Sunday: 29.January.2006

Time to Move On

One of the things I've been dealing with recently is trying to decide when the time is right to open up myself to a new relationship.

Following a break-up, or divorce, people sometimes seek a new relationship immediately. And certainly that helps assuage the pain of the break-up. We call them rebounders.

And this is understandable. We miss having someone there for us .. caring for us .. concerned for our welfare .. wrapping their arms around us .. holding us .. pressing their warm, soft bodies against ours .. snuggling up to us on cold winter nights .. loving us .. and vice-versa.

But I don't think it's healthy to jump back in right away. We need to spend time alone .. processing the grief and loss of the last relationship .. before moving on to the next. (Some need more time than others.)

Otherwise, we tend to carry into the future all the problems, hurts & resentments of the past. Best to deal with them first .. as painful as that might be.

Fact is, nobody wants to hear us talk about our ex all the time .. how ugly they were to us .. how badly they treated us .. what complete psycho's they were. And that's what tends to happen if we don't first process the loss and grief of the past.

Now I have done this break-up thing enough times to know what to expect. And here's what I've learned:


1. You always get over it - no matter how much you think you won't, no matter how lonely you get, no matter how much it hurts.
2. Someone else will always come along .. no matter how strongly you feel no one will.

If you're a regular here, you know how long it's been for me. Following my previous break-up (June 2002), it was six months before I was ready to move on .. which is close to where I am now.

Generally, bad relationships (those with much arguing) are easier to get over. Whereas the good ones take longer, cuz you miss those women more. From past experiences, I've identified three phases in this (moving on) process.

The first (which I just entered yesterday) is to unlock the gate. This is where you get beyond the no-way, no-how phase (phase zero). Prior to yesterday, even if the perfect person came along, I still wouldn't bite, cuz I wasn't ready. Today however, I'm at the point where I'm not actively looking, but if Miss Right came along, I would entertain the idea.

Phase Two is to actually open the door. Here you're still not actively looking, but are passively available. You're not done processing the pain of the past (and yes, it's a painful process), but most of the emotional garbage is gone. If someone interesting showed up on your doorstep, you might invite them in for a cup of coffee.

Now I don't know when phase two will arrive. These timings are all based on internal clocks which tick at different rates for different people. The longer the relationship, and the better it was, the more time you need to get over it.

But I know phase one began yesterday. I felt my inner emotional gate unlock. And if Miss Right showed up on my doorstep tomorrow, I feel confident I could make that work. (Not so prior to yesterday.)

Phase Three is where you feel recovered enough to actually put on a clean shirt, step outside and and get on with your life. From past experience, I've learned I normally never make it to phase three. Someone usually comes along while I'm still in phase two.

Now I never actually go looking (phase four) cuz I feel more likely to find someone better suited for me if I stay on my path. For example, I could visit a club tonight (wandering off my path), and find a hottie there. But she probably wouldn't be right for me, cuz I'm not a club person.

Now if I ran into a hottie on a trail, hiking in Yosemite, that person is more likely to be a better match for me than the bar queen.

I have nothing against online dating services. You know the techie I am. And I know several people who've found their ideal mate that way. But I enjoy my freedom, so I'm in no hurry. If the right person comes along, cool. If not, I see no sense in trying to cram a square peg into a round slot.

Personally, I enjoy the organic approach. I like to be surprised by what life brings my way, rather than setting in motion the wheels myself. But again, that's just me.

If I try to steer the ship too vigorously (control freak), I've found that I tend to screw things up. With the organic approach, it seems that life brings me somebody when I least expect it. (Some call that foolish, others call it faith.)

But now with the little guy, I have another factor to consider .. that I've never had to consider before.

In the past, I have (occasionally) dated women with children. And I always felt they had unrealistic expectations .. that I should love their children as much as they did.

Fact is, nature imbues parents with something special that (in most cases) the non-biological parent simply doesn't have. If you're a parent, you know how strongly this circuitry is hard-wired into your emotional make-up.

Now you can be kind, loving, and even paternal. But it's unfair to expect another person to have the same level of dedication as a biological parent. Certainly, there are exceptions, but generally, no one can care for your kids as well as you can (cuz nature hasn't wired them that way), and it's foolish to think otherwise.

Now, I will say that I normally preferred dating previously-married women, cuz I found they often had a more realistic view of relationships. Women who've never been married before tend to idealize, and are inclined to possess unrealistic expectations.

Not so with the woman who has been married and thru a messy divorce. She knows the score. Her expectations have been recalibrated. She's more likely to be a realist, someone you can deal with more easily than the girl who's still looking for Camelot (a fairy tale relationship).

Much easier (generally speaking) to get along with a divorced woman. They're more likely to know how to care for a man. And they've likely learned a few tricks along the way...

Here in SoCal, many women are looking for a man with money. Fortunately, that's something I don't have to worry about. Anybody who happens to wander down Rad Way is likely to love me for who I am and not what I have .. cuz I no longer have anything (except a big heart).

What I'm looking for (passively) is someone who is sweet, kind, affectionate and emotionally stable. Everything else is gravy. (Someone who doesn't already have a lawyer would be nice.) I have more to say on this topic, but it seems I've already said too much.

In other Rad news, I had the little guy Friday. Played Rad dad. We were playing at the beach when he suddenly buried his head in my chest, indicating he was tired and wanted to nap. So - instead of carting him all the way back to the ranch - I found a secluded patch of warm sand, covered him with a blankie, and let him sleep on my chest ...

.. which he did for some 90 minutes, snoring at times, with the sound of the waves crashing in the background, seagulls crying in the breeze. Now there may be more-exquisite things in life. But if there are, I haven't found them.

Posted by Rad at January 29, 2006 08:13 AM


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