It’s hard, but I am grateful

How I felt yesterday, is not how I feel today. I feel like my wants, needs, and desires change from moment to moment. It is a slow unwinding of years of pushing for something that wasn’t right for me, letting that go, and deciding what I do want for the present and the future.

I know that I love living at the beach, I know I love my art, I know that I love my home, but as far as my personal life, a relationship, sex, and intimacy, I am confused. I want to be close to someone, but I feel somehow out of practice or disconnected. How do I navigate this new world of dating, texting, video chatting, ghosting and hook-ups? I don’t want to seem like a prude, or out of the loop so I am trying to fit in and seem cool. But I am not sure I am being successful at it.

I am getting the hang of the video chat, and getting more comfortable with it, which is necessary in this current time of Covid-19. I still feel kind of silly though talking into my phone and trying to get a feel for a person. I am constantly looking at the little box in the right hand corner at myself to make sure I don’t have a weird expression or look goofy. I still feel very self conscious. But, if I want to put myself out there I have to learn to be comfortable with these things.

What I have learned is that if I like someone, I can’t tell them. I have to play it cool and pretend like I don’t care. Which is not my personality at all. I am very transparent and forthcoming. I feel awkward holding back my true feelings and waiting for an opening to connect. But then when someone is too forthcoming with me too soon, I feel slightly suffocated. So, what am I looking for?

The truth is, I don’t know. I think I am looking for connection that doesn’t feel like an obligation. A connection that is fun and light, and brings me joy. I am looking for someone who likes me, enjoys my company and values what I have to offer. Is that possible in this digital world of so many potential dates at our fingertips? If I say something stupid, or make a mistake, there are hundreds of girls out there online ready to replace me.

But the opposite is true too, if a guy I am talking to does or says something stupid, there are 100’s of men online ready to replace him. Is it too easy? Are people too interchangeable? With a swipe or a click of a button someone is gone from my life. It is a new world of dating since the last time I was single. Sometimes it is completely overwhelming to me, and I wonder how anyone finds a relationship or lasting love.

That is the other thing, what does it mean to be in a relationship nowadays and what are men looking for? I am noticing that there are so many eligible men that have never been married and don’t have kids. I wonder if it is by choice? Or do they want that love and commitment but life has just moved too fast for them to put the time in to get it? Or are we all too scared to lose our autonomy? Is it possible to have our own lives and be in a relationship? Is it possible not to be jealous or curious about the myriad of potential dates that both of us have readily available?

How do I make sense and wade through all these questions? The only way I know how to do it, is to go with my gut. If I feel something I act on it, if I don’t feel anything, I move on. It is all I can do, because words, texts, video chats, and connections don’t mean as much as the feelings that are behind them. Do I even ‘like’ this person, do they like me? Or is connecting with them just an attempt to relieve my loneliness and boost my ego? I don’t know the answer to that question sometimes.

But I learn something new every day, every moment actually. And I am willing to put myself out there and take the chance of being hurt, because this life I am currently living is something I never thought I would experience. Every new interaction I have is something that never would have happened had I not had the courage to leave a dead end marriage. So even if I get hurt, it couldn’t possibly compare to the hurt I have already been through. It couldn’t possibly compare to putting my heart out daily to someone who repeatedly hurt me on purpose. Someone who led me on for years and made promises to me he knew he had no intention of keeping. Nothing can compare to the hurt of my family being torn apart.

So, even though dating is hard, frustrating, and confusing, overall I am finding pleasure in the men that are kind to me and interested in me. I smile and feel joy from the men who text me, ‘Hello beautiful’ in the morning, and who tell me I am amazing. It feels good to be appreciated and told that I am attractive and sexy.

As I continually download and delete the dating apps, I have faith that the men admiring me mixed with the confusion of how to connect with them will lead somewhere. I am strong, I am ready, and I am grateful for the opportunity to find love again.