a couple of thoughts for valentine’s day

I’ll start at the beginning.

I don’t date. Not really.

Or at least I haven’t for a long, long time.

Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have thought I’d be single since 2011 and divorced since near Halloween 2012 and not all that interested in dating. This just goes to show how life changes and changes us. I am not the woman I was at 25 or 30 or even 40. Or even 50.

meh candy heart

I just can’t help it. At first there was the nightmare divorce with my healthcare held hostage, at least for a time. There were money fears. There was that last year of the doctoral program. There was a surgery. There were job issues. There were the kids.

Going back further there was my refusal to acknowledge how seriously broken my relationship with my ex was. I mean, he did that and I didn’t see? And he did THAT and I still listened to the words coming out of his mouth?

Too Close to a Black Hole ; Credit & Copyright: Alain Riazuelo from http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap101207.html

Too Close to a Black Hole ; Credit & Copyright: Alain Riazuelo from http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap101207.html

Great title for a computer enhanced image of life near a black hole.

Being honest here, I should thank the ex for moving away. I guess I did. I thanked him for our kids and I thanked him for finally walking away.

I sometimes feel a sense of shame for not being the one to leave, given the sordid details. I’ll give myself credit for filing and paying for the divorce since he didn’t want to. I wish I hadn’t had to pay for the entire divorce and still have to hear him bitch about support that he isn’t going to pay.

I’m working hard to eliminate that sense of shame. It only creeps up on me now when someone who doesn’t have the picture castigates me for not seeing what was right in front of my face.

Truth: I didn’t have the practical training in life to see that I was so close to a black hole.

The night he finally left, I saw something. I saw eyes that looked like frozen blue ice cubes. Absolute zero. Really. That’s exactly what came into my mind, the very words “frozen blue ice cubes.” And then I saw those eyes cloud over, darken and become pits. A familiar look from years of exposure. Black-hole-eyes. The window to the soul and all that.

I have taken efforts to eliminate photographs of him. I’ve given the kids whatever photographs they may want. I have some old ones for them, if they may want more later. For my own sake, I’ve removed photos from my hard drive. I saved one. Today I found it and saved it (That’s the kind of Valentine’s Day it’s been. Tomorrow I’m sure will be better, much better.). I saved it because it chills me to the bone. I don’t want to forget what I lived through. I tend to lean towards hope. Hope can get me into trouble. The photo is a friendly reminder to self of what once was and what I’m free from now. That jpg shows the black hole turbulence in the eyes five years before the man left.

But that’s past. Drifted on down that river of dreams.

So Valentine’s Day. Love and romance. Or maybe just a companionable friendship.

A couple of my kids have encouraged me for months to try online dating sites. They think I “don’t get out enough.” I tried. I tried for them and for me.


(There’s another entire story about how my ex scored his multitude of affairs via online dating sites — not the ones I used, I think, I hope — and how he “encouraged” me to try online dating when he walked out. As soon as I can see that exclusively for its humor, I’ll tell that story.)

So I tried. I don’t like it.

For full disclosure, at least one of my kids told me it would not be fruitful.

Meeting people online through a dating site feels so inorganic to me.

I see internet dating as a throw-back to high school. He rejects, I reject. We both objectify.

I know it works for some people but it’s not working for me. Categorize, categorize. Yes, we do it no matter what. I’d still rather meet someone at a party, at any event, than through a dating site online.

Walking through life and meeting people is just what it is. Not everyone is a potential “date.” And that’s good as I see it.

Colleagues, friends, new acquaintances, the person at the plant nursery, the person in line in front of you at the store, friends and family of students, any of these or none of these may be seen as possible dates. Or not, when you’re not on a dating site.

This hit me when someone on a dating site (said he was) attending some of the same events at a regional botanical garden that I was. Had I met him? Had I spoken to him? He didn’t look familiar. Oh well. Honestly, do I need to feel stressed and anxious about online dating? I think not.

In case you’re interested, at some point I was sidelined by the guy above. I’ve sidelined people on the dating site too.

I know what did it with this guy — it was something that he wanted that was beyond my comfort level. It wasn’t a big deal, really. I wasn’t willing to talk about it. I preferred to watch the fellow drift away. So sad too bad. Right?

It’s not like me to not talk about stuff. Even with the ex I talked, I spoke my mind. Problem there was, I believed (and believed) lies. On the other hand, it feels good to simply say no if that’s what I want to say.

Incidentally, meeting someone (or getting to know someone better) on a social networking site is not quite the same for me. That, for me, usually involves common interests and some level of friendship which doesn’t have to include objectifying a person as a “potential date.”

Yes, I’m an online dating failure.

That’s okay.

I think this was a transition I had to make from 30-plus years of marriage to voluntary datelessness to whatever it is I’m doing now.

Right now, as of this day, Valentine’s Day (or the half-hour that remains of it, to be precise), I’m not dating. I am accepting friendships. I’m affirming relationship. I’m repairing and restoring what is healthy to repair and restore. For me. I’m committing and un-committing. I’m ebbing and flowing.

Today, it seems, I’m mostly ebbing in the dating relationship zone. I’m on a temporary pause. I have some things to consider at a slower pace, right at this moment. I’m composing and re-composing. I’m learning on a new deeper level what it means to be myself. Whatever changes in the future will, well, change.

About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in family, gray divorce, Life changes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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