I met a man recently. Well, I’ve met several actually, but this one in particular stands out. I put myself on an online dating site about 5 weeks ago. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision but also something I’d been thinking about for a few months off and on. What would it look like for me? Do I still have it? Who would be attracted to me? Would I be attracted to anyone? A friend of mine in my ladies group was given this task as homework and I’d kept it in the back of my mind.
I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to date. Still not sure, to be honest. Relationships with men are ever so complicated for me. I don’t have the capacity to deeply love a man. I fear I may never.
I’m calling this season in my life my “playground of exploration.” (Thank you, Sarah Blondin!) I heard that term in one of her meditations that I listen to over and over and over again. I’m not out to break any hearts. I’m definitely not out to fall in love. I simply must explore. I need to know if I can be comfortable in the presence of a man. I mean, really comfortable. I need to find out if a deep connection can exist between me and a man, like the deep connections I’ve found with my sisters. Is it possible?
So, back to this man I met. We big time hit it off. The conversations were smooth and easy, the attraction was high, and most importantly, I was so comfortable talking to him. It was new and unfamiliar. As a total experiment for myself I’d decided very early on (like 3 days in…) to lay my junk out. Again, if I can do it with my sisters, why not my brothers? And so I did. It was kind of like this, “So, I’m twice divorced and a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I started counseling about 2 years ago and it landed me right here, in this moment. Sorry to be so heavy.” Yep, I sure did. Wasn’t really sure of the response I’d get in return but I didn’t 100% care either. I’m experimenting…
You know what? He said, “That wasn’t heavy at all.” So, note to self, there are men out there who can hear my story and not be turned off. This coming from a woman whose ex-husband told me that my story grossed him out and made him uncomfortable.
Things got pretty uncomfortable for me with this new man. First I ran. Then I came back and said, “Sorry, I’m a runner, but I don’t want to run anymore.” He accepted it. Then I told him that I didn’t have the capacity to love him and be in an exclusive relationship and so now we are just friends. We text maybe once a week or so for a few short minutes or we like each other’s posts on Facebook and that’s about it.
Experiment done, with him anyways. That sounds awful, doesn’t it? In reality, we are all just experimenting, right? I don’t mean it in a crass sort of way. “I’m done with you! Next!” No, not like that. I gained a friend through it, and for that I am thankful. I felt confident releasing him back to God and the universe so that the right kind of love could find him. I knew it wasn’t me and didn’t want to waste his time. I still feel a very deep connection to him but I’m pretty sure that I feel it more than he does. Again, complicated.
I learned that not all men will be turned off by my story. (But is it only men who have experienced some sort of abuse themselves? He had. Not sexual abuse, but abuse is abuse, and he understood.) I learned that when something or someone makes me uncomfortable, I can step out, because guess what? I’m an adult and I can make those decisions now. Talk about growth. Did I just say that I was an adult?