Christopher had married his college girlfriend. They were together for seven years, and were divorced in 2008. This story is not about them.
After getting legally separated in September 2008, after spending a quarter of his life devoted to the wrong person, Christopher decided to brave on-line dating. Match.com was not a good experience. Chemistry.com was better.
One of the women he met on chemistry.com was Jill. Their first date was a year to the day his wife asked for a divorce. Christopher and Jill met in a bar in Union Square, New York City. It was too noisy so they tried a different place across the street which was even nosier. So, they went back to the original bar.
They bonded over bad chemistry.com dates and decided to have dinner in a Vietnamese place in the same neighbourhood. Christopher knew Jill liked him when she started finding silly excuses to touch his arm. Christopher leaned across the table and kissed her in the restaurant and she told him, ‘I wonder what the hell took you so long’.
Christopher found Jill really easy to be with. She was very funny, she liked herself without being arrogant, and she seemed to like him a lot. In true Christopher-style, after dating Jill for two weeks, he was in love with her. He loved that she had an interesting job that inhabited a completely different job from his. He was a community organiser in East Brooklyn, she was a handbag designer in Manhattan. He loved that she didn’t take herself too seriously.
But because Christopher was hesitant to become serious with someone new, hesitant to negotiate the inevitable tensions that come with an intimate relationship, he held back. For Christopher, holding back meant reminding himself that this wasn’t that. And it meant waiting for three months to tell Jill he loved her.
Jill is someone who brings out good things for the people around her, which is exactly what Christopher needed. And it helped that she got him to dress better. Since meeting Jill he has better glasses and even occasionally wears contact lenses, and has jeans that are not circa 1995. He even lets Jill take him out shopping, as long as he has veto power.
Christopher has learnt to listen to his gut, to take things as they come and to be open to what the world throws at him. If he was being honest with himself when his marriage broke, he wouldn’t have been surprised that it did. So, he’s learning to be honest about what is going on around him, to listen to Jill, and to listen to himself.