Trying Out a New Swing
Having left a 32-year marriage, I was hesitant to start dating again, so I approached it with what I thought was a great plan – a new swing. This chapter chronicles the beginning of my whirlwind romance with Rael, documenting it with the emails we exchanged and my initial reaction and mistakes. I also introduce my family of origin in Family Reflections and share the lessons I learned in Nuggets of Gold (below).
Since my original intention in writing this book was to learn from my experience, I decided to shake the sieve at the end of every chapter.Much of what I saw glistening among the dirt and rocks showed up early in the story, but that does not mean I learned the lesson right away. So don’t hold me to automatically assimilating these gems of wisdom. The first truth that appeared is that, when I am trying something new, I need to make sure why I am doing it and what I hope to achieve. As I plunged into dating, I was determined to “try a new swing,” as Dr. Humor suggested, but I lacked direction. Playing the numbers game seemed to satisfy the concept of persisting until I improved, although I had not established what enhancement in that area looked like. So the next time I decide to change my grip on a particular behavior, I am committed to determining what my desired result should be, and to define a more direct approach to achieving it.
Next, I’d like to be myself. This goes hand in hand with defining my swing. That is what my new swing was supposed to have gotten me – the ability to be authentic in intimate relationships with men. Knowing what I think, what I like and don’t like, being brave enough to stand by that no matter what – in other words, all that constitutes me, which is not who I was from the beginning of my relationship with Rael. So while I mention it here, I certainly do not give myself credit for having learned this lesson at this point in the story.
Lastly, save the family drama for after the let-me-get-to-know you stage. I’m sure that Rael was attracted to more than the fact that my dad was a sex offender, but throwing that on the table in our first real conversation changed the dynamics of everything. It told him things about me that I did not need to tell him immediately. Plus, blurting out family history, especially when it is colorful and involves the police, drives away healthy guys, the ones I want to get to know better. At this point, I doubt I would have recognized or been attracted to a healthy guy. On the other hand, advertising my family history on the first date attracts men on the lookout for gals with vulnerable self-esteem who will fall for a little attention.
Life is change. Growth is optional. ~ Anonymous