Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don't Hit on Twenty (Or Dump Him Over Minutia)

The start of this new relationship with CTF has gotten me thinking about my dating past. Why am I still single at age 38? Throughout my twenties and thirties, I was attractive, thin to average weight, and I’ve always dressed well. I’ve always worn a lot of skirts and high heels, and have had long hair. I’m smart, stable, and financially secure. I’ve been told I have a great sense of humor and am fun to be around. I like sports. I like drinking beer. This is starting to sound like an online dating ad, isn’t it? And I’m not trying to toot my own horn here or anything, but enough people (mostly my male friends, but also CTF recently) have made comments to me like “I can’t believe you are still single” over the years, that it got me wondering…why?

In the past, I always came to the conclusion that I simply hadn’t met the right person. While this may be true to a certain extent, a lot of soul searching recently has led me to the conclusion that I was looking for perfection in the past – absolute perfection. To put it in blackjack terms, I hit on 20 with some of my past boyfriends. They almost had it all…but not quite. There was one more thing I was looking for, so I hit and moved on. I wanted every item on my stupid little checklist to be met. Every single one! And I’m not talking about the big things. I’m talking minutia.  I was always looking for something better.

When I was in my twenties, it seemed like I had all the time in the world. I would hit on 20, and I would find him. He was out there!  (And the Heavens parted, and the angels sang, except...not really.)  With other men who were interested in me, I passed because of stupid things like he was wearing tennis shoes at a bar or I didn’t like his gold chain or his shirt was unbuttoned one button too low or his glasses were ugly or he needed a haircut. These things are stupid, yet there were times that they dictated who I agreed to go on a first or second date with. Sometimes they even dictated if I would have a conversation with him. Dumb. While I don’t advocate changing a man, the types of things I just mentioned are things that – if you get to the point of being the girlfriend – you naturally have some influence on. I mean, not many men particularly enjoy shopping. You have a lot of leeway in the selection of clothing, haircuts, shoes, and glasses.  Oh yes, I thought I was all that, and there were plenty of fish in the sea. My Mr. 100% Right was out there.  Except, he wasn't.  Mr. 100% Right does not exist.

I paid less attention to character and the things that really mattered when I was in my twenties. Silly. I didn’t pay attention to how he felt about me, which is the most important thing. It is light years easier and drama free to date a man who is really into you than one who is lukewarm about you. I went out with a lot of lukewarm guys in the past, and spent way too much time stressing out about why they hadn’t called or what were they doing or why he introduced me as his "friend" or why he hadn't invited me to this or that. I don’t do that anymore. I don’t get invested so quickly, and I give more guys a chance. There is no reason not to go out with someone to give them a shot so long as there aren’t any huge red flags waving around. Hell, as long as the first date isn’t miserable, there is no reason not to give them a second date. Now I pay a lot of attention to the things that matter in a relationship – is he kind, stable, loyal, of good character, can I trust him, does he treat waiters nicely, does he tip well, how does he treat me, do we have chemistry, is he drama free,…does he bring me flowers. (LOL). These are the things that are important, not whether his hair is thinning a little bit, or his laugh is a little goofy or his chest is a little too hairy.  Those things are minutia.

To be clear, I haven’t regretted being single. I would not have the career I have if I had made different choices in the past, and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way. However, I am becoming a lot more open to having a relationship, and not sweating the small stuff. I’ve found myself falling into the “I wish CTF did/had/was….” a couple of times about minutia. Minutia! I’m talking completely stupid things. When I look at my “checklist” of what I want in a man, I realize that I am sitting here with 20 in my hand. (How did I get so lucky to get a 20? Literally, how did this even happen? I wasn’t even paying attention!)

And you know, there was an actual moment a few weeks ago when I realized – this thought actually went through my head very clearly – that I would be a fool to let him go. A fool! If he can't believe I'm still single, I doubly can't believe he is still single.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a (seemingly so far) normal man who has no ex-wife, no kids, and no crazy baggage or issues who is in his 40s? It’s damn near impossible! It’s like trying to find a unicorn!

At any rate, I will not be hitting again. It’s still early on in this relationship, so anything can happen, but for now I am going to remain cautiously optimistic and try to hold on to my unicorn. Oh yeah, and I am going to with him on our first trip together (for six days, eek) to meet his family at Christmas. Maybe once we pass that hurdle I will tell you more about him…that’ll be the three month point.

In the meantime...I have to figure out what to get him for Christmas!