It's official: I'm done dating. Over. It.
Does this mean that I've given up on love? No. I'll always be a hopeless romantic, but I'm not going to go out of my way to be hurt anymore. I simply don't have the time for it.
You see, I was out of the dating loop until about a year and a half ago. During that time, I've met a widower who couldn't stop crying over his late wife (now is dating his "niece"...not biological but...whatever), a fraud who told me I didn't understand "dating rules" (because I was questioning his stories that didn't quite add up to reality), a millionaire who thought his money could excuse his asshole behavior and that I'd put up and shut up to be at his beck and call (um, yeah, that's not ever happening in my lifetime) and a really great guy via an online dating site who said how physical fitness is extremely important to him and simply stopped calling. (I'm not a size 0, but I'm not a Biggest Loser contestant either).
I'm worn out.
For each of these guys, I gave it my best shot. I brought my A-game. Maybe I don't understand dating in today's world because I am very confused.
When I say "let's meet up, hang out, play pool and listen to music", I seriously mean, "let's meet up, hang out, play pool and listen to music." There is no hidden agenda. The guy isn't going to end up roofied, stuffed in my trunk and married to me in Vegas the next day. I really don't have that kind of energy. Yet, from this social experiment in dating that I've done, I realize that men are always thinking about what women "really mean." Well, I don't play that way. I say what I mean, mean what I say, walk the talk, and whatever else means that I am authentic.
I love men. I do. I don't have any bitterness over my first marriage. I loved my late husband with an intensity to rival all great love stories. In my mind, he set the bar high.
But was it simply easier to date in my 20s than 40s?
In my 20s, men didn't seem to have as many hang ups as they do now that they are older and have been hurt. In my 20s, I was HOT...now I'm pretty with an average body type (size 10). In my 20s, when I asked a guy to hang out with my friends it wasn't seen as a prelude to marriage. We all hung out. All of the time. In my 20s, everyone was light hearted--at least the people I knew.
It wasn't superficial--it was simple. Easy.
Over 40, we've all lived a little. We have some mileage on us. Our hearts have been broken. Some of our ideals have been challenged if not dashed. We know sorrow. We have careers, kids, LIVES that are bigger than us and often complicated.
But, as an over 40 year old, I'm still open minded, light-hearted, loving, fun, adventurous and smart. Some things never change...but other things...superficial things...do.
Some of these men I've met are so heartbroken that the feeling is tangible when I'm next to them. They tell me that they don't want to date a few years only to be disappointed and have to start over again. And again. And again. I get what they're saying, but can't relate.
Perhaps, as a widow, I have a different perspective. I know that life offers no guarantees or promises. All we have is now. Happily ever after is built one day at a time.
That's why I don't play games. I don't have time to waste either...but I'm also not looking for a guarantee. I'm not a speed dater or a one night stand. I am a serial monogamist, but perhaps solo is the way for me until I meet a guy who's man enough to take me as I am, who believes in possibilities, who has been shaped by life but not broken by it and who knows how to laugh (is that an outdated notion...FUN?)
Shakespeare said, "expectation is the cornerstone of heartbreak". I agree with that. So many guys I meet see my photos (which DO look like me, they're not distorted somehow), know what I do for a living and have all these expectations of some mythical fantasy woman showing up. What they get is me. Just me. A 44 year old widowed mom of two teens who is often tired from juggling everything, who exercises once a day but doesn't obsess, who tells it like it is and simply wants a man to share my misadventures with from time to time. But I am no model...and neither are they...and I can't take it anymore. Don't get me wrong--I have a type. I believe in chemistry--am actually a big fan of it--but the superficial crap is too much for me to handle right now. So I'm done. Over. It. I'm taking a hiatus from the social experiment called "dating over 40."
This is Moxie Girl--as is--no pretense, no hidden agenda, far from perfect, often disheveled but always fun. Just me, content being solo for now.