Having what would end up being a year and a half without work due to my MG (Myasthenia Gravis) exacerbation gave me time to focus on many areas of my life that had long been neglected. Up until then I had worked long hours and for the most part and excluding vacations a greater than 40 hour work week. This left little time for friends, family, volunteering and a personal life.
At first most of my time was consumed with treatments and physician visits, but slowly I began to put my life back together. At first I spent quite a bit of time doing small things I had put off for years. Catching up on appointments, buying items that I had needed, visiting old and dear friends, visiting family and choosing volunteer opportunities. I even had a chance to see my nephew graduate from college. I laughed to myself when I realized his graduation coincided with a Borders national meeting. It had seemed that throughout my career meetings that I was required to attend were coincidentally scheduled when I had an important personal commitment arise. I had to sacrifice the personal for work, but at the time that was okay as work was affording me many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.
One day while walking my dogs at the local park, I decided it was time to venture out into the dating world again. I was ready after a long respite and I also felt that I most importantly knew that I could be single and happy. This was key as I had known numerous unhappily married people. People who were settling for each other. They assumed no one else would have them and they were terrified of being lonely and single and financially independent. In some cases the women were willing to support the men financially in order to keep them. I had also recently had several friends divorce. This was quite surprising as I had assumed the marriages had been solid.
So off I went into the sea looking for fish. But my fish, if I was lucky enough to catch one, was going to be intelligent, financially secure (because I wanted an equal), a dog lover (because I have two wonderful and amazing dogs), handsome (because chemistry is important to me), considerate, caring, funny, concerned about the well being of others and when I looked at him standing at the kitchen counter I could love and accept him despite his flaws.
First I tried online dating. I carefully crafted my clever profile and cast my line. Unfortunately, the first one I caught was married. Yes, they are out there and they are online advertising themselves as single or separated, separated meaning I hope I meet someone online who gives me an excuse to leave my wife. Now many have had wonderful results with online dating and have met their future spouse, partner or soulmate, but I was not going to be one of those. However it was a way to learn how to date again and put myself out there, so to speak. I also learned how to deal with rejection again, not heartbreaking rejection, you never learn how to deal with that, but mild rejection. Such as the guy who says he will call you right back and never does or the the guy who says he had a wonderful time and can’t wait to see you again, but then never calls. I also learned how to mildly reject. A couple of guys I met for coffee, I actually felt a great deal of empathy for and considered seeing them again to build their confidence. One loved the writer, Cormac McCarthy, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he turned out to be the silent type. A couple spent the date telling me about their first wives and I hope my advice helped them to avoid that on future dates. Oh and then of course there were the “in the closet” gay guys giving it one more go to see if they could be straight. Why me, I began to ask? Pretty soon the HBO Saturday night movie or dinner with the girls was looking much more appealing. The one that lasted for the most dates turned out to be a nice, but ultimately overly controlling and opinionated man who had a hard time saying something nice about his children. It wasn’t surprising to me that his wife left him for another woman. I certainly left him for the company of my women friends.
Then came the men in the neighborhood. I lived in a very single condo community with a pool and gym. It was easy to meet men, especially when I no longer left for work before daylight and returned home from work after dark. There was the teacher, the consultant and the unemployed guy. Well, he was employed at first, but then sadly lost his job and all his self-confidence and personality. I have read that the economic downturn has led to many couples staying married as they cannot afford divorce. On the flip side the economy had been very hard on single women. Dating and meeting someone is hard enough, but when the first date conversation revolves around the impending foreclosure and massive credit card debt, it just becomes downright depressing. The HBO movies were becoming more and more appealing.
Finally, came those old flames or flame wannabes with whom you hope to make it work, if given another chance. I won’t keep you in suspense or bore you with the details except to yell, “Next.”
By the time a friend suggested fixing me up with my future husband I had been pretty beaten down by the frogs and by my own dashed dreams and expectations. However, I was still proud of myself, I had not settled. I had matured and felt stronger than ever. I was still happy and I still had my friends and family. I agreed to the date although I was a bit reluctant to go, afraid of yet another disappointment. But this time that was not to be the case.
The friend who fixed me up with my future husband was one of the nurses at the Pheresis Clinic. Through a tough treatment that I continue to need at least monthly, I met the man who would become the love of my life. I was terrified at first of this treatment and met this friend on my first visit to the clinic. She would end up changing my life. Throughout this dating process my husband and one other guy who I dated for a year from the neighborhood were the only ones I told about the MG. It is not a topic for the first date. Although one of my online dates thought that the details of his colonoscopy was an appropriate topic. “This salad is delicious and oh yeah by the way I have this weird disease that no one has ever heard of and no it isn’t terminal or contagious.” But when I finally told my husband he had such a great response that I knew right then that he and I were going to go far. He said, “I am glad that you told me and, well we all have something that we’re dealing with.” It is so true. We all have our version of MG. It was time to invite him over for an HBO movie.
Still with me? I hope so as I have so much more to tell.