I’ve landed back in the lap of luxury as I do every time I pass through LA. Dear friends for nearly a decade, Cat and Dan, who we met while they were more or less honeymooning some years ago, have been my hosts here in the city of angels on virtually every occasion I have blown through town.
Cat does not mince words and is a smart a whip and has a heart the size of a planet and skills of observation to match her almost limitless concern for her nearest and dearest. She’s been a great source of strength and advice over the years, and pulls no punches when discussing the realities of dating in this digital age.
Snuggled up in my big princess bed, while they are busying themselves with dinner plans and organizing our day out in Hollywood tomorrow, I realised, for the first time in three years, that I want to bring someone with me on a future visit. I realised, that despite having an extensive dating network of solid, healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships around the globe, I am actually far more suited to traditional monogamy. I have played the field, and today, in Sherman Oaks California, I have decided quite seriously, that I might just be played out.
I can’t put my finger on why some of my romantic pairings work an absolute treat, and others are fleeting or never even get momentum out of the gate. And then, others are just unmitigated DISASTERS! Oof, I have some regrets, not many, but they are there and I grit my teeth and clench my jaw just wondering why and how I could be so stupid! For the most part though, I have had a chance to feel Loved, appreciated, occasionally objectified (and reciprocated in kind), and almost always respected. Not feeling respected is quite the worst feeling. Not feeling understood is also a bit shit. I know I have also been quite cruel in my dealings with some people, and careless with others’ hearts on occasion. I send mixed signals, am incredibly flippant, and unreliable at best. But I am earnest. And I have Love and friendship and honesty to burn. And burn through it I do, with reckless abandon and my whole heart and occasionally body as well.
So the plan is to nurture a small number of relationships I have on the go at home while actively on the search for something substantial. I don’t expect this search to be simple or straightforward. I am quite convinced I do not yet know the future Mr. West. While I do not discount the idea of a female life partner, I think the chances are heavily weighted toward a quiet and patient man being my next penguin. Extroverts need not apply.
I have made hundreds of matches over the last three years. And I am worn out. Very few connections have been disastrous, and my rules are simple: Must be kind, smart, and supremely single. It is not that I have any moral objection to people with open marriages or whatever, it is just that there is absolutely no reason to further complicate my own life, when there are clearly a suprluss of singles and separated folks floating through life, and in the perfect age for me right now too (40-50). Why would anyone bother with more complications than already exist in the minefield that is Romance in the late 2010’s?
So I have had this chat with three of my not boyfriends this morning. I’ve spent the last few years living a series of harlequin romances with people I have grown to Love and trust very much. It is always a huge honour when people take time off work and fly over to meet me or book us a lovely hotel somewhere. I feel free and grown up and enjoy the adult company and conversation very much.
But I want what I once had, and I want it to be an even richer and more fulfilling relationship, considering age and experience. I’ve clearly identified what I need and want and the richness I now know offer as a potential partner. I felt like a trophy wife too often in my now defunct marriage. I crave a relationship where I am part of a team, and seen internally and externally as an equal. Cheerleading and championing friends and Loved ones is second nature to me, but I want to hunker down and have my family (mixed or extended if that’s what happens) charging forth into an impactful and rewarding future or adventures and activism together. I’m not holding out for a hero, I am my own fucking hero thank you very fucking much. I am holding out for an equal. Someone who absolutely understands that I am a hot mess and Loves and respects me enough to hold me accountable, and genuinely celebrates my strengths, and I do the same in return.
There is a strange kind of loneliness that comes when you are rarely alone I think. I get to laugh and adventure and share magical moments more in a year than I had suspected I could or would ever be privy to in a decade. When I was a miserable and lonely child in Tomahawk Alberta, the idea of being a waitress or hostess at some family restaurant in California was as romantic and crazy a notion then as owning a sprawling penthouse in Manhattan is for me today. But I like my life right now. I truly do. It has been eye opening and I know me so much better than I did three years ago. And I know that I am “fucking hard work at times (exact words from several partners…)” and carry a lot of baggage. But I do not begrudge the same in other people at all. I am ready to get my hands dirty trying to build a new life. Although, I am in no rush to get started, as I do feel it will be a long and arduous journey finding my next (and hopefully last) soulmate and partner in life and Love.
I remember the way my husband used to look at me, like perhaps I was magic or maybe I even hung the moon itself with my swift, tiny little hands. There are moments of the same magic with many of the men I have been dating. I need to put it to the universe that I am ready for my next one and only, as I suspect the search could take years, even once I have firmly decided that this is what I seek and want.
So, for today, I will hang out with my dear friends and we will dine out at some impossible to get into trendy LA assault on the senses, and I will be left dizzy and grateful for the glow of our friendship. I want someone to share it all with me again one day. I talk to my ex every single day, and we have had some of the most beautiful memories and forged a life that flies thousands of feet above both of our wildest imaginings. But that life was then, and we are not going to get it back. Nor, do either of us want it. I do want to feel that magic and safety and coupledom again. I guess I will keep you posted, and hopefully be able to see and snuggle a few of my favourite partners before I am shipped out for good again. But who knows what tomorrow brings I suppose. And I have absolutely no strategy or timeline for the search and journey I think I am finally ready to be on.
We can but see I suppose.