By: Kenneth Stepp
Single life above forty five is said to be like dancing in a mine field. After over five years of it, I have to agree. It’s nothing like it was when I was young. For one thing, there are no rules like before. Pretty much any self serving thing you do is not only ok, it’s expected. How sad is that?
I have spent some time thinking about my rebound relationship lately. How can something feel so right and end up so painful? I may not have all of the answers. But I believe I now have at least one really good one. Maybe it will help someone else coming out of a long marriage like I did. I hope it does.
As soon as I became single, I started an online dating account with Plenty of Fish, at the behest of my friends. It seemed awesome at first. Thousands of prospects in various age groups looking for the same thing I am, or so they all said. Looking back, the mine field dance had begun for me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of it.
One day a special girl sent me an email. I have mentioned her before because this was my rebound relationship, where most of the hurtful part of my singles journey was born, and the relationship that has inspired me to write about, think about, and fall into deep thought about love. It was powerful. I was a newbie, she was an old timer in the singles arena and I inspired hope in her. At least, it is what I believe.
First there I was, fresh out of a 24 year marriage with the same girl, the last few years were rough. I was naive and lonely, my emotional tanks, bone dry. Then there was this beautiful girl. A wonderful, midlife, tall, lonely girl, that had been single many years. This had disaster written all over it. I’ll unwrap that from only my perspective.
After no telling how many meaningless dates, in walks the bumpkin. She has been with countless men that are only there for themselves, may have been abusive, many vanished after getting what they wanted, many were just awful. Me, a gentleman, 6 ft 2, 235, solid as a tank, an athletic body, no fat, energetic, accomplished, and smart. Tooting my own horn a little, but those are the facts. Our first date we met at an outdoor cafe in Atlanta and just talked for six hours, it seemed like ten minutes, I got my first kiss. Our second date we made out in the backseat of my SUV for six and a half hours like teenagers. Our third date we made love all night, to which she smiled the next morning and said “You aren’t normal”. Add to this that I worshiped the ground she walked on, was loyal, faithful, attentive, and always up for anything she wanted to do.
When she said I love you, it only seemed natural to believe it. I do not blame her. It had to be intoxicating to have a decent mans total attention after her last thirty years. I was intoxicated by having so much attention aimed my way after so many dead dry years of marriage. But after five months it was over. It dragged on because we would meet in Atlanta every now and then. To me it was just dragging the pain out. Not sure what it was for her. Maybe it was hope for her. I remember that I told her if she couldn’t make it with me, she would never make it with anyone. Not sure if that is true. I hope it isn’t. She’s a great person, an awesome mom, and a very hard working woman. She deserves something great some day and I hope she finds it.
Sharing my journey is part of who I am and in the hopes that it may help somebody out there. I do receive emails telling me this. Mostly though, it’s therapy for myself. It causes me to think about life much deeper. For all you editors that send me the same email every time I write telling me if I want to be taken seriously I will have my writings edited. I don’t take myself seriously. I certainly would hate to think anyone else would. Thanks for the thought though.
These were just my thoughts today. They could change tomorrow. Things are much better for me now, closure is a powerful thing, moving on is too. But I talk with singles everyday who haven’t found it, haven’t moved on, and have a tough time coping. All I can do is be there, listen, and hope with them. And remember.