The danger in having a blog that is largely centered on my dating life is that one day, I will quit dating, leaving me with little to no blog content.
And lo and behold, having fallen madly in love with a handsome nerd who makes me unbelievably happy, I now find myself facing the aforementioned danger head on. If you follow me with any regularity, you’ll have noticed my…well…lack of regularity. I remarked to The Match the other night that I needed to write, that I missed it. He asked me what made me stop, and I skirted around blurting out that I was spending all my time with him, but he understood that his recent presence in my life had left me somewhat out of balance. So here I am today, intentionally avoiding looking at exactly how long it has been since I last wrote anything, because I must write. It is my favorite processing method, my preferred creative outlet, and one of my greatest sources of fulfillment.
With that acknowledgment out of the way, I’d like to dive into a few of the things that have been on my mind lately.
First, The Match met my family on July 4th. Parents, siblings, nieces, a few cousins. It was a lot, but he did great, even bonding with my dad over their shared love of knolling. To keep it fair, I met his teenage nephews and nieces several days later at a professional soccer game, which also went well considering that teenagers are notoriously unimpressed by 30-something moms who drive minivans.
Second, for the sake of context, you should know that we are an interracial couple, and while this isn’t problematic to us personally, it presents potential and actual challenges that we are discussing and navigating. Meeting family and facing potential prejudice, social and romantic stereotypes, and even moving through public spaces together with my children (who, despite being multiracial, run the pigment from white-passing to Latino-passing). Case in point, a few days ago, we had my younger two children with us at a Home Depot in a very white part of town. I forgot to buy mulch when we were checking out, so I unthinkingly asked if he could stay with the kids while I went back to the registers (20 feet away). As soon as I said it, I knew the problem: No — I couldn’t leave them with him here, as it put him at risk. Our next stop, the Whole Foods .3 miles away, was a different story. The shopping crowd was younger, more diverse. There were families of all hues, and The Match offered to stay with one child while I obliged a bathroom break request from the other. I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to enjoy the mindless ease that a single-race family enjoys as they move through the world, but it helps that we’re both aware and able to read the room, that we can graciously adjust to the realities around us, recognizing the injustice but persevering nonetheless.
And third, another hiccup that has emerged despite the haze of love clouding our vision: I fully recognize and admit that I look terrible on paper. What I mean is, I’m an underemployed, divorced mother of four. The Match is a successful professional, a divorced father of one with (relative to me) significant financial assets. Even if he didn’t have the position and assets he does, I still look bad in comparison. When he told his siblings, parents, best friend, and closest co-workers about me, they unilaterally expressed concern and urged caution. Some outright said he should break up with me. And I really can’t blame them. Who gets excited when someone they care about falls for a [perceived] hot mess of a romantic partner? The assumption is that I am a leech, a gold digger, someone in need of a babysitter/chauffeur/housekeeper. I get it, and it’s why I labeled myself undateable long before his friends and family deemed me unworthy. It’s also why I told him from the very beginning that I wasn’t looking for a savior. I told him that I didn’t give two shits about his bank account because if he wasn’t happy with what he was doing, there wasn’t enough money in the world to fix that. And I meant it. His money is his money. I have no claim to it, and it changes neither my life nor how I see his viability as a romantic partner.
Miraculously, despite all the negative feedback, The Match seems to love me more each day. “I know I’m making the right choice.” “Is it bad that I already know how I’m going to propose to you?” “I think that we each have a pulse or life rhythm, and when you find someone who can play a perfect harmony to your own, you get what we have: ease, comfort, timing, cooperation.” We’re not as similar as I thought at first. He’s significantly more introverted than I am, and he’s more reserved and traditional. But he’s right — we make a great team. We jokingly refer to ourselves as Team YKK. Yes, as in the zipper.
I think my conclusion here is similar to the one I came to when I first finished The Forty: it’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to. Or vent. Or wax poetic about all the romantic things. Or parse out the intricacies of a blended family. Or detail how my Year is getting fresh life within this relationship.