Taking risks


Ok so…I’m not really ready to start dating again. Or rather, I should say, I am not ready to get SERIOUSLY INVOLVED just yet. I know this. I respect it. And I’m sticking to it as best as I can. I’ve been off the emotional roller-coaster for 2 months now and I am truly enjoying the peace. 

However, a very strange thing happened the other day on my flight home from Nassau. Here’s the story and here’s why I am about to do what I am about to do….

As you well know, if you have been following any of my posts, (and even if you haven’t, you can still RELATE), I have spent a lifetime dating losers. Who among us has not? Sure, you get that one diamond in the ruff but you don’t quite know what to do with him so you sabotage the relationship and go back to where you are most comfy: with more losers.

Anyway, so I decide to upgrade to first-class on my way home from the Bahamas (miles, folks. I have lots of frequent flyer miles) and I end up sitting next to this very distinguished Executive VP of some fancy pharmaceutical company. So…I say what the heck, and start up a conversation with him. I’m very friendly, by the way. I’ll talk to virtually anyone. So he turns out to be a very nice guy; married, kids, three vacation properties, voted for Obama, etc. And we’re laughing and telling stories about our kids and our work. And I’m having a good ol’ time…so much so that I mention I’ve been divorced for a few years (something i RARELY, if EVER mention to strange men). 

Now, don’t go down that road, thinking that I am interested in this particular man. I’m not. I don’t find married men acceptable in any way, shape or form (for availability, that is) and I have VERY strong boundaries in that department. He didn’t seem to be headed in that direction either as he was talking very pleasantly and lovingly about his wife, which I enjoyed hearing. 

So, that being said, my divorce did peak his interest. And after talking for two hours straight and about five Chardonnays he says, “Is your divorce amicable?”

“I suppose,” I say, wondering where he’s going with that and thinking (with my LA brain) that’s a rather odd question.

“Well, pardon me for asking,” he says, “but are you single now?”

I almost said no. It is still hard to admit that I am alone. But I figured, what the heck, Tracy. Be PROUD. He seems like a decent guy with no real ulterior motive. 

“Yes.” I smile. “I am single. Why do you ask?”

“Well,” he says, ” it’s not that I’m a matchmaker, but a friend of mine…very nice guy, director of HR at my company is recently divorced and well,” he pauses, “well…you seem like such a nice woman. You’re attractive. The right age. You have a lot going on in your life…all very desirable,” he says. And then he adds, “I mean, it is possible that you could be crazy, but it doesn’t seem so.”

“I could be,” I say, and we laugh. He hands me his business card and says, “please send me an email about your company.” I take the card and mark a page in my copy of Blink with it. “Will do,” I say.

And that was that. 

So, now I am faced with the question, “should I open myself up to this?” Should I give this guy my contact info under the pretense of business, so that he can pass it along to Joe Divorced, Director of HR? I am, by all accounts, in suspension mode. I recognize that I am not ready for a relationship and I have a goal to stick to which, in my mind, strictly prohibits intensity and/or intimacy for at least the next 5 months (or so). 

But here’s the clincher…

This is not about dating or intimacy or intensity or sex or loneliness or “finding” a soul-mate. It’s about learning what NORMALCY is. 

This is the first time in my life that I have glimpsed the possibility of entering a world that is not my own (VPs? Directors of big pharma companies? Heck, I’m used to auto-mechanics and musicians). It is the first time in my life that I can use this opportunity as a spring board to healthy behavior. To put myself in a situation where I can say, I am worthy of your presence and you of mine.

It is an opportunity for me to say, if given the chance, I belong here. 

I am not being asked to date anyone. I don’t even WANT to date anyone. I can set that boundary if I so wish and keep it. But, I can certainly put my information out there and be friendly and meet people. Not close myself off to the world. I can, for the first time in my life, be myself, do my soul searching and have ZERO expectations about a man. 

How many of us have actually done that? I mean just went out into the world and had dinner with a guy and that was that? A night where you didn’t have need or want to allow yourself to experience anything else but a pleasant exchange? Not a date. No hope. No nothing. Just enjoying. I am guessing not many. In my case, those experiences were few and far between, if EVER. All too often if someone showed interest in me I was hooked and baited and the obsessing began. You all know how it goes. 

In this circumstance, however, I don’t feel ANY of that. Possibly because I never actually met anyone. How nice!

At any rate. I will send this man my company info. And if something comes of it, good. If something doesn’t come of it, fine. No expectations. Fumbling my way through circumstances like these is a very important part of getting to know who I am and what I am capable of. 

It’s a risk, of course. I could meet this guy. He could take me out. I could “fall” for him. And then I’m back to square one. But the chances of that are slim. The positives outweigh the negatives here. So, I will take the risk. And test out all my new found strengths. 

But I have to add this story too:

Just an hour ago, I posted advice to another member of my LAA forum who is in a relatively similar situation as I. I told her to STAY AWAY from the new guy. She has not healed yet. Her therapist told her the same. 

So why is it OK for me to test the waters and not her? I wanted to address this.

I suppose the answer lies in the fact that her post implies “hope.” Mine does not. She is looking at this new man as an “answer” to a longing inside her. I am not. I am not longing. I am not hoping. I am experiencing. I am neutral. I am not nervous. I don’t feel “out of my league” as much as I feel I have just as much right as any to make an exchange with an executive director…

I also see the HUGE, gaping difference between meeting a stranger and “dating” or “getting involved.” I believe, based on her post, this girl wants to get involved. I do not. I want to experience this WHILE maintaining my boundaries. I want to test my ability to make choices. 

I think it’s very important that I compare my situation to others’ who are also questioning the possibility of meeting new people (there are many on the LAA boards, currently, and IMO, some SHOULD get out and start dating again, while others should wait– it is obviously not me who decides, but the individuals themselves). 

It is not a matter of being arrogant or superior either. If anything, it’s a way to differentiate one set of behavioral traits from another. It’s a way to see the difference in motivation between two scenarios. And to stay true to my own personal values and boundaries as opposed to living vicariously through the values and paths of others. 

In the end, I believe what I am doing is all well and good. If anyone disagrees or has another take on this, I would LOVE to hear it.

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