Monday, April 9, 2012

Where's My Happily Ever After?

By: Elle Kay

At 38 years old, you have to wonder, will I ever find my happily ever after? That's yet to be seen, but let me tell you about the road I'm taking to get there. This story is about my plunge into the world of online dating and the craziness, humor, and love that follows!

So in order to understand my present, you need a little insight into my past. Plain and simple, I'm a romantic. I don't take all the blame that I still want a guy to be a gentleman and open doors for me, bring me flowers "just because", make me smile by being sensitive and funny one minute and my manly protector the next! No, some of the blame must be placed on two other sources: first, my parents—they have been married over 40 years and are still in love (geeze, talk about setting the bar high and yes, there is a difference between loving someone and being in love—a subject we will definitely delve into later on) and second and more importantly, my first love—at 16, he set the tone for the way I would view love and relationships for the rest of my life (starry-eyed sighing, batting of the eye lashes, more starry-eyed sighing)...Mr. Everpresent (a nickname my sister, who was 10 years old at the time, found to be quite fitting) could not have been more perfect, that is until the day he broke up with me. But this is not about lost love, this is about finding love or at least what I'm finding on the way to love!

"Aidan and Big"
So, after Mr. Everpresent there were relationships, but two relationships, in particular, I should mention—Aidan and Big. Yes, for you Sex in the City watchers you know what I mean...Aidan—cute, sweet, romantic, funny but something was missing and Big—sexy, beautiful, powerful, rich, total chemistry but kept breaking Sarah Jessica's heart in a huge way. These two men would engulf my life for 10 years...back and forth between them...why? because together they were the perfect man. Separately one fulfilled my physical lust and the other was my perfect emotional complement. (To this day the question still plagues me, is it possible to find a man who you are physically, emotionally, and mentally attracted to? or is some sort of settling necessary?) Finally, realizing I was stuck in limbo and settling, I cut ties with both. Sad, hurt, and guilt-ridden for hurting them, I decided to start on a new path and so I entered the dating world...

"Re-entering the Dating World"
Re-entering the dating world at 38 is a lot different than entering the dating world at 16.

Don’t get me wrong, my weekly beauty process (I will save you from the agonizing details of what we women have to go through to look beautiful…but waxing, to our horror, is usually always involved!), healthful eating, and going to the gym 3x a week has allowed me to maintain a youthful glow. But there are now other things to consider, like twenty-four-year-olds and the thirty-something men who love them! (Okay, maybe not twenty-four but many guys are interested in dating a girl 15 years younger…hmmm…if I did that, I could only imagine our dates - the senior prom and playing beer pong at his frat!) I’ve often wondered, is there a double standard? Is an older man with a younger woman seen as more glamorous and acceptable than a Demi Moore-Ashton Kutcher-like situation?

Then there’s the other main difference…men who assume, because I am in my thirties, that I carry around a burlap bag and once all is calm and serene I will pounce, throw it over his head, and carry him off to be my baby daddy. (Guys, not every girl’s biological clock is a ticking time bomb!).

So, now back in the dating world, I took a deep breath and looked over my options. There seemed to be three main ways I could potentially meet my soul mate (yes, I believe each of us has a soul mate. I'm a romantic remember! The question is...does each of us have more than one soul mate?). As I saw it, love would either come at a bar, through work, or through friends.

Quickly realizing I hated going to bars (even though years earlier this is how I met Aidan. A great story; which I will summarize by saying I had flu-like symptoms and he still found me cute!) my options dwindled to two.

Having shifted careers from finance to starting my own company (a shift that often limits opportunities for dating unless you're okay getting involved with your clients – which for me was kind of like dating your friend’s ex—OFF LIMITS!) coupled with my tendency to be a bit of a workaholic, I realized that I had a better chance of receiving social security checks than finding love. I decided meeting a guy through work was not an option. I didn’t even know if it was a good idea. Although I had met Big through work, I still wonder..are office romances smart?

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