On Sunday I ended up getting a text from (let’s call him Ray). He was one of the first guys I met after my divorce and we’ve been in and out of touch for the past 6 years.
Let me give you a little background on ‘Ray’… I met Ray online (surprise, surprise) approximately 8 months after my separation/divorce.
Now, Ray is 10 years younger then me. (Gasp!) Or maybe he is 11 years younger. I can’t be too sure because back then (6 years ago) I always told people, more specifically, potential dates, that I was one or two years younger then I actually was. So at this point I can’t even remember what age I told him I was. I was 38 then, had been with my husband since I was 18 years old. That’s 20 years! After we separated I felt like I was incredibly old, like dinosaur old. Awkward and inexperienced at dating. So to make myself feel better I gave myself a couple of years lead way. Like a present to myself. I deserved it, I earned that right to adjust my age as far as I was concerned. It doesn’t matter.
Anyways, point is, Ray was younger, very attractive, funny, smart, never married, no kids, doesn’t want kids (perfect because I don’t/can’t either), tattooed, great job, ambitious, owned his own home and truck (pretty hard to find a guy who does at that age). He contacted me on a popular dating site and we began to correspond regularly. At first I wasn’t even going to meet him, strictly because of the age difference. But he was very persistent and pointed out all of the reasons why I should meet him and give him a chance. Literally, he sent me a list of numbered reasons why I should give him a chance. Impressive. Who could resist? I finally agreed and we met for a drink.
We met at a local pub and instantly there was chemistry between us. After our first drink he tells me he’ll pay for the first drink but go dutch on the rest. Is this the current dating standard I wonder? Okay, I say while thinking what the hell? But mulling it over silently in my mind I realized that seems pretty fair. I figured why should he pay when It was only our first meeting. It wasn’t an official date-date, after all. That and because I knew I was only having one drink, that’s my limit on a first meeting/date so it really wasn’t a huge issue for me. My rules. (and I’m allowed to break them too, only when I see fit… that’s the beauty of making your own rules!)
Hell, I didn’t even know the so called ‘rules of dating’. I made them up as I went along. So out of the loop. Regardless, I decided not to make any harsh assumptions or formed opinions about him. Yet. I made a mental note to self to confirm with friends immediately on what’s the appropriate protocol on these types of online first meetings/dates. Does he pay, you pay, we both pay? Do we discuss these details or wait for that awkward situation when it’s time to pay and I do the whole reaching into my purse to find my wallet and be like, “I’ll pay for mine, don’t worry.”
I’d have to get to the bottom of this asap and find out the 101 on dating etiquette.
Which reminds me, I went through a faze where I would insist on paying, for myself and whom ever I was out with. I would quickly pull out my wallet, snag the waitress and hand her my credit card, or pay when he was in the washroom. I felt like I needed to be this independent woman and not have a man pay for me. I didn’t want to feel like I owed anyone anything. I have issues, it’s true. I’m sure there’s some underlying deep explanation as to why I felt that way (and still do to some extent) but that’s a whole other blog post (or more).
Back then I was totally clueless and new to dating. When I look back now I can clearly see what kind of dumb ass moves I made. Hindsight is 20/20.
Having been in a marriage for so many years I was used to being part of a duo, a couple, a pair. Solo I seemed lost and probably clingy to these new men who came into my life. I seemed to be constantly looking for a man to fill that huge void I was carrying around. Meanwhile, at the time I thought I was playing it cool but I was most likely giving off the ‘marry me asap’ vibe which probably had some guys pretty damn nervous and running in the opposite direction.
Ray and I went on many dates, hung out a lot, went to concerts, watched movies and tuned into Dancing With The Stars weekly. Don’t judge, we loved that show back then. We had lots of fun together and enjoyed eachothers company. This went on for numerous months sparatically.
We had the kind of relationship that really seemed like a good friendship. We never talked about dating or not dating anyone else, we never assumed anything about each other or where either of us stood. Maybe in the back of my mind our age difference kept my feelings at bay. Were we exclusive or not? It never came up. It was more like an unspoken understanding between us that I guess I actually never really understood. I mean, I am a woman after all and even though I realized we weren’t exactly at the serious exclusive stage, of course the thoughts of maybe, what if, what would it be like and where is this thing we got going on….going?
After awhile he stopped calling as much and making plans as often. More and more time would pass between seeing each other. It kinda hurt my feelings (and ego) but I decided he definitely wasn’t worth it. Yeah, that’s what I kept telling myself to make myself feel somewhat better. Rejection is never fun.
I ended up meeting someone else (lets call him Wayne) at a pub, not online. The old fashioned way. Shocking. We danced and danced the night away to a live band who played dj music during their breaks… our first dance was to ‘Sexy Back’ by Justin Timberlake. Biggest song of the summer which is why I remember it. Oddly enough weird facts like that take up space in my brain. Not sure why.
Anyways, Its a good thing Wayne approached me because my girl friend (aka wing girl) that night had pretty much abandoned me. She was off on her merry way dancing and flirting with the guy who was standing at the end of the bar giving her the flirty eye for 2 hours before he got up enough liquid courage and finally found his way over and asked her to dance. Really? uggghhh.
She never was a good wing woman and she most definitely didn’t know the cardinal rules of being a wing woman.
A few days later I end up finding out through a mutual friend that Ray was seen with a very sexy brunette. Say what? My friend can’t believe my reaction is not of complete shock, hurt and despair. Ironically I am thinking how can I possibly be questioning him when I spent the previous night dancing up a storm and getting a wee bit cozy with Wayne. So in that case Mr. Ray, Play on Playa.