By Lara Z
During early 2019 I was riding high. I had a new book out sharing some of my experiences as a bi woman in an open marriage (but fictionally). I had a
girlfriend and was going to visit her for a whole week while doing the book’s West Coast tour. I’d be appearing at events with her accompanying me and advancing with some quality time what had been for a while a long-distance relationship.
But the distance had apparently broken the relationship, and we ended up acknowledging that. We’d gotten together over several shared interests and when she moved to take a good job, I missed her. We tried to remain close through texts and phone calls. Then those tapered off. She’d always been supportive of my writing, and I enjoyed hearing about her work and life in this new town. I dedicated my new book to her when I finished it, but I’d apparently not done the “little things” that keep a relationship truly healthy. She hadn’t reached out voicing problems either, though. When we did get together, it seemed clear our tastes were changing. Still, I’d thought communication was just something we needed to work on.
I took time to gain perspective and mourn. A friend had told me mourning the end of a relationship was an important way of acknowledging its importance to you. I acknowledged my part in the end of the relationship, and I realized I still wanted to be “out there” and find someone to connect with. Everyone said I needed to be on OKCupid or join a swingers or poly
online group. But I wanted, no, I needed, in-person meetings. Maybe it was “once burned, twice shy,” but I didn’t want to get into any relationship where we couldn’t get together in person to build the relationship. Using technology, it felt to me, was the path for miscommunication and my missing the signs of where the relationship really stood. Otherwise, I’d screw up like last time.
I have made several friends through in-person group meetups, and once I thought I had potential for more with a partner I met through a dating app. Despite the “interested in a relationship not a hook up” status, turns out the dating app person was just keen on hook ups, and I got the vibe after our first date. Once the hook up happened, it ended. Another potential partner agreed to a breakfast date meetup and then practically attacked me in the parking lot when I was just looking for maybe a second date. I ended that, too, and then closed the dating app account. I kept going to the in-person meetups though, in the hopes that a friendly conversation within the group setting might grow into more.
It’s 2020 now, and the pandemic has put the kibosh on in-person meetings. LDR, texting, and video chats are all there really is for starting a relationship. Now that I know I need in-person quality time to build a good relationship, the irony that I can’t is painful.
Lara Z is a writer and editor living in Orlando, Florida. She is the author of We Three: One and One and One Makes Three.