Image by skeeze from Pixabay

My last post found me fresh out of a 3.5 year relationship. It was the entrance into some new territory. In some ways it was a relief. My energy was far too dispersed and I needed to get a piece of it back. It was also easy for a time as she left for a month in Mexico a few days later and I was soon immersed in family vacation and coaching football. Those, as well as my daughter’s sports schedule and taking on some additional responsibilities at work eat up much of my time.

The busy schedule is quickly coming to an end though. Football is two weeks from ending at the most. We have our last regular season game today (9/28/2019) followed by playoffs. Also, my daughter’s soccer and fastpitch softball fall leagues are nearly done. It’s time to start thinking about what’s next.

It’s been three months since the breakup. Communication has been minimal. I quickly messaged her “Happy Birthday” in late July, but that’s been about it. I do have bouts of missing her. These typically coincide with downtime and loneliness, but even those are starting to fade away.

We had never attached in the way couples do (or at least the way I experienced coupling in the past). In the 3.5 years I never heard “I love you” or hardly “I like you”. Times together were typically good. Times apart resulted in the feeling that I was “out of sight, out of mind”. I’ll own that that feeling was my own and may not have entirely represented reality. However, combining that with the fact that we only saw each other once or twice a week led to serious worry followed by legitimate apathy. Her deciding to leave the country for a month as part of a sabbatical didn’t help. It was as if I was a side gig with her life. Like a good friend, good times together but life lived in our own directions. No merging, no progress.

It was time for a change. I can handle friendship if that’s all it is, but I’m not going to allocate the “significant other” slot in my life for someone who just does friendship.

Digressing, it’s getting to the time where I will have some extra time and am looking towards dating. The thing I need to work on is keeping casual and uncommitted for a time. Take some time in finding a longer term partner. It’s been my MO to invest in the long term without much evaluation. In contemplating that, my dating really becomes a matter of wining the person over. A rather codependent venture in this thought exercise.

So how do I fix that? Do I do the other extreme and try to be the “player”? Do I not worry about it and just except that that’s who I am? The answer is likely somewhere in between.

Perhaps to treat dating like looking for other long term investments. How does one, for instance, buy a house. I’m not suggesting treating a partner like merchandise. I’m meaning, what are the best practices in getting ready to make such an investment? Here are some thoughts in the context of home buying:

  • Decide what you need: What are the things you absolutely can’t live without. For a house, I need 3 bedrooms (I have two kids), at least two bathrooms, a garage, central heat and air, a decent kitchen, enough square footage to ensure space for all three of us, close proximity to work and schools.
  • Decide what you want but can live without: move-in condition or very near it, extra garage, shop and studio space, gas range-top, multiple car garage
  • Decide the dealbreakers: too far away, too much repair/fixer-upping, too much everyday maintenance, not enough space, bad location, outrageous association fees

(As you can maybe tell, I’m thinking about moving as well.)

With the wants, needs and deal breakers in mind, we then go looking. We typically find someone to help along the way, an agent of sorts. Someone to support, but also play devil’s advocate. Ideally, that person can keep you grounded and help you make the hard decisions. Thus, it will likely be good to have some friends who can fill that role. I tend to think women are better at this; comparing notes and swiping on Tinder together at times. It would be good to enlist a wingman or three to help with the evaluation.

Next we venture out, committing to not settle for the first thing we see, but taking it all in. We casually look first, deciding what else we might need to add to our lists and finding what our limits and boundaries are.

After the initial view (likely online), we try to coordinate some visits and schedule time to evaluate each place in person and more carefully. Most times, nothing is exactly what you want, but there are a few that are close. Maybe you decide to wait, maybe you find one or two that you can’t get out of your head. Maybe they are all awful and you decide the time isn’t right. There are no real wrong choices at this point.

At some point a couple will catch your eye and stick in your brain. You maybe schedule a more detailed walk through and do a little more planning and preparation. Maybe initial offers go out or you find some serious structural. or other, issues. This should be a very deliberate process. Maybe your offer is declined and you need to resume the search.

Typically, an offer is typically accepted. At that point your odds of turning away diminish and you drop the search and begin to just work with one place.

My point in this is to define the process in finding a LTR as a deliberate one. One where there is time and one where you should be picky, yet tolerant. Hopefully, with enough exercise of the process you find what you need and some of what you want.