Last night I saw the man upon whom I will now hang the pseudonym Sam. Sam is captain of a nonprofit organization that my ex-husband and I have been peripherally involved with ever since we came to LA. He showed up at the Los Angeles Tesla store opening last spring with a mutual friend who told me that he had just separated from his wife. For some reason — maybe because he seemed to like it — the fact of this emotional turmoil didn’t stop me from razzing him about how world weary and disheveled he looked.
From such stuff is friendship born.
Sam and I are in the process of not-dating, which means we’ve established that the interest and chemistry are definitely there, but between his divorce, and my divorce, it seems stupid to risk killing off anything before we’re clear of our respective situations.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve kind of got this mindset that a) my life is a transitional mess in pretty much every sense of the word and b) I am still carrying the same personal baggage, albeit less and less all the time, that would compel me to repeat the same kind of pattern with the same type of man with whom it is actually impossible to have the relationship I truly want and need, since it’s that very impossibility that drew me to him (and vice versa) in the first place.
Fear of intimacy is a bitch.
So Sam is kind of like a box of chocolates I’ve been saving for a rainy day, hoping that when I lift the cover no one else has eaten them. My logic seems to go like this: if Sam comes into my life right now, that would in and of itself mean that he is yet another ‘impossible’ man and, woman of advancing years that I am, I should not waste my time. But if I Get Things Together and work out my issues and then allow Sam in my life, that would in and of itself mean that he is ‘possible’, theory being that you attract those who are about as psychologically healthy as you are, fitting their neuroses into your neuroses so that, hey, everybody wins*.
The fact that Sam is already in my life, and the state of his psychological health is quite beyond such decisions on my part, which makes this whole line of thinking idiotic to begin with, doesn’t seem to make much impression on me.
I can be like that.
So last night we drank red wine and compared notes on our separate journeys to emotional wellness, wholeness, integration, whatever you want to call it. Sam told me that he has a history of being attracted to “strong but wounded women”.
Neither of us bothered to point out the obvious: I fit that description to a T.
Instead he said happily, “I’m listening to you talk and I don’t feel any need to try and save you or fix your problems.”
“I don’t want some guy to fix me,” said I. “I don’t want to be a fixer-upper.”
“So that’s good.”
And we felt proud of ourselves.
* Or not.