At age forty, I started dating seriously for the first time after Chris. I was pretty sure that I had learned my life lessons since I was a twenty-something. I met this guy I really liked up north. I immediately felt into my relationship woman persona even after all these years of being independent. Finding out that he had a busy ER schedule, I went to see him for a few consecutive weekends. Since my schedule was more flexible than his, I didn’t mind taking the hour-long bus to see him. I was accommodating and easy going. I waited for him while he worked. I kept busy enjoying the picturesque New England town near the water. We spent time together during his break between his shifts. I did not mind. The one day that he was free, he wanted to buy a new car. I went along. But I felt it shortly later, my disappearing, or rather taking a back seat. Going to the car dealer did not feel romantic nor what I would have planned for our third weekend and first full day together.
My friends were on my side watching out for me. “You just met him! Why are you the one going up all the time? Why doesn’t he come down to see you? Why should you be the one making all the effort?” I realized that there was something here to think about. Do I need to be mindful of myself for myself when I am with a man who I am interested in? Was I unhappy about being slightly muted for a few weekends? No, I was not unhappy. That muddled the water.
I don’t think voicing my opinion was be a struggle. Quite the opposite. Men I met, dated, and went out with were interested in what I had to say. I felt that with Chris and with this doctor. I can see why there might be confusion. At times, I was social and extroverted. In college, I was once called a social butterfly by my first boyfriend before we started going out. He said he thought I was out of his league. To which I responded in shock and disbelief. Because, at other times, I was introverted. I enjoyed spending hours alone and had no desire to speak to anyone. I recharged from both being with friends and alone.
I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator three times in my life, during college, at my first job, and on my own later. MBTI is a personality type test that shows a person’s preference on four scales based on C. G. Jung’s theory. I always scored right in the middle of all four scales. When I first got my result in college, I was worried. Was my test result inconclusive? I spoke to my professor about it. He said, “Being in the middle is not bad. It just means that you are agreeable to both sides.” I remember that conversation clearly but I don’t think I understood what life meant to me because of my tendency.
I couldn’t imagine behaving differently. It would be hard to because I always liked myself. Besides, people older than twenty-five does not change. I read that somewhere once and it stuck with me.
Luckily, I have fallen in love before and are close with many friends and family even with my intra-extravorted personality so I knew what it meant and how it felt to make a connection with someone. I would like to believe that a few close friends and ex-boyfriends knew my habit of being extremely laid back as well as energetic and enthusiastic.
After I stopped seeing this doctor from up north, I asked myself what was this particular quality that I was looking for in a man. The answer seemed simple to me. I wanted someone who could make me feel comfortable and at ease. Ultimately, I wanted to be able to be myself. Is this a huge ask, along with all the other ideas and expectations that come with dating and relationship, mixed with everyone’s imperfections and odd habits? Is my voice still a pin drop?
I believed a man would make me feel more comfortable if he spoke and listened equally. But part of what would make this work was that I also needed to speak and listen to him equally. It was a balance. Looked like I had a lot to learn about dating and relationships.