I wish I had a romantic story about how Dave and I met…but I don’t. We met online, of all places. I’m old enough to still find this slightly embarrassing. I had tried to date right after I separated from the ex, but it was a disaster. I went out with one guy and halfway through the date I had to leave. I felt nauseous. I realized I needed to grieve, and running into some other man’s arms was not going to allow me to do that.
I started to do things for me, things I hadn’t really been able to do when I was married. I went out with friends. I went dancing. I joined a group of other mature students to do an “Artist’s Way” group, which was designed to help people nurture and cultivate their creativity. It was in the process of being in that group of amazing women and working through the daily exercises that I reclaimed myself. The first time I needed to reclaim myself was after my first marriage many moons ago. It took years. I allowed myself to disappear in that relationship to the point that I could barely recognize the pieces I needed to pick up to put myself back together. This time it didn’t take long at all, as I hadn’t let the cherished parts of my self stray too far.
I remember waking up one morning, feeling energized and mischievous. I love the mischievous, playful part of myself and welcomed it. I have noticed that it is one of the first things to go when I am on the wrong path. It is near impossible to be playful when one is anxious or depressed. That part of me gets shoved to the side while the anxious/depressed adult in me wrings her hands. When I start to feel playful again, I know I am in the clear. That morning, something had definitely shifted. I knew that I was ready to go out in the world and find a new adventure. And the playful part of me wanted a love affair.
I did not expect to find my love affair online. I used the dating site I signed up for mostly for ego boosting or procrastination purposes. Most of the men on this particular site were not the “love affair” type. They were more one-night stand material and not what I was looking for. I expected absolutely nothing from it.
The Artist’s Way group reminded me, however, that when you are attuned to the world around you, when you are connected to the mystery that is life, you can put your dreams out in your hand, and the universe will reach out to you. So it was with my request for a love affair. I was ready, and the universe responded.
I remember coming across Dave’s profile shortly after my brazen announcement to my Artist’s Way ladies that I wanted a love affair. What struck me most about his profile was that he actually sounded like a normal human being. On this particular site, that was rather shocking. He was in film and had just moved back to Ontario from B.C., where he had lived for the past 13 years. I wrote to him immediately. The title of the email was “I am in exile too!” The small city that I lived in while completing my degree had been quaint at one time, I was told, but I hated it. It was the type of city where people asked where you went to high school. And it mattered to them. When I married and realized that I would likely be there for the next 20 years of my life I went into mourning. If this guy had lived in B.C. for 13 years, I knew he would understand that.
He wrote back that day and we wrote daily to each other for a week. Then we had our first date. It was one of those dates that go from coffee, to dinner, to drinks, to a movie, to more drinks. I knew the first day that I met him that he was a good man. He had a beautiful, open heart. And for the first time in my life, I could receive openness from a man and return it. He told me later that he fell in love with me the minute we met. I felt the same. I was giddy.
I have always believed that every relationship I have been in was for a purpose. Relationships teach us important lessons if we are open to learning them. If we don’t learn the lesson in one relationship, another will come along. The universe is patient and doesn’t mind if we keep banging our heads against the same wall. I had finally learned my lesson. I was courageous and strong enough to not only love with an open heart, but to be loved in return. I wasn’t afraid of his openness and his love. I was home. Instead of feeling threatened by my accomplishments, my drive, he felt inspired by them. He, in turn, inspired me by his creativity, his ingenuity and his desire to challenge himself. So I did the thing I had never done in my life, the thing that had terrified me for as long as I can remember, the thing I had slowly worked towards in all of my relationships, baby step by baby step. I told him I loved him (before he told me). It was a risk. We hadn’t known each other for long. It broke all of the “rules”. My friends warned me not to. But I trusted my intuition, and told him anyway. I took the leap of faith. He told me he loved me too. We both knew it was ridiculous because we just weren’t supposed to be in love after only knowing each other a few weeks. It felt naughty and delicious. Our secret pact against the world.
I told him all of my dirty secrets: that I couldn’t have children (he didn’t want any so that was fine); that I had been married not once but twice (he laughed, said “that’s awesome!” and kissed my hand); that I would never get married again (he didn’t believe in marriage anyway); and that I was leaving in a few weeks to go to Peru for a month (not the best tactic when starting a new relationship).
The energy we had between us was immediate and palpable. So palpable, in fact, that I started to take notice. It felt like my body was speaking to me. Because I believe that we receive messages from the world around us in many different ways, often mysterious, I listened. What came to me was this: Dave was healing me. Uh oh. (We were having unprotected sex!)
I sat Dave down and explained to him that while I had told him I couldn’t have children, because my tubes were twisted and my fimbriae were gnarled, it wasn’t a complete impossibility. But that medical fact coupled with my advanced age (my eggs, in dog years, were about 160 years old and well past their due date) meant it was virtually an impossibility. “I need you to know this because I think you are healing me” I said seriously. “Okay” he replied. I didn’t really expect him to understand the magnitude of what I was saying. He didn’t know me well enough to know that every now and then I know things from the deepest part of myself. Those things always come true. Always. It’s a bit eerie. I’m sure he just thought I was a bit of a flake. Nothing to worry about, mind you. Just a tad flakey. (He must have thought that because we continued to have unprotected sex!)
Five or six weeks after Dave and I met I left for Peru. It was likely the last big trip I would be able to do for a long while and I was very excited about it. I was going with my half brother, who had just separated from his wife too. I had met him a decade ago at his wedding when I flew to New Brunswick to meet my birth mother for the first time. I knew it was a risk to leave for such a long period of time right when Dave and I were getting to know each other. I had travelled before after starting a new relationship filled with promise, returning to discover that the magic had disappeared. I left with my eyes wide open that leaving might change everything. Little did I know how much change I was in for.
Stay tuned for the next installment!