Almost Doesn’t Count…Or Does It?
I decided two weeks ago today to try online dating for the first time. Well, a dating app, actually. And since I haven’t really dated at all in more than two years…being out there again…putting myself out there again…has been exhilarating and terrifying and new and different. Or in other words, everything my life seems to represent these days as I continue to transition from one version of myself to another. To finally feel ready for love again? That’s HUGE for me. And it’s taken every single thing I’ve been through to this point to get me here.
My family went through intense trauma back in March. Soon after that, a week after, actually – I left my publisher of four years. And not too long after that, I encountered someone who slowly, a little bit at a time, opened me up to the idea of maybe possibly wanting to date again. I guess it was a vulnerable time and my defenses were down, but for whatever reason, I let someone in for the first time in two years.
At first as a friend…a good friend…and then something that felt like a little more. We talked a lot…laughed constantly…and over the course of almost six months, developed a connection that felt really, really special. He doesn’t live close to me so we never met face to face, but the thread of authenticity and humor and honesty that ran through our ‘almost relationship’ made me feel closer to him than some people I see on a regular basis. I can honestly count on one hand the number of guys that I’ve felt this kind of connection with in my entire life. It was good. And it made me happy. And somewhere along the way I started to open up my heart to the idea of him. It wasn’t love…but it was like. Strong, deep, sincere LIKE.
And then one day it became evident that he didn’t feel the same. Perhaps he felt something for me…but not enough of a something to risk anything. And that hurt. Gosh, it hurt. I couldn’t understand how someone who had invested almost six months and countless phone calls, thousands of texts, and millions of laughs could so easily dismiss the idea that there might just be something REAL between us. Of course, he’s younger than me…still at an age I remember well as not fully being able to understand how rare it is in this life to really, naturally CLICK with someone. And to find someone who makes you laugh not just some of the time, but most of the time. It takes age and years and lots of life experience to fully grasp that there won’t just be endless opportunities to make that kind of connection. And I learned a long time ago that it does no good to wait around on someone’s feelings to catch up to yours. So I had no choice but to move on. To release what almost/maybe/kinda was and accept that it would never be.
And after a few days of thinking it all over…it hit me. He was never meant to be my great love. Or even a love at all. He was just meant to get me ready for it.
I wasn’t open to love, or dating, or relationships, or any level of intimacy, for a really long time. My heart was closed tighter than a drum. Now I am open, and so is my heart. My life colliding with a guy’s hundreds of miles away who I never met face to face changed everything for me. And I’m grateful.
You see…not everyone whose lives intersect with ours intersect for the reasons we want them to, or THINK we want them to. Sometimes the seemingly most obvious reason isn’t the reason they’re in our lives at all. But that doesn’t make their purpose any less special, or important, or necessary. We’re so quick to dismiss someone who hurts us as a “mistake,” or a “waste of time,” or a “hard-earned lesson,” but what if…just what if…they’re actually a blessing? One we may not unwrap today or even tomorrow, but eventually we’ll look back on as the moment that changed everything for us?
This guy was my moment. And I’m grateful for him. I don’t know if I’ll ever talk to him again…but if he somehow finds his way to this blog…I hope he knows how grateful I am. For the laughs, the conversations, and yes, even The End.
So now I let go of what wasn’t and look ahead to what will be. In some ways, my life is beginning all over now. The last chapter of me and this “almost lover” marked the first chapter of everything else.
I can hardly wait to see what…and who…comes next.