On Dating – Part 1

Photo by YADU KRISHNAN K S on Unsplash

Part of me wants to have someone in my life; part of me wants to remain single. Here’s the thing: I’ve been in several bad relationships in my lifetime – mostly when I was much younger, but – there were a lot. So I know pretty well now what I don’t want. And I’ve got a pretty good thing going right now. I’ve got a home that I love, two dogs that make me smile every day, and friends to spend time with – responsibly, of course. 

In this time of social distancing, I feel pretty good. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, which is what I prefer to do anyway. Another benefit to COVID: Now I don’t need to feel guilty for choosing a night at home over a friend’s invitation. Please don’t get me wrong. I know COVID is a terrible thing and my soul hurts for those who have been negatively affected by it. But…I see a silver lining.

The problem, of course, is that this is not a good environment for meeting eligible single men. There are multitudinous dating apps out there, and I’ve been on many of them, with little success. 

I found my last relationship online in 2007. Three years later it ended because he had an addiction that I couldn’t live with. Turns out, he couldn’t live with it either. He passed away two years ago. There’s a lot more to that story, but not here. I’ll just say that that experience soured me a bit, and I’m now very cautious about who I spend my time with and I’m protective of my personal space. One or twice a year, though, I sign up on a dating site, pay the money (because that’s the only way you can actually communicate with a person), and then immediately feel buyers remorse. If only the IRS allowed deductions for donations to dating sites. Unfortunately, the same story repeats. 

The typical scenario is either:

  1. I message someone I’ve been matched with and never hear back. They disappear from my list of matches (meaning they have quietly removed themselves…shh…step…away).
  2. I receive a message from someone I have no interest in and try to find the kindest way to say, no thank you.

So essentially, I’m not really matching with anyone. I have occasionally had success getting over the first threshold and on to messaging within the app, but it generally doesn’t take long to figure out the guy is either:

  1. a scammer 
  2. a perv

On rare occasions, I get to the phone call stage, where I’m likely to find out they’re either:

  1. a bad fit (uneducated, strong opinions that do not fit my view of life) 
  2. a perv

On even more rare occasions, I get to meet the person. Here are the typical outcomes:

  1. Misrepresentation (nothing like their photos, not in the job/profession they stated)
  2. Bad fit (self-absorbed, rude, no chemistry) 
  3. Perv

As you can see, as the prospects progress through the funnel, the outcomes do not tend to improve.

What I’ve found over the years is, like me, many people are on several different apps and return to them as they move out of relationships. Each time I renew on an app I see profiles of people I’ve seen before. Some are even using the same photos they used ten years ago! That in itself is a “big red flag”, to quote my second husband, who himself was the embodiment of a big red flag, or, to say it differently, there were so many big red flags I should have seen early on in that relationship that I was clearly in a bad place when I married him. Another story for another time. 

I’m not asking for much, really. I just want someone who is interested in getting to know me a little before jumping into bed. I want to have conversations, not listen to someone tell stories about themselves. I want to see evidence of character: kindness, strength, humility. I want to see how they dance in the cacophony of this crazy world. 

So many times, I’ve read in a profile or been told by a prospect that they want to get to know someone first, then “see what happens”. What that means is, on the first date he’ll try to get a kiss from you – just to check things out. On the second date he’ll try to feel you up. 

I long for an age of patience, anticipation, and respectfulness, where we get to know someone before getting into the groping and sweating. Maybe a chance encounter that turns into a friendship…and then, one day, a spontaneous, mutual agreement to grope and sweat. I know what you’re thinking, but, no, I’m not into romantic chick flicks. They’re the same story told over and over, and we all know those things don’t really happen. But now that I’ve written this, it does sound like that’s what I’m asking for. 

So what other options are available now outside of online dating sites? Volunteering used to be an option, but that’s not safe at the moment. And I’ve volunteered many times and never even made a female friend, let alone a potential male companion. 

Maybe there’s still hope. Or maybe I’ve had my share of companions. Maybe I used up my quota when I was younger. In the end, I know I’m okay. I’m happy with who I am and where I am. But once in a while, as I sit on my deck gazing into the starry night, I think: Wouldn’t it be nice to find my person so we could enjoy this together?

Dream: Getting Ready to Date

I am in a room full of people who are watching a live music performance. The room is set up with performance seating in front of the stage, then a wide aisle way between that seating and some random tables at the back.

I have been standing with a small group in the table section, but I decide I’d like to move closer to the stage so I can focus on listening to the music.

I don’t want to sit in the performance seating – it’s too crowded there. I see three folding chairs that have been lined up at the back of the aisle way between the seating and the tables. I sit in the chair on the left. After a minute, my friend George sits in the chair just to my right, but then shortly after asks if I will mind if he moves to the seating closer to the stage. I tell him to go ahead – I’m fine being here on my own. Just then I notice a very attractive, petite woman has taken the third seat, furthest to the right. George’s empty seat is between us. I turn my attention to the musicians on stage.

After a few minutes I turn my gaze to the right side of the room, scanning from the stage toward the front of the room. My eyes meet a guy whom I have met before (within the context of this dream) several times. It flashes to me at this time that each time has been just a quick encounter, and always with a strong feeling of connection. He is walking from the front of the room to the back, apparently on a mission, but when our eyes meet, he stops, backs up, and heads toward me. Big smile on his face. I smile in return. I am pleased he is happy to see me. He is tall, reasonably fit, with blonde hair and bright eyes. As he approaches, he literally crawls over the petite woman seated two chairs over and then onto the chair next to me. He is now lying, stomach down, with his legs on the woman and his torso on the other chair, propped up on his elbows. Somehow this puts his face at the same level with mine. I do not notice any expression or reaction from the other woman. My eyes are locked with Blondie’s. He leans toward me and plants a very deliberate, solid kiss on my lips, holding it for a few seconds for emphasis. When he pulls away, still smiling, he says, “Hello.” I say “Hello.” (smiling)

Now I am in a room upstairs, with my ex. We have been “just friends” for quite awhile, but he has always had a hard time with that. Ex is always wanting to “hang out” with me, and people who see us together assume we’re dating. This concerns me now (in my dream) because Blondie is downstairs and I don’t want him to get the wrong impression.

I do my best to convince Ex that he needs to leave; I want to spend this evening with my friends (who are not directly his friends). I tell him that I have met someone I may want to date, and I don’t want it to be awkward for him. He agrees to leave. I follow him down the stairs, and at the landing he pauses to chat with a couple of random people. Just as I reach the landing, he sobs, “My friend and I just broke up!” and then turns and leaves the building.

I am panicked, as my eyes search the room for Blondie. Where is he? Did he hear? Is there a need for damage control?

End of dream


This one is obvious to me – and I’m sure to anyone else reading. I am finally ready to date. But – it’s been three years since I moved out of my Ex’s house, and he is still hanging around and demanding my attention. While I will admit that I allowed lines to be crossed a couple of times in the first year or two, I have been very firm on boundaries for well over a year. It is an exhausting role at times, but I now know I cannot go back. That door has closed for me completely. I love my Ex. I genuinely care about what happens to him, and enjoy his company now and then. I am not “in love” with my Ex. I am ready to move forward into a new relationship.

I’m sure George is a part of this dream because the day after a recent party at my home, I got a text from my Ex asking if George was my new “boy toy.” I assured him he was not, and Ex said, “Okay, just wanting to get a lay of the land.”

It appears I won’t be able to date with my Ex still in my life. This may sound like a no-brainer to most, but I know people who have been able to stay friends of their ex’s. I guess it’s just not for me.

Coming Back Around To Letting Go

I never want to hurt anyone – even those who have hurt me. That’s not to say that I never do hurt anyone – only that it is never my intention to do so.

This is one of the reasons I am coming back around to letting go. Also:

  1. We’re not going anywhere
  2. I’m not “all in” – not fair to you
  3. I’ve been physically sick in some manner ever since I opened that door a crack (for the second time I might add) and you began wedging your foot into it, pushing sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully, trying to “gain purchase” into my life again. I said over and over “there won’t be a ’round three’,” and then I opened the door a crack.

It’s going to hurt for a minute – maybe longer – but I’ll be unwedging your foot now. It’s getting cold in here.

Dream: He Doesn’t Need Me Anymore

Though I don’t really know them, within the context of my dream, the people I was with were co-workers. We’re traveling back to (office? party location?) where we started our trip and we’re all in a yellow school bus. As we drive along, I see along the side of the road, my ex “John,” who (in my dream) I know has some sort of debilitating disease – something like MS – so that he’s in a wheelchair – slowly losing muscle control over a period of time. When he was healthy he was very athletic (in real life he’s an avid bicyclist).

In this roadside scene, John is out for a “ride/race” in his wheelchair and has gotten as far as he can considering the road conditions, so he has stopped and making his way into some other sort of box with wheels contraption, which I understand to be a kind of transfer vehicle to get him past whatever is in his way in the road. There are people there helping him. (That is the key message here, by the way.) As we pass him in our bus I see him, but don’t tell anyone I know him or that I’ve noticed him. But…I immediately begin to worry about him and feel guilty about not being there for him.

After we arrive back to our base location (office/party location) I find myself on my own – other co-workers are congregating in another area of the space – so I feel like it will be safe for me to “wander” downtown to the area where I expect John to be…so I can check up on him and make sure he’s okay. I know where he lives – in an old apartment downtown. The town in my dream is older and the apartments seem a bit run down there. John lives in a second floor apartment – over a bar. (Interesting, since in real life “John” is an alcoholic.)

As I head down the street to search out John, I’m taking a “back alley” or back hallway kind of route. It’s kind of a street fair atmosphere…there are lots of vignettes of carnival-like things and I stop at some on the way, but I’m mostly looking in from the back side of them or wandering through them, but not really participating. I have a sense of being invisible/behind the scenes so the people who are participating don’t know I’m there.

About half way there I run into a (true) former co-worker of mine. I see her inside one of the carnival vignettes and think to myself that…since she’s alone…maybe it would be safe to reveal myself to her so I would have someone to talk to about…things. I approach her and we begin talking…about nothing in particular…and we continue moving together down the street, but now we’re actually in the streets as we go.


I don’t think I ever make it to John, but the general feeling around this dream was that I was feeling guilty for not “being there” for John, but at the same time, I knew there were other people helping him along and so he was doing just fine without me.