I know what you want to say: It took you this long to realize that, Austin???
Good one. All joking aside, though, I was giving it some thought this morning during my run, and I came to the conclusion that I needed to blog about it, as that is much cheaper than therapy.
Then something else happened.
A friend was texting earlier, and I suggested bringing someone to Thanksgiving dinner, which prompted her to ask: Is that really a good first date?
I replied, quite honestly, that I don’t remember what a good first date is.
I’m pretty sure I know the source of my problem.
Ooo, ooo, I know the answer to that one! The problem is you, Austin!
Well, clearly it’s me, but I believe I’ve found the true root of the issue. I might be looking for something that simply doesn’t exist.
Here’s the thing…whenever I meet someone new who intrigues me, I get all excited about the getting to know her process. I love the texting, emailing, flirting, laughing, and making plans to get together for that first date.
Up to that point, I’m giddy, hopeful, and my inner hopeless romantic does a little happy dance to the beat of a heart that’s pumping a little faster because of all the excitement.
Then we meet, and it all goes horribly wrong.
And it’s very rarely because of something bad that happens on the date (although that one time comes to mind when my date removed the ice cube from her empty glass, and began to wipe down the table with it without giving any explanation for her actions).
There’s this feeling I used to get whenever I was around The Girl Who Moved Away. Even before we started dating, I’d feel it whenever she came into the room, or I heard her voice, or she sent an email.
I can remember the very first time I ever saw her. I was a temp at a new job, sorting mail at the front desk. It was mindless work, and I was bored out of my mind, and considering asking the temp agency for a new gig when she came through the front door.
She wore a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants, no make up, and her hair was in a messy pony tail. She smiled at me, and walked into the office like she belonged there.
I didn’t know who she was, but for some reason, I needed to know. Immediately. I sought out someone and asked her who the smiling, extremely casually dressed woman was.
I was told she worked in the office, but was on vacation, which was why I hadn’t met her.
That happened eight years ago, but I can still see it all in my head as clearly as if it were happening right now for the first time. And my heart beats faster at the memory.
I don’t remember the exact first moment I met my ex-wife, or anyone else I’ve ever dated.
When I think back to my other relationships, be it the big time ones, or just the little ones, I never had that feeling I felt when I was around The Girl Who Moved Away.
So perhaps it’s unfair to every other woman I meet, to expect to have that feeling again, but this is where I get confused.
Was that the feeling of true love? If so, shouldn’t I want to find it again? Wouldn’t I be doing myself a disservice if I settled for anything less?
When I was married, I thought the feelings I had for J were true love. I’d never felt that way about another woman, so that was why I was certain she was my special someone.
After our divorce, I worried that I’d never feel about another woman the way I felt for J. And for the longest time, I didn’t. I clearly remember crying like a baby in the car on my way home from my first post-divorce date.
I’d felt nothing on that date. I just wanted J. And that was a few months after the divorce, so I can understand the longing for a feeling I’d known for 18 years.
But it is five years since The Girl moved away, and I’m still longing for that loving feeling.
And it’s not lost on me that this second relationship proved that I hadn’t known what true love felt like all those years during my mariage. So my mind is open to the possibility that there is someone out there who will make feel something different, better, deeper.
By the same token, however, I also realize that I might have had true love and allowed it to slip through my fingers. Perhaps that relationship was lightning in a bottle, my one in a million, the happiness I was so blessed to experience.
This is why I am so torn. Logic dictates that if I found true love, I can find it again, and should never give up my quest for the magic that is life changing.
But logic also nudges at me, and whispers that lightning rarely strikes twice. I should just find someone who makes me happy, and not look for a repeat of a love I ultimately lost.
Regardless of what the correct answer is, the constant internal debate makes dating very difficult. Part of me will never stop looking for that incredible feeling. Another part thinks it walked into my life in a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants eight years ago, and I should just stop trying to find that which I’ve already discovered.
Simply put, I’m lost.
Bring back that loving feeling because it’s gone, gone, gone…
Any advice, Modern Philosophers?