Reality, after 10 hazy, sunny, beer-filled days in Mexico, bites. Reality means donning lulu lemon pants and a bunny hug when I wake up instead of a bathing suit. Reality is looking out my window to see a dirty, snowy street with bare tree branches instead of palm trees and mangrove. Sometimes I do question living in a prairie city that spends more time below zero than not. Alas, here I am. As I touched down in Saskatoon and took my phone off airplane mode, the actuality of my love(less) life came into sharp focus.
A: Hey, how are you? Any days off this week?
At first glance, a totally innocuous message. The context however - oh, the context - is convoluted and ridiculous, and a prime example of my dating life. Mr. A and I met a couple of years ago, we started dating, and things seemed to be going well (if I had a nickel…). He joined me on a New Year’s snowboarding trip, and morphed into a complete jackass; a total 180 from what I knew of him to that point. We spent a silent 16 hour car ride home, went on one more date, and didn’t speak to each other again. The end to another in a long line of flawed relationship attempts.
Fast forward to this past summer, and we find ourselves on opposing slo-pitch teams and ending up at the same bar for post-game beers. Since mutual friends and friendly competition forced it, we talked and navigated the awkwardness so as to be friendly when we run into each other (entirely inevitable in this small-town “big” prairie city). Later in the summer I started getting messages asking me to “hang out;” which I politely declined given that at the time, I was seeing someone (or so I thought, turns out he was playing the field and deftly fooling me into falling in love with him…see previous post). Now here I am, receiving an inquiry and an invitation as a welcome home. I turned him down once already. Our attempt at dating did not go particularly well, and it ended in a relatively uncomfortable way. What exactly makes him think a second go round would be a resounding fucking success!?
I will shamefully admit, for a brief second - as I sat waiting to get off the plane and get home - I wondered, should I be giving A a second chance? A brief moment of weakness (and stupidity) followed by a tidal wave of epiphany from the ocean I had just finished swimming in. I’ve reached a point in my dating experience where it is an available option to recycle dates. Sure, the occasional fresh meat is thrown in the mix; but in large part, my dating life is littered with reruns. Filler, until I get to the real thing. Is this inevitable? Does everyone eventually start circling back to past lovers, wondering if they're worth a second look? Is this what happens when your dating philosophy hinges on questions like "why not?" and "what if?"
What dangerous questions, especially when applied to your love life and past loves. My numerous failed dating attempts, are exhibit A. Somewhere along the line, I allowed myself to tumble down the slippery slope of “what if?” and it’s led me nowhere but into a maze of shit. I remember, having a conversation with one of my aunts about my love life and I told her I was somehow convinced the man of my dreams (whoever he may turn out to be, if he is in fact meant to be in my life) is someone I have already met. What a twisted way to live out a self-fulfilling prophecy (and what the fuck do I know about who Mr. Right might be…I’m the one who keeps selling herself short).
What if I re-framed the question “what if?” Instead of always asking myself that when I meet someone…maybe I should be looking at myself, my own life, and saying “what if?” There is a shift happening inside me, a possible byproduct of my last foray into dating and having my heart broken in a way I didn't think was possible anymore. What if I take the emphasis away from finding a relationship? What if I focus instead on forming a life I want, without having constant consideration for the mysterious Mr. Right who may materialize one day? What if, instead of allowing myself to recycle old feelings and lovers, I break the cycle and move forward, on my own?
(I'm thinking the same thing you are...it's about fucking time, April.)