Monday, February 17, 2014

Hope Floats

Hope Floats is the name of a 1998 movie, but those words popped into my head when I decided to write this post. I have lived quite a few years under a dark cloud. An opaque suspension of self-doubt, of negativity, of loneliness, and, as time marched on, of hopelessness. A single man with few friends and a sparse record of attracting the fairer sex. Since my divorce some years ago, I have dated only two women and both of those "relationships" were brief. As a self-protection mechanism, I figured it best not to even think about women and dating. It just wasn't part of my life. For whatever reason, there is something about me that does not draw people in. I decided to let it go and wallow in my singleness.

At the end of last year my pastor suggested that I try to meet women through online dating. I can tell you that this is definitely not my thing. It somehow reeks of desperation, however, from any objective point of view, I fit all the nominal descriptions of desperate. Starting in early January I found someone who interested me and I contacted her. Shortly afterwards she agreed to meet me for coffee. I felt comfortable with her and there was a nice flirty sense in the air. Over the next three weeks we went out to dinner, went to a movie, went for walks, and watched movies at her house snuggling together on the couch. Each time we got together we talked easily, we laughed, and we looked ever so glancingly toward the future. Then, for reasons that I don't understand, she unexpectedly told me that she didn't want to see me again. This was, to be sure, a blow to me mentally and physically. It made me want to run back to my all too familiar wallow.

My pastor told me to focus on the fact that I took a step outside of my usual ways and found some adventure. Instead of a defeat, this should be looked upon as a victory. In thinking about his counsel, I realized that I did learn a few things. First, I realized that I like doing life with someone else so much better than being alone. This lesson perhaps is the most important reason to try again and not to give up. I also learned that I have not forgotten how to laugh or to give of myself. Finally, for someone who was certain that hope for a happy and satisfying future were dead, it is amazing how quickly a tiny sliver of hope floats the perception of life up into the stratosphere. Let's face it, being dumped by someone is never a good feeling. However, because this was my first attempt at dating in many years, perhaps my experience should be viewed as a good opportunity to work off the rust and clear out the cobwebs from my approach so that I am better ready to impress Miss Right when she comes along.