One month back on the dating scene and I’ve gone on three dates; well, I don’t know if you can call them dates. More accurately, I’ve had dinner with three men. The first was a friend who I thought I might have feelings for. The next, with a guy I met on the subway. And the third happened last night. I walked into a restaurant to have dinner with the man who I thought was going to be my date only to discover that he had a shiny, gold wedding band on his left hand. News to me.
I will save you the suspense and tell you how all of these dinners ended. Not well. The friend turned out to be emotionally unavailable. The guy from the subway, no chemistry. And the man from last night? Obviously married, so completely out of the question. I shall spare you the details of our conversation, but it started with, “Does your wife know you’re here?”
The men on the dating scene haven’t changed one bit during my six-month hiatus. It was silly that I expected they might have. In the past, I might have reacted to these experiences very differently. I might have entertained the idea of going on second dates with these guys (married man excluded). I might have excused what I saw as red flags. I might have tried to force chemistry where there was none. I might have let myself develop unrequited crushes, doodling his name in hearts in my journal. Or I might have let these dates dash my hopes for the future or make me feel unlovable or rejected. I might have thought of them as my own personal failures. I didn’t.
Instead, I felt successful.
Every time I stuck with my vision without getting mired down by the pressure to “succeed at love” or succumb to my existential loneliness, I felt my hope for the future gaining traction within me.
I excused myself from dinner with the married man, I had to get home to my reality television, and he to his wife and kids. I thanked him for the “interesting conversation” and stomped off through the icy streets in my snow boots. The snow banks had frozen over with blankets of ice and they were glistening, magical. The cold air was wet in my lungs. I breathed deeper. I was overcome with a sense of peace I hadn’t felt in months. How was that even possible after a month of dates gone terribly wrong? I knew for sure, I’d changed.