Years ago when we met he wanted the whole package. The ride-or-die, the one and only, the wife, the stepmom for his son; he wanted it all. In his early 30’s he was in a good position. Already he had the house, the car, the stability. He had the good job plus the side-gig for extra income. He loved his long-time friends, his close-knit family, and his amazing son—his life was full and he was doing well. I would say when we met he merely wanted a good woman as icing on the cake. He didn’t need a good woman, because he was doing well on his own, but he’d reached the point where he was open to it. He was ready. Raised as a son in a two-parent household, he knew being married was God’s design. So a few months after I met him, He explained very concretely that I had to be 100% ready for his life– any-and-everything that came with it.
Well, at 23 years old I wasn’t ready. I was newly single. Hadn’t dated much. Had changed jobs a few times and was even considering moving out of the area for something new. And though he was an amazing man and an amazing father– I just wasn’t ready to see myself as a step mom to a pre-teen. Back then, it was a responsibility that I shied away from because pre-teens come with strong personalities, strong opinions and even stronger biases! I had to be willing to go all –the way- at this current juncture. If we were going to date I needed to be onboard with the fact that he had a son. There was no need to be wishy-washy in my attempts to date his son’s father. He has never been a guy to waste time, so why date me and then 1-2 years down the road I discover that I still wasn’t ready for step-motherhood. He needed me to be sure that I was open to the idea at the on-set. Unfortunately, I wasn’t.
So, we kinda-sorta parted ways. Still friends, but friends with no agenda.
Fast forward 2 years and the roles are reversed.
I’m getting older, more settled in my career. I’m not partying it up, going out, or dedicating my time to those who don’t deserve it like others my age, but I’m wiser, more focused. I think I’m ready for the whole shebang.
I want what he has. I want to be a part of that life now: the marriage, the wife/mother status, the consistency. I feel like I am in a better position to help him grow. Nothing has changed in my opinion of him as a man. He’s still an amazing guy who always makes me laugh. He’s still a good father from what I can see. His son is priority. Always has been. But now that I’m older, I no longer want to have an external view of his life. I want to be a part all that he has going on. In my opinion, I fit better now than I would have years ago. I fit more concretely into where he wants his life to be.
So… I pursue him on-purpose. I let him know I’m open now. To EVERYTHING.
Only now, its his season that has changed. His son’s a teenager. And as a father, he’s focused on making sure his son gets the grades to get into a good college. That’s his primary objective. He never got married, still dates a bit, but he wants to raise a man that’s better than he is. He makes it clear that exclusively dating me would be nice, but he knows my end-game. He understands that I want to get married, make babies, start my “grown up life”; only he’s been living his “grown up life” for years now! This isn’t new to him and to be honest, he’s no longer where he was when we first met. His son is a teen now—he’s been a father for years. He has to ask himself: Does he want to start all over with diapers and formula and daycare expenses because he knows I’d want children of my own? Would he find himself downplaying my FIRST PREGNANCY because cravings, swollen noses, and Braxton hicks, aren’t a big deal to him anymore? He’s been to this rodeo before. He’s not interested seeing the show again. “And you’re still relatively young,” he says to me, “I don’t want you resenting the fact that I don’t want any more kids.” I’m on the phone. Listening.
He knows I desire children. “It woudn’t be fair”, he says again.
I take a deep breath. He’s right. I was open to possibly being a stepmom, but I still wanted to feel pregnancy on my own. I wanted to marry a man (or in this case “date” a man) who was willing to plant seeds in fertile ground. I wanted him to want to give me my own child one day—or at least be open to the idea.
If we were to begin again where I’d hoped, and move forward, he couldn’t guarantee me that he would change his mind about one of my ultimate desires. ..
and besides the baby I desperately wanted, he was no longer “ sure about marriage anymore either…”
We stepped back… again…
Month passed. I stopped paying attention to what he had going on. I figured, why waste the time. It seems like he’s settled in being single. He is excited about his son being an adult and being out of the house. He is still working hard, providing, enjoying life. He is in a mode now where he’s been dating women with no kids because “it’s just easier” he says. And though he’s getting older, he’s not worried about being married, having someone to intimately share his life with. His focus is on other things. He’s doing him. I’m doing me. Other than his social media updates, I wouldn’t know what he else has going on. Our lives divergent.
Its fine, its his life. What was I to do about it? My objectives were different, and I’ had counted him out as far as being a possibility so I let the issue rest. We were just to be friends—cordial, casual acquaintances. No more, no less. I’m good. I’m not ready either just yet. I’ve got too much to do right now to even focus on being what a man needs anyway.
Then Father’s day I’m scrolling on Facebook and his post reads:
Next Fathers Day I will be married! #teamclaimit
Now at first I was a bit confused. I even posted on his facebook page that I would have keep him in my lineup if he could make up his mind about what side of the fence he wanted to be on. Either he was open to marriage or he wasn’t. What guy goes back and forth like that? We’ve been missing each other since I’d met him, never on the same page about ‘the future objective’ in our friendship. But after a conversation with my cousin I was reminded that when a man meets THE WOMAN meant for him it isn’t a matter of IF he’s ready… He immediately chooses to be ready.
In a nutshell, after knowing me for 5 years, I obviously wasn’t THE WOMAN built to help him make that decision.
See, most women know that single men exist in two phases:
1) there are some men who choose to get married because their lives are exactly where they want them to be. These men are emotionally, spiritually, and financially ready to have a wife so they seek the one who fits the lifestyle they’ve built. They search, divide, and conquer. (One of my C&Bs often confirms that a man open to marriage only spends time with women who have that wifey-potential. He’s not wasting time on women who can’t fit the role; spending time with those who are less-than-qualified is counterproductive to him. A man who wants a wife searches with purpose!) Those men find exactly what they’re looking for because they’ve purposed it. To me, this is the closest thing to Biblical dating. These Biblical Daters have been prepared as men and are simply doing what they are supposed to do. They ultimately aim to make a choice. Dating isn’t about “fun” anymore. They meet women or are introduced to women with a specific end-goal in mind: To find a wife.
2) Alternatively, there are those men whose minds haven’t made that choice just yet… these are modern men who aren’t focused finding a wife right now. Some concretely swear that they won’t ever get married… but others who aren’t totally against the idea say: they’re having fun, they enjoy their freedom, they aren’t quite ready… These are men who I call the Recreational Daters.
They date for fun and could care less about there being a “next step” to anything. They don’t want to settle. They want to be busied, to be entertained all the time. They’re social and want to enjoy days without obligations of tomorrow. And as recreational daters they don’t really have a preference as to who the woman-of-the-hour is. They just want to have something to do with someone. They have no criteria or guidelines other than the idea that “she” just be adequate enough, she must be tolerable enough for this particular season of busy-ness. Ironically, some of these Recreational Daters do suddenly find themselves meeting an amazing woman who they realize they cannot live without. It’s a shock to everyone involved that they’re settling down and starting a new life. When you hear these men talk about how they came to the conclusion to slow down and finally get married, they say: ‘I had to!… I just couldn’t see myself living without her!”
Obviously I don’t know how this works exactly since I’ve never been the woman on the receiving end of either scenario, but I purpose to one day be married, so I know that women also date with an underlining strategy. They may never admit to it, but they do. Overall, if we see that you have potential (and we can actually tolerate you), well, we ensure that we are available and open to you. We spend time. We do all the “good things” that women do. We smile, we laugh, we wear heels even when we don’t feel like it—we do it all just for you! On the flipside, If you’re the guy that doesn’t have the slightest chance with us, or we’re entering to a phase/season that you just aren’t prepared to enter with us, well, we stop answering our phones, we don’t respond to text messages until days later. We’re always busy, always doing something else other than making plans with you! If you don’t fit our agenda, then we don’t worry about being where you are; and It doesn’t really matter either because our seasons don’t match up. We’re just not on the same level. It’s okay. Its life. And different phases happen sometimes.
When I considered this man I blamed our seasons being out of sync as the reason that we never got anything going. When he was a biblical dater, I wasn’t prepared for that season of his life. When he entered his recreational dating phase, [a regression in my book] I still wasn’t the woman who made him realize that he could have more. I just wasn’t. For some reason, we were just never able to be on the same page at the same time when our lives crossed paths. I admit, I would have done more had I known he wanted to one day get married. I wouldn’t have been so nonchalant about him calling or making myself available. I would have tried harder if I knew the potential was there.
Because I always think myself through menial things, I’m wondering what happened. We met through a random guy, and older guy who only knew the both of us casually. And the timing was really the only “issue” that we found between the two of us. “Its been years of us just missing each other somehow” I say, my cousin sits at my kitchen table, while I roll Oreo cookie balls for tomorrow’s bridal shower. Another girl at work, younger than me, is getting married this weekend. Somehow, I’m hosting her bridal shower. My dear cousin is listening to me talk about his facebook post. Explaining that I like him, but somehow, we just could never get it together. “He’s cool, a real easy guy to get along with” I tell her, “Just-right” in a way, but somehow we never could get the full-blown exclusivity in sync. “It would start up then die-down. Repeatedly. Our seasons always un-aligned.” She’s not looking up because she knows the truth. She’s avoiding looking at me because we both know the lie I just spoke out loud.
You see, seasons have nothing to do with dating. If I were THE WOMAN for THIS MAN, regardless of where he was in life, he’d purpose to have me no matter what. And no matter how I rationalize it or excuse us not being a couple throughout the years, I can’t make him more ready by making myself more available. It doesn’t work that way.We’re reminded biblically that he who “finds a wife” somehow gets a good thing. He does well to even FIND her. It doesn’t state where he must be, what season he must be in when he finds her, though we all have preferences. If this guy wanted me in that way, he would have had me. Even if that life for him involved marriage or more kids or moving out of Charlotte or whatever comes down the road, If he wanted a life with ME he’d choose that life.
That’s how men operate—When they find the RIGHT woman they make the RIGHT decision, even if it isn’t quite the right time.
But see, he didn’t choose me… He’s still single and so am I.
And Synchronizing seasons has nothing to do with making a dating decision that both of us have somehow already unknowingly made!
As I put the 2nd set of Oreo Cookie balls in the freezer to firm up, I hear Megan’s voice remind me: “If it was meant to be, it would have been, regardless…..”
Thanks for reading!