It Sounds Like Joy

Ever notice how we human beings have ways of marking the passage of time? Sure, we have our calendars, our reminders, our clocks and gizmos. I’m talking about the not-so-obvious ways of marking time. The ways that mark time in subtle ways that leave you realizing after the fact how time has passed rather than noting it up front.

I am not a winter person. I like cool weather but I’m really a sunny, summer person. I mark my years mostly by noting the passage of the seasons. The months from January to the end of March are dreadful for me. In the region where I live winters are relatively mild, but temperatures can vary from a balmy 60 degrees one day to snowing and freezing levels the next. I find this pretty tough on my system. I’m always glad when Daylight Saving Time arrives. Even though I lose an hour, I can see that summer is on the way, and with it, some more consistent temperatures. Continue reading

Romance Is A Game Best Played On A Level Playing Field–Act 3

Curtains rise on The Wild Mind staring pensively off in stage left direction.  Lights up. The Wild Mind wakes herself from her reverie, takes a sip from the mug, put it down absent mindedly and resumes typing at her computer.

ghost-picWho can even fight fair against a ghost? I had no chance to start with.

This brings up another key point that I wish I’d known all along:

The Beau started up contact with the Old Flame at the same time or shortly before he invited me to Christmas Eve dinner. I had no chance from the beginning, because as long as she was even a remote figment in his imagination, I could have been perfect and it wouldn’t have mattered. The living cannot compete against ghosts who still live and carry even the smallest hope of reincarnating themselves.

In a word, The Beau, was not emotionally available. Not really.

I suspected it but I did not know this.  He liked me a lot.  Had she not even been a possibility, I dare say we may have had a chance at a really, really good thing. But it could not ever be, because ghosts are powerful and will not be denied. 

It just was not meant to be between The Beau and I. I’m okay with this. I told him so.  I know there is someone out there for me somewhere.  (I’m skeptical, at this point, about my ever finding him, but that’s okay too.)

The Beau wants to remain “friends”. He said he’d hoped he could be that friend that I call first to tell him I’ve finally met Mr. Right.  While I don’t want to burn bridges unnecessarily, but I never wanted The Beau to play that role in my life. (Sorry, but that will probably be Semi-Professional Photographer Friend and not you, Beau. I already have friends like that in my life. That was not what I was looking for or what I needed when I started dating you. If it had been, you’d have been contacting me on Facebook the first time not on an online dating site.)

I told him that while I’m usually able to do be friends with people I date, I don’t think I can do that here. At least, not right away. He understands this to mean that I am sad, hurt and heartbroken that he’s choosing her over me. It really isn’t so much that at all. It was that this relationship, more than any other to date, for me, had all the signs of being completely viable and lasting…except that he just wasn’t that into me…in the most important way.

And, I so don’t want to be with someone who is into me,kinda, but just not enough.  I want him to be crazy about me or it’s not going to go very far even if I’m crazy about him. 

I also don’t want to be competing against unburied ghosts from the past.  It is not how I’m going to roll.

My disappointment comes from knowing I was right early on and not trusting myself earlier and just moving ahead with my heart. Instead, I kind of dabbled and played the “Well…Maybe….What if?….” game.

My sadness (if there really is any) comes from thus far in my entire life, not having one man who would really go to the wall for me in spite of me going to the wall repeatedly for them. thinkingTwo marriages which existed mostly because I made excuses for the men and held the marriages together at my own personal health and financial peril are enough. The dating scene has been no better. I’ve mostly met men who should not even be dating because they are a.) married and lying about it (read, The I. J.), b.) separated and working on it (read, still not available emotionally or legally no matter what he thinks or says) or c.) still in love with a past relationship that didn’t, won’t, or can’t work out (read The Beau and several current prospective suitors who are making bids for my time and attention but who haven’t quite thrown the dirt over the grave of their past loves).  The graveyard of past loves is not a safe place to go exploring for Mr. Right. 

This is all very confusing, because there is no way you know this going in to a relationship except by being very careful and paying very close attention (something I’m getting much better at doing), and there is no way you can possibly compete with the past or connect fully with the unavailable heart, while you’re there.  When you get out, you regret the whole bloody thing because the playing field was never level from the get go and it was just a big waste of time, except to confirm to you what you already knew about love, life and dating anyway. Who needs to experience all that just to find out you were right all along? I’d rather paint ceilings with rollers.

While I am disappointed (not distraught) on one one level that ” it “didn’t work out with The Beau and I, I really enjoyed our times together and I learned a lot.  It’s always nice to be in a relationship or to be thinking you might be heading that way.  On another level, I can do so much better than to spend my time wondering where I stand all the time.  I go back to my very opening point in these series of posts: When a man is into a woman, no one has any doubts about it, least of all the woman or man involved.  Am I making myself clear here.  I hope I remember that point.

The Beau, was courageous in talking to me about where he stood. I admire that. I gave him an out. He could have taken the chicken’s way out and responded to my text with, “Yeah, I’m not going to be able to make it. I’m wiped out.” Given the FB communiques it would have delivered the same message. He chose not to do that and instead delivered the message the tough way: face to face. I just wish it wasn’t in my living room, but okay. Live and learn. Next time, when I anticipate that news, I will suggest we go out, better yet, I’ll try to force a phone conversation.

Cue happy musical score as curtains fall.  The Wild Mind leans back in her chair and smiles.

To be concluded in the next post…

Do Tell…What Are We Seeking?

So, all of us are out here looking for something.  What is it we are looking for exactly?  Freedom, independence,relationship?  What? 

What defines a successful, fulfilling life?

Is it different for everyone or are there some common threads that we all agree on that cross race, socioeconomic level, culture and gender?

What really is the most important thing you are seeking?

What is it that you hope to obtain or accomplish during your life that if you do not accomplish or achieve it you will feel that you epically failed?

For me, a soul mate to fight over the last drops of Geritol and the comfiest rocker on the front porch would be a bonus.

Hmmm?  What is it for you? Do tell.  🙂

Sanity, Syndromes, Phenomenons…Conclusions

I’ve gone on and on, ad nauseum, about what I call “The Going Silent” phenomenon.  Just as a refresher, I do not consider it going silent when you’ve emailed a couple of times, maybe met once, or had a phone call or two and then silence.  I call that phenomenon, The Never Getting The Thing Off The Ground Phenomenon.  The Going Silent Phenomenon is the thing that occurs after a relationship is airborn and some emotional intimacy, probably even some physical intimacy has developed and suddenly one or the other of the two people draw way, way back or they disappear altogether.  I still believe and will always believe that The Going Silent Phenomenon is simply cowardice.  Somebody got in too far and couldn’t get out courageously or without looking like a complete shit,  so they just disappeared. 

 There is a less severe form of this same phenomenon in existence though.  It’s called the You’re-The-Best-Thing-I’ve-Got-Going-Right-Now-But-If- Something-Better-Comes-Along-I’m-Outta-Here Syndrome .  Another equally disconcerting malaise is the “I’m Just Not Sure How I Feel About You” quandary.  In each unappealing dating situation one partner is more vested than the other and is unable to see clearly the writing on the wall of the relational dynamics.  I’ve been there.  I know deep down when I’m dealing with just such a situation.  I’ve never been inaccurate when I suspected one of these situations existed.  I just didn’t always like being honest with myself about it.  Now, I know that both these situations occur with men and women, but since I’m female I want to address this situation from the perspective of the female being more vested than the male or when the guy goes silent or keeps her at arm’s distance. Again, I recognize it happens both ways, but for the ease of me sorting things out for me, I am going to address it from my particular point of view.

Here are some conclusions that I’ve arrived at after recent  life events, dating experiences and being the victim (and, yes, sometimes the perpetrator)  of several of these Phenomenons and Syndromes.

Conclusion 1:  I do ultimately hope to be part of a rewarding, enriching, fulfilling and vital intimate relationship with someone of the opposite sex in spite of my quickly advancing years on this earth.  (Okay, the aging thing was said tongue in cheek).

Conclusion 2: If this does not happen for me, I will, feel like I’ve missed out on one of life’s greatest joys and adventures.

Conclusion 3:  If this does not happen for me, I will still have a great, fulfilling, rewarding and exciting life because I will still have many of the adventures I hope to have and meet many of the people I still haven’t met yet that I will ultimately come to know and love as dear friends, colleagues, children-in-law, and grandchildren. 

Conclusion 4:  I’m not going to waste time in situations when I know they are not moving  me closer to my relational goals.  In other words, I’m no longer willing to just pass time in an okay relationship when I know it isn’t going to be the relationship.  I didn’t really do this before, but I’m writing it here to remind myself to stay on that track and never veer from it.

Conclusion 5:  He’s just absolutely got to be crazy about me and I need to know it.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time or energy on the “I’m Not Sure” thing or the “Stay Out Here At Arm’s Distance” thing.

Conclusion 6: Going Silent or Cutting The Engines when the relational jet is airborne is a non-negotiable dealbreaker for me.

Conclusion 7:  I can’t even believe I have to say this,  but I’ve modified my stance on “They’re okay to date if the divorce is filed but not yet final”.  I’ve concluded, after more hard knocks and disappointments in this area than I care to admit, that I won’t date anyone who doesn’t have a signed judgement.  It’s just the emotional equivalent of treading water incessantly.  Too exhausting for me and I have nothing left over for the people in my life who really are available and who do desire my companionship and friendship and love.

So, what brought all that on?  Well, nothing really.  Things are pretty up for me now and life is busy, hectic, demanding like it usually is.  Things are really looking better and better for me here in post-divorce world.  I know I’m not going under and while life isn’t perfect, it continues to improve daily for me.  I’m happy and content.  Sometimes I feel down and blue and miserable and tired, but that doesn’t mean life still isn’t very, very good.  It’s just that I’ve been kind of rolling this stuff over and over in my mind for the last year and thought I’d put it out there more as a means of clarifying my own position to myself.  (Things tend to get muddy and murky in the heat of the battle otherwise.)

There are times, though, when some distantly related thought comes blistering into your conscious because of some benign comment or statement someone makes and instantaneously the unrelated connects you to something else and something else again and the entire thing (whatever that “thing” is) crystallizes for you.  That happened to me today.  Nothing big or earth shattering or anything.  It was just a funny little comment, meant mostly tongue-in-cheek probably, but it had that crystallizing effect on me.  The comment was made on my other blog in response to my post Time To Buck Up.  Sanityinthenorthwest was actually the inspiration for that post and his comment became the crystallizing force for this post. 

So, here’s what  Sanity sanely said:

I will stick by my comment that men will jump through many hoops just to get hugs and kisses at the end of the day. I am sticking by it because I see men jumping through hoops every day just to get some hottie to adore them. If the guys you are hanging around aren’t doing that for you, toss them to the curb.

That’s the third time in the last month a man has given me that advice.  Something in my gut resonates with his statements about men jumping through hoops.  In looking back at my own conclusions and convictions, I have to admit, on this one, I think Sanity is spot on. 

And that brings me to Conclusion 8:  I am going to follow Sanity’s advice.

The Friendship Files Are Born

The Friendship Files began with my story about Sleepovers and Regifting.  The humorous anecdote told to me by a friend, made its way onto my blog with full prior approval by those I was writing about.  The friends I  wrote about loved the retelling and asked for more.  The friends who read the story were entertained, amused, and inspired. Then came the Friends Who Pull Off A Great Bash,  Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows, and Mexico Friend and Husband.  I currently have Mr. Christmas Eve Party, Colorado, Single Girl, Gamblin’ Betty, Aspiring Writer Friend Back East (AWFBE), Semi-Professional Photographer Friend (SPPF) and others waiting for me to tell the story that reveals the way they’ve impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me by simply being my friends. Sometimes they’ve simply done nothing more than make me laugh at times when I thought I might sink into the quagmire of despair.  They rescued me, each and every one of them by just being them and by loving me in their own peculiar ways. I am beginning to have people line up to tell me their story and have me write it.  I love this!  Each story tells me something more about the way life is, we are, family can be.  Stay tuned.  There are so many ways my friends enrich my life and make me a far better person than I would be otherwise. 

There are also those friends who stopped in at a point in my  life when I needed whatever they had to offer, or maybe they needed what I had to give, but they didn’t stay long.  They all taught me something because I was willing to pay attention. This is what my friends and aquaintances do for me.  They move me toward being the best possible me I can be.  If you are blessed, your friends do this for you as well.  I only hope I am the kind of friend that returns the favor in this regard. Maybe in these vignettes that I’ve written and will be writing you’ve found something of life, of love, of hope, of the human condition we all partake in that resonates with you.  If so, I hope you’ll comment.  If not, I hope you’ll comment.  No matter what, I do hope that The Friendship Files bring you hope, encouragement, inspiration, laughter, and when needed that clear realization and assessment that only you can make for yourself when you realize you’ve bumped into an area of your life that you need to take control of and master so that it doesn’t master you anymore. 

May “Further Tales From The Friendship Files” encourage you and help you find the strength and determination that you need when you need it most, the humor to help you laugh at yourself and the desire to seek to be the very best you possible…after all…that’s what you were born for.   

P.S.  Mr. Christmas Eve Party don’t despair. Even though I haven’t written your story yet …your graciousness in inviting me in to your family’s inner circle at a time when I was most lonely meant so very much to me.  May your kind multiply and fill this earth rapidly.

I Have That Sinking Feeling He’s Going Silent

There it is again.  That sinking feeling that he isn’t going to call.  He is just going to “go silent”.  Not a good-bye.  No explanation, if one could even be given after just four dates.  Nothing.  Silence.  Thud.

The worst part is that I thought we were really clicking.  I mean, he had to drive two hours each day to see me. And, he did it without me suggesting it.  In fact, I worked hard to discourage it knowing it was quite a drive in addition to putting in a full day of work.  When we were together the time seemed to just fly by and those are his words not mine.  Then, the night before I had to leave town since the conference I was attending ended the next day, we said our good-byes.  Okay, I’m not going into detail as to how we said them, but, suffice it to say, that there was nothing in the parting that indicated he would not be continuing to pursue knowing me as much after meeting as he had the entire six weeks before.  But, I returned home and no call, unusual in itself since he was hammering me with emails and IMs before we met.  I zipped him a nice friendly email, thanking him for taking time out of his schedule to spend with me, letting him know once again how much fun I had.  It was short, sweet and nice, but no response.  Nothing. Silence. Thud. 

That sinking, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes from feeling fooled by my emotions or by another human being.  I’ve met quite a few folks over the last year.  I generally know what I want or what I’m looking for (as if dating were like going to the grocery store and I’ll just find any number of them sitting on the shelves or in a display case).  I really know more of the kinds of things, perspectives, attitudes, behaviors, lifestyle choices, habits that won’t work for me in a long term relationship. I also know more of what will.  This person, without a doubt, moved over into the “definitely has potential” category. I began to let my mind think, “maybe” and “I wonder” and “hmmmm, what if?”  and then, he went silent. 

There is that sickening, thick, heavy, flat, painful feeling that comes from not understanding what went wrong or why. No email, nothing, not a phone call even.  Certainly not the instant response I’d been getting over the last six weeks that indicated he was checking emails and my blog regularly to hear from me or read the latest post. There was a text every morning before I went to work and connection, in some form, four or five times a day.  It was the textbook “when a man loves a woman there is no doubt” scenario. Then he went silent. 

It was a definite and noticeable change in temperature, but I saw none of it coming while I was with him. Silence. Then, a couple of days later, I get an email from him.  Short, to the point, impersonal, but also nothing about the status of things between us from his perspective either.  He simply said he is going out of town to visit his adult kids out of state and will be gone for four days.  No further noise from him since. Silence, Thud. 

Unusually silent on his part.  And…for the fourth time since May…I have that sinking feeling that things will not be working out or moving forward…and I have no idea why.  None. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if there was no real interest on my part, or if there hadn’t been some considerable time getting to know the person and, here’s the biggie, if I hadn’t let my heart start opening up to the possibility that this might have the potential to be something interesting.  I find the entire process, exhausting and not a little painful.  It is mostly annoying.   On one level, if I must be honest, it just flat angers me.  A six week, two month, three month relationship where the man spent all that energy and time making himself a very real and present force in my life only to go silent without a good-bye is appalling to me.  It floors me.  But then I am a woman, and I don’t understand how really handsome, together, intelligent men can deal straight up on a Wall Street Business deal and hide when it comes to love.  Going silent is like telling me that whatever we had did not exist.  It invalidates the time we spent together, and it marginalizes me.  You see, when I give someone the greatest gift I can give…which is my time…the very essence my life and his is made of…it is dehumanizing when I don’t even receive the courtesy of a good-bye. 

I know mentally, this is just the way it is.  In each of these situations I’ve experienced this year,  nothing was really invested (except my freaking heart…but no big deal there right?).  All the relationships were in their infancy stages so, best to bail early rather than not bail and wait.  And…in all these cases…no one was obligated either way.  But that’s not the point.  It still feels bad.  It feels worse than rejection, even though I know mentally it isn’t at all about me, but more about decisions he’s making.  I mean, when I have to make the same choice to discontinue contact with someone, it isn’t so much about that person being a failure in Dating World or Life as it is just me recognizing that I simply for whatever reason cannot move forward with this person.  Since I know it, I need to act on it.  I’m certain these men all felt the same way too.  They saw something, felt something, knew they couldn’t go forward and had to act on it. It’s about them making right choices for them.  It’s not really about me. But it still feels bad and it feels especially bad when they don’t say anything, if even by email, and, instead I am kept wondering, wondering, wondering…what happended.  It is dehumanizing, demoralizing and discouraging. 

In the silence, wondering what happened, experiencing that sinking feeling, until one day, several days later or maybe a week (but I’ve become good enough at recognizing the trend the minute the first text message is missed), it becomes clear that they have not contacted me, and they will not ever again contact me.  Thud.  They are simply just not that into me…worse…I wasn’t even important enough to earn an explanation, email or otherwise. Sigh.  Sick Feeling in the stomach. Regretting what is now, all the wasted time and time is the very essence my life is made of.  Moving on. Taking a deep breath and moving on. 

Doesn’t anybody out here in adult dating world over 40 have a conversation any more?  What is so wrong with saying kindly to someone that you don’t think you’re going to be able to continue things further and releasing them from the possibility that they spend the next day, or two or  week or so of their life wondering what happened or if it even really did happen?  I mean, don’t kid yourself, we’re all really good at making excuses and giving others an out. Women are especially good at making excuses for men and their poor behavior.  He could be really busy, he’s catching up for time missed at work, he’s blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  And this is how days are emotionally wasted when one could be spending the time mentally, emotionally moving on.  The reality is….there is something to that book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”.  Men know how to use the phone, they know how to express that they care, they are not timid, they will contact a woman if they are interested enough in her.  If they don’t…they aren’t.  If he doesn’t where I’m concerned…he isn’t…and I simply don’t have time to waste wondering or worrying about that…and the fact that he didn’t even say good-bye says more about his character than it does about my foolishness for actually taking a risk and momentarily believing in the cad.

So I’m thinking, that in every instance, where I’ve experienced this sinking feeling, I’ve been 100% correct.  I’m not going to sit around (like that was happening anyway) even one second more and wonder.  As far as I’m concerned all I know is what I’m experiencing right now.  What I’m experiencing right now has cast enough doubt in my mind as to make my decision clear.  I don’t want to be stumbling around wondering what’s up ever again.  I spent far too much of my last marriage dealing with the silent treatment, and this propensity in an individual, where I’m concerned, lands them squarely in the “won’t work for me” category. 

Let the silence continue.  I’ve got life to do and I’m not waiting around for the silence to end before I do it.

Cowardice Revised

So, as an addendum to my last post about breaking up via email or IM being a cowardly thing to do, I have come across a perspective I never considered till now.  This perspective presented itself in the form of the opinion of a friend who is of the opposite sex and who is also not afraid to disagree with me on occasion.  He doesn’t always disagree with me and he doesn’t feel he has to disagree just to demonstrate his personhood.  I guess what I’m trying to say is he is simply okay with putting himself out there and he is really okay with whatever he gets back from me even if it isn’t a perfectly synonomous perspective.

After reading my post, he commented, “Hmmm, if a woman doesn’t want to date me I’m not sure I want to spend an hour with her while she goes into all the details of why it isn’t working for her.  I just want to know so I can be done with it.”  He then admitted that his perspective is probably due to the differences between men and women.  I think I probably agree.  I also think that there are degrees of relationship.  If the two people were building something and feelings were starting to grow and develop, it is always a decent thing, I believe to deliver the news as directly as possible. It communicates respect for the person and their humanity.  However, in looking at the same picture through my friend’s lense, I’d have to say, in brutal honesty with myself that I really don’t want to take the time out of my life to have a guy dump on me.  Because, as the single mom of four kids, it would require some scheduling and in the process more emotional energy is expended.  It isn’t energy I mind giving up if I feel that investment in the relationship is a shared feeling.  If it is not, please save me the hassle and let me know and, please, do it sooner rather than later.  I still feel that simply going silent, while it does get the message across, is the biggest form of cowardice there is, especially if you shared any kind of intimacy with the other person.  I am, however, probably willing to relax my perspective and redefine cowardice where the email and IM is concerned, unless, it has been a relationship of significant length or, again, depth.

It’d be nice to hear what others think on the topic.  What is the best way to say good-bye when dating someone?   Again, no judging here on my part.  I don’t want to pick any fights, I simply want to get a feel for what the masses think and why they think it.  I guarantee it will educate this Wild Mind, and maybe help some others as well. Don’t be shy!

Cowardice

I don’t have a clue why people do this.  I would say “men” since I am female and date only men, my experience is only with men, however, I’m certain the scenario occurs for men as well.  The scenario? 

Stupid jerk man dumps woman via email or Instant Messenger.  Chickenshi- is what I call that.  This has happened to me three times in the last ten months.  Well, actually only two, the third situation was an anomaly where the person started emailing me hate mail and asking for booty calls all in the same emails.  I figured he was wacko and just told him, in a really nice way, that I thought we should both move on.  Since it had been two months since he last contacted me, I didn’t figure there was much of a relationship built up.  I’d have easily met in person with him to say the same thing, but my safety became a real concern so I opted out.  That, however, is not my first choice of methods for telling someone I don’t think the “chemistry” is there.  But, truly, given the amount of dating I’ve done and the number of quality relationships I’ve developed, the odds of success are still highly in my favor.  So, why do these two incidences bother me?  Before I answer that question let me give you some background.

First scenario occurred shortly during/after I was divorced.  Probably at my most vulnerable, I was willing and open to most people who attracted me, could speak in complete sentences and appeared fairly decent.  Key word being, “appeared”.  What I’ve learned in the last year of online dating has been the discouraging realization that while men are older, and by that fact should qualify as “adult”, few of them really operate beyond a juvenile high school mentality and hiding behind the digital screen only makes it easier for them to ditch the responsibility of being a decent, honest, respectful human being. My Cinderella expectations at work:  I’d hoped there’d be someone out there who could deal honestly and respectfully with me…face to face.  So far, that has not been the case.  But, I am way off the beaten path here.  First scenario was cute guy, lots in common, six weeks of dating which revealed cute guy was still wrapped up in ex-wife and completely emotionally unavailable and one day out of the blue I receive a Dear Jane email.  If I was halfway across the world fighting in a war, I’d appreciate the honesty, in email form.  Considering the guy lived only a few miles from me, I didn’t think it so considerate.  He could have, at least, been respectful enough to set up a time to go get coffee, or go for a walk and tell me what he was thinking.  In the end, the most disappointing thing about that scenario is that my image of this person as a responsible, mature, respectful individual shattered in that moment.  Even if he wanted to go back and rework things, there was simply no way I could respect a man who thought so little of another person’s being that they couldn’t even talk about a subject like that in person or, at bare minimum, on the phone.  After the shock, surprise, and, yes, relief (that I found out about this character flaw now rather than later) I figured that I ended up the lucky one in that venture and moved on.  But it was still a bit of a painful process to endure.  He was a coward, and it was to my gain to be rid of that earlier rather than later, because cowardice is not something I tolerate well. 

Scenario number two happened recently and really is almost irrelevant in the blip of things. This was a person who contacted me and we met before scenario number one happened, but immediately after that meeting he told me he met someone else.  Yes, this was by email, but since I’d only met him once and had a couple of drinks, I figured it was no big deal and he was doing the right thing to let me know as early as possible.  Hmmm, but if he was seeing someone else, then why did he go out for drinks with me?  Yeah, that question came back to haunt me on occasion later.  Six months later, he contacts me, we go out for dinner, drinks and it was fun, several dates and phone conversations later he goes silent.  No contact, no calls, no explanation.  Now, after telling me he was crazy about me the last time he saw me, that was a bit of a disconnect for me.  Nearly two weeks later of no contact, I buzz in on Instant Messenger and he cuts straight to the chase and gives me the “I think we should both move on” line.  Not like that was any big surprise, but he could have done the decent and courageous thing and invited me out for a walk and talked about it.  He didn’t, however, and suddenly to my surprise, what  started out as a fairly harmless chat turned into a the shocking Dear Jane thing that I hate.  The surprising part about this is he was an accomplished business  person in the community, older than my by 15 years (that placed him at 61) and still didn’t have the guts to have an adult conversation to discuss and clarify where we both were with whatever it was that we had going on.  I was very disappointed.  Not that he was “ending” whatever, but that he was demonstrating his cowardly character so blatantly.  I’d pegged him as a mature and responsible straightforward individual.  Hah!  Boy was I wrong and that is where the disapppointment comes in.

It isn’t that he’s saying what we have doesn’t work for him.  It wasn’t working for me and I’d made at least two attempts to get together with him with the hope that we could talk openly about it as adults are supposedly rumored to be able to do.  He bailed each time.  I knew he wasn’t fully invested.  I would have to be an absolute moron not to pick that up.  But I still wanted to give him the benefit of having an opportunity to talk about it and remain “friends”.  He chose to play chicken and notified me by email. This really says more about who he is than it does about me.  

For starters, what woman wants to entrust her heart to a man who cannot step up to the plate and do the right thing, the courageous thing, even when it is uncomfortable and potentially painful to do? Not me, and not a lot of us out there.  Men like that simply make it harder for the decent guys to get heard. 

Which…means…the decent guys have to work all the harder to really be seen as decent. It becomes an issue of failed trust in the past and the future.  Dealing honestly, directly, respectfully and kindly with the person you are dating is always a good thing.  Asking where someone is at with the situation, checking in and then respectfully sharing where you are might be painful for both of you but in the end, if you address it face to face or (if you live at a distance) by phone, it communicates a level of respect for the other individual.  Email or IM, when the other options are available simply translate as cowardice and disrespect.  I suspect I’m not alone in feeling this way.  In the end, it isn’t what is said, but how it is delievered that leaves the lasting impression. 

So, to prove my point, let me share the example of the very best and most courageous “breakup” or “its not working for me” message I ever received.  This was not a person I was dating but one whom I was in deep “like” with.  I was not in a place where I could pursue any kind of romantic relationship with anyone but had I been able to he would have been top of my list. We worked together but never got involved personally beyond the friendship stage and a time came about six months into our friendship where he felt he needed to put all his cards on the table.  He called me on the phone, since he lives several million hours away meeting in person was not possible, but I’m convinced he would have done the face to face thing if he could have.  Instead, he called me up and diplomatically, sensitively as he knew how and honestly straightened things out.  My admiration for this man went up a million-fold.  Because of how he chose to address what could have been a pretty sticky conversation, my admiration for him increased instead of decreasing.  I have now known this man for two years.  I’m certain that the best thing for both of us is to remain friends.  But I know this, he’d have my back in a pinch and I’d have his.  And, really, that’s the difference. 

We could have had a sticky awkward situation, but he handled it in an adult fashion and we still remain friends to this day.  The saddest thing about those other scenarios of mine is that none of us were able to behave in a way that translated to ongoing respect and future friendship.  Some people don’t care about that, but to me, it is our relationships that enrich our lives.  Even if we date someone a few times and find out it just isn’t going to work long term, isn’t there some redeeming quality in the other person that would make you value them as a friend?  I mean, why would you date otherwise? If you can’t first be friends then why on earth would you consider being romantic, because a long term relationship requires a long term friendship. 

I guess, in the end, courage requires one to behave as an adult and do the respectful, decent thing even if it is scary to do.