How Accurately Do You Describe Yourself In Your Online Dating Profile

DatingWithaKissWhile reading a bestselling thriller the other night, I came across the concept of the Cool Girl. The book Gone Girl describes a Cool Girl as the embodiment of the ideal women to certain men: Hot, intelligent, funny, sexually adventurous, not afraid to enjoy her food yet stays fit and slender, and feminine while still able to handle herself in a typical guy environment with beer, sports, poker and dirty jokes. A Cool Girl is understanding, never gets truly angry, and gives her man the freedom to do what he wants. The concept resonated with me so deeply because of all the online dating profiles, including mine, where women wind up describing themselves in some shape or another as a Cool Girl. It has me wondering: How accurately do you describe yourself in your online dating profile?

Find out if you’re getting it right in your online dating profile in my article at Singles Warehouse:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2013/03/how-accurately-do-you-describe-yourself-in-your-online-dating-profile-by-soloat30/

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Post-Breakup: My Personal Formula For Moving Forward

breakupTo say I was completely unprepared for my recent breakup is an understatement. After 10 months together, just a couple months before we were planning to move into a new place, I was blindsided by something I felt, and still think, is a preposterous reason to end a relationship with someone who is your soulmate, someone you claim to love with all your being.

Impervious to my pleas to talk about resolving the issues, ignoring my apologies about something for which I wasn’t entirely sure what I was to blame, my sobs and shock turned to frustration and yes, a bit of anger. One of his own very good friends said he was foolish for letting something so trivial end something so powerful that he seemed to have been searching for all his life. If our relationship—something he had always described as so strong, special and sacred—wasn’t worth fighting for, then clearly it didn’t carry as much weight, or have as strong legs, as I thought it did.

After I spent time mourning, I decided that fighting the inevitable was pointless. I still knew who I was. I still knew what was important to me and what I wanted, both in a mate and from a relationship. If anything, the breakup emphasized how important certain things about communication and relating to your partner were to me that had been a little off-center with us.

So, to the surprise of family and friends who thought I was moving too quickly, I decided to re-activate my OkCupid account. To be completely honest, I first signed on to see if there was still hope—I was another year older, life had struck another blow, and I wasn’t even sure I would see anyone on there who would interest me enough to get to know.

I was surprised to realize I still attracted not only older men but significantly younger men too, divorced men with kids and men my age who have never been married, corporate businessmen and world-traveling teachers. I also realized that there were still so many interesting men out there to learn about and potentially meet, though I wasn’t in a rush to do the latter.

With the knowledge that there still were formalities of the break up to deal with—things to return to each other, letters of closure finally received and occasional pangs of “did this really actually happen?”—I knew I had to make some promises to myself. I wasn’t going to go just out with an ex who still has hope that we’ll eventually get back together seven years and a kid (his) later. Nor have a fling with a former FWB. And I wasn’t going to jump into a relationship with the first guy who I felt a great connection with, no matter how strong.

FootprintsThat’s where the 7×3 formula came along. They are relatively arbitrary numbers, 3 and 7, but I’ve called them my lucky numbers all my life. So here’s the deal: I have to go on dates with at least seven different guys before I make a final choice to pursue a relationship with any single one. Any contenders must be dated at least three times. No hanky-panky is allowed; kissing is welcome to assess chemistry.

So this week I agreed to a date with one of the fellows who has been writing me. He’s intelligent, socially conscious, thinks ahead, seems kind and has strong and influential women in his family. He’s a father of two young children, has lived all over the U.S., and he’s experienced some pretty cool things over his lifetime. I always looked forward to his emails, and while his looks didn’t make me swoon, I decided the personality attracted me enough to meet him.

In the meantime, another guy dramatically came on the scene. We rapidly exchanged long emails about our travels, teaching and our similar mindset about life and relationships at this point in time. He very quickly asked for my number, expressing desire to meet each other sooner than later. The day before date #1 with the other guy, Mr. Wanderlust asked if I wanted to go to a coffee house for a snack at the last minute. Going with the whim of the moment, I agreed.

Despite his admitted nerves, the date was non-stop conversation. We looked at travel photos and talked about whatever came to mind while we had dessert and tea, followed by a light dinner of wraps. He also really made me laugh—not from the absurdity or ridiculousness of what he said, but because he was sincerely funny. It was exciting to be around his energy and his enthusiasm for life—it didn’t hurt that he was very open about his interest in me, enough to ask for another date before this one ended.

Next day was the date with Mr. Left Wing (he’s the son of a radical feminist and is a proponent of radical social change). The night started off oddly as he attempted to psychoanalyze me, and I took his extreme mellow demeanor as a blasé attitude toward life in general. But soon our masks were off, and we were engaged in deep conversation about life-changing experiences. He revealed quite a bit more than I did, whereas with Mr. Wanderlust, I felt there was a much more even exchange. Yet I enjoyed our time together and was surprised by a goodnight kiss.

I’ve decided the new formula is perfect in instances where you meet several interesting people who you want more time to get to know, while also having several comparison points to keep things in perspective. I have a feeling eventually I might not want to go through all those first dates, but I think it will be healthy for me. And if I decide I’m just overwhelmed all-around and need more time to try to make some kind of sense of my last relationship, I always have the choice to just stop everything and go back into my dark bedroom and mull over things—or better yet forget about men entirely for a while, and just enjoy my friends, my family and my career. I’ll keep you updated.

Be a Safe and Savvy Dater This Season With a Secure, Second Mobile Number

The world of modern dating is an exciting one. You can literally meet people from all walks of life and, if you’re especially adventurous, from across the country—even from over the world. In days of yore, your main options for connecting with romantic interests were meeting them at school, work, church or community organizations. Otherwise, your friends or family might set up with someone they knew.

While the pool of suitors is more limited in traditional dating, in most cases, you had a better idea of what you were getting into. Today, with online dating sites and meeting friends of friends of friends from Facebook or other social media sites, you are often meeting virtual strangers and putting trust that they mean you no harm or ill-will. Unfortunately, quite a few of us have our fair share of stories about dating strangers, from creepers to genuine stalkers.

That’s where MyAKA comes in. It provides savvy singles with a free secure, second mobile number for your privacy and safety. The assigned virtual phone number, with your own area code, is not linked to your personal information in any way. While calls go to your own cell, your real number is protected on both incoming and outgoing calls, ensuring cellphone privacy. MyAKA also makes it easy to block callers who cross the line or who don’t get the hint that you are not interested. And if you want a break from those who have your MyAKA number, it’s easy to set up the Do Not Disturb feature, which relays your calls to voicemail and stores your text messages for later retrieval.

MyAKA is offering my readers a 7-Day Free Trial. Truly free—what’s that catch? There’s no catch. With this special offer, you can enjoy a worry-free week of flirting through MyAKA, without even entering your credit card information! How sweet is that? And if you decide to keep the service, which is a smart move for any active, dating single, it takes two easy steps to upgrade your number on the MyAKA site. It’s as easy as AKA to date safely this season. Sign up today for a fun and safe way to communicate with your dates using a no-strings-attached second cellphone number!
*This is a sponsored post for MyAKA

Is the Fear of Change Keeping You In Your Current Relationship?

Recently, a good friend of mine and I were discussing how bewildered she was by her conflicting feelings toward her long-term boyfriend. One day, she was ready to call it quits if he didn’t stop his controlling tendencies, the next, they were seriously considering marriage.

She and I were talking about the ways they could compromise and communicate better when she dropped the following bomb:

“I know part of what’s keeping me in this relationship is the fear of dating again. How do I overcome that fear?”

Want to know the advice I gave her? Read about it on my latest post for Singles Warehouse:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/08/is-the-fear-of-dating-whats-keeping-me-in-this-relationship/

Guest Post: Another Single In His 30s Seeking Lasting Love

Today I have a special treat for readers with a guest post by a Single in His 30s. Enjoy!

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to read the guest post by me. Who am I? Well that’s officially top secret. I like top secret things. You should see the hash tags I use all the time on Twitter. Maybe this is why I am single? Needless to say I’m a guy, 31 years of age and single. So for me this blog really is the place to be.

It’s funny really because I actually work in the dating and relationship field. In my job, I help singles meet their potential mates. I’m clearly not very good at it—at least in my life.

So what is it about being 30 and single that bothers me? For ladies, I know they think there is this master plan. I must have a child by the time I am 30, for example. Is it the same for guys? Does it really bother me being single?

Actually yeah, it really does. I know that for myself I am better when in a relationship. Yet I’ve learned there is no point being in a relationship that does not work.

So is it harder to find someone when you are 30 plus? I don’t think so. I just think the rules change a little bit. You are not interested in screwing around as much. Actually I guess that depends on when you last ‘screwed’ around, but you do have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.

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You seem to dart around like a heat seeking missile trying to find the elusive ‘one’. I don’t think it changes if you are 30, 40 or 50…you just become more aware of it. Naturally you would when you keep getting invited to weddings from friends, you know, the ones who are still 29!

Regardless of how long it takes in your quest for lasting love, it’s important to keep one key thing in mind: Always keep your eyes out for and heart open to  finding the right one for YOU.

When it Comes to the Quest for Love, Be Your Own “The One”

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If you were to look to at my love life as following a trajectory, forming one neat and perfect line (ha), it would appear as if, since the tender age of 17, I were perpetually engaged in an active search for The One. With the exception of what amounts to a total of about a year and a half lost to housebound illness and heartbroken depression, adding in some month or two breaks here and there in between active dating, I have spent nearly 16 years of my life in serial monogamy, AKA some form of a relationship.

These relationships have ranged from the short-lived, failed attempts of one to three months to serious, deeply committed, live-in relationships lasting three to four years. In perhaps too many, I have turned out to be the heartbreaker, but I have also had my share of experiences where my heart had been utterly destroyed as well. Yet each time, I eventually dust myself back off, heading back into the adventures of love, though perhaps with my heart more carefully protected the next time.

My married childhood friends who thought I’d be the first of us down the aisle—as did I—observe my endless adventures with men with amusement and/or not-well-disguised pity. They wonder if I’m too picky, too flighty or, if they’re feeling generous, wonder when a truly great guy will realize just how amazing I really am.

“He’s out there,” they say, not really meaning to come across as condescending, I’m sure. “Be patient.”

Some of my perpetually single friends have expressed concerns that I at times might be too eager to be paired up with a mate, but I contend that desperation has been not my driving urge. On the contrary, I love to give and receive the sincerest form of love. I have been driven by the mission to find and keep that love—I know that is possible, at the right time, with the right person. I have seen in it very close to home, as my parents’ own love affair only grows deeper and more beautiful with each passing year. I know I want that too some day.

In my periods of self-reflection—which by the way can still occur in the midst of a struggling relationship, which as those of you who have lived there know can be even lonelier than being single—I have also come to a realization about love that relationship experts repeat over and over because it’s true. You cannot truly expect to really find and keep the genuine, enduring love from another person until you can learn to find and accept that same love from yourself.

Don’t roll your eyes at me. Think about it. If you can’t appreciate your own inner beauty, your gifts, talents, strengths and what you can bring to the table, not just in romantic relationships but to the world in general, how can you expect someone who may be starting off as a perfect stranger to you to learn to either?

Of course, a great partner can see beyond the b.s. you sometimes hold up as a mask to protect yourself from hurt. A great partner can be your biggest cheerleader and in the most loving and respectful ways encourage you to be your best self that is most genuine to the real you. A great partner can help you to open your eyes to that beautiful person you truly are inside and out.

But you can’t depend on a partner to do all that hard work for you. At some point you’re going to have to take a look in front of the metaphorical and literal mirror by yourself and say, “Damn it, I am an amazing person, worthy of love. I deserve happiness, wonderful friendships, a career I love, success and all the great rewards of life. Regardless of whether I ever find The One or not.”

Your quest for love should be directed inward first and foremost. Because really—you are your One. Anyone else is just bonus.

The Ah Ring

And what better way to show that commitment to discovering, loving and celebrating yourself than with The Ah Ring—the first and only diamond ring designed especially for single women. Worn on the pinkie ring, the 14-karat, white gold ring with 11 round full cut diamonds is a gorgeous symbol of self-love.

Oprah, Anne Hathaway, Kirsten Dunst and Serena Wiliam are just a few of the powerful single women who have embraced this “symbol of single’s pride.” Yet priced at $350, treating yourself to the Ah Ring is an affordable way to celebrate being joyfully single and your own true love. Look for it at Divine Diamonds, www.divinediamonds.com.

With Matters of the Heart, Hope is Not the Destination

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When I hopped back onto OkCupid a couple of weeks ago, my sole purpose was to reactivate my profile and prove to my ex—I-don’t-know-what-he-was—and, yes, to myself that I was truly completely finished playing games. I was done pretending to be a couple on the weekends, kind of friends during the week, when the only true commitment we had was sexual exclusivity and a reliable activity partner. Because when I pulled myself away long enough, I realized that’s all we really were anymore, and ending the charade didn’t hurt me as much as staying in it did.

OkCupid was how we were introduced, and so I decided OkC was where I would officially make my exit. I wasn’t expecting anything more would come out of turning my profile back on than that.

I certainty was not prepared for the fact that within a couple of days, a man from one state over, originally from another country, would send out a teaser that I would be unable to resist. Not only did this man greatly appeal to my visual senses, he was also educated, athletic, and social, appearing to be kind, funny, playful and “deep”. His emails went beyond the surface questions, and his curiosity about me led him to play detective in the cutest of ways.

Yet keenly aware, now more than ever, that appearances can be deceiving, I was grateful that the weekend he asked to meet for the first time was the weekend I was leaving for a week’s vacation. I could get away from the dramatic backlash that somehow I had allowed myself to fall into (and let’s face it, help create) from the “breakup” with the ex-something-or-other. And I could also see if this new fellow would find someone else to become entranced by in the days to follow.

What I discovered during my relaxing, sunny days away surprised me. One, I realized that as much as I was disappointed by—and in some ways, disgusted by—what went down with the ex, I also felt sorry for him seeming to be stuck in this phase of his life. I realized that being angry with him wasn’t going to change anything about the situation, and this period together, just the few past months, were really just a teeny drop in the ocean of my life. I could just…Let. It. Go.

The second thing I discovered was that my new pal from OkC was really becoming a new friend. Our communication was becoming more personal, more open and even a little flirtatious. I found myself really looking forward to coming home because that meant my date with him was right around the corner.

We’ve all had terrible blind dates and so-so blind dates. But I was unprepared to have my expectations blown away—in the very best way. Not only was he even more attractive in person than his photos could really give justice, which were really darn cute too…but he was also the absolute gentleman, incredibly perceptive and sensitive, a great listener, funny and just the right amount of flirtatious. At the end of the date, he asked me to play him some songs, which he enjoyed. Then, saying he was worried he had tired me out, he gave me a hug, said he hoped we would see each other again and left.

To be honest, as amazing as our time together had felt, I worried the rushed end of our date meant I had somehow had been reading things incorrectly. Apparently, thankfully, I was wrong. After a few tentative texts back and forth later that night, we had plans set for the next day as well.

I really don’t want to try to describe how lovely our next date was; words can’t fully capture how truly wonderful it felt. To say that we talked for hours about things that really mattered to us growing up, that matter to us now and that we envision for ourselves in the future is oversimplifying it.  We felt accepted and understood, after baring bits and pieces of ourselves, and surprisingly close to one another afterward.

IF-Caution by Karee Barrett

Even though he revealed a few of his own insecurities, which is part of the reason he left so abruptly the first night—he apparently thought I wanted him to leave—and even though we had two great dates, and even though we’ve been keeping in touch whenever we can this week, my guard is still so way up. On the one hand, this is probably a very smart thing since we are just starting to get to know one another. One the other hand, this is someone new who shouldn’t be silently questioned and doubted at every turn just because of someone or something that has absolutely nothing to do with him.

Yesterday I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day than to wake up to his email, which read, “Hello my little sunshine!” I carried that happiness in my pocket, took it to appreciate it in between my work, and then tucked it away again for later. All through the day, he reached out to me, making me feel connected.

Today, I woke up, and there was nothing. I went through the day with one voice telling me, “He’s just really busy,” and the other voice saying, “See, I told you so.” There was no email or text to dispute the argument, and the people in my life were just as conflicting. I tried to pretend like it didn’t matter either way. There were plenty of more fish in the sea.

And then, finally he emailed me apologizing for making me wait so long, telling me how busy his day had been, commenting on all the important things from my last email. He ended with: “Any plans for the weekend already? Would you like to meet again?”

He earns extra brownie points for asking me out on Wednesday, but even more for reminding me it’s okay to still want to believe.

Do you become vulnerable putting yourself back out there like that again? Yes, there’s no question about it. But you also become available for something potentially beautiful. Could you get hurt? Yes. Could you potentially find love? No one knows for sure; possibly so.

Is it worth the risk? Sometimes fear of being hurt is enough to put down screeching brakes. Maybe you’re simply not ready to put yourself out there yet, or this person just isn’t worth chancing it. Trust your intuition, ignore the noise. Sometimes, hell yeah, it’s worth throwing yourself in the race.

So for now I will proceed with caution, but I won’t be afraid to enjoy the journey and hope for happy trails ahead.

‘Twas A Bittersweet—More Sweet than Bitter, Bitter Than Sweet—Year

For me, 2011 was the year of truly living SingleInMy30s. At age 33, it was in fact the first time in my 30s I was not involved in some exclusive—usually long-term—relationship for the vast majority of the year. The V-Man and I finally ended our second attempt at being together a couple months into the year…and from then on, I was free.

I can’t say that it was an easy year. My body slowly stopped allowing me to beat it into submission, to work it day and night with little to no rest. Soon my dream job became a nightmare job for my immune system, and I was left facing four months of chemotherapy.

I was forced to go on medical leave from my job, and when I wasn’t back on my feet fast enough, I had to leave it outright. To be honest, I think that hurt more than saying goodbye to V-Man, though those losses are somehow linked. Still, saying goodbye to that old dream, that exciting chapter of my life has led to an awesome new career path and wonderful opportunities I would never have expected.

Most importantly, it re-taught me something I thought I already had down cold—how to listen to my body. Now I truly do understand it’s not worth Hurtling Against the Brick Wall—again. My mantra for 2011? Find your balance.

From the dating perspective, I enjoyed dating a variety of men, broadening my horizons a bit more than ever before. There was the Ballroom Dancer, the Christian Rocker, the Cop, the Karaoke Crooner, to name but a few Up Next On the Stage… I didn’t regret every single one, though there were a couple of opportunities for a bruised ego–most famously, the experience captured in The Appeal of the Exotic Woman. Yet I didn’t allow myself to get too involved in the hunt. Timing was certainly off in 2011.

With all the time I had for myself this last year, there was plenty of time for self-reflection. I dealt with the love I’d left behind in 2010 and finally learned how to say goodbye, with A Letter to a Love Lost & A Lesson Learned and several other entries. I gave the bird to societal expectations of where I should be as a woman of a certain age, Tossing Out the Ticking Time Clock, and embracing my own unique path.

I also focused on my self, recognizing my own faults and weaknesses, and embracing my new strengths, while acknowledging the me-ness that I sometimes allow to get buried behind bitterness/reticence/resignation or tucked under the plastered on happy face for show. With a little help from surprise, surprise Shania Twain, I was reminded about Finding Your Voice Again.

And then finally, sweet romance did sneak up on me when and where I least expected it. We fell hard and fast. Since it is my love life, it couldn’t stay smooth sailing for too long. So I wound up the year with the realization that I wasn’t actually in a relationship. It looked like one, smelled like one and tasted like one, but apparently it wasn’t one. And after that was established, it acted even more like one…conveniently for the holiday vacation anyway.

So I’m not sure where that leaves me in 2012, except that I’m not looking to bring drama from 2011 into this year. I am a survivor of last year. I more than survived, I thrived and feel more alive than I have in a really long time, and I plan to only go up from here. Nothing and no one is allowed to take me down.

Missing The One, Marriage Odds and Other Lies We’re Told

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By now I’m sure most have you have heard about the movie, What’s Your Number? According to the trailers and reviews, it’s about a woman who believes she’s going to wind up alone for the rest of her life thanks to a magazine article that cautions anyone who has had 20 or more relationships: you might have missed out on an opportunity to find true love. Our star has, you’ve guessed it, been with 20 men (oh my!), so she ventures on a journey to see if any of her exes might have been “the one.”

While this is fiction, the scenario rings irritatingly true: there are numerous articles published in magazines every month that make blanket statements about people out in the dating world, which only serve to make them feel this great sense of urgency leading them to cling to bad relationships they’ll later regret or to chase after someone—anyone—else instead of finding him/herself first and waiting until the right fit comes along.

Admit it, you’ve heard some variation of this one: A woman over age 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than of getting married. In the movie The Holiday, that age was lowered to 35; on the television show Frasier, it was age 30! The original gem, by the way, was borrowed from both a formal (but later found-to-be flawed and unreliable) study about university-educated women in the mid-‘80s—and an article in Newsweek magazine.

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Add to that the science that tells us the fertility rate drops in our mid-30s, and the risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities to babies increases, many women of a certain age already feel enough pressure as they date beyond their 20s. One of my friends was so terrified by this, and understandably so due to family history, she rushed to start a family before her 32nd birthday even though she was in the process of getting a master’s to advance her teaching career.

Yes, she did graduate, but she never taught again. She and her husband still struggle financially and frequently have severe fights leading to genuine concerns about divorce. Sometimes I wondered what another year or two where she could teach and save more money might have done to add to the stability of their family, but hey, I respect that they had their reasons.

But I am taking a big detour, so let’s get back to What’s Your Number? The movie plays on the fear that women who sleep with too many men are, well, sluts and, as the astute Simone Grant sums it up, our main character becomes determined not to go over the number 20, thus “goes back through all her past lovers determined to recycle one of them.”

In the NY Post article Simone contributed to, Wrong Number: NY Women don’t worry about their sex lives going too far too fast, the cosmopolitan ladies scoff at the idea that real woman of today would worry about their number. The idea that people discuss the number of people with whom they slept with others seemed old-fashioned, and when asked by your partner, rude. I agree that things like this in general never come up outside the movie screen or chick-flick novels. But in reality, my life has held a few exceptions.

Four or five years ago, my boyfriend at the time, V-Man, and I were talking on the futon while half-watching TV. I’m not sure how or why we got into this discussion, maybe it was something somebody said on a show, but I laughed at the idea of the average woman having only three lovers when she gets married. The V-Man looked at me confused, saying something to the effect that I was like that average woman…wasn’t I?

I looked at him, asking him how many relationships I’d had before him. I said he knew it was more than three. So then he started questioning just how many others had I been with. I told him he didn’t really want to know.

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We did the dance. Is it more than 5? Is it less than 30? And so forth. I didn’t want to tell him because I knew his ideas about me would change, but he forced the issue. Finally, I gave him the number. He gave his, which were a few less than mine. I was younger and woman. He liked to say he was pickier.

I felt more awkward than he did at the time, but I still wonder if knowing changed how he thought of me in general. He liked to think of me as the near-virginal girl, who was a little bit naïve, sweet and old-fashioned at her core. Truthfully, knock out the near virginal, and he wasn’t half wrong about his impressions of me when it came to life in general.

While this conversation we had was within the first year of our long and winding relationship, sometimes I still wonder…

The topic came up again just a few days ago with a guy friend who I went on a few dates with earlier this year, but whom I realized fairly quickly wasn’t the one for me. We’ve stayed in touch, solely over the phone mostly because getting together in person never works out. Anyway, we were talking Saturday night during one of our marathon phone calls where we just cover the gamut of topics: job situations, childhood experiences, music and, of course, former relationships.

He started telling me that due to his strict Christian upbringing, he was a virgin until age 24. While he was shy and unsure of himself at first, he’d quickly made up for lost time in more recent years especially. Then the numbers question came up. Why? For no other reason than curiosity, I suppose.

In fact, I think he wanted me to guess his number first, but we agreed we’d share to be fair. “Is [the number] bigger than a bread basket?” I joked. Anyway, we did the whole range guessing game first. We did the comparison—larger than a soccer team, but smaller than a whole football team? I realize how childish it sounds, but I think once our numbers were revealed, we both felt reassured.

I think it made us both feel like our exploration and appetites were normal. We were within the same number range. I was six years younger in age when I lost my virginity, but he is five years older than I am. We’ve both had our share of very serious relationships, including the one that shocked us when it ended, and we’d both floundered our way past pain and confusion, having fun along the way, while trying to find love again. We both followed our hearts, even if it meant putting it all out there to possibly get hurt again.

While I don’t think I’d ever tell any of my girlfriends my number, I think telling someone felt freeing. See, that wasn’t so bad. I’m not a freak. I’m just a single older girl in the modern world. And wherever my number ends, with whomever it ends, I will still love myself in the morning. And I think in some way subconsciously or otherwise, my partner/husband will be grateful for the time and experience it has taken me to find him.

Becoming Unstuck

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my memories. They are frequently comforting, or at least familiar. There are no surprises—they have already happened. Though it seems new insights can be (re) learned with each visit down memory lane.

It’s easy to get stuck in the past. You don’t have to worry how new people will perceive that person who is still slightly unfamiliar when you glance in the mirror. In the past, there is a shorthand. He already knows you. The real you. From before.
You don’t have to give your health history (again) to every potential boyfriend, in addition to the really cool things about yourself. Trying to exude that confidence, while secretly worrying that the health stuff is a scarlet letter, or alphabet really, branding you UNDATEABLE.

Or at least, it may seem as if the ones who still want to date you are the guys who normally wouldn’t be your first or second choice. They are really nice, but… Or they aren’t so nice. They might just be horny freaks who only care that they might get the chance to see you naked. As if.

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So I put my earbuds in and turn the iTouch up loud, listening to my lectures for school, getting excited about my potential future. Trying not to let fears about being good enough in a new career hold me back there as well. Watching other classmates zoom ahead of schedule, and wondering what’s keeping me from sprinting along with the rest of the pack.

But then a chance conversation leads to a friend spending an hour and half with me, treating me as if I really know what I am doing, like I know something useful, like I really can help her. She eagerly asks me when we can next meet to follow up on some of the things she wants to work some more on together. I don’t have the heart to tell her this isn’t how things are generally supposed to go because while I am helping her, she’s helping me. Giving me a dose of that rocket fuel that pushes me forward instead of keeping me stuck.

Src: beyondrice.com

Suddenly, my dating life is moving forward again as well. Tomorrow I have a date with a handsome nurse practitioner with a lot of energy, great attitude and a seemingly good heart. We have a lot in common, we agree. But I dread the conversation where I have to fill in the blanks with this triathlon athlete who runs daily, kayaks and does all the great things outdoors my old body would jump up to do in a heartbeat.

Surprisingly, the Jock With a Heart brings it up first to find out what we should we do on our date. “I don’t want you to have to talk about it if you’re not comfortable,” he says. “I just want to know what you can do, so I can plan our date.”

So, I hesitantly share some details. He sounds curious, jokes that he’ll look it up tonight and have a cure for me by tomorrow. I ask if I’m scared him off yet. He says not at all, adding that if I am going to go hiking with anyone, he’d be the best person to be with if anything went wrong.

He was reluctant to get off the phone. I’m trying not to let me insecurities ruin this before we even meet. Obviously he sees something in me he likes enough to go on his first date in a long time. So I will remember my awesome me-ness and just be my self.

Src: jweekly.com

The next day a teacher from Albany is driving down to spend the day with me. We’ve been talking for several weeks and are building a nice friendship. He’s very passionate about education, community activism, and bringing people together. He previously formed a kibbutz in Israel for two years, and he’s been running a non-profit in Uganda, and he’s starting a school in upstate New York.

Albany Activist is extremely intelligent, a great conversationalist, has great compassion and empathy—and he has great taste in music and seems to enjoy every aspect of getting to know me, even why certain books or albums are my favorites. Sounds wonderful, right?

It is. And he is. Though he comes with some complications of his own that may or may not be of concern. And while I wouldn’t say I have a type—Jock With a Heart, for instance, doesn’t really look like any other guy I’ve liked—I would still say Albany Activist’s look isn’t usually what I tend to be attracted to. But he looks like a lot of fun and very kind. Everything he’s said over the last few weeks reveal a great guy, and I’m really looking forward to spending time with him too.

So life is moving forward, just as it should. And I am looking to the future, while learning to enjoy the present. The past? Been there, done that. Thanks for the memories, but it’s time to start making some new ones.