Dating : Pretend Love

h2>Dating : Pretend Love

Rebecca Thomas

Towards the end of my marriage, my husband and I slept down a long hallway from one another. One night, filled with longing, I padded down the hall and knocked on his door. He let me in and I climbed on his bed. I asked him what we could do to mend this, that I couldn’t live without love in my life.

As it turned out, I would for another ten years.

In the eight years since my divorce, I’ve had a million love affairs. Maybe just shy of a million. Pretend love, with men who were transiently available and I failed to acknowledge that fact until we were some distance down the road. Men who wanted the emotional goodies of a smile, back rub, and enthusiastic sex, but whose hearts were not open.

I fortified them on the road to someone else. Without them, there was no affection, touch or conversation with a man, which was less tolerable than enjoying someone for a short while. Often, the sweetness was real, just not grounds for a future together.

It wasn’t lost on me that I pined for unavailable men, which is another way of saying I spent a lot of energy playing out one narrative. Therapy is useful for this.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

It wasn’t all the men departing, I sprinted away from a few.

One texted me an awkward photo of himself and three restaurant employees. The waiters and cooks looked like they were being held against their will. The photo landed with all the seductive charm of a collect call from prison.

Another wanted me to look past the fact that he was fifty-two with twin toddlers and still lived with his ex-wife. He couldn’t meet me until after eight-thirty pm on any given night, which was about the time I start asking myself, “is it too early to go to bed?” He made sure to tell me he had a huge dick and made a lot of money in our final conversation, which I naturally found charming.

There was the photographer whose dating profile remained active after we agreed to stop seeing other people. I texted him a screenshot and asked how I could return the expensive lens he lent me. He replied that he was an ass, and I could keep it. In truth, I wasn’t exactly heartbroken and wondered about the ethics of keeping it. Reparations for insincerity.

I fell in love with one man despite his resistance to me (or because of). He offered the perfect storm of laughing at my jokes and only allowing an occasional peek into the depths of his heart. He broke mine. Or, I did that to myself. It’s possible I just flailed around like a light-drunk moth.

We saw each other two years later. It felt like no time had passed, all the fun and affection was right there. Our romance hadn’t been in my imagination. A little distance allowed me to see he was offering me what he had to give, it just wasn’t enough. No one’s fault.

And, so it went. But, I wanted a boyfriend. A lot. I didn’t care that this sounded ridiculous for a woman in her forties to say. It did no good to settle, either. I wasn’t after the miraculous social benefits of coupledom. I wanted someone to tell my secrets to, who had adventures and ideas of his own. He didn’t have to be perfect, but he had to be worthy.

In my dating profile, it said I was looking “for a peaceful, happy coupling with some intellectual and physical sizzle.” I had no idea what a tall order that would be.

I can hardly remember all the dates I went on over the years. This had less to do with how wonderful I am, and a lot to do with dating technology. I wanted to slow down and get to know one person, but the churn was unrelenting. I would occasionally jump off, get lonely and hop back on, exhausted before my first swipe.

The years stretched on and nothing materialized. Friends marveled at my endurance. I worried I was too old, it was too late. Maybe I wasn’t the sort of woman one could love? Sexy romps, meals, conversation, sure.

Men loved me as one might hot coals or distant memories. Which is to say more fondly in retrospect, when I’d evolved into an idea of a person. I hear from them occasionally as they process memories and reach out.

Wasn’t that wonderful? You’re a good woman.

Yes, I know.

I thought in order to be coupled I would have to construct a path with rose petals, perfectly roasted chickens, and sex that would deposit a man in my arms before he had time to say ‘I’m not looking for anything serious’.

What I didn’t understand was simply being open and available was a liability. We all need to be tortured in our own special way.

Read also  Dating : “Doing What You Love” Doesn’t Lead to a Fulfilling Career.

What do you think?

22 Points
Upvote Downvote

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Dating : Is she ghosting me or am I overthinking?

POF : can’t log into my account and can’t have a password reset email send it never shows up