For love, I sold my soul.
I’ve been dating someone who couldn’t care less about me. He really couldn’t give a shit. For this one guy, I’ve forgiven rampant tardiness, a couple no-shows, infrequent communication, neglect, cheapness. Didn’t I just write a posting about cheap dates? RED FLAG! I keep hoping that he’ll fall for me. But I know, I absolutely know, that that simply will never happen. But here I am. Still thinking about him.
I just returned from a business trip to Minneapolis. On the flight home, I had the most meaningful, life-changing conversation. It’s like I had a life coach / guidance counselor / therapist sitting next to me. But she wasn’t any of the above. Very simply, very profoundly…she was a mother of five from Wisconsin. Her kids ranged in age from 23 to 9. She was a beautiful woman—inside and out. She looked like she was in her late thirties, though she must have been in her late-forties or early-fifties.
Upon landing, I entertained the idea of writing her a check for her time, for her advice, for listening and advising, for caring about me. On my way out, she said, “I’ll be praying for you.” She didn’t know my name. I didn’t know hers. But I’m pretty sure it was God who was sitting next to me on that flight. I know it.
I’ve always placed a premium on intelligence. It’s been inculcated in me since birth. Study hard, work hard, excel, go to prestigious schools. It’s important to me. It’s what I look for in a partner. I found, in Nick, someone who is extremely intelligent and the most well-read person I’ve ever met. I dismissed the neglect because I was enthralled by his intelligence. This one trait trumped everything else.
I even disregarded the hurtful comments: “I’m not in love with you. If I were, I’d tell you.”
I hadn’t asked him anything. We were just sitting there. It came out of the blue.
But here I am. Still thinking about him.
I’m a smart girl. When it comes to love, though, I’m dumb. I need an out-of-body-experience, to come out of myself, and slap me silly. I need someone to intervene.
I don’t converse with people on planes. I bundle-up and hibernate until touch-down. This time, I happened to ask the woman next to me her reason for going to San Francisco. She was going to visit her sister who just had a baby. I told her my sister was pregnant which launched us into a flight-long conversation.
Woman: “Look for someone who has the most important qualities: kind, hard-working, patient…”
Me: “Oh, AND you have to be attracted to him. Don’t forget that one.”
Woman: “That is not an important quality. That does not matter.”
Me: “Well, if you’re not attracted to the person, then…I mean, all those qualities you just mentioned, those are the qualities I look for in a friend, not in a husband.”
Woman: “You want your husband to be your friend. You’re looking for your best friend.”
Woman: “So you’re dating.”
Me: “Yeah, but, uhhh, yeah. He’s not really right for me. I mean, he doesn’t even pay for me, which is fine. But not even on the first date, not even when he first asked me out.”
Woman: “Then you’re not dating. You two are not dating. You’ll know when you’re dating someone. He’ll treat you like a queen. I guarantee you that. He won’t be able to grab the bill fast enough.”
On What’s Ahead
Me: “I’m 30 years old, but I feel so immature. I’m still dating, clearly I’m dating the wrong guy. Maybe I’m just meant to be single. Maybe that’s God’s plan for me.”
Woman: “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if God meant for you to be single. You will find him. Don’t forget what I said about those important qualities.”
Me: “I don’t cook. I radiate.”
Woman: “A household isn’t about 50-50. People who believe that are on their way to getting a divorce. Do you want to be a statistic? You have to give 100%. 100%! You’ll be surprised at how much you get back if you give it everything you’ve got. I’ve been married for more than thirty years. Learn how to cook. ”
I couldn’t thank that woman enough. I taxied home. Tears trickling down my face. Someone I just met had cared about me enough to listen, to tell me exactly what I needed to hear—sternly and affectionately.
Nick is out of the country for the next couple weeks. It doesn’t make a difference. Even if he were here, it’s as if he were miles and miles away. Cold and distant. When he returns, I’ll be too busy. I’ll be searching for kindness, patience—a true gentleman…my best friend.