Tuesday, May 8, 2018

There Comes a Time In Every Man's Life

My "WTF? Expression." Photo credit: Jordan Mattingly
An excerpt from Dating,Getting to First Base: Dating, Sex, and Relationships The Second Time Around

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As autumn turned to winter in 2008, my children were still pretty young. My oldest was on the verge of young womanhood at 11-years old, while her sister was a precocious eight-years old. The Blue-Eyed Devil (aka The Favorite Son), just four, had just started his second year of preschool, the three day a week version. As for me, I’d been a single father on his own who’d been responsible for his three children and dating, learning about myself, other people, and the singles scene, for almost four years. It was into this environment I introduced Sonia.

After a few dates with Sonia, there was nothing that I discovered that would give me pause about involving her more in my life. Candidly, if we “wanted to find out where this will go, or if there is even anything we can call a this,” then we needed to spend more time together. Because I didn’t want to reduce the parenting time I had with my children or their time with me, I introduced Sonia.

Photo Credit: Wendy Neidich
Sonia and the kids took to one another like a flower to sunshine. While Sonia had surely experienced a wide range of emotions in her work with pediatric cancer patients, she radiated love and tenderness onto my daughters and son who soaked it up and blossomed. Simultaneously, Sonia reflected their energy and bloomed in her own way.

Sonia worked a rigorous four-day a week schedule at her hospital, starting early and working very long hours. For her, Friday was the first day of the weekend. After catching up on her sleep and working out, she often started her weekend by making the drive from her metro New York City apartment to the lower Hudson Valley. That schedule worked well for me, too, because I worked for a couple of hours in the morning while my son was in school. After my trip to the preschool for pick-up and then home for lunch, Sonia was on her way and usually not far from my house.

Depending on the time in the afternoon she pulled in to the driveway, we’d go to the park with my son. If it was later and my daughters had also gotten home from school, we might cook dinner, once in a while go out to eat. For dessert, we’d have the cookies or granola that Sonia always brought with her. Depending on the weather, stay in for a movie night or visit the local drive-in. In no time, it seemed the energy that Sonia and I had created was comfortable and very nice.

For months, Sonia and I adhered to what an old friend of mine called a “beautiful rut.” One week in four or five, I’d make the trip to New Jersey to her place, but Sonia understood the logistics of the kids’ schedules, sitters, and so forth, and made things easy for me. Through the fall and winter holidays and into the spring, we maintained our beautiful rut, during which she and I balanced time between spending time together alone on dates and interacting together with my daughters and son. Frankly, that balance was probably tilted a little toward the latter considering the strong chemistry that existed naturally between Sonia and my children.

I really don’t understand the variables that constitute the “It,” or that magical, exciting, romantic chemistry that one person feels toward another person. I don’t know if it’s the “pheromones, those elusive, odorless chemicals given off in response to sexual stimulation or even romantic fantasy[i],” facial or body symmetry, which “shows that an individual has the genetic goods to survive development, is healthy, and is a good and fertile choice for mating[ii],” or if it’s something else entirely that creates that It.

I’d gotten to know Sonia after previously dating, having become friends who occasionally talked on the telephone and corresponded via email, and then, finally, getting to know her in the framework of my family life. She couldn’t have been more perfect. She was attractive. She was intelligent. She had a heart of gold. She was good to me. Practically, she had absolutely nothing tying her to one place, neither her children because she didn’t have any, nor mine because they’d connected so well, nor even necessarily her job considering her skill was in such a high demand. So, I was completely baffled when, after several months, the It didn’t happen for me.

"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them.”
-Casey Stengel

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[i] “Love Is All in Your Head – Or Is It in Your Genes?” Laura Barclay, MD. WebMD Health News. February 14, 2001.
[ii]“Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love.” Bjorn Carey. LiveScience.com. February 13, 2006.

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