Chapter 8 – Transition Through Past Tides of Love

Chapter 8 – Transition Through Past Tides of Love

As I was searching online and thinking about the gentleman I was so hesitant to connect with, I was also seeing my counselor. She encouraged me to talk about my past dating experiences, so I started to think back to my youth.

When I was a young adult, I had joined a group called the Pacesetters, which were a group of single young adults. This group got together to plan activities such as picnics, car rallies, dances, bowling, parties and more, just to get together as friends to have fun. Dating was not the purpose of the group, although flirting and some dating, then eventually a few marriages did occur. At the time, I was interested in three guys, although I did check out others as well. And I dated all three over a year or two. At this time, dating didn’t mean jumping into bed right away. As a matter of fact, I was still a virgin. One of those guys, Sean, was in the military and on R & R in Hawaii before coming back home after being in Vietnam. So we were corresponding via letters while waiting, and I was exploring what was stateside.  The second of these three gentlemen turned out to be my first husband, Kurt.  He and I had many things in common, including camping and scouts.  However, he considered himself to be a leader in this single group, and on the planning committee for a lot of the activities.  Since he felt he was a leader, he wanted to keep our “dating” quiet and out of the public eye.  We’d see each other at activities, coming as individuals not as a couple.  Our dates were usually away from the rest of the crowd.  In addition, I was also hanging out and occasionally dating another gentleman named Alan.  We had both belonged to another smaller singles group which decided to merge with the Pacesetters which had more people.  We dated as friends, but did the usual exploring of chemistry.  I had a small crush on Alan, but wasn’t sure that he was “the one”. At the Christmas dance, a girlfriend and I went to the dance together, and knowing I had a crush on him, she managed to need to go home early, so arranged for him to take me home. When we got back to my parent’s home, we did some flirting and exploring the chemistry. At one point, we wound up sitting in the same chair, and getting more and more intimate.  Hands were going in places never touched before.

At that point I jumped up and said, “If we are going any further, we should be talking marriage.”

“Uh huh,” he replied. “Why don’t you make coffee, and we will talk about it.”

So I made my way to the kitchen, and started to make coffee, but found we were out of coffee grounds, and I had to truck down to the cellar where the family stored extras.  Coming back up with a new can, I looked in the living room where I had left him with disheveled clothes, found him missing, and running down the pathway out the door, with his coat in his hand.

“Well, I guess that answer was no,” I said to myself.

Later that week, we talked on the phone, and I said to him, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

To which he responded with an embarrassed laugh and said, “Well, that’s the second proposal I’ve gotten this week.”  We ended the conversation soon after, with me thinking that “Well, if you have someone else, then I’m staying out of the picture.” 

From then on, I focused on developing the relationship with Kurt, and when we announced our engagement several months later, everyone was shocked as they didn’t even know we were dating. Alan was one of those who were shocked. I had no more contact with Alan.  When Sean returned, we had one date during which I told him that I was getting serious with Kurt, and he wished me luck.

Alan came to my wedding, even though he wasn’t invited because I hadn’t seen him since that phone call. He was at the church, but not the reception. After that, we lost contact again, and I had heard that he had gotten married and moved to Pennsylvania.

Then about nine years later, my dad passed away.  Alan learned about my dad’s death and while he was in town one day, visited my mom to give her his condolences. She sent him to visit with Kurt and I. At that time we had just adopted our son with special needs.  The visit was a pleasant one, although watching the two old “rivals” preening themselves, was a unique experience, each trying to out-do the other in remembering past experiences with the ladies, and their interactions with me.

During the visit, Alan shared with us that he was in town as he was in the middle of divorcing his first wife who was a lesbian. He told the story about how her uncle had warned him about it, but he didn’t believe it.  I thought about how challenging that situation must be, and that he was single again, and wondered if he “was the one who got away” from me.  However, I was happily married and now had a child to think about. We lost track of each other again.

So now that I was exploring the dating world and wondering about “the one that got away”, I decided to try to find Alan via the internet. By this time in 2007, the internet was robust, and I had lots of experiences researching since I was pursuing an online doctorate, and I was teaching online. So, I put my nimble research fingers to work, locating his employer about an hour and a half away. With the same pioneering spirit that had taken me out west, I drove that 90 minutes north even though I had no idea if I had a chance of finding him. Since he was a car salesman I walked into the strange dealership asking the person who was coming out of the door on his way to the parking lot, if he worked there.

He replied, “I’m Alan. You look familiar, but not sure how I know you.”

“Hi, I’m a blast from your past,” I shakily replied not knowing what kind of a response I’d get. After a couple of minutes of teasingly trying to make him remember who I was, I realized I had the advantage because I knew who he was, and his voice was very familiar to me. Eventually, the light turned on and he recognized me.

We spent a little over an hour in the dealership catching up on old times.  Since it was getting dark and I was a little leery of the back roads I had traveled, he offered to lead me back to the main highway. I followed his truck, and then when we reached the part where I’d get on the highway, he pulled over. We hugged and talked about getting together again. The hug seemed to resurrect some familiar old feelings that had led to our original explorations 40 years previously.

I came up to meet him for lunch another time, and our conversations on the phone were consistent. Hearing the familiar voice that had teased me years ago, started some butterflies working again. He came down to dinner at my house when Mom was there as well, and we revisited old times. Then we started visiting and hanging out on a regular basis, with him occasionally spending the weekend. Our physical relationship evolved quickly from where we’d left off years ago.  Eventually, when his house was sold, my son and I went up to help him with the transition.  However, I thought he was moving all his belongings to his deceased sister’s house, so I was surprised when he told his brothers who were helping with the move, to take his king-sized bed to my house.

With that, he basically moved in.  The next few years were focused on helping him get financially back on his feet, and both of us learning to live with someone who had developed their own lifestyles over the intermittent years. It was hard to develop a comfortable relationship with so many differences in our personalities, financial status, and temperaments. We had both grown differently in so many ways.  While I had raised a family with challenges, he had never had kids. While I had traveled up and down the east coast, and lived across the country and been to Alaska twice, he had never taken a vacation except his honeymoon to the Poconos (an hour drive away from where he lived).

One thing he did help me with was getting through the confusing acceptance of my spouse coming out of the closet. He had been through it with his first wife so was very understanding. One way that I think we both grew was learning that our sexuality was normal, something that our ex-spouses didn’t value.  Our sex life was at least more existent in this marriage than it was in our previous ones, but I suspect we both were very unaware and scared to try new things.  Therefore, we both grew, but that growth was minimal due to our previous lack of experience.

More from Stormy Transitions : The Memoir of a Str8t Spouse of a Transgender Person

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