Episode #1: THIS is what I am Looking for

When you get back into the dating game, whether it’s online, or being set up by friends, or you meet in a facebook group where you share similar interests, one of the first questions asked is, “so what are you looking for in a man?”  I tend to back off this question because I know EXACTLY what I am looking for, but I know it will scare the shit out of pretty much anyone who is asking because mostly what they want to hear is, “I want to get laid and never hear from you again.”

Dating after forty sucks.  Mostly, it is a never-ending series of let-downs and penis pics.  It is three statements before they say something about my lips, which almost always means, “Damn, I cannot wait for you to suck my dick.” It meant the same thing in high school.  It is making rules and never getting your hopes up and always, always being  cynical and having a sense of humor.  It is knowing that there is probably not a single person out there for you, but still enjoying the conversation up until the dick pic, the lips comment, or the completely unacceptable conversation intrudes on an otherwise lovely back-and forth.

When I was dating in my twenties, I put up with more.  I was not so headstrong.  I had more options.  And I allowed more mistreatment, to be honest.  In all honesty, things I find pretty misogynistic now, I found a little flattering then, mostly because I did not know any better.  20 years later and a lot of education and reading and understanding and I am less willing to think that a guy rubbing his boner on me is flattering.  Just saying.  Now, I care less that I will be alone and more about the company I am with.  I would rather be alone and share my time and headspace with friends and people who fill me spiritually than settle.  I settled in my first marriage.  I knew it when I was walking down the aisle.  I knew it all along, but was more afraid of being alone than of anything else.  Now, I would rather be alone than settle.  The script has been flipped, as the cool kids say.

I cannot imagine how my life would be if someone was added into it.  Ben and I have a routine and we are a team.  We run smoothly.  It will take a lot for me to allow someone to join this team.  I love being single.  I love not asking anyone else about anything and just making decisions.  I like choosing who I do ask for advice and not being expected to go to a certain person because, no disrespect, but dude may not be the right one to ask, you know??? And I do not want anyone all up in their feelings when I decide to talk to someone else.  But there are some things I am looking for, if they can be found, I am happy to reconsider.  So, here it is and when asked, this is what I say I am looking for:

I want someone who is intelligent and can hold their side of a conversation with me.  I want someone who cares about the world we live in and wants to work with me change it for the better.  I want someone who is honest and caring and passionate and loves that I am passionate. I want someone who will care deeply for my child, but gets that my relationship with my son is my first priority and it always will be and will not get jealous or petty about the time and energy that I put into that relationship.  I want someone who loves pets because I have a lot and I love them all.  I want someone who sees all my weird little idiosyncrasies and adores them all.  I want someone who is impressed by my intense cussing.  I want someone who is as passionate about the left lane being the passing lane as I am.  I want someone who understands that Prince is a musical genius and knows to shut up and sing or at least shut up and pay homage whenever any Prince song comes on.  The same with Depeche Mode and The Cure and NIN and Adele and Beasties and The Beatles and BHT and Garbage and Toad and Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeran and Evanescence and old school hip hop and Imagine Dragons and Melissa Ethridge and Janet and the Johns – Lennon, Mayer, Legend, Mellencamp, Micheal Montgomery, Marr, – and Kelly and K Flay and . . . so you get it.  I like my music and I want someone who will jam out with me! I want someone with wanderlust.  I love a road trip and I love an adventure.  So, yeah.  I’m not asking for much, right?  😉  But I am not settling for less.  This is it.  This is what I need and what it will take.

Anything less and I am fine with being the cat lady.

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Standing In My Truth

It’s been awhile.  A lot has happened and nothing has happened.  Tonight, I need to download the, “a lot” because it matters and it hit on some deep-seated issues that I have always wrestled with. . .

Since my divorce, I have been on many dates.  Mostly, first and second dates.  A couple have lasted a month or two.  None of them have been important enough for me to even talk about.  Mostly, just someone to pass time with.  Nothing serious.  I am not easy to match.  I have a child who will always come first and too many say that is fine, but do not really mean that.  I have politics that do not align with the region.  This is troublesome because this plays a huge role in who I am and is important to me.  I am not religious.  In the Deep South, this is tantamount to being an alien.  I am incredibly busy.  Like, I do not have time to be doing this and breathing, but I am staying up and pushing others things back to do both.  Well, I finally met someone that I hit on all areas with.  Like, I was excited about this one.  I really thought that I might be done for awhile, and he seemed to feel the same way.  Then, he stopped treating me with the respect and the care that he had previously.  At this point, I had to decide my worth.

I have always had issues with this.  It is one of those things that kids who grow up having to earn their parents love struggle with, and I am no different.  I seem bulletproof and impenetrable to most and I am most of the time, but that is because I do not let people in.  But once I let people in, I am a giver.  I give and give and give until I am depleted; much like The Giving Tree.  It happens to me in friendships and relationships.  It happens until I am resentful and walk away or the other person uses me all up and walks away (this is what typically happens).

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While this is happening, I am fighting off my other mini-traumas.  At work, I am feeling frustrated and less than respected.  This dissertation (that I should be working on) is kicking my butt and I have NEVER struggled for a second in a single class in all of my academic career, so this is really bothering me.  And it is really about me just putting in time that I do not have.  I am having some health issues that concern me because they remind me too closely of the complaints my mom had prior to her becoming almost completely immobile, yet the doctors are baffled and my pain is real.  Money is an ever-present struggle, especially with a child excelling in an expensive sport and a deadbeat ex who does not help.  And one of the groups that I run has been having issues with a member trying to undermine us and get our chapter revoked.

So, I am in the middle of this relationship and I am really thinking that this may be it when he suddenly starts taking me for granted.  Now, I would LIKE to be in a relationship, but I do not NEED a relationship and I have been clear about this.  I am fine on my own, and I even kinda like it, so this is not a necessary situation for me.  And now I have to stand in my truth.  Am I going to tolerate this, or am I going to say something?  In the past, I would have let it roll a little.  I maybe would have gotten an attitude or gotten quiet, but I would not have said that this was not okay.  I would not have stood up for myself.  I am more likely to stand up for others.

But this is it.  Have I learned what I am worth?  Am I going to stand up for me this time and say, I deserve better?  Have I decided that I am better than whatever scraps people are willing to give me?  Have I finally found my way to being a strong woman for ME?

As I am pondering this post in my head, my friend shared this article on strong women.  It rang so true.  Not only does this describe the woman I want to be, but it finally described the woman that I was.  I did stand up and say, this is not all right.  I expect better.  I deserve better.  And while I hoped that it would slap him into reality and he would treat me like the queen I am, he did not.  So when I came back to the topic two days later,  I knew what had to be done.  I kept saying to myself, “I already lived in too many shitty relationships because I did not follow through.  Do I want it again?”  My answer is NO.  Hell No.  So while I wish he knew all the wonder he is missing out on, that’s his loss.

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I put on my Pink/Meghan Trainor/Lady Gaga playlist and own my shit.    I have an amazing kid, but I do not need or want anyone to step into that role – I got that.  I have my shit together, for the most part.  I have my own car and my own home.  I am a bad ass.  I am a great fucking catch.  If you cannot see that, that sucks for you; not me.  I am fucking hilarious.  I have a killer playlist that I sing at the top of my lungs.  I love life.  I am happy with my life and my child and my work and my friends and my groups and my volunteering.  My life is full.  And it feels so good to not just say that, but to KNOW it. I stand in my truth:  I am a badass, strong woman.