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Dating 101

03 Oct Posted by in Robin Lowey | 3 comments
Dating 101

I spent a lifetime with one woman and we enjoyed many wonderful years together. We have a beautiful family, so the shame of splitting was more than just about her leaving me, it meant I had failed my kids. But over time I came to realize that it was nobody’s fault. It just had to happen. People change, and I had to let her go and move on without assigning blame. After more than two years, I find that I am back on track and starting to enjoy my new life.

I am blessed with great friends and a supportive family. In many ways I have the life I always dreamed of.  Ready to start dating? Maybe. But I’m not signing up for anytime soon. When the time is right, well, something might happen. I am willing to be patient. It’ll come—I think—sometime. When I’m ready. Or not.

Intimacy is tough for me; I’ve got baggage around feeling unsafe and wanting to protect myself. You know—all the classic stuff about growing up in an alcoholic home. My head says “If I don’t need anything from anybody, then no one can hurt me”. It was once a matter of survival, but that’s not true anymore. I am safe in the world and I can allow myself to be vulnerable, but any attempt at building intimacy feels disproportionately frightening. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into resolving this stuff, but the feelings are still there. I have to accept this about myself and move through it.

Last month a dear friend tells me about someone she knows who is single and really awesome. I see her picture and she looks good. It sounds like she has a lot of the qualities that I would want in a potential partner so I say OK, let’s meet. She is really cute and seems smart and interesting so I say OK, let’s date. I have absolutely no idea how to do this, but I keep trying. Sometimes I feel like an awkward buffoon but its OK, I dust myself off and try again.

So this dating thing is going along. I really like her but I’m challenged to let it unfold at its own pace and not start future tripping or worrying if she feels the same about me. That’s the hardest part. I’m uncomfortable with the whole process of getting to know someone new and letting her in, but at the same time, I want it so badly—just gotta breathe, ugh. My heart is not buying the old, tired story in my head.

I have no idea if it will work out. I really hope it does, but maybe I don’t know what’s best for me. For now I just have to show up and try. If I get hurt, I know it can’t be nearly as bad as losing the woman I spent most of my adult life with. I’m just playing and practicing, like that kid who wasn’t afraid of anything on the outside but was terrified on the inside. I didn’t let it stop me then, and I won’t let it stop me now.

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  • rachel wahba says:

    robin, you inspire me and i bet many others.
    31 years in my marriage and then poof, it was gone —she was gone. and the terror is real. i love you for sharing this. and other things! xoxoxoox

  • Jan says:

    This has inspired me quite a bit. I was in two relationships each one was 18 years and each of got sick and died. It was so devastating that it is really hard to go out now. I have not met anyone I am interested in dating for almost 4 years. It just seems overwhelming.

  • epochalipsnow says:

    I’m so glad to hear this inspired you, Jan. Keep on keeping on, it gets easier if you just give it a try.