In the aftermath of the affair, my self-esteem was pretty much gone. I didn’t feel like a beautiful, sexual, wonderful, vibrant female, but rather like an old dried up hag. The thought of dating again scared the heck out of me. There was no way I wanted to get hurt again. And I felt like no decent guy would ever want me. So I took 2 1/2 years off. I would like, and even got crushes on a couple of guys, but that was it.
I spent the time working on myself. I didn’t want to repeat my relationship patterns, though I wasn’t exactly sure what they were. I just knew that some things truly were missing from my marriage, for me and obviously for him. I own my part. (But I do not, in any way, take any ownership of his affair).
So time goes by. I am now living in Columbus, and a friend of mine who just started dating a guy, tells me that he has a friend who would be a great match for me. Would I be interested in meeting him? Why not? At this point, I had nothing to loose.
So they invited him to a restaurant by our homes, to meet for drinks. It was a snowy March night, and the place was packed. My friends and I had a couple of drinks, and then in walks Bill. Not my type of guy. Wasn’t really into him. We all hung out, and one of my girlfriends proceeded to get really drunk. We had to get her home. He took over and was incredibly kind. He got her into bed, and when she started crying, told her everything would be okay, once the most likely hangover worked its way through. Wow. Maybe I was wrong about him.
There were now 4 of us, and we went to a friends house. We laughed a lot, and had fun. Then he said he would walk me home. And as we were walking, he turned to kiss me. Whoa! Didn’t see that coming, but it was nice, and honestly, felt really good to be kissed. We kissed a bit more, and said good night. And then we started dating. Which was weird.
What is dating exactly? And how did I end up dating at 57? What did it all mean? I didn’t even know if I liked him. I don’t think I was that into him, but it was fun to be liked and to feel feminine again. We dated for 9 months, until he moved away. And I would say it ended a bit before that.
But I was grateful for him, and what the relationship brought me. It showed me that I am desirable and that sex can be fun. Sleeping with him the first time was scary, to say the least. After 36 years with the same partner, I had no idea what to expect or how my body would react. He was kind and gentle, and it was all good. This relationship did help me get some of my feminine energy back.
It also showed me some places that still needed some work. If he said he would call and he didn’t, I would get angry. I set up some boundaries with him, but often let them fall by the wayside. I had unspoken expectations. I would say one thing but really mean something else. With all the internal work I have done, I did recognize this stuff, but it would just overtake me, from habit. So much still to learn. But this was a really good place to start practicing being in a relationship.
And looking back, I saw how similar this relationship was to my marriage. My ex and I were good friends. A therapist once told me that we were more like roommates than intimate partners. We always partied well together and had a lot of fun, but that was about the depth of the relationship. Same with this relationship. And though the 2 men looked totally different in so many ways, they were very similar in others. Was this the kind of guy my energy was attracting? I knew I had more work to do, but needed to give it a break for a while.
A few months after that, I decided to play around with online dating. I started with the easiest, Tinder. Swiping left and right seemed fun. Shopping for a partner. I started talking to a couple of guys, and met one for dinner. He was good looking. We had a nice dinner and I found out that he lives in the country, and his dream is to travel the US in his jeep, hike all the 14,000 mountains and camp out, usually in his jeep. As he was telling me all this, my mind was working overtime. This way of life didn’t interest me at all. My ex loved to hike and camp. I enjoyed it, but am now ready to see the world, and stay in some comfortable accommodations. But none of that mattered. I played the part of interested woman. I said that sounded great. I didn’t know how to say no, not for me. Dinner ended, we said good-bye, he gave me a little kiss, and then I waited to hear from him. Nothing. So in a few days I texted, and he told me he wasn’t interested. I felt broken again. Here was another guy who didn’t want me. Which in looking back is so ridiculous, as we were totally mismatched.
But I kept on trying. I have friends who have found partners and spouses online, and they told me it is a numbers game, to just keep trying. I got on Plenty of Fish, which was another free site. Then I paid to get on Match.
In all, I went on 7 “meets”. One was so awful, and that must have been so obvious, that the server came to the table and told me “honey, yours is on me!” I heard a lot of stories about terrible ex-spouses, about how they cheated but it was because their wives didn’t understand them, about the horrors of having to pay alimony. Ugh. It was awful. One guy told me his wife put him on “secret double probation” for a year but his wife didn’t tell him. Another told me he is into group sex, and wondered if would I be interested. And one guy, bless his heart, kissed me and said “oh wow, I feel something”. When he asked if I did, I was honest and said “no”.
It just really wasn’t fun, and I felt like I was wasting my time. I know it works for a lot of people, but it just didn’t feel right to me. And it messed with my self-esteem. Even though I didn’t know these guys, or in many cases didn’t even find them the least bit interesting, I wanted them to like me. If I would email some random guy who looked good in a picture and wrote an interesting bio, and didn’t hear back, I would be a bit crushed. When the guys who I didn’t like didn’t want to see me again, I actually felt bad.
It was all a lesson in what I didn’t want. And was showing me who I want to be in a future relationship and what kind of relationship I want to have. I am grateful for the experience, but know that for me, if I am to meet someone, it will just happen. I just have to be patient and see what the Universe has in store for me.