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Mixed Drinks, Mixed Emotions

In my usual fashion, I’ve put myself in quite the pickle.
I went out with the handsome bartender and we had a great time.
I felt comfortable, we were joking with one another and getting along as if we’d known each other for ages. We even shared things that were very personal and honest and real about our lives.
He actually shared quite a bit of information that would probably send a lot of people running for shelter.
Ironically, I was impressed with his openness. I think that’s the thing about being a journalist, trust of the reader, and especially trust of the person you interview is a delicate thing and you respect it and then you just absorb what people have to say. The journalist respected his candor. The woman looking for a good, stable man to be a part of her life was ready to hit the bricks.
He was complimentary but not in an annoying way, sometimes he was clumsy and it was sweet. He pulled a Darius Lovehall and knocked over my beer. Same exact way, it was funny.
I won’t share all of the red flags, but there were two that appear to be huge.

1. Very recently out of a broken engagement. I mean April, yall.
He was saying the things most people say to themselves after such a devastation. I quickly told him that he wasn’t out of the woods. It takes a very long time to heal. You may feel terrible one day and pretty ok the next. Allow yourself to feel what you feel, good, bad and ugly and ride the wave of it. Be honest with yourself.

2. Two babies mothers. I asked him about his relationship with his children and he said it wasn’t as good as he wanted it to be. Faithful readers of this blog know I’m not good with men with kids. And I gave him a full disclosure that I don’t really like to date men with kids.

3. I get the impression that he may not ever have had his own place, but was living with some woman or a female relative. And that makes me have some kind of pause. Male or female, everyone needs to know what it’s like to live independently and make certain choices and have certain responsibilities. (Okay, that’s three. So, yes. Flags.)

His story isn’t unusual though.  The harsh reality of the black dating pool once again dumped cold water on my still optimistic head. I noticed that for some reason, I attract men of struggle, with very sad family histories often involving abandonment, single mom’s or grandparents or aunties and uncles who step in intermittently.

Am I attracted? Most certainly. I had an opportunity to feel his chest and stomach and I was impressed, I was physically attracted.

But I think of the two babies mothers, and one live-in ex who proactively handled the paperwork to their home, conveniently leaving him out of the essential paperwork legally entitling him to the home. His naiveté was startling, considering he’s eleven years my senior. I played along that he simply trusted her… And he may have, which scared me further, that as a man building a life with someone, he didn’t think it necessary or push the issue to be involved of the very serious business of home ownership.

I thought about his kids, with whom he readily admits the relationship is not where he’d like it to be because of the moms (two sides to every story).

While he has big dreams, I’m not sure if he’s truly executing his plans, or not. And this early in the game, I’m in no place to judge.

I’ve convinced myself to just hang out with him and hope I don’t get pulled in.

The very simple, considerate things I’ve wanted from men who made way more money and had way more education, who had no desire or capacity to do what came so naturally to him– really paying attention to me,  listening,  engaging, thinking about larger life issues and discussing them openly,  having a sense of humor and joking and playing and making references to all sorts of music and movies and TV.

I feel like I’m in a tough spot, but at this point, is dissecting this man worth it? His red flags are real, but I like him as a person.

I just don’t think he’d make a good boyfriend…

Lifers, am I wrong? Am I being judgy? All I could think about was the babies mothers lined up on “Iyanla Fix My Life.” I’d like to think I’m smarter. But does lonliness and a sorry dating life lead women down this road?

I do think he is also earnest in just wanting to spend time with someone he enjoys and is attracted to but only after about a scant six months after a broken engagement, I personally know he needs time to heal. Dating shouldn’t be his objective. Sigh.

While on paper, and in a practical sense I should be able to exit without second thought.

But don’t I deserve to let someone make me feel how I want to feel? When you get a taste of that, being practical ain’t always the obvious choice. But right here and now, I can’t say that I don’t know better. I am in control of me.

This just couldn’t be easy, now could it?

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