Note: This is the second of five parts. Click here to read from the beginning.
It didn’t take long after I subscribed to Match.com—maybe a few days—before I was emailing with two different guys who I was interested in. I’m a journalist at heart, so I did some online research, figuring out each of their identities and cyber-stalking them a bit on Facebook.
I loved the easy conversational way one of them had, and I could see on Facebook that this man I favored had one friend in common with me, and it was someone who I respect. That made me feel safe.
The other guy tended to rant on Facebook, and it seemed possible he might be a—dare I say it—Republican. Ew.
I swapped personal information with both of these guys, and we began to correspond in the real world. My housemate thought I was insane; he continued to communicate with women (one woman, singular, actually, who he continues to date) only via the Match.com portal, which was too slow and cumbersome for me.
I’ll admit, it did weird me out that two men I did not know knew my name, my business name, my phone number and my email address. Hmm. Now what have you done, Janice?
My parents were worried to the point that they began to call me daily. My dad said, “Jan, I heard you met a man on the computer. Do you think that’s safe?”
I really had no idea.
Both Match Men were eager to meet face-to-face, and both were interested in phone conversations. This I found a bit annoying as the phone, to me, is a device you employ for things like, “I am running five minutes late. See you soon. Bye.” Or “I am here where I said I’d be, where are you? Okay bye.”
The phone was not for running dialogues and rambling on about your day. (Sad, I remember a time when I did use it that way.)
As it turned out, I was able to meet the kinder, gentler Match Man first. Doing so allowed me to stop agonizing over the Republican, who I simply told, “I met someone else, and I’d like to focus on him.”
Who can argue with a heart?
Ironically, this new man in my world had the same name as the guy I dated for the past four years. (For the purposes of this blog, we’ll call them both Alfred; Alfred One and Alfred Two, as my friends and family and I similarly referred to them, using their actual first name, of course.)
I was pretty smitten right away with Alfred Two. He is handsome, smart, has a great sense of humor, and his warmth and genuine nature remind me of Ed. He likes playing games. He likes hot weather. He likes the beach and traveling. He likes socializing. I told him he was well worth the $63 I spent on Match.
We did simple things together. We went for a hike, visited the shore, played cribbage, displayed competitive natures, and we talked and talked for hours. I began to look forward to long phone conversations with him.
But time—and others—have taught me things.
My own intuition has always found me following my heart, and the years I spent with Ed taught me what my heart desires. But the past four years with Alfred One—once known as Poor Guy to you readers—taught me to also engage my mind, to be careful, to take things one step at a time. Alfred One also taught me how to find my voice and say things out loud, even when they are really hard to say.
So I didn’t go completely gaga over Alfred Two. I simply followed a new path with equal parts interest and desire to learn.
What I learned, because Alfred Two is good and decent and revealed key things to me, is that his life is not in a healthy place now. With some difficulty, I was able to disconnect my heart and listen to my mind as it slowly instructed me to back away. Then I said the hard things. I asked Alfred Two to get things in order in his world and then get back in touch.
It was a painful conversation, and it was a sad move, but it was also the right thing for me. I was proud of myself, actually.
I am almost 53, and it’s possible I am growing up.
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