The server greeted us and we chose our table. I sat diagonally rather than across from BG, he started the conversation, and my first date in what seemed like a lifetime had begun.
The first thing he said that I needed to know was that he’d been married and divorced four times. He continued by telling me that he was estranged from his son and daughter, and if either of those were deal breakers, he understood.
He had long eyelashes and clear bluish-grey eyes that I could get lost in—and did. But it was his honesty and sincerity that swept me up. You see, I felt like I was listening to my emotional twin.
I, too, have been married and divorced four times, and I am estranged from my sons as well. For a very long time I have been deeply ashamed of these facts, fearful of being judged. I always have rationalized that it was all my fault. Who would be attracted to someone with such a broken interior? Even though it was over ten years since my last divorce, I still felt the shame intensely, and I told no one. Only my closest friends and psychiatrist knew.
Somehow it seemed to make no difference to this man I’d just met. I admired the way that he put his situation out there and wasn’t ashamed about it. Unlike me, he was saying that the failures were his, but they didn’t define him today. He owned them with no apologies.
I was stunned. I told him my history. He chuckled and looked at me with a smile and the kindest eyes I’d seen in forever. We moved on to other topics.
As we talked, the server stopped by three times to take our order before we finally stopped long enough to look at the menu and order. We spent the rest of the day together.
At home that evening, I realized that I was different. My personal albatross was gone. I had met someone who understood from his own personal experience the circumstances that I hid inside myself. He was unapologetic. Eureka! I realized for the first time in my life that if someone judged me because of my past, it was their problem, not mine.
After another lengthy phone call with BG, I became drowsy. The past nightly ruminations of how worthless I was weren’t there. I wasn’t punishing myself for my imperfect life.
Years of overthinking were resolved by one conversation with the right person. I was not alone in my failures.
All because I downloaded a dating app and met BG.
As tired as I was, I picked up my phone and deleted the app. I was certain it wasn’t going to be needed anymore.
Then I fell peacefully asleep.