Wow, this online dating thing really is an emotional roller-coaster. One minute you're top of the world, ma! with four dates lined up in one short week. Next minute you're All-by-myself-ing into your chocolate gelato after a date gone bad, wondering where it all went wrong.
Lordy! So, there are currently two* potential dudes (although after last Saturday, it may have been whittled down to just the one). I don't want to go into too much detail about these guys, in an attempt to protect their privacy - Melbourne is a small town, after all - but I will say that they are both lovely and decent, but also quite different in nature. Light and dark, you might say. One is a confirmed urbanite who reads the Guardian online and wears a suit to work, the other grows his own vegetables and wears hi-vis. I'm intrigued by both of them, and I am enjoying the process of getting to know them.
But oy, it's taking me from one emotional extreme to the other, sometimes in the same day.
Dating in your thirties? Completely different ball game to dating in your twenties (frisbee in the park vs. juggling sharks, let's say).
You have been through so much. Sometimes you wonder if you can survive one more heartbreak. You're alternately wary and hopeful. You can't help imagining what someone you just met would be like as a long-term partner, a husband, a father, based on whatever crumbs of information you have to hand. Something about them reminds you of an ex. You recognise certain traits which put up a red flag. And of course, they're sitting on the other side of the table, also having experienced heartbreak and battling on and trying to find the right girl, looking at you and wondering whether their future wife would eat her pizza quite so messily.
You get pickier as you get older, no doubt about it. You live, you learn. Isn't it ironic? And other Alanis Morisette lyrics.
On the other hand, it is exciting. A text message gives you flutters of excitement. A great date leaves you on a high for days. You spend hours detailing your experience to friends and family, and they give words of encouragement or caution. I am loving this about being back home: my family have taken an active interest in the nuances of my love-life. I have my brothers threatening to beat up anyone who treats me badly, my sister-in-laws picking favourites, and my mum giving me dating advice that she's learned from god-knows-where (certainly not reality). My Dad is mildly amused by the whole shebang, concerned for my safety but also wanting the same stability and happiness for me that he and my mum have enjoyed.
So, I'll keep putting myself out there. It's been interesting. Mostly enjoyable, all told. I haven't entertained one dark thought about quitting and becoming a bona-fide hermit. I am, amazingly, hopeful. Once more unto the breach, dear friends! I'll keep you informed.
* Yup, two. I did not expect to be dating two guys at once. It's uncomfortable, and I don't like doing it; and I'm hoping the situation will resolve itself soon. It's just that I wasn't sure I was going to hear back from the first guy; so I agreed to meet the second, and then eventually I did hear back from the first guy**, and by then it was too late to cancel the second guy, yada yada, here we are.
** Word of advice blokes: a woman likes to know where she stands. We love it when you text the next day. Love it.