I remember my first big yes. Even though it did not end in a happily ever after for a lifetime, I still remember every detail about the evening on which I got engaged. I did not hesitate when I said yes.
But recently, I’ve been starting to question the idea of me saying yes, and who says—or doesn’t say— yes back to me.
I’ve been post-divorce dating for two years now, and I’ve been grossly disappointed with the number of yesses I’ve been getting. I don’t mean Match members saying yes to my photo. I mean, real actual yesses to making plans and being open to possibilities.
I handle significantly more than 50% of the physical, logistical and emotional parenting while holding down a full-time job and managing life as we know it in 2017. But I am often ready to say yes—on my only weeknight off—to meet someone new for coffee or a drink. And, I have said yes to that a lot.
First, I learned the hard way, that men who have never been married and/or have never had children are rarely compelled to say yes. They have gotten so used to their own routine and way of doing things that they are used to saying yes only to themselves. Or a boss. And their mother.
After a tiff with the first never-married guy I dated over the idea that I needed to make plans in advance and I needed him to respect that, I explained to him about the tremendous value of my free time. “I don’t have a lot of it,” I said. “Time is the most important thing I have. So if I am choosing to spend some of that free time with you, it’s a big deal.”
While he understood that intellectually, he was too set in his ways to change. I tried a bit longer then eventually accepted it and ended the romantic involvement.
The next man I got involved with I thought would be different, although he was also never married and had no children. I had known him for many years and the connection we had was still very strong. On our second date, he told me a touching story about seeing a dad with his young child, and watching that young child go running into his father’s arms yelling with delight, “Daddy!!” I took this to mean that he was open to having a child in his life. Well, that was probably just my female brain jumping to conclusions.
My bachelor number 2 clearly had no desire to end his many nights out drinking with his buddies or his dearly beloved Sundays where he could sleep half the day and recover from his hangover. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. I also relish time alone. But as the months went on, he was saying yes a lot less. You can’t build something with someone if there aren’t enough yesses. In the end, he used the excuse of distance to distance himself from me. This relationship never really had a chance. He never, ever truly said yes.
There were several more dating scenarios that followed, and what would start with lots of communication and planning about when and where to meet would often fizzle out quickly into a yes-less void. Maybe they met someone better. More geographically desirable. Taller. Who the hell knows. But I noticed a remarkable lack of yesses.
Since I’m tired of waiting for a man to say yes to me, I’m going to start saying it. To the outside world and opportunities. To friends and people who really warrant a yes. To myself. Yes. Yes. Yes.