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I've been in Charleston, SC celebrating my cousin's wedding. After my sister and me, he is the oldest of the cousins.

My sister got married a few years ago. I couldn't be happier for her. My brother-in-law is very much a part of my family, and feels like he has belonged with all of us for much longer than just the last few years. My cousin also appears to have found a good one, although I doubt I'll be seeing that much of him or her considering it's been 13 years since I saw him last.

I still know him as my little cousin, but he's in his late twenties, nearly the same age as the last few people I've dated. That means his friends were also, surprisingly, within my dating range, although I tended to think of them more as his little friends.

For the last few years, there's been this growing desperation to find my person and get on with the family-making part. I am adventurous, and children appear to be the next big adventure. There doesn't appear to be a try-before-you-buy option, but I'm still willing to go all in, provided I have the support of my partner.

... or possibly without it. Part of my motivation to move to the bay area was to be closer to family, so if I decided to solo it, I would have the support network in case I got sick or there was some emergency. Now that I have moved there, I've found a fresh crop of kindred spirits. With a new job, new living situation, new friends, and my ever-demanding hobbies, life feels much more in flux, so it eases some of impatience to start the next phase.

okcupid tells me there are many more people with a > 90% match in the area, which was getting harder to find in Austin. Dating is fresh again, in a sense.

Still, it continues to be frustrating.

My last relationship in Austin was with a shy friend who had opened up to me over the course of a year, still in the context of friendship, never seriously considering anything more. Then we had gotten drunk while dressed up as Santa Claus and discovered our potential with each other. But he is younger than me with far less dating experience, and while we became extremely attached to each other, he wasn't quite ready to jump into the unknown and scary world of parenting soon enough for me, or with enough certainty that it would eventually happen.

I made the difficult decision to call things off, quit my job, sold my house, and moved to California (after getting a new job). At the time I was dating someone who seemed ready to take the plunge with me with very little data, something I was becoming increasingly comfortable with.

"It's like an arranged marriage we arrange for ourselves!" California guy described.

It didn't work out. We were great together on paper (although only mid-70s match on OkCupid -- clearly it knows us better than we do), and we had decent physical chemistry. However, he didn't feel the emotional chemistry. Once we had tried to overcome this for long enough and I had weaned myself away from him, that ended, too.

Still, there was something appealing about jumping into things the way we did. We both had the long term goals and enough data behind us that we felt comfortable at least taking the risk. We joked about eloping even before we dated. From my end, I didn't buy into it right away, but came around whole-heartedly. He was open-minded about relationships! He wanted a family! He was smart, and funny, and ... adorable!

On his end, he was enamored of me right away. Perhaps his initial, lofty expectations set us up for failure. He put tremendous pressure on himself to feel a certain way when reality started catching up to us, and it probably sabotaged our chances.

Regardless, he was a catalyst that broke me out of complacency. I miss my Austin person, but I think the bay area is where I need to be, living less than fifteen minutes from my aging grandparents, who raised me when I was little.

I'm 33 now. I remember being 23 and can't imagine where the last decade went. I didn't learn a whole lot, and my stance of relationships hasn't changed so significantly, except for being more jaded perhaps.

Like all the years before, I still place all my hopes into the nearest promising relationship, only to be crushed by the next failure. After my major heartbreak four years ago, I'm not nearly as resilient anymore. Each loss feels a lot more personal, more evidence that I have no business seeking this out for myself.

My sister recommended I read "Marrying Anita", a story about an Indian girl exactly my age who grew up in the US and traveled back to India to find a husband after being jaded by her chances here. I sympathized a lot with her and it wound up being a bleak, discouraging read.

I was chatting with the cabbie on the way back from the wedding after-party. Listening to her story and contemplating how I had dropped the polyamory requirement altogether to look for something fairly normal, I lamented that ordinary things that were seemingly so easy for other people could be so hard sometimes.

She asked why I wasn't married. I paused to mull this over.

"I haven't met the right guy yet who also thought I was the right girl."

Here's to hoping that changes soon.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
xuth
Jul. 8th, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
*hugs*

Sorry that things didn't work out. (I feel like there should be more to say but I'm not coming up with anything)
sheenaqotj
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for piping in. The break up I referenced actually happened a few months ago, and I'm over that one, just discouraged about this stuff in general.
xuth
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
ok. But I certainly understand the general frustration.
sheenaqotj
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I appreciate it. I was just clarifying for everyone. :)

*hugs back*
mdf356
Jul. 8th, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC)
33 isn't old; my wife was 36 when we met. But it is getting old for unassisted pregnancy -- some women's ability to get pregnant diminishes quickly around this age; some remain very fertile into their early 40s.

Good luck, keep going to the places where the people you want to be with will be.

If you want to hang out with my kids, you're welcome to.
sheenaqotj
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the fertility thing was a very real concern when I broke things off with the person in Austin. I couldn't imagine waiting a few years with growing anxiety about that and the toll it would take on me if either he changed his mind or we had problems with this.
blk
Jul. 8th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Sympathies on your latest breakup, but I hope SF treats you well!
sheenaqotj
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I'm living in Mountain View, which is apparently worlds away from SF despite my preconceptions, but it's still treating me well!
drasca
Jul. 8th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
Good luck sheena! I'm glad you broke the doldrums.
angelbob
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
I'd wondered about some of this, but wasn't sure how to go about bringing it up.

I don't know. Roughly the same thing worked out for me, though I wound up going *back* to somebody who had dumped me.

And although I kept the poly requirement at the time, we've since become monogamous. I hate to say it, but a lot of child-rearing is surprisingly poly-unfriendly in a lot of ways. I meet (a few) people who make it work, but there are a lot of pitfalls.

Don't know what to tell you. I kept at the discouraging path until I lucked out, which is sort of a theme in my life. But it doesn't work for everybody -- not even me, sometimes. So I hesitate to recommend it.
sheenaqotj
Jul. 8th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've thought about your path a lot. I've even laid it out on the line with a couple of people in my past, but not as decisively as you did.

I've discovered something about myself in this process, that as picky as I am, there are still quite a few people that I feel I can work with, and I'm happy to commit and run with that. The boys seem to be a lot more flighty. I think I've also made the mistake of dating younger instead of older (and the less experienced ones, at that), when the wide world seems to have a lot more possibilities for them.

I may not have been ready to spring on the first promising guy that came along 5 years ago, either. By now, I've adequately satisfied the requirements for the optimal solution to the princess problem, so I'm good to go.
skydiamonde
Jul. 8th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
*hug*

I'm the same way with being antsy to have kids. And I'm sure I want more than one. And preferably all before I hit the cliff where more problems occur. I've known for the past few years now that while I would avoid having a baby without planning for it, if I had an accident, I would keep it. Because it would kill me if I aborted a child then found out later in life that I couldn't have any. Like you, I've also thought about solo-ing it (in a planned manner). I've thought about just marrying an ex who was willing to have me but I wasn't at the time, but maybe those faults are as important as the good things we had that would make it so we could raise a family together. I've thought about finding a match who would be a good partner in life, one who had similar values and wanted the same things as me, even if we didn't have any romantic chemistry. After all, if I watched the father of my children play with them and love them and work hard with me to create the life that we both want, isn't that enough to make my heart melt and start loving them in a real way that I never could have with past boyfriends where the romantic chemistry was strong but where our values and goals for life clashed?

After a lot of dating off OKCupid that went nowhere (the most egregious being someone I saw 6 times and we never kissed and barely had any physical contact, but I was hoping he could be that 'partner' type person) plus some friends of friends (one such relationship which dominated my last few posts, which are all old now because I'm really bad at updating) I did end up meeting someone off OKCupid. Funny enough, someone who it turns out you've met. He really surprised me. He's both that partner in life I wanted, but there's also all the romantic chemistry. I'm glad now that I waited long enough to find him. Though I can tell you, I had a date set in my mind for when I was going to freeze my eggs if I had to wait too long.

> At the time I was dating someone who seemed ready to take the plunge with me with very little data, something I was becoming increasingly comfortable with.

After two weeks of meeting him, I knew I was done with dating. It's only been a little over 2 months now, but I'm still as sure. I guess I've been known to be somewhat fickle, and only time will prove my audacious statements, but I think that at this point in life, we've dated so many people who almost worked that we have a pretty clear picture of what we want and need. Also, I'm finding that dating at this age, all of my potential men and I had talked about some pretty heavy topics really early on: something that would've never happened when we were younger. We all just want to not waste time and actually get right down to the points. I've been asked about my family medical history on my second date. About whether I want kids and suburbia vs urban life on the first date. I think that it's not desperation that causes us to need less time now, but just experience and being willing to just cut straight to the chase instead of playing games.

*hug* Good luck. And while it is indeed frustrating, keep meeting people. I can't believe how many carefully written messages I had sent out that led to nothing, and the one that ended up being the one was the one I wrote late at night, bored, and simply linked my boardgamegeek collection without any witty statements. Thanks for posting, I really appreciated reading this. <3

(ps - if you ever want to hang out ping me! I hear you've been to my place so you know where I live, and I actually work in Sunnyvale so can do a South Bay meetup as well. =))
bhudson
Jul. 9th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
A year ago, we were 34 and annoyed at bring single. This year at the same BBQ, we each brought a significant other... YMMV, but there's still hope!
grouchyoldcoot
Jul. 12th, 2013 04:21 am (UTC)
I can't offer relationship advice because I suck at it, but freezing some eggs might let you relax a little.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )