Tag Archives: dating

I have absolutely no clue how this happened…

…but my college diploma turned 20 this year.  I mean, really?  Where has the time gone?  I can’t wrap my head around any kind of mathematics that allows this to be true.

I’m not usually very big on reunions.  Partially because I’m too lazy to be bothered, partially because those kinds of social scenes aren’t my thing, partially because I haven’t really been in a good place and so I’m not exactly rarin’ to get out there and answer the “how have you been” and “what are you up to” questions.

But, I went anyway — peer pressure can be a wonderful thing, right?  I headed out Friday afternoon to go back to campus — a place I haven’t been in 15 years — to meet up with one of my best friends from college.  It had been about 5 years since I had seen her last, and of all the activity this weekend promised, this was the one part that I was really looking forward to:  catching up with her, being able to go beyond the niceties and talk about how life really was treating us.

What I didn’t realize, though, was that over the course of an entire weekend, I would get to spend approximately 20 minutes with just her.  Her family is lovely — her husband, in fact, was part of our group in college and so I know him quite well — but the family wasn’t who I wanted to catch up with.

Instead of much-needed chat time with someone very dear to me, I spent the weekend engaged in banal small talk with people I barely remembered, repeatedly saying, “No, I’m not married.  No, I don’t have kids.”  At least that’s what it felt like.  I went for the promise of connecting with an old friend and in its place I got a my very own form of nightmare socializing.

One part of the weekend that I enjoyed, though, was getting the chance to walk around and see the new buildings (they went on a building spree as soon as I left… apparently, they just needed my tuition dollars to get it started…).  The fall colors were beautiful — it reminded me of all the good that came from those years and how much I envied all the students milling around.

(And on a side note, all these young kids walking around campus — when did they start allowing 14 year olds to go to college?? Damn, I feel old…)

Still, though, the visit was tinged with melancholy.  During college, I had a close group of friends who I love with all my heart, but in the 20 years since we left campus, we’ve gone in entirely different directions.  They are all straight, married with kids and deeply faithful to the church.  And me?  Single, childless, gay and not really a fan of any religious institution.  As a group, I love them for who they were and what they meant to me, but it’s a little weird to realize that if I were meeting them for the first time today, we likely wouldn’t become close friends at all.  Or even meet in the first place, realistically.

The stark differences between who am I now and (literally) every classmate that I ran into made me just a little sad and lonely.  Not that I want what they have, but – in the moment – the craving for what the world considers a “normal life” was overwhelming.  Even a slightly left-of-center life would be okay — somehow, not having a girlfriend/partner-in-crime by this point in my life makes me feel like I’ve somehow failed at what everyone else has succeeded at.

I suppose that’s one of the reasons that I usually avoid these sorts of occasions: I work hard not to get too down on myself about my life situation, but it’s impossible not to consider it when my past comes charging back into my present with a debilitating awkwardness.

But it’s time to shake it off and move forward. It was good to reconnect with my friends and reminisce over times long since gone, and  I’ll enjoy keeping in “Facebook touch” with them, hearing all about their families and activities.  But, it’s also worth it to realize that sometimes the past is best off staying there, that there’s a reason that it’s that way.  A reminder that who I was isn’t necessarily who I have to be today, that I can appreciate my friends for what they did for me then, without needing them to be something for me now.

I quit you… or do I?

Tell me… how do you quit people?

Not the bad influence friends.  Or the ones who periodically weed-whack their way through your life, destroying everything in their paths.  Those are easy … well, at least the decision to delete their number from your cell phone should be easy (actual removal is a different problem, of course).

But what about someone who’s your friend?  Someone who would be there if you needed them.  Someone who knows your secrets.  Someone who knows you just about as well as you know yourself.  Someone that (maybe, just maybe) you’re secretly in love with?

How do you quit them?

Of course, it’s not that clear cut, either.  The fact is that I’m mostly past the “in love” part.  Due to my wildly, insanely high expectations, I’ve been let down enough that I’ve started the process of letting go.  This, in turn, is helped by the fact that this friend tends to promise big, say all the right things, and then stumble on the follow through.  She still is the person I confide in most and is utterly dear to me, but even I can recognize that I’m not a priority to her.

Of course, if I’m to be honest, I was expecting my friend to act like my girlfriend in all ways but the obvious girlfriend ways.  I wanted her around (all the time), do stuff with me (all the time) and put me first (all the time).  Isn’t that what friends are for?

But still – quitting her entirely?  That’s what my therapist is suggesting.  I knew she would — I almost didn’t bring it up because I knew this struggle would ensue.

I think I can keep the friendship; I’ve been here before, having a total crush on a friend who’s completely and obviously not interested (historically, these have always been straight friends… the fact this one is gay is an interesting twist).  And I’ve always managed to work my way through it and find the light on the other side.  Kept the friendship.  Pushed my way through to a place where the friendship wasn’t some form of exquisite torture and in return I received the gift of a true, equal relationship.

I’ll just do the same thing this time around.  Mold and manage my expectations into something that resembles reality — and what a normal “we’re just friends” friendship looks like.

I tell my therapist this; she’s not convinced.  Thinks — and perhaps rightly so — that this friend takes advantage of me.

It’s true:  our friendship is lopsided.  It used to be that I absolutely went out of my way for her. I would wait around for her to show up to go out, make her dinner, buy her things just because I knew she’d like them.  In return I usually got the attention I wanted — that’s all that I ever really wanted from her.  But she would dole it out in a manner so frustrating to me … I wanted everything, she just wanted to be friends.

But since then, I’ve definitely gotten better and reeled things in.  I’ve mostly dropped the puppy dog act (I was starting to get fleas, I think) and no longer make concessions for her.  Of course, even with this progress, I still sometimes leave myself open to getting hurt by her.  I’ll expect something that perhaps a friend shouldn’t expect and she’ll let me down.  The most recent episode of this had me in tears.

And so, do I quit her?

No matter which path I choose, there will be grieving involved — either losing a friend entirely or losing the fantasy I’ve been trying desperately to enact in real life.

I have to admit, there is some temptation to the full-on quit — I see the world in such a black and white way that act would fit my world view:  either I can have her entirely or not at all.

But the world is lonely enough without losing another friend, isn’t it?

It might not be the best decision I’ve ever made, but I’m guessing it won’t be the worst, either.  The time between now and when I’m free of the crush will be challenging, but I know that the core friendship that we share — outside of my wild ideas — is worth saving.

So, no quitting.  I’ll leave the option open, but for now?  I’ll give it a go.

(postscript:  no, I never told her I felt this way, but I never needed to — she made it clear from the beginning that she wanted nothing more than friendship from me and she’s in a serious relationship anyway)

Where, oh where …

… are the single ladies my age?

At the clubs?  Not really, as far as I can tell.  Whenever I walk into a lot of these bars and clubs, I feel like an elder states(wo)man without the experience to have earned the title.

I mean, it’s not like any of the young kids are auditioning for a role in the Mean Girls 2 movie, but I can see their eyes pass over me — really, almost directly through me — with a “who’s the old woman in the muumuu?” look on their face.   Followed closely by “and why’s that young hot chick hanging out with her” since I’m blessed/cursed with a few young, hot lesbian friends (all a decade younger than me… I still haven’t figured out why they continue to keep me around… other than they look ESPECIALLY hot when put next to me).

(okay, I don’t really wear (or own) a muumuu … so much so that I even had to look up the spelling of “muumuu” (doesn’t it look funny?))

All of which to say:  the clubs aren’t really where it’s happening for me.  I enjoy occasionally going out and shakin’ the ol’ booty, but I’m not really meeting anyone to go home with out at those places.

Next up:  online.  Except online? The age range there seems to be early 20’s looking for a hookup and a decade older than me having just gotten out of a 30 year relationship and looking to start over.  I’ve gone on dates with both ends of the spectrum, and while I don’t discount someone based on age, I will say that it’s hard to find things in common with someone who’s that much younger or older.

You’ve got the girls who were barely out of diapers when Friends was the big show on TV (and sue me – despite all the homophobic references on that show, it’s my all-time, watch-the-marathon favorite show ever). Rarely will they know any cultural references I make, so at lot of my jokes go right over their head.  And my sense of humor is one of my best attributes!  This just makes me feel even older than my 42 years.  I’m always on the verge of starting sentences with “Kids these days….” which isn’t the best way to snag a second date, by the way.

Then the fine older ladies?  Somehow, they also make me feel old.  Even though I’ve definitely fallen off the working out bandwagon, I want to be with someone active and athletic — I know that to really be happy, I’m moving and sweating and working hard (and not just horizontally! get your mind out of the gutter!…but yea, that too…).  Of course, there are women in their 50’s that are still active (I intend on being one of them some day), but I haven’t met them.

So, what next?

I know, I know:  I need to join some LBGT groups.  Or do the meetups.com stuff.  I’m working my way up to that, promise.  Though I still don’t get how it is that unlike every other person I know, that I’m unable to meet someone to date out in the wild.  You know, like a chance meeting at the gym or the grocery store or the book store or out riding.  Seems like over the years it should have happened at least once, right?  Or maybe I should start getting on my friends to set me up — they’ve got to have at least ONE available single friend, right? (except the answer to that is — and has been — “NO” … “and stop asking!!”)

Any other suggestions?