E for Erection
Here is another true story: E for Erection, as felt when a man brushes himself against you — and not while dating! Do you know the correct urban dictionary term for this? I don’t. (Frottage, maybe?)
You want the rest of the story? This occurred with a married man at, believe it or not, small group Bible study with mostly nice church people. He liked to brush up against me around the refreshments. There was normally plenty of room and he really didn’t need to get that close. It stroked my ego that he liked me and wanted to share that with me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a compliment, and he was grooming me for an affair. It took me some time to realize that. I didn’t really know how to handle the situation. However, I knew the attention was inappropriate and that nothing good would come from proceeding further. And it never proceeded further.
If this kind of thing ever happens to you, especially in a church-related small group setting, tread carefully. It is wise to befriend the ladies of the group and not get too close to the men. In my situation, it was difficult as I was a single woman who needed to work and in job-hunting mode. The women of the group were stay-at-home Moms who did not have to worry about paying the bills. Their husbands were the breadwinners and were knowledgeable and comfortable discussing resumes, networking and interviewing. I expected to safely network with married Christian men, especially with their wives present, but I evidently was mistaken.
F for First date
Occasionally, I find a suitable single, divorced or widowed man for dating purposes, as in F for First date. Dating get progressively harder as you get older – both to just set that first date and then to move beyond for further dating. When I was in high school and college, I was surrounded by people of similar age and backgrounds. As an adult in the real world, it’s quite tricky to find someone of compatible age, income level, history, and religious and political beliefs. And you still have to find each other attractive enough to be willing to spend any time together.
G for Ghosts
A significant issue in dating is the emotional baggage of previous relationships. Good or bad, these ghosts affect the relationship. That’s G for Ghosts. A couple years ago, I dated a man who treasured every relationship he had. I very quickly learned about the mother of his two children, with whom he shared financial responsibilities. Because they shared parenting of children who were in grade school, they were very present in each other’s lives. What took me by surprise was another woman who left her mark in his heart. He had bought a ring and planned to marry her, but she broke up with him instead. Still, if she texted him at any time, even during a date, he dropped everything to attend to her communications. I thought it was weird. He said he still loved her and would always respond. His inability to make me a priority, among other things, was a deal breaker for me.
H for Husband
I don’t have a husband. That’s how I have all of this pent-up craziness to share.
One surprise of the 21st century is being rejoined in singleness by a couple of my friends. They are both “straight spouses” of men who decided, after marrying and raising children, to divorce their wives and pursue homosexual relationships. Sadly, despite being good women and probably awesome wives who simply lack a certain organ, these women also lack husbands and have rejoined the dating pool.
A handful of friends, in their late 30s or early 40s, have experienced marital troubles and are in various stages (separation, counseling, newly filed divorce) of ending their marriages. While the dating pool can be sparse, one positive aspect is that many stinkers are currently married and not in the dating pool. From what I have heard about some marriages, the potential ex-husbands are men I would rather not date.
I for Instinct
As a teenager and young adult, I watched a lot of Lifetime television network movies, so I have seen my share of women-in-peril movies. I still remember The Tracy Thurman Story, with Nancy McKeon in the title role, where Tracy met a man, engaged in sexual relations three hours after they met (as I recall, they met at a bar), they fell in love, got married, and had a family. However, her man was not only charming but also an abuser, so the majority of the movie was about Tracy coming to her senses, making a plan, and leaving her abusive spouse, at the same time rescuing her children from the same fate. Many Lifetime network movies had similar plots, and a couple major movies did as well – Enough with Jennifer Lopez and Sleeping with the Enemy with Julia Roberts. My takeaways from these movies were: 1) don’t sleep with someone right away; and 2) be careful since there’s evidently a lot of charming abusers out there.
For a while, I worried I would need a complete background check and a private investigator tailing a potential suitor. Luckily, I have noticed I have good instincts for both discerning sleazoids and also guessing which marriages among friends and family will end in divorce. Thanks to the 50% divorce rate, the odds have been in my favor of calling them correctly – but if I had made bets, I would be much better off now. One good friend, who is actually very intelligent, married two men she didn’t take a lot of time to get to know. I called the first one correctly, but I was several states away for the second marriage and hoped for the best. The second one also did not last. You’ve probably caught on to this one: I is for Instinct.