In December, I met a man online and we fell for each other hard. This was not just any man-this was the kind of guy I have only heard about that is usually taken/married/just in movies (picture Jake Ryan as grown man). Not just smart, funny, wise, interesting, successful, a great Dad, athletic (but not obsessive), movie-star good looking and in a MEN’S BOOK CLUB for God’s sakes. I kept pinching myself as we went on amazing date after amazing date and I came to label him to my Facebook friends as The Unicorn. As I have done since I started dating about 2 years ago, I kept looking for the “dealbreakers” but really couldn’t find a bad one. Dating in one’s 40s becomes a damage assessment game. Will it be a crazy ex, financial stress, bad kids, STDs, DUIs…basically, I would screen each date like a Private Detective wondering, “How bad is it?”….
The only dealbreaker he kept showing me was his fear of love. Fear of love? NBD.
As it turned out, his fear of love was stronger than his desire to be with me so 2 months in he decided this whole love thing wasn’t for him and we stopped the BF/GF train on the tracks. As crushed and blindsided as I was, I have always been of the school of, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou) so I did NOT try and persuade him that his decision was a bad one. I adapted. We continued to date each other but not exclusively (against popular opinion which was to kick him to the curb) and I started Mission Get Over Him.
My mission was futile. I seem to have the kind of heart that has an on-off switch. When I love you, it’s nearly impossible for me to stop. I give my whole heart to what I do and those around me, for better or worse. But I sure did try. Here is a non-exhaustive list of what I did:
Read self-help books (Highly recommend the book “Attached”. Brilliant!!!!)
Talked shit and asked existential questions about love on FB and with Clients (very helpful!)
Wrote in my journal
Cried at night (late night was the worst)
Allowed myself to feel pathetic
Went over old texts to prove I didn’t imagine it
Consulted a Psychic
Lots and lots and lots and lots of dating
Dated people I thought looked like him (a first and what I consider an all time low and extremely cliche)
Considered a mid-life crisis. What things haven’t I done yet? Date a 25-year old? Visit a sex-club? Why not!
Read extensively about Consensual Non-Monogamy/Polyamory-maybe this is the future??? If I can’t have one relationship, maybe I should have 3 or 5 or 7?
Made out with new guys
Sang sad songs
At one point, I encountered a brilliant 4-year old who was holding a toy purple plastic Unicorn. Knowing that children are infinitely wise, I asked Josie if she thought Unicorns were real? She said, “Yes, but they all died.” And I said, “Why?” Her response was that when the boat came, they didn’t get on it.
An apt metaphor.
All said, nothing made my love for him go away. I am sure he felt that when we spent time together but I had let go of any future between us. Then, at the 5 month mark, my guy decided that he was ready. I can’t speak for him and how that all played out but I can say that my response was, “Hell yes!” and here we are on the BF/GF train. So is he a Unicorn? I guess it depends on how you think about it. Is he rare and mystical? Yes. Is he exceptional? For sure. But he is a also just a man, with scars and fears and flaws just like everyone else. It seems childish now to have ever used that label but at the moment, it made a point which is still true. You don’t often meet Extraordinary. And when you do, hopefully you are ready for him.