Real life is never as spectacular as the movies. Shame though, right? I mean – the same people who write that shit live in our world – so you’d think that every once in a while something might just happen like it happens in the movies.

It’s like this… a while back I sent a random email and asked a girl to something where I needed a date. We knew each other and had… eh… gone out (or something closely resembling that) a couple of times so I figured what the heck. To my astonishment, she said yes. Seriously, I was shocked. I’m not fugly or anything – I just didn’t think she’d go. And when we talked about it later, she thought I sent it to her accidentally.

But I digress…

We went out that night and had a great time. We sat in my car until 2 am talking. No really. We just talked. For the next several weeks we did the same… went out, had an awesome time and sat in my car until the wee hours… just talking.

We had a great connection, could talk about everything from the most serious and important topics to the most silly and random. We were actually pretty good for each other. And yeah, it seemed to be going somewhere. And yes, I made my move in one of those wee hour sessions. Kissing her was magic and my stomach sunk to my toes.

A couple of days later it unraveled. Seems a straight girl had more of her mind and heart than me – so it makes sense why it was so long before we were sucking the white off each others teeth, eh? I don’t compete so I bowed out and put the ball in her court… when she was ready to hang out (as friends) she was free to give me a ring.

My apologies for a detail here, but I had asked her to a party then took my cycling buddy who I eventually ended up dating for a while. Yep – I got the “unfriending” on FB which I understand. Who would want to see that?

I accidentally pocket dialed my late-light chat buddy and got a reply text that said she was excited to hear from me… I was confused, hurt and angry. Really? Happy. WTF? So why hasn’t my phone rung in, oh, six months?

What does this have to do with movies? I was invited to a birthday party of someone we both know and if this were a movie I would have gone. I imagine our eyes would have met across the club and in that instant we’d have known that for all these long months we’ve not stopped thinking about each other. That we both know we’ve got what it takes to make a solid go of it. In a moment I’d recognize that she figured out I could meet her needs instead of continuing to chase after people she knows will hurt her in the end. Now *that* would have been a great ending, no?

Instead I topped off a great day of snowboarding with sushi and ice cream snuggled under a blanket with my critters. Why? Let’s be honest, while I’m a hopeless romantic and anything but a realist I have come to believe a couple of things:

Things happen for a reason. Our time together was pretty brief, but I know I gained a great deal. She was an integral part of my dating growth in 2011 and I’ll be forever grateful. She added so much in such a short time.

It takes more strength to let go. Thinking, obsessing, mental masturbation… all of that is easy. The hard thing is letting someone go. Stopping the momentum of thought and emotion takes vigilance. It also takes patience and compassion for yourself. That’s true love.

I’ve described in an earlier post just how much I learned last year through dating and I can add Marco Polo Text Messaging to the list.

As a kid we played this in the pool… I’d close my eyes and say “Marco?” others would say “Polo!” The objective was to move about the pool – eyes closed – and catch someone merely by their response. Marco Polo Text Messaging is a game whereby the sender is trying to elicit a response from the receiver; to “catch” something with the initial text message, if you will.

Oftentimes the game is quite innocent:

Sender: Hey – how’s your day going?

Receiver: Pretty good – getting a lot done. You?

However, there are times it can become subtly manipulative depending on the relationship:

Sender: I’ve been thinking about you a lot today…

Receiver: <long silence> Me too…

If there is an existing intimacy between the two parties the conversation really might be part of the usual back and forth – but if this is in the first couple weeks of dating… eeeeh.

Then, there’s the ambiguous text:

Sender: Hey

Receiver: Um… hey

I’ve found a theme among friends whereby lobbing a text over that proverbial net to get a response becomes a habit. We know from positive conditioning, it’s very easy to get into and a habit that’s hard to break. But there’s an important reason to fight that: the text is just a text. We attach qualities and attributes to it that may not really be there – particularly if we are playing Marco Polo. All in all, playing the game isn’t a bad thing, unless it leads to denial and asking others to cosign.

Only I know when I’m playing Marco Polo or when I’m in the moment and sending a message of authenticity. I know when my head, my heart and my gut are all in alignment. Sometimes I need human contact, sometimes I need to vent and sometimes I just need to know someone out there in the stratosphere is listening… for any and all of those reasons I’ll send the text. Today I know why I’m sending it – and that any response is just a response. And even no response… is a response. 🙂

Marco?

I’ve got another round of “lessons learned” that dovetail with a lot of the events of 2011. It was a great year and I grew a great deal. Most of it I knew, but didn’t know.

What I really hope to remember going forward is…

The moment I get the desire to have that “where are we going and what are we doing” check my gut. Truth be told – I know. I have a one-way ticket to nowhere and I’ve got a window seat. 🙂 No one wants to have that conversation. They really don’t want to have it every other weekend. The desire to have the conversation stems from a place to push the point.

Talking about “our connection” does nada to enhance “the connection.” In fact, it hinders connection-building. It places pressure on two individuals that may very well care for each other and want to see where something is going. Both potential and momentum are lost in one fell swoop.

It’s not personal. This is huge and a point I missed for years and years. Finally a friend let me in on the secret. Players aren’t players until they find “the one.” They are players until they get right with themselves, or something happens where they get to a place where they just aren’t players (or selfish assholes or narcissistic – fill in the blank). They don’t wake up one day and say, “Wow, I’ve got this really great girl here and I’ve been treating her like shit and stringing her along… I gotta change my ways.” Nope. Doesn’t happen. The magic words for me were, “if you were any more awesome, it wouldn’t matter.” That’s right – I’m already awesome – and this dumbass can’t see it. It’s not personal.

Pursuant to the above point: Stop trying – it doesn’t matter. In my striving to be perfect, it just doesn’t matter. Unbelievably thoughtful birthday presents aren’t going to tip the scale. Making sacrifices that I otherwise wouldn’t make won’t deliver the perfect relationship. In the end, it’s going where it’s going and there isn’t a whole lot I can do about it.

Please don’t think these are ramblings of a bitter lesbian, now jaded by crappy online dating experiences. On the contrary I feel overwhelmingly blessed that I’ve had these experiences. I wish I had them years ago, but I wasn’t ready to learn the lessons obviously.

What does one do? Yeah, I dunno. I can tell you I’ve stopped trying. I am way happy and just living my life. The test will be when I start dating again. Will I project? Will I try to be perfect? Will I want to have those annoying as hell conversations again?

Or will I just want to go ride? Will I just dig hanging out? Will the moment be enough?

God I hope so.

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