Dating the dumped

The brief time you’ve spent with one another has been nothing short of simple and nice, a calm stream of intoxicated kisses, giggles and light conversation.What could you have possibly done that is deeming you red-flagged and crazy when you’ve only been in this person’s presence about five times?It was, of course, spot on and the same thing all of my non-single friends have been telling me for the past 5 years.As a woman in my mid-40’s, I’ve actually come to (mostly) accept that advice.As soon as my lips penetrated the cold glass tumbler and the cruel burn of whiskey made its way down my throat, the words fell out of this person’s mouth: break up with someone you’re not even dating, and it was happening to ME. We engage in these “seeing each other” dynamics to avoid real pain, yet they leave us on an epic, wild, emotional rollercoaster with no harness keeping us safe: You feel a thick heaviness making its way toward the center of your chest; it’s not dissimilar to heartbreak -- except it’s a type of pain that only scratches the , which is equally as unsettling as the out-of-the-blue rejection.

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I was spending the summer in San Francisco fresh off the skillet from a brutal breakup, attempting to heal my wounded, cracked heart.The deeply suppressed fears about your appearance you’ve stuffed down in the name of feminism for over the last decade begin to swell to the surface: It’s my bad skin, isn’t it?Those acne scars never quite healed themselves, did they?I began casually seeing someone who really wasn't even close to my physical or emotional type, yet was just interesting enough to engage in pleasant conversation with and just attractive enough to share late-night drunken kisses with.

One particularly chill-inducing bay-area evening, I ventured downtown to meet my “casual hookup” for a late-night cocktail.

And it will continue to happen because the journey in search of love is fraught with vulnerability. There are literally millions of people scouring online dating sites with the hope of finding “the one.” Who can blame them?