Monday, June 23, 2014

Does Age Matter in Dating? Let's Find Out!

In the beginning of June, I made a dating declaration: No more going out with 27-year-olds. 

I keep attracting these guys and guess what? Nothing. Keeps. Happening.

“I only want guys who are 35 or older!” I declared to no one. "Guys born in the 1980s are not allowed!"

Well, as anyone single knows, when it rains prospective suitors, it must pour. After a relative drought last month (other than a cute 27-year-old who ended up blowing me off), this month has been hot with male attention from a wide range of ages.

I Meet a 44-Year-Old

I’ve never gone out with someone more than a year or two older than me, but I think it would make a lot of sense for divorced me to go out with an older man.

Lo and behold, that very weekend, I met Steve, who's 10 years older than me, at a gathering for the residents of my apartment building.

(By the way – 

We were outside on the patio chatting and drinking, and gradually the group shrunk down to four of us. The conversation was lively, smart, and fun… and I sensed a spark with Steve (and I was pretty sure it wasn’t just the sauvignon blanc). Eventually it was 1 a.m., and it was time to call it a night. I rode the elevator up to my apartment, walked through the door, and then paused.

There was something there with Steve, and I was 87% certain the wine wasn't misguiding me. And then I thought of my goal to meet my next guy in real life. Bold, I thought, be bold! I grabbed a piece of paper.

“You forgot to get my number. XXX-XXX-XXXX  -Kat.”

And I dashed back down the hall to the elevator before I lost my nerve.

I knocked on his apartment door, questioning if I was about to make a total fool of myself. He opened the door, looked surprised, and then smiled at me.

“So I’m not sure if I’m way off here, but I kind of feel like you wanted to get my number, but you didn’t. Was I wrong?” I asked, faking confidence.

He grinned at me. “Well, come on in.”

At 5 a.m., he kissed me.
At 5:30 a.m., we fell asleep next to each other on the couch.
At 7 a.m., I left my note on the coffee table and headed back upstairs.

He called me – like an actual phone call starring his voice, you guys – the next day.

Off to a decent start, right?

...Then I Meet a 27-Year-Old

...And yet he got my number anyway.
A few days after I met Steve, what do you think happened? I met another guy, Carl. And take a wild guess how old he was? Yup, 27. I wasn’t going to give him my number but… there was something about him. A really positive energy. So, what the hell, I’ll break my new rule.

That Saturday, while I was driving home after my visit with Max’s parents, Carl and I arranged an impromptu date for that very evening. I didn’t even get to go home and primp! (I miiiiight have changed my clothes and put on liquid eyeliner at a rest stop though.) A glass of wine turned into a sharing a pizza that turned into getting a cocktail that turned into dancing that turned into a fantastic kiss. Um, what the hell? How did that just happen?!

Last week, Carl asked me to get a drink after work. I did something crazy. I skipped my Tuesday night spinning class and agreed to have a quick drink. Our drink lasted for almost four hours. We talked about real stuff, dumb stuff, and flirty stuff. He kissed me softly… and once he felt it would be acceptable, he kissed me boldly.

Shit, you guys, I’m forming a crush on a guy born in the 1980s.

The Side-by-Side Comparison

Obviously, Steve texted me while I was enjoying my cocktail with Carl. Steve had been sort of trying to make plans with me, but not in a direct “Can I take you to dinner on Friday” way – more like “Let me know when you want to get together” way. Eh, not very hot. So anyway, Steve asked me to stop by when I got home. I felt a little sketchy to go from a lovely evening with Carl to seeing Steve, but this was a unique opportunity for a side-by-side comparison!

It was my first time seeing Steve since our marathon first meeting. We just chilled on his couch, talking, for less than hour. When I left, he gave me a little kiss goodbye and still left things loosey-goosey about plans.

So what was the verdict of my side-by-side? 

Both are good kissers. (As you know, I looooove kissing.) Neither seem like they would be wimps in the bedroom.

Steve is definitely cute and he seems interested in me… kind of. I’m looking for a boyfriend, and I’m not quite sure what he wants. And our calendars never seem to align.

Carl is pretty openly showing me that he wants to know more about me (remarkably, it's not scaring me off yet). He is a relationship kind of person. 

What matters at the moment is that both seem to be good guys [please, Steve and Carl, don’t prove me wrong] and I feel like I’m being true to myself when I’m with each of them. So, I’m going to continue talking to both of them until it’s time to stop, whether it’s because I get bored or dumped or… I actually develop feelings for someone.

And can I just say that I think it’s kind of awesome that there is a 17-year age gap between my two flavors of the week?! The joys of being 34 and single!

How does age factor into your dating decisions?
Epic Mommy Adventures

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Had Lunch with My Ex-Husband's Family. It Made Me Happy.

When you get divorced, it’s not just wedding gifts that divided into His and Hers piles. Relationships also end up in piles. No matter how much you liked your ex’s parents or best friend or personal trainer, when the marriage is over, his people go with him and her people go with her.

Unless, of course, we’re talking about my ex-husband’s parents.

Driving to My Ex-Husband's Parents' House 

After seeing Journey and Steve Miller Band with my college friend Colette on Friday night, I awoke Saturday morning with a mix of anticipation and anxiety. You see, Colette lives less than an hour from Max’s parents, so I had arranged to visit them. (Max’s mom, Sara, and I email here and there, and she enthusiastically invited me for lunch.)

I couldn’t show up empty handed, but I knew better than to ask Sara what I could bring. Like my late grandma, Sara loves you by feeding you. So, I stopped for flowers because one can never go wrong with flowers. Well, this is kind of embarrassing, but I agonized over what to buy. What kind of flowers do you bring to your ex-husband’s parents when they’re hosting you for lunch and you haven’t seen them in almost two years? I didn’t want to look cheap or like I tried too hard. After about half an hour, I selected a yellow and purple mixed bouquet. OK, I told myself, no more stalling. Get going!

As I drove to their house, I couldn’t believe that it had been nearly two years since I last saw them, and that was to say goodbye. That day, they found out from me – not their son – that our divorce was imminent. It was one of the saddest, most heart wrenching moments of my life. As I got closer to their house, I felt more and more nervous.

What would it be like to see them?
Would it be too sad to be in their house?
Would we be able to hold a conversation?

My Ex Mother-In-Law Feeds Me 

I pulled into the driveway and saw Max’s sister. I was never close to either of his sisters and I very much doubt that his sisters know why we got divorced. But, as if no time had passed, we hugged and said hello.

And just like I used to, I walked in to the kitchen through the side door, the door that family uses. The kitchen smelled warmly of roast chicken and tomato sauce. First John, my former father-in-law, came into the kitchen with a grin and embraced me. Sara came in right behind him with a huge smile on her face with her arms spread wide. She held me extra long, the kind of hug you reserve for certain moments with certain people.

“Oh honey, it’s so good to see you,” she said in my ear.

I handed her the flowers, and she gratefully accepted them, chattering away that it was very nice of me but not necessary.

“Sara, I knew better than to offer to bring food!” I said, and she shrugged and laughed.

As she fussed with getting a vase for the flowers, John and I stood around the kitchen as the chicken and stuffed shells (vegetarian for me!) finished cooking. They asked me about the usual stuff – work, my parents, my niece and nephews. It felt a touch awkward, but not too bad. We were off to a good start for being ex family members.

Lunch was ready and the four of us sat down in the dining room. I sat in my usual chair, except my husband wasn’t sitting beside me. Remarkably, conversation flowed quite naturally. As we finished eating, I heard a car in the driveway.


My Ex-Husband Shows Up

I hadn’t seen Max since we had lunch four months ago. He knew I would be at his parents’ house today, and I knew it was possible we could be there at the same time, but I hoped our paths wouldn’t cross. I mean, how weird is that to be in HIS parents’ house with his ex-wife?! But, there he was, walking towards the house. I guess he didn’t think it would be weird.

I did a gut check. Was I going to cry? Lose my lunch? Be cool, Kat, be cool.

He entered the house and smiled at me.

Oh, that smile.

I got up and went right to him and we embraced.

This felt wonderful.
Totally strange too, but wonderful.

With the familiarity of an eight-year relationship and without the bitterness of divorce, Max and I started chatting away about this and that. He proudly showed me his new road bike that he bought with his work bonus. I told him that I was condo hunting. It all felt friendly and warm and… normal. Totally weird in theory, but normal.

Next, Matt’s other sister and her young daughter came over. She too greeted me just as she would have two years ago. The three of us did the small talk thing, then she told Max and me that she was pregnant, just as she would have two years ago.

(Whoah, Sara never took down photos from Max's and my wedding day. That was very surprising.)

Finally, it was time for Father’s Day cake. No meal is complete with Sara’s homemade cake. I sat at the dining room table savoring a huge slice of chocolate cake with a cup of coffee. It could just as easily have been five years earlier, except, to me, without the heaviness of the secret of my dysfunctional relationship with Sara’s son.

Saying Goodbye to His Family (Again)

I glanced at the clock. I had been there for almost two and a half hours! It felt so good being back with my former family, but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. One by one, I hugged them goodbye: my ex sisters-in-law, my ex niece, my ex father-in-law, then my ex mother-in-law.

Again, Sara held me extra close and extra long and
whispered in my ear, “I miss you.”

“I miss you too,” I whispered back.

Max and I walked out of the kitchen door. He walked me to my car (well, his former car), and we discussed when we’d have him come visit me in Ford for a lunch date. He hugged me goodbye.

As I drove out of town, I marveled at the lovely afternoon I had. How was I this blessed to still be able to be friendly with my ex-husband and his family? It’s like I’m getting the best of Max without the heaviness and sadness of trying to make our marriage work. I realized that because Max and I never betrayed a trust or disrespected each other, we are able to be our unique version of friends/family that we are today.

I am so very grateful.

(Cliffhangers: That night, I had an impromptu date with an adorable 27-year-old. I’m in the process of buying my beloved apartment! Details to come…)

Are you friendly with your ex’s family?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Loving, Supportive Parents Make Me Not Want to Have Kids

When I was growing up, my parents provided everything I needed and then some. 

I was encouraged to try a variety of activities from softball to acting to cheerleading. I had tutors for math. I was applauded for good efforts and scolded for laziness. I learned faith through going to church as a family every Sunday (I’m no longer Christian but I still appreciate the act of imparting faith). I am one of three kids and my parents made a point to keep things fair among the three of us, so I always felt equally - but individually - loved.

I grew up believing I could do anything, and I thank my parents for that belief.

Certainly there were and are some things that one parent does more or better than the other. For example, my mom was the one I remember being by my side in the hospital and calming me through my terrible asthma attacks while my dad is the one I remember obsessing over his kids’ college searches and researching every reach to safety school we might want. Between Mom and Dad, my needs were more than met and I was and am completely loved.

I guess I’m an adult now. I continue to find myself calling home, and sometimes I’ll talk to whoever answers, and other times I specifically need to talk to Mom or Dad (like the day my marriage died).

After having had such great parents, you might think I would be desperate to have kids of my own. Well, I'm not.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a sad thing, but the desire I once had for children with Max has been all but extinguished. 

I don’t desire motherhood; I desire a two-parent partnership for both me and my children.

I hope I get to have one of these someday.
This one seems to like me.
My point was proven last week when I spent five days surrounded by children and two sets of devoted parents. 

I was visiting Ali, one of my best friends in the universe. She just had her second child, so I was in town to help. I had the up close, personal, and sometimes disgusting look at parenthood as I cuddled her six-week-old infant. Ali and her husband were doing the parenthood thing seamlessly in little moments like when Ali nursed the baby while her husband cooked eggs for their toddler son. Sure, there was a little bickering here and there between these tired parents, but they were working together to keep their children healthy and happy. I marveled at how blessed their children were.

Also during my visit, I saw my brother and his wife for my nephew’s second birthday party. It’s been incredible to see my siblings become parents and find out which of our parents’ habits they have incorporated (or dropped). Anyway, I loved watching how my nephew fluidly ran between his parents, which is no surprise because my brother and his wife really take a team approach to parenting.

Loving, supportive parents have made me
not want to have children (yet).

I had pangs during my visit when I felt achingly sad to be childless. Part of me so wants to be a mom. I’d be an awesome mom, I’m sure of it! But when I lost Max, everything changed. I’d want to bring my child into this world into two pairs of loving arms. My parents had each other to lean on through raising three kids.  I want to share parenthood, from the literally shitty moments to the precious ones. I just can’t fully desire motherhood without a man who would be a wonderful father.

Sadly, Max would have been that wonderful father, but as we learned in an awkward lesson with the school nurse in fifth grade, you need sex to make babies. And that leaves me 34-year-old, divorced, and childless. 

In the meantime, I'll cherish being an awesome aunt and friend to the many precious children in my life.

If you’re single and childless, do you want children? How does having someone to have children with factor into your desire for children? If you’re a single parent, did your approach to parenting change after your split? Or, did anyone actively choose to be a single parent?

See also: I'm Not A  Mom. Do I Cry or Cheer?

P.S. My search for my perfect home continues. I'll find it one of these days!

Epic Mommy Adventures

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Hunt for My New Home Continues

I did indeed offer to buy my beloved apartment. However, my all-I-could-afford offer (AKA a lowball) was outright rejected. Honestly, I too would have rejected my offer if I were my landlord. But boo! The truth is that I could probably stretch myself super thin to buy this place, but what's the fun of a fabulous apartment if you can never throw a friend a birthday party or see a Cher concert or buy yourself flowers? I'm a pretty risk averse person, so the idea of handing over every penny to anything, especially real estate given how burned we got last year, sounds pretty terrible.

So now I'm back to where I was: soon to be homeless and hoping to find an almost as fabulous home that I can comfortably afford. But I'm not panicked like I was a few weeks ago. I do believe that things happen for a reason, even if it takes me a long ass time to figure out the reason.

I think of my adult life in chapters according to my addresses:
  • my first apartment on my own after graduate school
  • my apartment with Nora
  • my apartment with Max
  • our condo
  • my current apartment, back to living alone
I've loved living here but I do believe in vibes or energy or whatever. Except for the condo (bad vibes, bad energy, just lots of sad and bad!), my other addresses have had plenty of good memories and a handful of not so good ones. This home has served me well but I've made some some stupid decisions while living here too. Maybe this chapter is supposed to be brief to make room for something new, like a mortgage with only MY name on it, or meeting a boyfriend, or a balcony where I grow basil.

It's scary to not know where in Ford I'll be living three months from now, or I'll be owning or renting, but exciting as well.