Learning to Trust and Date Again

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be trying to figure out how to be single and how to navigate a blossoming relationship in my 50’s.  For so many years I was just mom or just Phil’s wife.  I was and I am nothing special, but in my little world I shone.  I didn’t need or want for more and I didn’t notice time marching on.  On 27 April, 2011, my life imploded in the most traumatic manner ever.  I became adept at uttering words like assassination, funerals, military loss, widow, and I could go on.  I simply have a vocabulary far beyond my years, far beyond a normal person.  After five years (in April), I realize that I no longer fit any where.  I am no longer a mom of children at home.  I am no longer a key spouse of a man who was always a super star.  I am no longer a teacher and I am not the normal 50 year old single person.  As the cloak of despair started to lift, and as I noticed how set apart I was, I gave up on ever having a chapter 2, or even dating.  I recognized that my life and story was eclipsing and that I am somehow not the same as others dating.

 

I have seen too much.  I no longer know how to play games or how to hide my feelings.  It is daunting to not be able to control the giggles or the blushing, but more than that, I recognize that I am no longer capable of hiding my feelings.  I don’t want to.  I tell people how I feel, show them that they matter to me, and I invest in people.  The problem in the dating world is that isn’t the way things are supposed to go.  Not at my age.

 

I recently had to swallow my fears and my beliefs of never ever and when hell freezes over when something sparked between a friend and I at the Marine Corp Marathon.  For many months, I talked myself out of my feelings and convinced myself of everything that could go wrong.  Then the day came when I realized I wasn’t running.  The problem is what next.  I know that as a widow it is too easy to put too much validity into relationships too fast.  In fact, I often feel like I am far more into him than he is into me.  He is my priority and he only kissed me after I asked him too.  I am not asking for anything else.  I share this because I don’t know how to date or how to play the games.  I am either all in or all out.

 

In my teens and early 20’s, I played the game well.  I wouldn’t be sitting waiting for messages, waiting for the quiet phone, or asking a man to kiss me.  The friendship is growing and he is who I want to run to.  Fear makes me want to run.  I understand that how I am feeling will play out if I am patient, but at times I just want to hide.  Nothing about this is easy.  I still can’t believe that I am standing toe to toe with someone and even considering what next.  He makes me dream again.  There is raw vulnerability in that statement.  I have lost everything and yet to receive the unexpected gift of a man who sees beyond the story and beyond my public persona to a girl who is very much alive.  While I run when I am afraid, I have fought to stand the line.

 

He may or may not be it.  Time will tell.  I do know that I need someone who is gaga over me and who wants to chase me.  I have to know that I am the only—no options.  I won’t compete and I won’t compromise to try to convince someone that I am the one—either we are both all in or we are both all out.  There is fear in knowing that I have opened my heart and that these feelings may be lopsided.  I find myself retreating mostly because I have absolutely no confidence on navigating these unchartered waters.  I just know that for the first time since 1988, someone has caught my heart.  In that moment, I realize that maybe, just maybe there is room for a Chapter 2.

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