This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Waiting for something better

One of my favourite writing topics is relationships. It’s something everyone can relate to and there seems to be no definitive right or wrong advice.

What works for one person may not for the other.

My friends and I tend to discuss our relationships ad nauseam. Whether we’re married, single or in an “it’s complicated” situation, there’s always tons of material to laugh about, stress over and advise upon.

This column is the result of an evening out with a newly single friend. Her marriage started falling apart a few years ago. My friend and her husband took turns fighting for it, but they couldn’t seem to get in sync with one another, despite doing everything “right.”

They went to counselling numerous times – both as individuals and as a couple. But it was to no avail.

They have mutually agreed to separate and are going through the motions of figuring out housing, kids’ schedules and who gets the silverware they received as a wedding present.

My friend is a myriad of emotions – happy one moment and in tears the next. She questions her motives, his motives and how the kids will handle their new lives.

She’s dabbled with thoughts of trying to resurrect her marriage, but then falls apart when she remembers the conversation she had with her husband that ended it.

Her life is a parody of the devil on one shoulder, angel on the other; filled with decisions she’s made and ones she has yet to make.

She recently made the jump into the dating pool – by doing what the vast majority of singles do – she signed up for an online dating site.

There’s a lot out there to choose from and she didn’t know anything about any of them – only what she’d heard. And one person’s good experience was often another’s horrible.

To be fair, she only went onto one to get a feel for it and to see if this was how she wanted to proceed. She wasn’t even sure she was ready to start dating again.

Her naivete in this venture made me laugh. She’s gorgeous – both from a physical standpoint and an intellectual one.  It didn’t take long – like maybe five minutes – before she was receiving messages and “winks” on her picture from interested suitors.

One of the men who contacted her was someone she knew from her school days. She followed up with him and they’ve since re-established a friendship. She says she’s interested in possibly pursuing more with him – and he gives off the same vibes to her.

But this is where she gets confused. And admittedly, I am too.

They’ve met a few times in person and text throughout each day. Everything’s a go when they’re together. But then after, he doesn’t respond to her texts —often till hours later, if then. She can see he’s received and read them, then when he finally replies, he’s evasive and short.

Apparently, it’s some sort of unwritten, secret “code” that everyone (but her) knows — you don’t want to sound too eager.

Her argument is yes, of course, she’s eager to meet and chat with him. Why does that have to be a bad thing?

She goes on to say that at her age of 40, she’s not interested in games. She’s focused on rebuilding her life and moving forward. She’s not looking for someone to take care of her — she can do that herself. She just wants a willing sidekick to go through life with.

I have to agree with her. My reasoning behind what she’s experiencing is this: at our age (40-something), we’ve all experienced love, loss and new beginnings — whether by our own choice or not.

Now we’re out in this big, confusing world of dating again — except we’re older and have kids in the mix. Plus, we tend to communicate from behind a keyboard — the very thing we love to criticize the younger generations for. 

But it’s still exciting and new and a much-needed reprieve from the real life struggles we just went through.

Many of us don’t want to make the same mistakes or re-experience what we just came out of in terms of relationships. So we’re cautious. We tread slowly. And … we’re inundated with other possibilities.

Sadly, it’s too easy now for anyone doing online dating, to not only see you, but continue to watch and wait for the next best thing. The whole philosophy of playing it cool and there’s always someone else out there, is hindering our abilities to make sincere connections with each other.

That, in turn, seems to make us play the games we all have no interest in, yet still take part in. I for one, think it’s ridiculous.

If you’re interested, then go with it. Stop waiting to see if someone better comes across your screen; just turn the screen off. You can’t fully expect to get to know someone if you’re still swiping left or right. 

Everything online, from shoes to relationships, gives us more options than has ever been available to generations past. It doesn’t mean you have to partake.

I find it odd that in a time when people complain about how hard it is to maintain human contact, we purposely sabotage the good contacts we do make — hoping, waiting and anticipating the next best thing — that may in fact, never happen.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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