invisible manDear Houdini (my disappearing man),

Over the past year, I went on scores of first dates with men who talked about themselves too much (do I really need to hear about your genius grandson for the third time on a first date?). Men whose idea of first date conversation is ex-wife bashing, complaining about their dire financial situation, or talking about their aches and pains throughout dinner. Um, no, thank you.

Then, I met you on an online dating site. I was immediately drawn to your passion and zest for life, your keen intelligence and creativity, your manliness, and your sexiness. I felt alive with possibility!

Finally, a man who was not afraid to express his opinions about art, music, science, and religion. You seemed to be a loving father to your five children. I was moved by how you lovingly attended to each of their needs. You enjoyed cooking, especially spicy Spanish foods from your native country—sensual and delicious. And I was impressed with your work ethic; how you moved up in your company and were saving and planning for your future.

You were proud to be a MAN, openly expressing your strong masculinity and your desire for my femininity. That turned me on. Could you be the mature life partner I have been seeking since my divorce?

But soon, your sexual desire became your main focus. “Hey, sexy! There is something about you that turns me on.” Your texts, which soon became quite graphic, were starting to turn me off.

The man I’m seeking doesn’t only focus on sex, especially as he’s first getting to know me. He wants to know all of me—my passions, my values, my mind.

Sure, sex is important, but when a man focuses primarily on sex, especially before we’ve even met, I feel objectified. I told you how I felt, and you respected my wish to stop ‘sexting’ and get to know more about each other. We agreed it was important to meet and see if there was an in-person connection.

A week later, we met in a beautiful park. We sat on the grass, and talked about books, our favorite foods, and our children. We seemed to connect mind, body, and soul. I looked forward to seeing you again.

And then the sexy texts started up again. At first, they were fun and flirty, but they soon became crass. Again, I told you how I felt about the aggressive sexual comments, and you listened. You promised you’d always be honest and open with me. You would always respect my feelings so no one would get hurt. I felt heard and honored. You stopped texting so much and picked up the phone. I liked hearing your voice.

And then we had our second date.

You held my hand throughout the evening. You told me you liked me. I said I liked you, too. We opened up and shared some intimate details about our lives. I felt much closer to you. We seemed to “get” each other in many ways.

We took a walk, and you pulled me into a dark corner and passionately kissed me. You expressed your desire for me to come home with you and spend the night. I told you that while I was very attracted to you, I only sleep with men if/when we’re exclusive and have shared STD test results.

Yep, not exactly a sexy conversation, but I have relationship standards. I know what I need before sleeping with a man. You said you understood. You were cool with that, and you’d call the next day.

You didn’t.

Two days later, you texted–something bland, devoid of emotion or any true connection. And then your texts became fewer and farther between. You slowly began to disappear from my life. Until poof… you were gone.

Houdini, my disappearing man, here’s what I want you to know. I’m glad I met you, and I’m also glad you’re gone. At first I was angry. How dare you lie and promise you’d be honest with your feelings so no one gets hurt? When you seemed to pull away the day after our second date, I asked if everything was okay. You lied and said, “Everything’s fine. Just busy at work.” I’m so glad you lied. Because it showed me your true character.

Thank you, Houdini, for reinforcing the importance of staying true to my values in relationships. It helps me to know if a man respects me enough to honor my needs as I would honor his.

I don’t want to be with a man who pressures me to be sexual before I’m ready. Believe me, I’m no prude, but the right man will respect my desire to build a friendship and a mature connected partnership.

The right man will not disappear when I don’t sleep with him on a second date, when I let him know what I need to feel ready for sex. The right man will see and respect all of me, not just the sum of my body parts. He will call when he says he will. His words and actions will match. He’ll have a solid core of integrity.

So, farewell Houdini, my disappearing man. Life has a way of sending you the teachers you need over and over again until you’ve learned the lessons you need to learn

I’ve graduated from the school of men who don’t respect me. I know my value, and I’m ready for the right man, one for whom respect will be at the foundation of our relationship.

Your disappearing helped me create space for the right-fit partner to show up in my life. And I thank you for that.

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