“Be curious, not judgmental.”
Walt Whitman and my new fave leading man, Ted Lasso played by Jason Sudeikis
I’m officially in my 11th month of nomad life, so I thought it time for another love life update!
In short, I’m still “on the market.” (Side note, can anybody explain what that phrase even means?) But I’m constantly learning…
In a month #1 blog, I argued, “This nomad life doesn’t limit my dating options, it expands them… it doesn’t mean that I’ll never be able to fall in love, it means that I will have more freedom to fall in and explore a potential love.”
In a month #8 blog, I clarified that I’m NOT looking for anyone. “Looking is an active word; ‘looking’ implies I’ve lost something, or something is missing from my life, and that’s just not the case. I am single, but my life is not lacking or incomplete. I’m open and receptive to meeting him, but I’m not looking… the man who ends up in my life is going to be there not because he fills a void, but because he enriches and adds value to my already-rich, complete life.”
I still believe the above true. But what I didn’t realize in nomad life month #1, now in nomad life month #11, is that there are a lot of closed-minded people out there.
One of the reasons it’s proven difficult for me to meet high-value men is because many of them can’t make sense of me. (Can anyone relate?)
For these men, the men who think they’ve finally come of emotional maturity to be in a relationship and are on the hunt for a woman with child-bearing hips to help fulfill their dream of fatherdom… my life is a novelty. I’m untraditional, carefree, even exotic. These men are typically the people who say they love to travel but really mean vacation, who’ve never or infrequently been out of the country, and who still live in their hometown or college town. Maybe I’ll end up a fling, they think. Perhaps they want to be like me, and would like to “pick my brain,” but they don’t want to be with a woman like me. They are not curious (morbid curiosity doesn’t count): they are judgmental, and usually so in a lot of areas of life other than romance.
Other men, the rarer kind, are impressed and intrigued by my choices and lifestyle, and have lived or imagined something of the sort — long trips overseas, sabbaticals from the corporate life, purposeful or circumstances-related downsizing. They’ve been in long distance or cross-national relationships. They’ve experienced ups and downs, learned lessons, and know that life doesn’t progress linearly. They aren’t necessarily doing what I’m doing, or have any immediate plan to do what I’m doing, but they are open-minded and understand that relationships are not one-size-fits-all. This guy tries to make sense of me. He tries to understand. Curiosity drives efforts to develop understanding.
It doesn’t mean that things will work out with this kind of person, but it’s a good start.
(A third set of men just think I’m hot, didn’t even read the few bullet points on my profile, and make no attempts at conversation. No thanks!)
When two people seek to understand each other, they build bridges of meaning. One person’s rope reaches out and ties up with the other person’s cable, and even while materially different, even while coming from different places, a link is formed. When we ask questions, when we listen, when we quietly absorb, when we seek to understand, when we empathize, we are showing people the highest love and most ultimate respect. A precursor, of course, to any budding courtship.
(I admit, I’ve made the mistake of judgment before. Back when I lived traditionally in Arizona, I thought the men on the dating apps with whom I matched, visiting Scottsdale, were only looking for flings. Correct or not, I judged. And that was on me.)
So any man I meet in nomad life, if they want to dismiss me, if they don’t want to keep in contact with me, if they don’t want to explore getting to know me, if they aren’t willing to understand me, that is a reflection of them. Not me.
And I’m putting a big fat period at the end of that sentence.
If anyone, anywhere, doesn’t want to get to know you? If they don’t try to meet you halfway and connect their rope to your cable? That says something about them, not you. And you know what? Having that knowledge is a peaceful place to be!!
I would say the search continues, but I’m not looking, remember? However, I do welcome a nice surprise with an openminded and curious person.