After my last “big date” with Gary almost two weeks ago, a break over Thanksgiving wherein he traveled across the country to have a too-short visit with his kids, and a date looming this weekend which I had not decided what we should even do, I had to face the truth. The cringing when I saw his number on my caller-id had to mean only one thing: I am not ready to date. Or at least not date this man.
I have had a lot of time to think since our last date. I wasn’t feeling any physical attraction, and even though several of you mentioned that you didn’t initially feel attracted to your husbands, or other men you ended up in relationships with, I knew I didn’t have the time to wait for that to develop (sitters are expensive, and let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger). Truthfully that’s happened to me as well – I actually married a man I wasn’t sure I liked after the first date (turns out my first instincts were correct, oh well).
But it wasn’t just that. I think we have some different values about a lot of things, which was evident to me even after just two dates. Which will probably be a bigger issue for me as I’m older and I know I’m pretty well entrenched in my ways and ideals, as I imagine almost anyone is in their forties or fifties. Interestingly enough, the last time I did online dating, in the mid-90’s, my experience with men was similar to what I also ran into with Gary this time – the men were nice, but seemed to presume a level of relationship or intimacy that was more advanced than where I was.
Anyway, I knew any future date would have me seething in resentment that my “me” time was being taken up. I knew I had to take care of this beforehand. My best friend’s husband gave me the go-ahead to use email, given we’ve only been on two dates, and I was more than thrilled to use that option. So I sent Gary an email this morning:
I hate having to resort to email for this, but honestly it’s how I feel most comfortable, especially since we don’t know each other super well. I apologize in advance if this seems impersonal, or cowardly, to you, but please understand this is about me. Anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about you, and me, and whatever might or might not be going on between us, and about me. Yes, I said me twice. I’ve been doing a lot of introspection. And here’s what I’ve come up with. I signed up for speed dating because I thought I wanted to date. I thought I wanted to give myself something: some grown-up time, an adult friendship, someone to count on, and possibly even someone to have a relationship with. And unfortunately, I find that even though I did this to try to give myself something, I’ve realized that I don’t have anything to give right now. Perhaps at the root is that my children are too young, my job situation too sketchy, or any combination of those plus everything else involved in being a single mom, – but whatever it is, at the end of a day, at the end of a week, I am spent, and there is nothing left for anyone else. I feel awful because you have been nothing but kind and sweet and generous to me. You seem like a wonderful man, and I have enjoyed getting to know you.
I hope you can see this as I mean it, which is completely about me. It is me who thought I was ready for something I am not, and not you who did anything wrong.
I wish you nothing but happiness and success in all you do – and I hope you’re able to get to your girls full time just as soon as you can.
All the best,
And he responded back within 10 minutes – he said he thought something was up, offered himself as a friend anytime, and wished me a “great life with your girls.”
And I feel relief.