Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rumors and Trust

I listened to almost three hours of a friend hashing over her crush on a co-worker.
This woman is 40.
But I listened. There have been dates, if you can call them that, but he's been stringing her along for at least eight months.

He's a very successful man, and single - so of course everyone at her work is curious about his private life. How is he still single? they wonder. He must be a player. they suppose. The co-workers talk about a married woman who changed jobs a few years ago, and they suspect there was an affair between her and Mr. Successful.

But that's just a rumor. And I told my friend, "Rumors are just rumors until you know the truth. And people will talk, especially about the single guy.  They'll just assume that he's a player and a heartbreaker because they think that is what they would do in his position."

Quite frankly, I'll bet money that even the people at my church assume that I'm out bed-hopping with random men... just because I'm single. They think that's what single people do.  Even church-going, Catholic singles.

Then I asked my friend, "If you find out he did have an affair with a married woman, is this someone you want have a relationship with?"

She looked at me and said, "Well, I'm no different. I slept with someone who was engaged, before they broke up...  but it was a loveless relationship..."

At that point I wanted to say, "That sounds like the kind of excuse people who cheat use." but I didn't want to kick her while she was down. Plus, her face revealed she was concerned about my judgment.

It's not judgmental, it's smart. If that's his level of respect for marriage when he's single, what would you expect from him when he's married?

Personally, I'm shocked that this is acceptable to her. Yes, of course people deserve forgiveness and people can change. But I don't think even that is where her heart is.
Sure, if they develop a relationship and discuss their expectations and reveal their hearts - something good could happen.
But considering a guy who has kept someone at arm's length for eight months, I'd say he's not all about communication.

This is how hard it is out there. It's easy to start compromising your standards just to have someone pay attention to you.

I joke that there are so many reasons I'm single.  I won't date married men, I don't date cheaters and I don't sleep around.  As a result... I'm very very single.
But I still think that's better than the alternative.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Break from Pleasantries

I'm hibernating.

Thanksgiving Day, I happily slept til about 9:00AM. Well, almost. My nephew called me at 7:30 and didn't take the hint from my sleepy, cobwebby voice. Finally I said, "You know, it's a holiday. I was planning to sleep in! You called me at alarm clock time on a sleep in day." Which resulted in laughter when he remembered the rule about talking to me before 9:00AM (don't)  (relax, he's almost 30 - it's not like he's a little boy - plus he doesn't work, so a reprieve from such a schedule is lost on him! ) Also, he didn't take the time zone into consideration. Luckily I was able to fall back asleep.

So I slept in and stayed home. I made some phone calls and sent some texts wishing people a happy Thanksgiving. I was invited to a couple of gatherings but just didn't feel like it.  Don't feel sorry for me, it was just what I wanted.
In fact, during the approaching week, I found myself wincing when someone heard I didn't have plans, for fear they'd extend an invitation. I knew I didn't want to have to put on a pleasant face for people who don't really care. (you know - like folks who ask how you're doing, but don't want you to elaborate beyond "fine") It was just going to be too much effort to make pleasantries when I would rather just... not.

So yes, I'm hibernating. I think a reprieve from Thanksgiving is healthy every three years or so.

I stayed home and watched movies all day. It was great! Like taking a sick day without being sick.
So for your pleasure... my lessons gleaned from a day of Romantic Comedies.

I started with Sweet Home Alabama.  I'd seen bits of this movie, but finally watched the whole thing. I loved how you can't predict which guy she'll end up with. The Lesson: What being the better person looks like. (it's not a spoiler if the movie is over 5 years old...) Her New York Boyfriend loved her enough to let her go. I loved how he said, "Wow, so this is what it feels like." and there are moments when she gets too big for her britches, thinking she's better than the people who never left her po-dunk town. She has to learn how to be gracious.

Next up: While You Were Sleeping. I forgot how much I love that movie. Really really love. I really relate to Lucy - the girl with the passport that has no stamps in it - who just really wants a family more than anything. So sweet.
The Lesson: life doesn't turn out like you planned. God is making it better. God will give you just what you need. I have to learn to wait... and trust!

The Accidental Husband - I don't remember ever even hearing about this. Probably because how does anyone expect a leading lady to hem and haw over Colin Firth?!?!  Honey, you just marry Colin Firth!!!  But then... the interloper is Jeffery Dean Morgan (remember him as Denny from early seasons of Grey's Anatomy? ) Yeah, he is pretty yummy. 

The Lesson: It's one thing to go with Mr. Safe and Dependable, but if you've never given any Mr. Rugged and Impulsive a shot, simply because of your own fears you'll never know he can provide his own brand of security.

The problem with these movies though - is that the heroine had two quality men to choose from. Each was planning to marry to start out with, until someone comes and shakes up her world. Within a week they're prepared to marry the interloper?!?!?!  Not real. Come on. Who ever has TWO men to choose from!

I also watched Step Mom - which is just a great great movie!  The message for single women in the beginning of the film is... if you've never had kids you're selfish and can't possibly know how to handle kids. So insulting! But that assumption holds up in society. Everyone tells me to date divorced dads... but divorced dads assume I'm immature and not ready for commitment simply because I've never been knocked up!  (and that's before they even meet me! )

Either way, a nice lazy day.
Hope your Turkey Day was to your liking!

(photos from google image search) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Not Just Me

There are days that I think it must be me.

It's me who is undesirable, unloveable.  Not as pretty or thin as I used to be.
Or maybe men can sense that I'm not going to sleep with them... at least until I know him. So they don't even approach me.

But then I realize that so many of my girlfriends are experiencing the same thing.
First dates that don't lead to second dates.  Second dates that result in radio silence.
Not a single BAD date, mind you. Just men who never follow up again. For no real reason.

The women I know... beautiful. smart. physically fit. kind and generous.
I've always said, if these are the women on the bench in this game.... I truly don't understand it.

The saying was something like... a woman over 40 has more chance of getting struck by lightning or killed by a terrorist than she does of getting married.
But I'm convinced, most of the time that that's not me.
I'm starting to see the reality of that saying.

My friend's husband says, as men approach their 40s unmarried - there's something wrong with them. He points to his own uncle as an example. They just can't get passed doing things their own way, making room for someone in their lives.

Why is that not true for women? Who knows.
I think women are always more collaborative. More willing to work together. More willing to give and sacrifice.
Yes, men can do all that too - but what my friend was saying, is if they haven't learned how to apply those skills before this age - they're just not going to.  I think that's so. (McTwitchy does too, it's one of his excuses.) 

And don't forget, that once I turned 40 I became invisible. Men my age are looking for someone younger.  Just like when I was younger, it was the much older guys who were interested in me - and most of them were married.

It's not just me. Even so, it's hard to accept.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journey Through the Desert

My dear bloggy friends.
I have something to share with you.  I've touched on this before, but it has had so profound an impact on me - I feel I can't emphasize it enough.

If you've been with me for a while, you know that the year I turned 40 was especially hard for me.
At the beginning of that year, I finally broke up with Mr. Burns. He was the man that I had pinned my last hopes of marriage and baby-making to, so it resulted in a very complete and final conclusion to that chapter of my life.

Shortly after that, my very best friend suffered a miscarriage, and as I sat with her in her grief - God used that time to lead me through a very dark, scary and prickly place in which I grieved the loss of my own fertility.  (Thanks to Genevra for putting the words to it.)   I can't even tell you exactly how long it took, but looking back, knowing now what was accomplished, it was a full year or more.
The extra blessing was that God put my best friend and me together to help each other through it at the same time. I couldn't have done it without her.

The bigger point is that, I HAD to go through that grief. It was such a process, that occasionally I share with others what I went through and inevitably they say one of two things.... "Oh, you shouldn't feel that way." or "You could still have babies."

Arggghh!! That is so not the point!
First of all... really? God took me through a very dark time in my life to get me here, and you're going to dismiss all that work with "Don't feel that way."???!!!

Friends. I am so much better on this side. So much easier. Sure, I'm still sad about it sometimes. But it's about finally giving up control (which I never really had anyway). And if I miraculously find love and find that I CAN have baby... that will be awesome! If not, I'm already okay with it.

Recently, I shared this with another bloggy friend as we discussed my desire for a husband. She said, "I don't think that everybody needs a partner, but I also do not think that God puts a longing for one in your heart if He doesn't intend for you find one. "

That made me realize that now I know what the journey looks like. I know that it's dark and ugly. It's scary and hard and painful. Really painful.

I'm sure it won't be exactly the same, but I know that if there is no love in my future, God will address it.  He'll address it and I'll know it. I'll know because it's a different kind of pain.  But He hasn't worked that one on me... yet. So, I'll continue to hope.

Then my friend shared this...
"Hurt is always where He starts, I find. Always. And usually a whole lot of it. This is why we must rejoice, rejoice, rejoice over and over when it hurts so that He knows that we know."
That's the thing.  My BFF and I held each other through it. (oh, and by the way, she has a beautiful baby girl now!)  Since then, she met a woman who longs for a child, and for a husband... and because my BFF thought that she was younger than us, she told her that it was still coming her way. The new friend said, no.  It's passed. She's dealt with it.  Then my BFF realized that this new friend was a woman who didn't have someone to sit with her in that grief.

I'm sharing this with you... so you might know...  you might recognize when God is working on your single friend in this way. Sit with her. Walk with her. Carry her heart when it's too heavy.
It's one thing to grieve the loss of your fertility - but having to do it alone.... without a husband to share in that grief... without a friend to just give a damn that you're hurting...  well, be a friend. Don't let that happen to someone you love.