our society seems to be becoming incredibly diverse, relationally-speaking. Maybe some of these fellows, even though they are close to my age, chose not to get married.
It's also possible that they developed relationships, outside of marriage, in which they worked with others, reached out to the weak and those in need, and protected those who were vulnerable. Or grew emotionally smart in ways that, someday, they will share with me.
And, of course, although there is much discussion about making getting into a marriage more tough, getting out of a marriage can be pretty simple nowadays.
In a nation in which so many are serial monogamists, it can be argued that marriage has lost some of its gloss.
Could it be that some who don't get married take the institution more seriously than some who do?
I don't know. And then there is the trillion dollar question -- what makes a relationship intimate.
Although I ponder it muchly, I have no good way of analyzing intimacy -- and of figuring out what makes a successful intimate relationship.
In the past, I've thought that I've had some idea of what went into making a relationship hum -- and of seeking out the men who had potential.
I've talked to a lot of men, sometimes as a counselor, sometimes as a potential date.
I've seen guys who ran from emotional closeness. I've spoken to fellows who practiced so much enmeshment with their "loved one" that it resembled a bad sci-fi novel.
And I've run into men who sometimes seemed capable of sustaining an honest, direct and compassionate relationship, and then returned back to the surface, like a diver with a bad case of the bends.
But I haven't met the guy with whom I felt safe risking getting emotionally naked -- I'm more likely to be the one asking questions than answering them.
By the way, I'm sure that there are women who fit these categories, too. But are they more likely to have never been married? I dunno.
I also don't know how much one learns from experiences. I don't even know how capable I am of keeping the pot boiling when the emotional heat gets turned up high.
So...these not-married men? I'm going to give them a shot. I think they deserve it, don't you? No one should be the victim of prejudice, solely on the basis of whether they have an indentation on that ring finger, or not.
I just wish they wouldn't all want to chat on the same day.