Recently, I experienced my first official breakup since the divorce: I got dumped.
I saw it coming ... and one of us would have pulled the trigger eventually. She was the first woman I've dated that I've really liked to this point.
Aside from the divorce, it's been a long time since I've had this happen and I've come to realize how different romantic relationships are at this stage in my life.
First, for me, is the importance of friendship. She and I are trying to keep our friendship alive, and I am more sad at the prospect that it may not work out than at the loss of a romantic partner.
It's interesting how different my relationship goals are now compared to when I was a kid. Through the divorce, I kept hearing stories of people cutting loose and experiencing a period of wild sexual freedom. I'm not sure what it says about me but that's not something I want. While I'm not seeking to get married anytime soon, I do want meaningful relationships; friendship first, then intimacy.
The next realization is that I definitely know what I want. I totally get that everyone I meet at this stage has lived and shaped their lives, so there is no delusion of perfection like when I was a kid. For me though, I'm seeking to be in a relationship with a woman where the "what I do want" side of my list outweighs the "what I don't want".
Thanks to a lot of soul searching, I know that my "do" list includes some must-haves:
- speaks directly and is forthright,
- does what they say they'll do,
- is able to express needs and make decisions based on those,
- has 1 or more children,
- a career of any kind, and
- is available.
You might think that last one is obvious, but it's been a bit trickier for me than I expected; in part because, until recently, I haven't actually been emotionally available myself. Similarly, some of the women I have met have not been available for a variety of reasons.
In this recent relationship, we both believed she was initially available but as we progressed and she reflected upon herself and us, she discovered otherwise. I suppose it's a good thing that this was discovered before we went much further, and that it is enabling her to address and heal underlying issues, but still, it hurts.
And that last point is what I think is the most positive aspect for me; that I was not only open to being hurt again, but that I have made it through. It'll happen again; I'll open myself to love and maybe I'll even get hurt. But now I know I want this again and that I can DO this again!