The Chemist

ChemistryI knew my bloggy friends weren’t going to let me off the hook when I posted seven things about me last week, and I wasn’t disappointed.

So here’s the story.

I’ve written before about some of my more horrifying interesting experiences with internet dating.  Re-reading it (which was fun, actually) I see I did mention that I met a couple of nice guys.  The Chemist was one of them.

The Chemist was very cute, very sweet, very smart and very, very naïve.  Not only did he have PhD in chemistry, his first degree was in Byzantine History.  That tickled me to no end – it still does.  It was just so…arcane.  A couple of years younger than me, he’d never been married or had children; indeed, he’d spent his entire adult life in the hallowed halls of higher learning ivory towers universities.  Don’t get me wrong – I have the utmost respect for anyone with a college education, especially a PhD, but he was 33 years old when I met him and had never done anything but go to school.

When we met via the infant, he’d only completed his doctorate the year before and had accepted a research position at OU in Norman, Oklahoma, about a 4-hour drive from my Dallas residence.  Moving to the heart of the Bible Belt (from Canada) was an interesting experience for him, because he was a rampant liberal…a fact that probably doomed the whole thing from the get-go; I don’t think he could quite reconcile his liking for me with the fact many of my family are members of the NRA and they all vote Republican (hey, don’t judge – I’m from Texas, after all).  And while my politics as well as my stance on the Second Amendment have changed somewhat over the last 15 years, that wasn’t the only thing that kept the relationship from being something more serious.  We were just too different.

Anyhoo, we dated for five months.  On the weekends the kids were with their father, I drove up to Norman to see him; on the weekends the kids were with me, he drove down to Dallas to visit with us.   It was during one of those trips to Norman – the weekend of the Texas-OU game, as a matter of fact – that we found ourselves in the deserted chemistry lab at the university, checking up on an experiment he was in the midst of.

Let’s just say that experiment wasn’t the only chemistry going on.

He did not have an ulterior motive in taking me to the lab – I initiated it.  He was extremely cautious by nature and would never have thought of it.  We didn’t date much longer after that, although I don’t think our little adventure in the workplace had anything to do with it.  I think it was more that my situation frightened him; I was, after all, a divorced mother of three (and a struggling one, at that).  Nor could I have any more children; I’d had a tubal when The Young One was born.  I think, too, that if he had decided to take the step to make our relationship a serious, committed one that I would have probably gone along with it – like a lot of single mothers, I worried about finding the right man to bring into the lives of my kids, and The Chemist was a genuinely nice guy who would have taken his responsibilities as a step-father very seriously.  Looking back, I realize he took everything very seriously and we’d probably have killed each other if we’d try to make a go of it.  I just can’t take life that seriously – I can’t take anything very seriously.

So when he stopped calling and emailing (we spoke on the phone and emailed every day for the five or so months we were involved) it didn’t take me long to see the writing on the wall.  It was upsetting, sure, but it was more the manner in which he handled it that bothered me; it was such a cowardly thing to do.  What was wrong with saying, to my face, “I really, really like you but I don’t want a ready-made family”?  It would have been perfectly reasonable, and I’d have accepted it.  Surely, after five months, he could see I wasn’t a drama queen and would have let him go with a hug and a “good luck – I’m so glad I got to know you.”  Because that’s what would have happened.

I don’t believe in fate or karma or destiny, but things like this usually happen for the best – or at least they seem to.  After The Chemist, I decided to give up dating and pretty much give up on men in general.  And that was my frame of mind, just a few months later, when I met Beloved.

The rest, as they say, is history.

21 thoughts on “The Chemist”

  1. Hey just read the AKJ story, Christ, hope your nephew is doing well.

    And your chemical experiment? Glad that one did get away as I can imagine what being with someone so serious and inside the box would do to someone like you who is so open and fun… banging head against wall is one image. Glad you can relax today- aren’t there a lot of decisions we almost made that we can say “phew” now.

    And his loss, of course.
    Have a good weekend x

    SSGs last blog post..The beginning is always today

  2. That was a brave and beautifully done post. Just enough information. I have often thought about writing about old romances, but I worry about what to put in and what to leave out. My kids might read it and, you know, kids hate to think about their parents as sexual creatures, even when they are over 50. But, inspired by you, I may try.

    Anne Giberts last blog post..Showing Deborah my world

  3. Thank you for “the rest of the story.” I feel so much better now. It was like listening to Paul Harvey and having your radio go dead after the commercial.

    I love nerds. I’m with you tho. I don’t think I could handle anyone who takes EVERYTHING seriously. I’m just not made that way. Great story, Jan. I’m so glad it didn’t work out because I’m convinced that Beloved is perfect for you.

    Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..BIKE NIGHT


    Yeah what would she want with a nice, quiet, stable, serious and steady kinda guy?

    Honey, we never did it in a Chemistry Lab. Did I miss anything? Did your Bunson get burned?

    Don’t know much about Byzantine History, don’t know much about Chemistry, But I do know that I love you!

    I should write a song!

  5. Whenever I comment after Beloved, I am laughing too hard to type. “Did your Bunson get burned?” Classic.

    This is a great story though, and the idea that some things happen for a reason…like leaving space for your now-guy to enter your life, sounds just about right to me. I also can’t quite picture you as an academic’s wife, raging liberals and all, even with chemistry taken into consideration.

    Tricias last blog post..Banging My Head for Education

  6. What a great story! Just like you, I gave up dating all together and it wasn’t long after that, that I met my love. I too, could never be with someone that is so serious because I, like you, just can’t be that serious. Seriously. LOL!

    PS I love reading beloved comments…they almost always crack me up. When and if he writes that song, will you please post it?

    Loris last blog post..When We Think Of You

  7. That was a great little story. I think you’re right, too. It happens so often that when people stop trying to hard to find the right person, the right person actually comes forward. Hmmm, I guess I must now stop trying. I must now not give a shit? 🙂


    Fragrant Liars last blog post..Deal Breakers

  8. Ironically, I dated a couple of guys right after I got divorced (with 2 young sons) who were ready to settle down. Just add ring and instant family. Not EVER wanting to be divorced again, I ran the other way. It took 9 years of dating before I’d marry my husband. We rushed things a little, eh?

    Beths last blog post..How narcissism starts

  9. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂 This was a cute story and “Be”, I assume is Beloved from the comments, is hilarious! Your blog is so cute!! I love it.

  10. Hi..
    After Patrick died it was four years before I even began to think of being open to a relationship. A friend suggested and briefly…We met in person on Dec. 7th and were married New Years about 7PM in Las Vegas. It ended with his death five years and three months later in March. 2007.
    A year later I met and married a wonderful man I met on eHarmony and was married three months later. He just lived a short distance this time as my second husband lived 3 hours from me.
    I make up my mind fast…and have just been lucky. I am more adventursome then either of them but they kick it up and I slow…down…and it works. 🙂

  11. P.S. I loved your story and related to the online dating…though I did very little of it. Not an easy business. Your blog is adorable and I always enjoy it. I always get a good laugh at you and your Beloved!

Comments are closed.