Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fly Casual

I swear, the reason I'm not writing here often is simply that I'm busy. This short story editor gig is crazy amounts of work, and it doesn't help that the January deadline was set too close and got a ton of submissions, and the February deadline was likewise set too close and got a ton of submissions.

March is an anthology month, though, so I'm hoping to use February and March to get ahead of the curve on the April stories.

I realize that didn't make much sense. I apologize. Suffice to say: stupidly busy.

But not so busy that I didn't manage to turn into a complete sloth over the weekend. Holy hell, I started watching Downton Abbey on Friday night, and finished Season One on Saturday, and probably would've gone through all of Season Two on Saturday and Sunday except that Netflix doesn't have Season Two on streaming. I also finished Season 4 of Doctor Who (including the post-season shows) and watched the first episode of Season 5, just because I wanted to get a feel for Matt Smith in the role. (Not as hot as David Tennant, granted, but also, not nearly so angsty. I like his energy.) And I finished another season of HIMYM (because that's fluffy enough to watch with divided attention, like while I'm eating or chatting online).

But I really want to ramble about dating.

I almost had a date Friday night with a guy I've seen a couple of times before, but it fell through, largely because I'm too much of a wimp to stay up late. (And then I had another bout of insomnia anyway. Stupid body. Or brain, whichever.) I did go on a lunch date on Saturday, with a new guy. It went okay, but I wasn't really wowed. Also, I have a date scheduled this week with a guy that I've been chatting (and flirting a bit) with on Facebook that should be fun.

Yes, I'm seeing multiple people at once. Yes, they're all aware of it and are okay with it. Yes, I'm being (and planning on being) safe, in all respects of the word, from avoiding stalkers and creepers to avoiding STDs. (Potential TMI, highlight to read: no, I haven't gotten that far with anyone yet. Yes, there are some possible candidates for it. Yes, "candidates" was plural on purpose.) No, none of them have met the kids yet, and I don't expect that will happen for quite some time, as the kids don't even know that I'm dating yet. Just like I decided to wait until after the new year to start dating again (after a couple of less-than-optimal attempts, anyway), I've decided that I need to keep my dating strictly casual (that is, nonexclusive and with no anticipation of building a long-term relationship) for a good while now that I am dating again.

One of my big regrets from my high school and college years is that I would only consider going out with guys that I thought had long-term potential. (That is to say, to be embarrassingly blunt, whether I would consider marrying them.) And it was pointless, because I judged every one of the relationships I did have wrongly. I'm not sure where I acquired such an antiquated attitude (even my grandfather wanted me to date around more -- I think maybe I read too many historical novels and horrible romances where no one ever had any kind of good relationship with someone who wasn't their One True Love) but I know that it cost me a lot of fun and a lot of insight and a lot of experience that I really wish I'd had.

I spent my high school and college years lurching from "serious" relationship to "serious" relationship, unable to let one go until I'd figured out who my next candidate was (and in several cases, taking steps to establish the new relationship first). I do not want to repeat that pattern. I'm not ashamed of having dated the people I dated back then, but I am ashamed of the way I went about it. I don't want that again, and I'm okay with taking the time to make sure of my feelings before I step into something serious.

I'm not seventeen any more; I no longer feel like I need a romantic relationship to justify my existence. I actually kind of like being single, in fact. I like not having to negotiate and compromise on how to decorate or arrange things. I like having days where I don't have to talk to anyone, or where I can just pick up and go do things that would otherwise require some level of coordination.

(Would I like it as much if I was alone more, if I didn't have the kids at least three days each week? No idea. But, since I do have the kids three or four days each week, it's not really relevant, either.)

When I was seventeen, it was understandable that I would conflate lust and love, and that I would confuse my desire for a particular person with my enjoyment of their desire. I was young and hormone-addled and wholly inexperienced. But it's easier to separate my feelings now. Yes, it does feel nice to be pursued. It's been a long time (longer than I knew, really) since I've actually felt like anyone wanted me, and it's a heady experience, and it's fun, and I mean to enjoy it. But that doesn't mean I owe anything to my pursuers, either in terms of sex or commitment, that I don't actually want to give them.

I don't know how long it will be before I'm ready to consider a serious commitment again. I'll get there, I imagine; I seem to be wired that way. But for now, I'm flying casual.


Kerry said...

I'm glad the dating thing is going well and you're happy and meeting some new people. You deserve to have some fun and keep things light and fluffy if you want! :) One of the hardest things for me when dating after my ex and I split up was keeping things casual. (I ended up marrying the first guy I dated, so the casual thing didn't go so well, but it worked out well the end, so that's ok!) It is also nice to have appreciation and admiration (and validation) from someone. Sounds like you are going about it in the right way and I hope things go great for you!

Amy said...

Season 2 of Downton Abbey is available on Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. Both of these offer free trials subscriptions. If you haven't already taken advantage of their trials, that is.