Pride, Lust, and Damaged Men

That phone call from Cristian  announcing he was not following me,  abruptly propelled me  into the American dating scene.

It felt as if I took a pleasure flight in a safe plane and in mid-flight someone said:

“How about if you try on this parachute equipment, and feel how comfortable you are in it.”

Once the equipment was on, someone pushed me out of the comfortable plane and as I was already falling and in mid-air,  a voice shouted:

“Don’t forget to push the button on the right when you want the parachute to open!”

Indeed, I needed the button, because I was not prepared to fly solo, I was one of those who always flew with a man by her side.

News came from Romania that our divorce was final in December of 1981 and a big wedding with the bride all dressed in white was organized almost immediately, and when the news of a baby  being born arrived, is when I really  jumped into the dating scene. I didn’t even care about the safety button, I couldn’t  have cared less if there was safety because I  was a woman scorned. I wanted to show “the world” that I was beautiful and sexy and men would just flock around me and it was my ex- husband’s loss, damn it!

I had the unfortunate idea to start the process by reading women’s magazines giving advice on dating in their 30’s and one of the articles had the nerve to give statistics on how hard it was for a woman in her thirties to find another mate, how she was competing with the much attractive 20’s crowd and pointing out that the biological clock of a woman in her thirties was also ticking faster…

I stopped reading women’s magazines because I could have gotten depressed on my own, really. I  didn’t need an expert confirmation of the obvious.  However, as a result of those statistics I made up my mind to limit the love affairs to six months.  If in six months the relationship wasn’t going anywhere, meaning to marriage, it was over!

As a result, I had several six-month relationships, some much shorter.  I wasn’t expecting to fall in love in the same way I did at sixteen, but I needed a deeper connection on a level I didn’t even know existed when I was sixteen.  This need of a deeper connection in addition to the basic sexual attraction which seemed to exist in all men up to a certain age, (longer now, thanks to Viagara), made it even more difficult for me to find a match.

I remembered my mother’s comment when we married at eighteen:

“Now that you are married men will really flock around you like never before!”

“And why’s that? Now that they know I have a comittment to my husband? It makes no sense!”

“Yes, because now someone else already made a commitment. These “lovers” know they would not have to make it, because you’re already married.”

“Men, all men, “decreed my mother,” do not want to commit to marriage. So it’s much easier and safer for them to have affairs with married women.  It’s… how shall I say… in someone else’s garden, should you get pregnant… because men hate responsibility too, and the birth of a child means more commitment and more responsibility.”

I don’t recall men “flocking” to me and trying to persuade me to become their mistress while I was married, but now, that I was single and in my thirties, I realized that not only was I competing with the women in their 20’s but also against all attractive married women who would settle for affairs with men who didn’t want commitments. Come to think of it, I was competing against all women! Now, that was scary!

The saying “Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free”. was the single, most significant saying I grew up with. The other, more recent saying, “why buy a bull before knowing he is a bull,” came to my knowledge much later. At that time, I didn’t know any feminists. The fight for equal rights with men, the fact that women were paid less  than men for same work, the idea that women wanted to work outside the home, were all foreign to me.

The biggest shock came when I learned there were men who were forcing their wives to stay home, cook and take care of the children!

“How retarded is that!” was the general coment.  “These men like their wives pregnant and bare-footed”  This was an expression (another one!) I was explained, and in reality the wives could wear shoes or slippers.  This was good news for me, because secretly, the idea of staying at home and caring for a family was appealing. I was  a child who always longed after her mommy who was always working.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing as stay-home moms.  I wanted to be one of them, but didn’t know how and where would I find a man with whom to have sexual chemistry, a deeper, spiritual connection and who would be old fashioned and “force me” to stay home and raise a family while he provided for us! May be I wanted to step in an American movie of the sixties!

However, it wasn’t difficult at all to find dates which didn’t meet my expectations.  In other words, there were plenty of men willing to sleep with me but none who wanted to make a commitment. According to my article about women in their thirties and marriage it would be hard to even get a date, so the fact that there were men more than willing to date me, was promising.  May be the magazine  article was wrong and there was hope after 30 s!

Then, I remembered my mother said to stay away from married men who said they had unhappy marriages or are about to separate because their wives didn’t “understand them”.  Those were bad news too!

In other words, my market was very limited!

Thank God, I was in the habit of doing the opposite of what my mother suggested because I always knew better than anyone else!  As a result, I did date the womanizer, and hoped he’d change for me, and the younger man who just wanted to have fun, and the separated man whose wife didn’t “understand” him. I even dated the much older man who already had three children from three marriages and who clearly told me he’d may be willing to get married, probably not, but absolutely no more children for him.  We parted friends and I was so pleased with myself for being honest with him and telling him I wanted children should we have  stayed together.  I thought he’d never marry again. A few months after we split someone told me his secretary, who was going through a divorce, got pregnant by my ex-lover, her boss, and he was going to marry her, now that they had a child together.  Oh, well, she’ll be bare-footed and pregnant!

I continued on my journey to find the perfect partner, and with my mind and knowledge of today, I have to admit at last, that I had a magnetic attraction to emotionally unavailable men: Men damaged from previous relationships  or who could only fall in love once in a life time and they had already fallen and “she” rejected them, so I was a surrogate  for the love that never was. Some were damaged by both their mothers and their ex wives or girlfriends and the current boss at work!

Once I asked a man whom I had been dating for a few months why did he love me. He gave me a puzzled look and  thought deeply:

“Because you are reliable!”

Oh, my ego!  I felt as if I was interviewing for a position, but definitely not that of a wife, and keeping to my  pattern of six-months and it’s over, I moved on, and on, and on!

My parachute was still  taking me places, but sooner or later I was going to hit the ground… and then what?

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