"Love is much nicer to be in than an automobile accident, a tight girdle, a higher tax bracket or a holding pattern over Philadelphia." ~Judith Viorst
This post was inspired by a project my dear friend is launching on her fabulous blogmypixieblog.comand will be featured there in a few weeks. Please stop by and show her some love. :-) ____________________________________________________________
Online dating is a daunting journey, full of trickery and confusion... I'd had my share of digital bullshit and disappointment. It was May, summer was seemingly minutes away, and I was fully prepared to take a breather and get out of the dating pond for a while.
All things considered, my online dating experiences really hadn't been all that bad. It was more that I just didn't meet anyone I really clicked with. Charlotte had mentioned that OkCupid had a lot of "cute boys with tattoos" so I mentioned this site to my co-worker, who is recently single and back on "the scene." She took a quick peek at the site and sent me four photos of incredibly good looking guys, none of which were bare-chest shots taken in the bathroom mirror...
I decided to make a really quick profile, copying/pasting from my Plentyoffish.com profile. I only wanted to poke around and goof off with my friend. We were sending pics and profiles to each other.
And then I came across one in particular. Physically, all the right elements: the right height, the right build, seemingly handsome (if his photos were legit)... His profile was well-rounded and informative. We had things in common. We were calculated as an 88% match. And he lived literally the next town over. So... I decided to write. And then he wrote back. And we wrote lengthy emails back and forth for several days. Turns out, he did not live in the next town over, but on the other side of the Hudson River. (There's a Ridgewood in NY AND NJ. Ooops. Bad editor.) But I was so intrigued, and we were corresponding at such a great level that it seemed worth the shot to keep exploring. Within those several days, we graduated to text messaging, and then the phone. We spent hours on the phone, as if in high school again. We agreed: We had to meet.
May 21st: Judgement Day. I was excited, but crazy nervous.... I was waiting to be disappointed. And he was too. We had "other shoe" syndrome. We pored over each other's pictures and profiles, looking for a clue, a flaw.... nothing was jumping out. We even told each other what we thought our own "deal breakers" were. All livable. We were certain this was too good to be true. Meeting in person would finally reveal the problem. Both of us figured we wouldn't be attracted to each other in person, that the X-Factor would be missing. That was the only remaining possibility.
It was a beautiful day in Manhattan, a little warm and humid, and it did eventually rain, but it didn't matter. We finally met face-to-face, and it was as adorably cliche as it can get: better than we hoped for, exciting, there was blushing and grinning. We talked non-stop. There were moments of inadvertent closeness and touching. He took my hand and we both got fluttery inside. Nine swift hours later, we found ourselves on a train headed back to New Jersey because we didn't want our adventure to end. He met my dog. We talked until 3am, until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore. He slept in my spare bedroom. With the door open. A first date nearly 24 hours long. No kiss. All respect.... And we've been inseparable every weekend since.
The resounding awwwww is not why I decided to share this story. There are plenty of puke-inducing tibits I could share... but they are not for you.
What I do want to share is, when we set aside the excitement, the strength of the feelings that have evolved, the desire to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, what we have before us is something that both of us want to succeed. We see the value in this, why it's so special. But this isn't Hollywood. No one has scripted a guaranteed happy ending. Only we can do that. And it can't happen in 90 minutes. Or even 90 days.
One thing that connects us so strongly are the experiences and the past relationships we come from. We both acknowledge the mistakes we made in our pasts.... We know how we wound up with some of the scars. We talk at length (even now) about our exes... he's a divorced father of two. I'm almost divorced, too (no kids, but we still share the dog). We both wanted out of our marriages, and for many similar reasons. We have both spent a lot of time reinventing ourselves, taking care of ourselves as individuals. We both believe that you have to be whole as an individual before you can be in a successful relationship, that you can't rely on another person to complete you. They can add happiness to your world, but they can't be your sole reason for happiness. We know what kind of relationship we do, and more importantly, DON'T want.
We have been incredibly honest with each other from the beginning. Even if it's something that might not be so great. We talk openly--about everything--even if it makes us uncomfortable. We know that, at the end of that discomfort, understanding is waiting. And likely a hug.
Balance is something that we actively strive for--relishing in the newness and excitement of it all, but not getting so carried away that we make rash decisions. We joke about running off to Vegas the minute the ink is dry on my divorce decree. We joke about being old together. But we also acknowledge that those jokes mean we're just really stupidly happy together and that we hope it all works out. Because when it's time to get serious about these ideas, we bring the lessons of the past into the mix. We absolutely want to do what is right for us as a couple... but also what's right for us as individuals. Balance. It is possible to be giddy with excitement and to swell with emotion and still make good decisions. We take things day by day, and enjoy what we're experiencing now. We're letting the universe drive. We're just along for the ride.
So, the moral of our story is: By all means, fall in love. Just don't land on your head.