According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Dell  Publishing Co. paperback, July, 1974 (obviously my college copy), the  definition of “experiment” is: “A test made to demonstrate a known truth,  examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something  previously untried.” 

There were very few times my ex-partner went with me to one of my therapy  sessions but, to give him credit, he did go when I requested. It was this last  request for him to attend with me AFTER the break-up that produced his  epiphany about the 16 years we spent together. I’d hoped that the session  would give me (if not us) some much-needed closure to this long, often  wonderful but rapidly deteriorating energy between us so we could move  forward more smoothly into our tomorrows.

It was as we walked after the session to our respective cars that he said blah- blah-blah “… it was an experiment…”. I can’t tell you what was said before  because I was still in very deep thought, processing the last ninety minutes to  “hear” much of what he was saying until he said the “e” word. Then, my brain  screamed, “WHAT?”

It wasn’t until I was in the confines of my car, safely in my own space, before I  could allow my brain to “go there”. Experiment. I chewed hard on his word.  After all, the man is a master craftsman of words (has to be — he’s a lawyer by  trade). And, after 16 years, he deserved my contemplation of his intentional use of this word, especially at this  moment in time. It was a pregnant concept.

As I’d witnessed my mom, the biologist, conduct many  scientific tests in the  zoology labs at Georgia State, my first gut reaction to his choice of words  produced a visual perception more akin to a clinical, sterile, intentional,  psychological labratory-rat-in-the-maze kinda’ thing than what I thought we’d  lived to suit me  but, in all reality, that’s why we were in this situation.

THAT’S when I got mad.

Believe me when I say it took me  m-o-n-t-h-s  of digesting, regurgitating,  spitting, spewing, chewing and, some internal and external screaming, before I could actually  think from my perspective if I felt the same about him. Was he MY  experiment? NOW I was getting somewhere.

Why months? Well, it took me a great deal of time to condense all those years  into one word, especially that one. It was such a  foreign concept to me. And,  slow isn’t always a bad thang when it comes to changing your thinking,  lifestyle, direction and choices (especially in the type of man you want or tend  to attract). Which brings me to the core of the process which I chose to work  through this whole epiphany. E-dating.

Purely in the interest of “research”, I joined a “free” on-line dating site, a  “average cost” one and the more advertised “costlier” version so as to see  what the 21st century experience would reveal to this Baby Boomer.

In a nut  shell? Not much of a surprise. I’m complicated. I know what I want  and, more  importantly, I know what I DON’T want. I’m looking for  the proverbial “needle  in the haystack” and I don’t mind waiting. I even stated  as much in my profile.  I was extremely honest from the beginning knowing I  didn’t want to attract the usual kooks.

From the free site, I was deluged with so many “matches” I couldn’t believe  these men were seriously interested. Some were thousands of miles away and  wanted me to come to them. Yeah, right. I’m the one who said I wanted to take  it slow in my profile, remember? Plus, I’d stated I wanted a  serious  relationship and marriage so why all this popularity? Fresh meat?

I changed my profile to be even less appealing and still got way too many  matches so  I started responding to some of the overtures with poignant  questions as to  their intent or how they intended to maintain a relationship of  quality with over 2000 miles between us or asking if there really was anything  in my profile that  led  you to believe I wanted to raise your children? Geez. I  never heard of so many widowed men looking for mothers for their children!

Finally, I settled  into getting to know via email several men within the  confines of  the site, careful to never give any revealing info. It was fun in a  voyeuristic kinda’ way “peeping” into someone’s life and  superficially getting  acquainted. Some were more genteel in making known their intentions by  insinuating “all my parts work” in the hope of luring you  into some response  that would encourage them into some 60-something-sex-craved evening with  aging bodies imbued with the little blue pill.

There was one man who was a very simple, less educated, retired military  country man who reminded me of my rodeo winning,  bronco riding cowboy  uncle. The man couldn’t type and I really don’t know  how he made coffee  without the help of his daughter but he was entertaining  for the mere fact that  he reminded me of my favorite (and only) uncle. I used  the “*67” code on my  cell phone to block my number and called him because of  all these reasons. He  was my exception.

He rarely knew what to say to me so I took the lead by asking him questions  about his life. At first, we talked about his horses (a soft spot in my heart), his  dogs (yet another) and what he did in the military. I loved listening to his  plain-spoken ways. It was refreshing after living for 16 years with a multi- lingual, overly articulate, deliberate, intentional being.

It was in our last conversation (of about 5) when we talked about his need to  jump into the 21st century (a conversation I’d had many times with my ex). He  said his daughter was the one who got him signed up on the free site and was  really pushing him to start by texting her on his phone. Half the time, he didn’t  know what she was trying to tell him because she’d throw a bunch of letters  together that didn’t mean nothing to him at all (I fight the urge to type this  phonetically in his country southern accent for which I’m quite renown).

I explained to him it wasn’t so hard to type messages these days as there were  so many abbreviations people use like, “LOL” and “BFF” which I translated for  him. He seemed to like that so I continued down that road. But, it was when he  proudly announced (quite in the middle of my lesson), “My lil’ ole’ pecker still  works, ya’  know!” that I said, “LMAO”, followed by, “That’s TMI!” over and  over. He  wanted to know what “TMI” was but I was laughing too hard to  respond. I could  just hear my uncle saying that! When I finally regained my  composure, I told him it meant “too much information”. We said our “good-byes” and that was the last time we spoke.

All the while this occurrence was overlapped by the two other on-line dating  services giving off their own energy. The mid-line model male participant was  less aggressive in expressing his carnal desires (thanks, God). I actually got to  know a couple of these guys via email but none really of great interest. Yes, I’m  picky but I plan on continuing in that vein as I’m not ever making me more  complicated by inadvertently becoming someone else’s experiment… again.

The more celebrated service has inundated me with matches of a much higher  quality supposedly within my scope of personality requirements, likes and  dislikes, haves and must-not-haves, ad nausea all of whom are no where close  to a “match” to my liking. They’re either too O.C.D. about how their body looks (comparing it  to their weight from high school… really?) or their work or their religion or  their politics or their children or their grandchildren to LIVE.

After being a single mom to two children since I was 18, I’m not in the martyr  mode any more. I want to reside where I want to and spend my day pondering  my next Great Adventure or creating something that I may take apart tomorrow  just because I can. I don’t want to be harassed by news because it gives me  indigestion. I don’t want to talk politics because I HATE politicians. I don’t  want to be bullied into liking someone else’s opinion, place or thing.

Don’t get me wrong, if YOU like this stuff, that’s cool. I just chose to not have it  in my life. Hence, my conclusion that maybe, just maybe, my ex WAS my  experiment after all. I learned emphatically what I DO NOT WANT,  which to  my way of thinking, is so much more valuable than what you DO want.

A much happier ME!

I created the mantra, “I refuse to let your confusion to be my confusion” when  we first started dating 16 years ago. It saved my life. It was also when I devised  the  “1+1=2” theorem: life boils down to very basic elements wherein 1+1 MUST  ALWAYS EQUAL 2.  Over analyzing, over-theorizing, over-dissecting, over-evaluating and over-thinking cause us much stress and  confusion. Example.  Instead of wondering why a person does or doesn’t act in a certain way, turn  the focus on yourself by asking, “Why do I care? Should I let  it impact my  quality of life?”

Yep, I’ve come full circle but that’s a good thang.

And, always remember: If your  dog gives you more of what you need than your partner, you’ve got the right  dog!

Montana doggie park 10-10 taken by Maya

Happy Trails!