Dating? You’re joking, right?

A couple of people in recent weeks have asked me if I’m “dating anyone” these days. I know that’s the kind of thing one often asks an acquaintance who’s recently ended a long term relationship, but honestly one or two of these people really should have known better. So here’s the scoop: No, I’m not “dating anyone.” The thought of “dating anyone” hasn’t even crossed my mind.

First, let’s establish for the record that being coupled is not my natural state. Until I met Mark in my late thirties, I had never been in a really serious, long term relationship. Mark is a very special person. For him, I made a very special exception. It was the right decision and I stand by it even though it ultimately didn’t work out. Upon ending this particular relationship, though, I didn’t wake up the next morning and think, “Oh my God. I must find a new boyfriend. Today!” In fact, I’d say there’s probably a more than fifty-fifty chance that I won’t ever be involved in another serious, long term relationship. And that’s not really a problem for me. It’s not like riding a bicycle or falling off a horse; dating or jumping into another relationship just for the sake of it wouldn’t help anything at all and would probably only make wretched both my own life and that of my hapless victim.

Without getting into specifics, I think it’s obvious to anyone who knows me that I was not the instigator of our breakup. I don’t say that to assign blame nor to portray myself as “morally superior” and play the victim but to emphasize that I did not end this relationship because I was looking for a new life or new thrills or a new relationship. I had generally been pretty happy with the old life, the old thrills, and the old relationship. I hadn’t really bothered contemplating replacements or alternatives. When a relationship ends this way, it’s almost feels as if you’ve been widowed; your life has changed radically and it feels like it all happened more or less against your will. There’s a certain period of mourning you have to go through, and I haven’t quite finished going through it yet. I’m getting there–I no longer spontaneously burst into tears several times a day–but romance and sex are still pretty damned low on my list of priorities right now, thanks.

And let’s be honest: There’s not a long line of men outside my front door anxiously waiting for me change my mind, anyway. I left the Triad almost twenty years ago in part because of the lack of interesting and available men here. I was comfortable moving back five years ago because I was no longer looking, and now that pool is much smaller now than it was back in 1992–for me, at least. I’m not nearly anxious enough to “date” or get laid to make trolling the depressing collection of local queer bars (or the internet) a priority. In fact, I’m not really anxious enough to go to any effort at all right now.

So yeah. I’m not “dating anyone.” I’m not likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future. My life is about me now, not about the co-stars. You should not feel sorry for me because of this. I don’t. If you’re determined to feel sorry for me, I’ll try to make you a list of other, more valid reasons. Or not.

With that off my chest, I will go back to any number of other things that will help me put off the one thing I really need to be working on today.