The Ball’s in his Court?

Photo credit by Isobel T; creative commons license.

I’ve been divorced long enough that few people tell me what to do anymore, or how to do it, or –heaven forbid—how to play the game.  Maybe they grew tired of it.  Or maybe it was the less willing ear I give them now, accompanied by plenty of eye-rolling if I’m nice enough to sit through more than 10 seconds of it.

I’m not a game player.  Most men tell me they don’t want a game-player, yet they’re so focused on game-playing and how it’s always been that they don’t know what to make of me.  They keep asking what the catch is.

There isn’t one.  If I like you, you’ll know it.  I don’t hide my feelings, even if that means you’re uncomfortable enough to run away or create a drama you know will cause me to end the relationship in one fell swoop.  I don’t play games, and I won’t put up with a man who does.

When I was first divorced and dating again at mid-life, I made a lot of mistakes in the first few years.  Most of them were because, after a long marriage,  I lacked the confidence to do what was true to me.  I listened to friends’ advice on dating—friends who’d been married for two decades or longer or hadn’t had a  date in a dozen years.  In general, their advice was all about how to play the game so I could pair up again.  Some would encourage me to make a bold move and then suggest I quickly back off.  Others would suggest I be subtle and calculated.  In any case, I was told that I had to wait, then play it cool, pretend not to care, and let the guy make the next move.

“Ball’s in his court,” my friends would warn.

In hindsight, most of those guys never knew there was a ball, much less a court or that the game was on.  I took my friends’ advice and kept my opinions and my feelings to myself so I didn’t scare anyone away.

And I didn’t scare anyone away.

I did, however, become a lot happier after I ditched my friends and their expectations and rules and relationship games.  I also began to enjoy dating a whole lot more and reached a startling perspective—most of those people weren’t very happy in their own relationships but they could certainly dish advice on how to be.

The only way  it’s ever worked for me is to be unabashedly who I am, and not the least bit worried what a man thinks.

The ball’s not in any man’s court.  The balls are all in my court—crystal balls, snow globes, spinning and sparkly things.  They’re mine to command…though I’m willing to share.