I 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 Match.com, 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.