dimanche, juillet 07, 2013

How the frisson free life has cost me dates -- and saved my sanity

Last week sometime, I was exchanging some random thoughts about dating with a guy I knew online.

Sometimes I have these conversations out of curiosity, or because I read something in his profile that sparked a question or reinforced an idea I had already.

A lot of people (by which he meant women) seem to have this idea of a perfect relationship, he wrote me. They seem to have a checklist.  But none of us is perfect. Honestly, he said, I find dating very frustrating.

I get this.

I can't tell you how many men proudly proclaim that they are "hopeless romantics" (the word hopeless might suggest that there is a problem with this term, but let's not be mean, it's simply a cliche).

They like to give flowers "for no reason."  They want to experience lingering glances across a crowded room that will indicate it's time to blow that pop stand and return home. They want excitement, thrills, the headon impact of soul-to-soul wordless communication.

Do you believe in magic?

I agree that a little fairy dust would be wonderful.  But a nonstop diet?

That could be cloying.

Look in the mirror for a moment, ladies and gents.

Once you were young and idealistic: it's great to believe life will be unalloyed bliss when you are sixteen.

But in your forties or fifties? C'mon.

More and more often, I run into men who have been married twice.  I'm sure that there are many women out there in the same position.  I don't judge them for it.  But I do wonder what they learned from the disappointment and chills of a marriage as it ebbs.

I wonder if they saw a counselor to hone their communication skills so that the next time, they could try to do better.

I wonder why women and men keep looking for the wrapping instead of the present.

When those little jolts of chemical attraction can't get you through a rough patch, patience and affection, a little wit and a lot of compassion can grease the wheels.

Don't get me wrong. I like passion and excitement as much as the next person.  But I want it with someone I can trust not to flit away at the first sign of conflict.  Because conflict will come, whether we want it or not.

So as I get to know someone, I am friendly, engaged, and hopefully, warm and caring.  As I said to a man last week, I want affection, warmth, and faith to grow gradually, like the black-eyed daisies just now unfurling outside my kitchen door.

The solitary life is better than the shock of finding out your suitor is leading a double one, or has expectations that seem to have been nurtured in a galaxy, far, far away.

"We have each other's backs" said a friend of mine a few months ago.  That's about as good a working definition of real love as I can come up with at the moment.

Pleasurable surprise at the revelation that the object of your affection is trustworthy, kind, and realy quite sexy is one thing.

Ecstasy is another.

There's a drug for that. And it kills.

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