It seems that along with the perils of blogging and online dating comes the online break-up, sometimes as an indirect result of a post. My last blog-post opened an email dialogue between Seattle and Hawaii (where CHA is on a long visit) that I hadn’t anticipated. Some issues had been percolating for me, but I was saving them for his return and an in-person conversation. I hadn’t expected an email exchange to end in a break-up. Perhaps in the absence of eyes and chemistry, it became clear that we weren’t quite as aligned as we both thought we were. I am sorry that the conversation had to be conducted over the sterility of email, where it is so easy to have words misconstrued.
I have learned some important lessons through the course of our relationship, for which am and will always be grateful to CHA:
1. I may have put too much pressure on our relationship with thoughts of “pre-destined,” “soul mate,” etc. My shower premonition may have been accurate, but perhaps not in the way I expected. It takes time to sort through the layers and truly get to know a person. Only then, I think, can you truly determine the “pre-destiny” quotient.
2. I love CHA’s “Blank Canvas” notion of putting one’s past behind you and beginning a new relationship from a blank slate. The problem was, I found the idea profound in theory, but more difficult in practice. Trauma and loss and widowhood no longer identify me, but they exist in the fabric of who I now am. Separating myself from them would be like trying to separate milk from milk chocolate. Nor am I able to separate Arron from my life now. I speak of him anecdotally in conversation, regularly, as many people who have lost a loved one do. But I have learned that it is possible to view myself as not a widow, but as simply a woman, like many other women of a certain age, one with experiences that have made them so much more interesting, given them so much more depth. Love that!
3. I must be honest with my kids, no matter how painful it might be for all involved. I am still blown away by the “frank conversation” I had with Carter and how much it seemed to ease his mind and even made him grow up a little.
4. I must trust my kids. I perceived their reactions to my dating to be based on the notion that they were, in a small way, losing me and therefore threatened by my new relationship. I wasn’t spending quite as much time with them and much of my mental energy was centered on the relationship I was in. But now I wonder if part of their reaction might have also been a reaction to the person I was dating, seeing him as “not right for me,” a common refrain from them. Its hard to know for sure, their view was hardly objective. I suppose the only way I will know for sure is to witness their reaction when the right person does come along.
5. I must spend time getting to know someone before jumping into the relationship with both feet. This is one I seem to continue to commit again and again. I think most people in the dating world do. We go into the relationship seeing what we want to see, overlooking the other’s humanness, flaws, values or lifestyle choices that may in the end prove incompatible. I must caveat this by saying that in no way have I ever regretted that I do this. I have had some exquisitely happy experiences, including ones with CHA, having taken the “living in the moment” mantra to heart. But a few more coffees, lunches, dinners before the first kiss sure wouldn’t hurt.
And a final addition:
6. Of course blogging isn’t the best for a relationship either…
There are many qualities about CHA that I will miss and I am sorry it turned out as it did. I hope he finds all the ease and grace that life has to offer.