(Not a) Personal Ad
I used to think that attention from a guy meant interest in me – Stacy. It probably did, and does, sometimes. On reflection, it’s also how I ended up in certain relationships. I remember one of those relationships being a lot of fun, especially in the beginning. When we would hang out – go to the movies or camping or whatever – we had fun. Once we began to interact with others, it didn’t work as well. I didn’t fit in with his friends – many of them lifeguards. His parents tolerated me. I knew it would end and didn’t stay upset long when it did.
How I went from a fun even if somewhat mismatched relationship to the next ones, I’m not really sure other than I accepted the attention and felt comfortable enough to get married in the second case. And aware enough that I needed to leave, even if it took a long time to get to that stage.
And on that note
Since divorcing, I have noticed the attention again. I am much more guarded about following the attention. I have more interest in a circle of friends than having a bunch of bed buddies. It’s a challenge to find those people. If I changed my goal to connect by sex, I’d literally be rich (and my doctor would make more money from me, too). Everywhere I go, from riding on the bus to waiting in line, there’s an interaction. Except now, I’m pretty sure the interest is in the fact that I am a woman, because most of the interactions involve people who do not know “Stacy,” if they even know my name.
I realize this is not a new thing. In fact, I’m sure my classmates had things going on before high school. “It” starts early. The score could get really high when in the minority, depending on the culture. I mean, people talk.
Of course, there have also been some who have expressed interest and I have had to fend off – especially when alcohol has been involved. I knew one guy who had an interest and I had told him no. It was only if he had been drinking and single that a problem could occur. He would apologize and we would be ok again.
Another “friend” broke up with me because after two weeks I didn’t feel any sparks.
And then there was the guy who decided after one day that if I wanted to get married in six months or so, that would be ok. He told me this the same day we visited his parents and his son (being taken care of by grandparents). Ummmm…..nooooo!!!
What happens when you’re new versus more established?
When you’re new to a group, it’s all about a flirting game. Even the ones who declare they are in relationships are a part of it. The grass may be greener. Or maybe there’s a rule – distance or type of interaction, for example. I could say I’ve heard it all – directly or other people’s stories – and then there would be a new answer.
Sometimes, it seems the worst experiences have been from mixed signals. I didn’t realize how much I “liked” one of my friends until he decided to tell me about his girlfriend breaking up with him. He didn’t realize I “liked” him at all. In retrospect, some of the actions on his part that I thought of as confusing signals probably had to do with actions he would have done for any friend. We have managed to stay friends, although the relationship changed at some point. I considered him one of my best friends cause we counted on each other for a lot of things. When he and his current partner started dating, it moved the circle of our friendship further away. Every once in a while we have a chance to chat in person, and I am grateful. We both moved on and found a way to maintain a connection.
So, what I want to know is, where are the people who want to become friends and establish longer relationships? The ones where our friends mix well. Where are the people who can have deep and meaningful conversations and also have fun.
Of course, writing what I have and posting on the web may be similar to when I signed-up, and then shut down, a dating app account within 24 hours. Plus, I have read a friend’s posts regarding dating app interactions. Although funny, it is also frustrating.
Really, I do believe in meeting people in current environments since there is already a common interest. The best that has accomplished are friends in those environments, sometimes with mixed signals. I feel like one of the environments could be extremely right for all of what I am looking for in relationships and conversations. The best days there have been awesome. Since growth has been slow, it means most of the attention and engagement stays at the surface. Surface means they might know my name and they might hold the door open for me (cause they think they are supposed to). Do they really know (or care to know) “Stacy?”
What are your experiences?
Thanks for reading!