06 October 2008

I know a little about love

Tonight, I want to talk about love. You might not think it to talk to me, hell, you might not think it even if you knew me well, but I miss being in love. For all my bitching about marriage and the utter and absolute failure that mine turned out to be, being in love is...wonderful.

And the fact of the matter is love isn't hard, relationships are. I am the first to admit that half of the problem in my marriage was me, but there seems to be something larger going on here. When it comes to love, my siblings and I suffer from poor mate selection. Three of us are divorced, the fourth getting divorced after having stayed together just for the kids. (Trust me. The kids would have been better off if those two had gotten away from each other years ago.) One brother married a mental ward nurse who stole psychotropic drugs from her patients. My sister married a philandering counterfeiter. I married a pot-smoking, chronically unemployed man whose life ambition seemed to be getting on disability/unemployment without cause. My other brother married what I can only term as the biggest bitch on Earth, and I mean that in a respectful way, because she really had an aptitude for it. Although I have spent hour upon hour reflecting on this matter, I still have no explanation for this universal failure in my family. My parents seemed to have an incredibly life-affirming, strong, healthy, meaningful, and loving relationship. I'd have given anything to have met a man like my father. My sister and I joke that our man-pickers are broken.

The problem with marrying poorly is that you don't rebound like you did from the girlfriend-boyfriend relationships. It took me a full two years post-divorce before I could even think about dating again. But in that down-time, I did a lot of soul-searching and I learned a lot about myself, my desires, my sexual triggers, what I find attractive and what I do not. I don't know if it was the severity of the breakup that caused the intense reflection. When someone tries to kill you, isn't that natural? In any event, I've come to understand my faults, identify my idiosyncrasies, and also to know my own strengths and how I can use them to benefit a relationship. I have worked to tone down the more distasteful parts of my personality. Dare I say that I almost think I might have something valuable to offer someone in a relationship? I think I've achieved some measure of emotional maturity.

At the same time, my tastes have changed. I don't need a bad boy. I know what I find desirable and attractive and for once I can honestly say that if I find him, I doubt he will try to kill me this time. So here I am at 45 thinking maybe, just maybe, I'm ready to try again. So I put on my suit and dared anyone to say something about the way I look in it and I'm ready to dive in.

Unfortunately, someone drained the dating pool.

While small-town America was as good a place as any for undergoing this transformation, it isn't a great place to crawl out of your chrysalis. I've got these boss new wings and no one to flash them in front of. I have isolated myself in the middle of nowhere, over-educated myself, developed some pretty strong opinions, learned to stand on my own two feet, and realized that I don't NEED a man for anything. While that may be very empowering for me, it doesn't exactly put me high on the dating list for the pool of single 30- to 53-year olds in Poontwang, USA.

I'm reminded of those empty-nesters who say that now that they've learned all the lessons and gotten the kids out of the house, they finally feel prepared to raise a child. All that wealth of knowledge just...what? Wasted?

I try to be patient. I try to get out there, wherever there is. I've done the online dating thing. I've been willing to go on blind dates or be set up by friends. I seldom pass up an opportunity to meet new people, to mingle, to try. Nothing has been terribly successful. In the past 8 years, I haven't met one man truly interested in a serious, meaningful relationship. I've met an awfully lot of overgrown boys interested in recreating scenes from their favorite pornos. And ya know, I'm better than that. I just think that there is more to life than random sex or sex-buddies. I don't understand them....the players. They are just satisfied with the nothingness of meaningless sex. They don't even seem to be interested in love. I'm just left with the feeling that I could have done a better job myself, and I wouldn't have had to change the sheets. Love is such a wonderful feeling. Sometimes I wonder if I was ever in love at all. After a while, you being to doubt things.

There was a man once that I am sure I loved. I was young. He was forbidden. It was over really before it even started. It will be the greatest regret of my life if that small taste was all I ever get.

And if you wonder what prompted this, I'll tell ya. Take a look at this. I know at first it might not make sense, but it is relevant. He makes a statement about mid-way through this. Right about the point that he starts to get serious. He says, "I am an expert on my own story."

It's an excellent point. We are all experts on our own story. A little self-analysis, a little introspection, even if we don't find the ultimate answer, is seldom a bad thing. If it weren't for self-introspection, I'd still be drunk dialing old boyfriends. And usually our behavior and our outlook are more important than our achievements and whatever glory and reward we seek. Whatever I have learned about love....whatever I have learned about being a good person in this world....I have learned from examining my own story and making sure it was leading down the road I wanted. Making adjustments, constant vigilance. And we don't have to be embarrassed about sharing these things. Craig Ferguson can do it on national television. I can do it in a blog. I had a professor give an extremely moving life lesson to a classroom that expected a lecture on Hamlet. We needn't hide behind some veil that makes us pretend not to be human. We fuck up. We learn from it. We move forward.

I did a terrible disservice to a man when I agreed to marry him. I should have known better. Now I do. I want to love again. There, I said it. And I feel better for it.

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