The Dating Game

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Adoption / Foster Care / General Musings

I met someone. Since a month or so after we moved, I’ve been on an online dating site. A couple guys seemed promising, but conversations eventually fizzled out. Many, of course, didn’t even get that far. In my profile, I am clear that I have a foster child who I am adopting. I do not mention my profession. I had clear face photos up for a while, but decided it was just too risky given what a tiny town I live in, and took them down. Just before Thanksgiving, I had dates with two guys set up, two days in a row. The first guy I wasn’t super-excited about. Our conversation had slowed some, and a couple times he’d asked to see me on short notice, telling me he had no clue how things worked for a single parent. We met for lunch, I was nervous as all get-out that it would be awkward, and it was fine. And that’s all it was. Fine. He was nice, sure, but there just wasn’t chemistry.

Guy #2, however, I was much more looking forward to meeting. However, he had some work stuff come up and had to postpone our first date. I had to wait another week. In the meantime, we continued to talk online, chatting on Gchat most nights, and often during the day as well. I found myself feeling smitten, and I hadn’t even met him yet! When I headed to our lunch date, I was nervous–but this time I was nervous that our online chemistry wouldn’t translate into the real world.

No worries there. I walked into the cafe and was caught off-guard by his big blue eyes (the photo he sent me wasn’t that great). We talked, and talked, and then we left the cafe, started walking, and talked some more. We talked about ourselves and our families, about politics and faith (he works in human rights), about music and social media. On a bench by a river, we kissed. And it was awesome.

I’ve seen him twice since then–including the very next day! Then the holidays came, and he was away visiting family. We’re supposed to see each other again tomorrow. Our daily chats have continued. He’s amazing. He asks about E, how he is, what he’s up to, what his history is like. He grew up in a tough situation, and after his dad left, his mom did therapeutic foster care, so he’s been around kids with trauma issues, and has lived some himself. Can I say again that he’s amazing? He’s got a huge heart, and is passionate and funny–and loves to cook. And, ok: he’s hot.

We’re not serious yet. I feel myself falling, for sure, but we’ve not had “the talk” about where this relationship is going, whether we’re going to be exclusive, etc. Even if that happens, he will not meet E for quite a while.

However, seeing the potential for where this could be headed, I asked E how he felt about me dating. Ok, I admit doing it in the car on the way to drop him off at my parents’ for the night which he’d already described as “getting rid of me” was maybe not the best time. But there it was. Out there.

He was silent. That is not a good sign. We had joked about me dating plenty. At one time he even said having one of his puppets do something in my wedding if I ever got married. But here it was, real. I told him yes, I’d met someone, but no we weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend or anything yet. I hadn’t told him before because there’s no reason for him to know the play-by-play of my dating life. No, The Guy was not the reason he was spending the night at his grandparents’.

He said a couple things that warned me it wasn’t good. “Well, I don’t know, I’m still confused about my own situation.” “Well I know that if you two get married and have a baby, I won’t be as important.” “I never really liked having a dad.” I tried to soothe his fears. Tried to tell him that’s one reason why he’s not involved in my dating, because he’s more important, and I better make sure a dude’s worth meeting my son.

It didn’t matter. When I picked him up two days later (the weather had added another day), I asked him to go out and finish shoveling the driveway, a task he’d been asked to do by my mom. Neither of my parents are physically really able to shovel, and I could see he’d done some, but a bare minimum. Not enough, and not finished. He argued with me. And then argued some more. And then threw a fabulous fit. My poor conflict-avoidant mom just sat at the table as we screamed at each other, and then as he continued to act up while I tried to ignore him and make my lunch. He yelled things about how I should just send him away so I could have a baby of my own (at one point he even said “a baby of your own to yell at”). He said when he got home he was calling his old therapist to come get him. I told him he was my own son, and that his old therapist couldn’t do anything–he was stuck with me. He lost his electronics AND TV for two months. He almost lost his chance to go on a big overnight school trip in May, but I backed off after I calmed down. I finally went out and shoveled myself, and then called him out to go home. He grumpily told my parents good-bye, and I asked him not to be rude and to thank them for having him. He argued with me. We left. I was almost in tears the entire hour back home.

At home, he spent the afternoon and evening in his room, except for dinner (part of the consequences of his meltdown). After dinner, he spent most of the time crying. I let him. When he started to make a big loud fuss, I told him it was time to calm down and be done. We got into another fight, because he clearly was being dramatic trying to garner my sympathy and comfort because he was mad about being in his room, but not at all sorry for how he’d acted before. I sat on the couch and tried to decide whether I was doing the right thing or not. Yes, emotionally he needed to know I was present and cared, but the doors were open, and he also needed to learn that there are consequences for actions–and that a hug is not an apology and does not just make everything better. I stuck with my guns, got my message across, and he quickly stopped crying, came downstairs and said sorry, and then went to get ready for bed since “there’s nothing else to do anyway.”

I get that the idea of me dating is hard for him, especially with the TPR trial coming up and the uncertainty of just how long it’s going to take to finalize the adoption. But the hope and possibility of meeting someone who could become my partner in life is something I won’t let go of. I think it would benefit both of us, but of course even good new things can be scary. We’ll just have to tread carefully.

The Author

I'm a pastor. I believe in radical love and ridiculous grace. I love to sing and sew, and have a shop on Etsy. I'm trying to make my ecological footprint smaller. I have chickens who provide endless entertainment. Oh, and I'm a formerly single mom by choice, son E (born 6/00, placed 11/23/11, adoption finalized 11/21/14) and now making a life with The Dude and his two kids, Girl-E (12/02) and C (9/04). Baby Bumpy due to arrive around 5/25/15! This blog chronicles my thoughts on faith, family, and the wild adventure we call Life!

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