Never say never again

never never landNever say never.

I used to hear that a lot from someone who used to be in my life. The line was used to dangle possibilities that would never become realities.

There are a lot of things I said I would never do, especially in the context of relationships.  Jaded, skeptical and wounded, I had a laundry list of things I said I wouldn’t do to accommodate potential love.

That was then and this is now.  I would say my dog ate the list, but I don’t have a dog.  I’m eating the words – and being reminded of advice I gave others – on a daily basis.  That’s OK—it’s good to remember what lack of hope feels like.

Some people say that you don’t know what you lost until it’s gone.  I’ve learned that I didn’t know what I was missing until I found it.

As a single, unattached female I had a good life.  Good job.  Nice home.  Fantastic friends who are my family.   I was enjoying life and not troubled by the fact that I wasn’t in a long-term relationship.  For me, relationships with men aren’t about finding someone who meets a list of criteria.  It’s about finding someone with whom I have that inexplicable feeling: part chemistry, part intuition, part emotional and intellectual attraction.  I simply call it “IT.”  Despite joining online dating where magical computers are supposed to crunch the data and churn out The One for me, I wasn’t finding “IT.”

I’ve always believed that your life can change in a single moment that otherwise would be unremarkable.  I’m not talking about those huge, tragic moments – like being struck by lightning or having a horrific accident.  I mean those ordinary moments where a seemingly insignificant decision changes your life.

For me, it was in a crowded room packed with hundreds of people.  I noticed an attractive man that I had never seen in this establishment before.  And I did something I said I would never do:  I sent him a drink.  Everyone who has read The Rules or He’s Just Not That Into You believes this is a bad idea. But my filters were clogged and I was being encouraged by a friend.  After what seems like hours and drinks were exchanged, I needed to head to the ladies’ room.  En route, he stopped me to talk.

In that instant, I knew.  This could be “IT.”

Fast forward a mere 107 days.  I wake up every morning feeling extremely lucky.  And very thankful I broke one of my rules.

Since then a lot of my “nevers” have gone out the window.  We spend every available moment together.  Social activities with friends and family, grocery shopping, bike riding, reading, watching TV…we do most things as a team.  We like it that way.  Early on we had the conversation about how much “alone time” we each need.  Ironically, both of us feel like we were alone for a long time and we like the companionship.

We’ve begun our relationship with the assumption that it will last indefinitely.  How can you begin a relationship thinking it won’t work?  We both know what we want in a relationship and we both want the same thing.  That’s key.  There isn’t that imbalance of one partner wanting more (or less).  We have a lot in common but also some stark differences. We balance one another and make one another better.

We know we are lucky.  Some people never find what we have.  We also are savoring the moments together, because we know we won’t always have them.  I met him during the period after he retired from a first career and before he embarks on his second.  He will soon begin a challenging job with a lot of travel and we won’t have this opportunity to spend so much time together.

It’s not been without some significant adjustments.  Bringing a partner into a close-knit group of friends who are like a family hasn’t been without struggle, and even a bit of unfortunate drama.  Personalities clash.  Cultures collide.  Feelings are hurt.  It’s a lot like stuffing four women who don’t know one another into a tiny cruise ship cabin for a weekend (I’ve done that, too).

People feel slighted, ignored.  Highly social, I was always available for everyone whenever they needed me – whether for partying or a shoulder to cry on, I was there.  I was the “wing woman” for other single female friends.  I was a drinking buddy for platonic male friends.

Now I’m joined at the hip with a virtual stranger.  The others aren’t getting their “Ginger time,” and it’s a challenge.  But they had me to themselves – and I had them – for a long time.  It’s his turn to have some of my undivided attention.  And my turn to finally be loved the way I need to be loved.   I’m incredibly happy and for the first time in many years I feel valued by someone who wants to share my life.

Those who genuinely care about me understand and tolerate this guy they aren’t so sure about.  They accept that I AM sure about him.  I know it’s not always so easy.  If I turn out to be wrong, I will be better for the experience.  It’s certainly been worth it so far.

In the end, we are all adults and we will adjust.  After my partner and I return from a month in Europe, he will go back to the workforce and reality will be injected into the fairytale.  I will have plenty of time on my hands to share with all of those people who are missing me.

Will we live happily ever after?  Stay tuned.

But I’ll never say never again.

Social media and dating

A friend recently sent me a link to a wonderfully funny and insightful blog post titled Being Single 14406096347_9a3c83b3a0_bin 2013. While I was entertained, the post also caused me to reflect on this whole business of being single.  This is my response to his witty post with a few of my own thoughts sprinkled in…although I’m not nearly as funny.

Calling vs. Texting

My mama beat the words “girls should never call boys” into my skull on a regular basis.  This caused me to spend at least two decades sitting by the phone.  I didn’t leave the house until cell phones were invented.  I respectfully disagree with Mr. McMurran’s statement that women love to text.

Sure, texting is convenient and doesn’t make much noise. It’s helpful while in meetings or if you need quick info that doesn’t require a phone call.  But if you want to get to know me and let me know you are truly interested, pick up the phone and dial!

I went out on a date with a man who doesn’t text.  At all.  Ever.  He’s very proud of it and a bit critical of those of us who are smart phone addicts.  I turned my iPhone on Do Not Disturb and put it in my purse for the duration of the date.  To my surprise, I didn’t suffer any ill-effects from technology withdrawal.

Did this man pick up the phone and call me to ask me out? No!  He sent me a message on Facebook.  So much for eschewing technology.  To his credit, he first mentioned it in person at a group gathering (I call that “testing the waters” or “sending out a trial balloon”).  And while he didn’t ask for my phone number at the time, it’s easily accessible since we belong to the same group.  He had no excuse for not dialing.

He did ask me for my number in that initial Facebook message. Has he called me? No.  But I got another Facebook message relatively promptly post-date. Maybe he was paying attention.

I recently received a phone call from a man I met nearly a year ago but hadn’t heard from in months.  What did he want? He wanted to know if he could call me sometime. That made me scratch my head and look quizzically at my phone.

Frequency of communication

The line between showing affection and stalking is a thin one.  Waking up to a good morning text makes me smile.  Seeing a goodnight text on my phone, or talking to a special someone before going to sleep, will give me very pleasant dreams.

A text every hour for no reason? Not so much.  Especially if he sends a text to follow-up on why I didn’t answer the last text.  Men also get mad if you don’t text back timely – so don’t say women are being sensitive.  Feeling rejected is an equal opportunity emotion.

I’m also confused about when or how often to text, so men aren’t alone in that department.  Bottom line:  if I’m dating someone regularly and exclusively, I expect to hear from them every day.  Why would I put all of my eggs in a basket that only calls me when it wants to play?

I have occasionally broken the “don’t call boys” rule.  But if he’s not calling me on a regular basis, I’m not calling him.  No chasing guys that don’t want to be caught — there are plenty who DO want to be caught.  They jump right out of the water without me having to bait a hook.

Social media

To friend or not to friend, that is the question.   As a public relations practitioner, I understand the metrics associated with social media.  Likes and shares are good things — they show that your audience is engaged (not in the romantic sense), fond of your brand and paying attention. Isn’t that what we want in a potential romantic partner?

If a guy is offended by posts or photos that indicate I’m out with someone else, he needs to remember he would be there (literally, or by asking for a commitment) if he really wanted to protect his territory.  If he doesn’t want me to date other people, he should just say so!

Social media and online dating have made it easier for shy people to date.  People will write an email when they don’t have the guts to call you up.  Recently, a really nice guy emailed me on Facebook to tell me how much he adored me but never had the guts to tell me.  I appreciated the gesture, even though I’m not interested in dating him.

Recognizing this effort took a lot of courage, I thanked him profusely and told him how much I appreciated it and was sincerely flattered.  Right before I told a fib and said I’m in a relationship*. He graciously accepted defeat — and didn’t unfriend me.  I’ve been unfriended by men because I rejected them.  Fine, who needs friends who can’t take no for an answer?

Relationship status

I have a relative who changes her relationship status on Facebook with some regularity.  On any given day she could be engaged, in a complicated relationship, in an open relationship or  married.    I know a guy who announced his divorce by changing his relationship status on Facebook from “Married” to “Separated.”   When I separated from my husband I hid my relationship status on my page.  I eventually changed it to “Single,” but I keep it hidden.  If people want to know, they can ask.*

If I were in a mutually exclusive relationship with someone and he asked me to change my relationship status* to “In a relationship” and make it public so that people would know I’m off-limits, of course I would.  If he wanted to link our pages so that it says, “in a relationship with….” I would do that, too.  But if he doesn’t want to do that, I wouldn’t cry and think he doesn’t love me.

It’s the real connection that counts.  Isn’t that what all this dating stuff is about?

*Since this blog post was written, I’ve entered an exclusive, committed relationship and changed my relationship status on Facebook at the request of my beloved.

Do I look like I need a handyman?


Aside from killing spiders (or chasing snakes), I prefer to do my own home improvements and other chores.  Sure, it’s wonderful when people offer to help, and I sometimes will take you up on it.  Especially from tall friends who aren’t afraid of heights when I want to place Christmas decorations on that ledge in my living room that’s 20 feet off the floor.


Recently I assembled a kitchen island.  It took quite a while — three Cary Grant movies. When I was finished, I had one injury and a satisfied feeling of accomplishment.

kitchen island

I actually would have been finished sooner if it weren’t for the plentiful offers of assistance from male friends.  That’s what I get from posting on Facebook that I was assembling furniture.  It really wasn’t a cryptic call for help.  I know how to dial (or text).  I just thought it was more interesting than what I ate for breakfast.

While I appreciated the offers of assistance — at least one of those who offered is an engineer — I didn’t want that.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure, one was from my roommate.  The comments I’m about to make don’t apply to him.

Soon after becoming single again, I learned that a shy guy’s way of flirting is to offer to fix stuff.  When I was dating my ex-husband (before he was my husband), he showed up at my house with a tool box on a regular basis.  I’m not falling for that trick again!

I thanked everyone politely but said I could handle it myself.  What I really wanted to say is this:  “If you are trying to get into my pants, you’re going about it the wrong way.  I don’t need a guy to assemble a kitchen island for me.  I need a guy to take me to a movie.  Or dinner. Or for a drink.  Or a walk.”

But I didn’t say that.  For the record, at least one of them (the engineer, no less) has taken me to dinner and drinks.  He’s also offered walks, hikes, trips to tourist attractions and all manner of other date-ish activities. He also has offered to fix my toilet.

I’ve declined all offers of dates and home improvements because I’m not interested in dating him.  He knows this.  But he still texts me every couple of days to see how I’m doing.  I have determined he’s just a nice guy.  Or maybe he thinks he will catch me in a weak moment of gratitude after he’s installed 1,000 square feet of flooring.  Nope.  It’s not happening.  I’m not going to lead him on by letting him assemble my furniture.

Some women like it when men do things for them.  If a guy isn’t fixing something, cleaning something or cooking something, they aren’t quality prospects for them.  Not me.  I don’t want a guy wasting time by  fixing something or cleaning when he could be spending quality time with me.  Cooking is another story…unless he is doing it because he is cheap.

This doesn’t apply to my roommate or other men who are friends and not “romantic prospects.”  If you’re a guy friend, I might ask you to help me fix the toilet.  And even a potential romantic partner might get roped into killing a spider if he’s around when one emerges from the web.

After you reach “relationship” stage and are spending every waking minute together, it’s different.  Things need to be fixed, cleaned and cooked.  Errands need to be accomplished.  Bills paid.  Sure, it’s more fun to do that together sometimes.

But unless they’re sleeping in my bed at least four nights a week,* hands off the power tools!

*Since this post was written, I started sharing my home with my domestic partner who regularly fixes things.  Sometimes I even help.