Lighting the Match

Lighting a match. Français : Une allumette enf...

Lighting a match. Français : Une allumette enflammée. Dansk: En tændt tændstik. Magyar: Egy gyufa meggyulladása. ‪Norsk (nynorsk)‬: Ei tent fyrstikke. Polski: Zapłon zapałki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What it is that lights the match for you? Is it even possible to put that into words? So many people would say the ability to have a lot to talk about, common interests could get a person 2/3 of the way there. So, what’s the missing 1/3?”

King Midget posed this question after my most recent post, X is for Xavier.

I wish I had a simple, clear cut answer to this question. I suspect that if I did, I wouldn’t have spent the last year dating from “A is for Adam” to “X is for Xavier.” (Yes. I know. That’s 24 men).  Along the way, and as I’ve walked away from one man after another, I’ve been accused of not knowing what the hell I want, of being way too picky, and of liking the chase more than the catch. There may be truth in each of those accusations.

You don’t know what the hell you’re looking for

I’ve tried to stay open as I’ve dated, tried not to put too many restrictions on who I will meet, at least for a coffee. In my mind I need to stay open to the many possibilities there are for love. And there are many possibilities. I’ve loved short men and tall men, men with PhD’s and men who dropped out of university after one semester. I’ve loved men with lots of hair and men who were completely bald, men who adored the arts and men who didn’t. I’ve loved very playful men and men who are pretty serious, men who’ve lived adventurous lives and men who haven’t. I’ve loved men who drive sports cars and men who drive beaters. So I’m open in lots of ways, because I know that tall, dark and rich isn’t necessarily where I’m going to find love. So yeah, maybe I don’t know what the hell I’m looking for.

You’re way too picky

But then, in my “wide open, let’s see what the Universe is offering up this week” dating approach, I meet men who are completely unsuitable. I’m attracted to one because of his positive, fun loving email messages, only to meet him and realize that he hasn’t bathed recently and he doesn’t have a job. No. I’m attracted to another, who is screamingly funny and intelligent in his emails, but who, when I meet him, is almost certainly on the spectrum.  Nope. Another is funny on the phone, but over coffee drops constant references to how wealthy he is. No. Boring? No. Negative? Definitely not. Hasn’t cut his hair or his fingernails anytime recently? Ick. So yeah, maybe I’m too picky.

And then there are the lovely ones, like John and Xavier, funny, smart, together men that any sensible woman would snap up in a second. These are the men that I’ll date a number of times because I like them so much and know they’d be good for me. I’ll see them a few times because I hope that the spark might need a bit of time to ignite. But in the end, that spark has got to be there. And about that spark, I have nothing to say. It’s a complete mystery to me why it’s there with one person and not there with the next.

You like the chase more than the catch

deliciousRecently a man said to me, “Sally, do you think you might be a serial dater?'” (He doesn’t even know about my blog). Oh my. Has it come to that? Could it be that I’m more interested in generating fodder for my blog than I am in finding a good man? I hope not.

But it could be that I need to refine my approach and be more up front about the things I know work for me (no matter how picky that’s going to sound in my profile). It could be that if I abandoned my open, give everybody a chance attitude, and if I were truly, ruthlessly honest about what I want and need in a man and in a relationship, then perhaps such a man might appear. And maybe, just maybe, there might be sparks.

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About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in The Alphabet of Dating, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Lighting the Match

  1. heysugarsugar says:

    Oh girly you crack me up 😉 the spark? serial dater? I am turning into a serial ‘god he’s hot, sod the spark’ middle aged cougar…it’s getting worrying ! Lol great post Sally

  2. El Guapo says:

    I don’t think there’s any way to define that magic, when/how it will happen, or who will bring it.
    But dating all the trolls is worth it just to get to that one who clicks.

  3. There’ll be someone out there for sure… 🙂

    You’ll know it, the match will ignite and you’ll have a raging inferno…

    As always, I wish you all the best!

  4. kingmidget says:

    I never expected there to be an answer to the question I posed. I think it’s one of those things that is impossible to answer or describe. And that’s what makes it such an incredible thing. As well as being such an impossible thing to find. Imagine looking at people and asking “is this somebody I’d be excited about waking up next to for the rest of my life?” Or, is this somebody who I want to go through the rest of my life with, through everything that is great, good, and not so much about life? It’s a daunting idea. And one that I don’t think most people really consider when they’re selecting a significant other, life mate, spouse, partner, or whatever. It’s the thing I believe is missing from most relationships. Find the spark and resist the urge to settle for something less. Live passion and don’t accept the simple. Grab life and find somebody who wants to grab it with you, the way you want to, and live it. Incredibly. Or in Rob Thomas’ words. Live out loud. I think that’s what’s missing for so many of us. We settle. For something that seems to make sense at the moment, without the recognition of how it might look ten or twenty years from now. I hope, for you, that you keep looking until you find the guy you can live out loud with for the rest of your life. The guy who wakes up in the morning and sees you next to him and thanks whatever god he believes in for the opportunity to wake up next to you. The guy who you want to make sure never has an unhappy moment, but when he does, because they are inevitable, you don’t look at it as a chore to deal with but, instead, see that unhappiness as something you want to swallow up to help him through it. Ah, I could go on so long on this subject. There’s something here that is so …
    I know, though, that it exists. The perfect person. The perfect combination. The passion. The desire to share all of life, both good and bad, with somebody. It’s just a question of finding it and taking it in, and being willing to wait for it. You think you can wait for it?

    • Grab life and find somebody who wants to grab it with you, the way you want to, and live it. Incredibly.

      I love those words. And I think that maybe that’s what I’m doing in my life, living it in a “Deliberately Delicious” way, and hoping to find, along the way, someone who wants to share the journey.

      At the same time, I can’t start out asking, “Is this someone I want to wake up with for the next twenty years?” Precisely because it’s such a daunting thought, a thought that would stop me from ever forming another long term relationship. Ever.

      When I look back on my marriage, I think that I settled. But in our 17 years together, my ex and I had some very happy times and some amazing adventures. It was he with whom I explored Africa, he who inspired me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, hike the West Coast Trail, canoe the Bowron Lakes. And it was with him that I had my three boys. So maybe I settled. But there was good in that settling. I don’t regret those years.

      So I have mixed feelings about the concept of settling. I don’t think there is one perfect person out there. I think that there are many possibilities. It’s a question, I think, of getting really clear about who I want to be, how I want to feel, and where I want to journey. If I’m clear about those things then I can be clear about what’s important in a partner, and what isn’t.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts her. I’m thinking now about a post on the concept of settling…

  5. Kira says:

    What a fabulous post, as per usual!! It is one that is very near and dear to me as I too, have been accused of and perhaps even been guilty of all the things you mention in your blog. I think it is always good to stop, ponder, and reflect. I finally came to the conclusion that even if it is true, even just a tinsy tiny bit true, it doesn’t matter. I am answerable to myself. I’m in no hurry and I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of the ride. You will know when you find the one. Whether he is the one that is right for right now or whether he is the right one forever. Until such time enjoy being courted, complimented, and wooed by a wide variety of men that you may never have even been exposed to should you not have delved into the crazy world of internet dating. I’m sure there is a football captain somewhere out there just waiting to light your fire! 😉

  6. This is the best dating post you have written in a while. Maybe I love it because I’m glad to know someone else struggles with the same issues.

    What does this mean: “when I meet him, is almost certainly on the spectrum”? Did you mean not on the same spectrum?

    What are you looking for? A) Friends, B) Sex, C) Relationship, or D) Marriage? — As basic as that sounds, more and more I’m finding the answer to that question to be helpful in screening out prospects…

    For some reason the thought of you dating someone who hasn’t cut his fingernails gave me the total heebie jeebies! That might be a quirk of mine. But that really does gross me out. YUCK!

    Great post!

    • Yeah, the long fingernail situation was a total deal breaker for me. The spectrum comment was about people on the autistic spectrum: I’m generalizing here, but I’ve encountered a few incredibly intelligent men who don’t seem to pick up on those basic social cues most of us are attuned to. They say Bill Gates is on the spectrum. Actually, maybe I shouldn’t rule these guys out…

  7. babedarla says:

    some of my dearest friends are on the spectrum…some I would even date. And those on the spectrum can learn to pick up social cues, depending of course on whether they have Aspergers or are full-on flappy-autistics. and neuro-scientists have discovered that artists come very close to being on said spectrum (I was SOOOOOOO excited when I read that, because it meant no, I was NOT autistic!)
    As to “settling”, lets look the word settle up, shall we?
    Settle: to clarify by causing dregs or impurities to sink;to make quiet or orderly;to fix or resolve conclusively;to establish or secure permanently;to arrange in a desired position;to come to rest;to become fixed, resolved, or established;to become quiet or orderly;to take up an ordered or stable life;To establish on a permanent basis; stabilize.; To discontinue moving and come to rest in one place.;To come to an agreement;to place in a desired state or in order;to come to rest, as from flight;come to rest….and on and on and on. In all of this, there is only ONE definition I could find that means “accept despite lack of complete satisfaction” so why is THAT the one we always think of? Maybe, just maybe we should think of the OTHER definitions when we “settle”!

    • Hi Darla, I apologize if my comment came across as insensitive. I went out with a guy who I think was on the spectrum. He was scary smart and very witty. His emails were brilliant. But it was hard work connecting. I’ve done coffee with two others who didn’t pick up on social cues at all, who talked non stop, and stared at a point just above my head instead of looking at me. It’s insensitive of me to flippantly describe them as on the spectrum and I apologize.

      As for settling, I’ve been thinking about that too, since King Midget weighed in. I’ll have more to say soon.

      Thanks for your comments!

  8. babedarla says:

    well, that didn’t work! What I tried to say was that I didn’t think you were coming across as insensitive at all. I was just putting my two cents in. And I’m the queen of flippant, so fret not!

    • Ha! Thanks. I wish I could just say “to hell with it,” say flippant things, and not worry about it. Instead, I worry about whether I’ve offended or hurt feelings. (Well, most of the time…I just told Smooth Reentry that he was insensitive and I still think it’s kind of funny…OMG…I hope he still likes me….)

  9. yeah, I think you should go for picky. Less dates, more chance of spark. Then again, my last most passionate romance was with a guy whose picture on the dating site was slightly offputting.

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