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I had never really dated before I married my first husband.
I’ve had many relationships, but I wouldn’t say that I actually dated in any of them.
I graduated from high school in 1995. This is how I “dated” back then:
>> I like Doug.
>> Doug knows I like him.
>> Doug likes me, too.
>> We hang out together with a bunch of other people and we drink beer.
>> We like hanging out.
>> We make out.
>> We are now done dating and he is my boyfriend.
Suffice it to say, this is not how it’s done today.
After my divorce, I ended up in a relationship with somebody that was a huge commitment-phobe. Way to choose a good one, Beth.
We broke up lots. We got back together lots. There were gaps in between. During one of these gaps, I decided to try to actually date.
Good lord here we go.
I was so excited to meet the future Mr. Beth—Seriously.
I went online and joined a site. It wasn’t one of the free ones that people told me to stay away from. I paid, so I felt a little better about my chances of finding somebody that was actually interested in dating, not just wanting to hook up.
I answered all the questions, figured out the perfect username (ugh), and then it was time to post some pics. I have two kids, and a dog. I will give you two guesses what pictures I have on my phone.
Three thousand hours of selfie hell later, I finished up my profile, and made it public.
Then, I did what so many of us do. I fantasized about the first messages from the next greatest love of my life—what he’d be like, how his words would feel, how I would respond.
The first messages rolled in. Oh sh*t! How do I respond? My mind spun in over-analysis.
>> I don’t want to come off as too needy, but I want to sound interested enough so he doesn’t think I’m not interested.
>> How should I respond?
>> How fast?
>> Why hasn’t he responded?
>> What shouldn’t I have said?
>> Was I too flirty, or not flirty enough?
>> He isn’t interested.
>> Was he only wanting to hook up?
>> Am I outdoorsy enough for this one?
>> He’s cute.
>> I need to sound more outdoorsy.
>> And WTF does DTF mean?
Holy sh*t it was exhausting! You can guess how the dates went.
Not long after opening it, I closed out my account, and went back to my commitment-phobe. Good call, Beth. Eventually, though, I let it sink in that he was never going to commit.
I was so fed up with relationships. Up until that point, I had pretty much always been in a relationship. Being completely single for anything more than a few weeks was something I had never done.
I decided that, for the next year, I was going to become the most kick-ass single person that ever roamed the face of this planet.
It was a little scary, but like anything new, it was a bit exciting to see where this would take me.
I went to movies that I wanted to go to, by myself. I watched March Madness at a local bar, with the elderly bartender serving me drinks, and serving as my cockblocker.
I had never traveled alone before and hadn’t been overseas since high school, so I booked a trip for one to the South of France. I bought the snowshoes I’d always wanted, but never purchased because I didn’t know anyone else that snowshoed.
I stopped having sex, and I stopped shaving.
I. Stopped. Shaving.
I felt amazing.
Five months later, it was time for a little bare-assed fun again, so I went back online. But this time, it was a completely different experience.
I did not give a f*ck what happened.
>> What if I didn’t get any messages? F*ck it. I’m happy and I know I kick ass.
>> What if I couldn’t get laid for a long time? F*ck it. It’s not like I can’t have an orgasm on my own.
>> What if I never find Mr. Beth? Ever? F*ck it. I like my life as it is. A guy would just be an added bonus.
I spent all of five minutes throwing my profile together on one of the free sites that I was told to stay away from.
I scrolled through some profile pics and noticed one particular guy. Beard, glasses, nice smile, cool shirt, and smart, silvery hair. I thought he looked interesting, hoped he would message me, then closed the app.
And wouldn’t you know—the bearded, spectacle-bearing silver fox showed up in my inbox.
Our conversation flowed with ease. I was 100 percent, authentically me. No guard. No games.
With no f*cks left to give, I’d unknowingly left my palms wide open to receive a new lover.
That very first night online for a little bare-assed fun, I met who is now Mr. Beth. Seriously. Less than a year later, we were married.
Opening up to ourselves allows us to open to life and to others. When we take the time to build a relationship with ourselves—to stop grasping on to, or running after people or things—we are left to faithfully sit, relaxed and open for what will arrive at the right time.
And, damn, will it arrive!