"COVID dating conundrum"
Before COVID I dated two women about two weeks apart. The first one (let's call her Beth) I met organically at a classy bar with her friends, asked for her number, then we had a first date a week later which was really nice. We smiled and laughed a lot, she shared some cool stories of her traveling, I had a good feeling about her and we had a great date.
About a week or so after Beth, the second girl (let's call her Jane) I went on a coffee date with after meeting through an online service. Like a lightning bolt, Jane blew me out of the water. I was enamored. Smitten. Our first date was two hours of great conversation. I was mesmerized. She is a single mom home with two kids that she shares with her husband once a week.
Jane and I went on a couple followup dates after that (even meeting her kids at a big community social thing for kids - she wasn't rushing introductions, just she didn't have a lot of time between sick kids and work and everything else). I proceeded to fall for her and saw my life plugging in with hers, not having my own I grew excited about being a "figure" of some kind to her two incredible children (wicked smart, well behaved, lots of fun, artistic, kind - great kids). She was wicked smart, musical, a great mother, and also very pretty.
I never went on a second date with Beth - neither of us reached out after the first date for a second. I was crazy about going further with Jane. The choice seemed clear to me. Then COVID. Jane's ex husband is an immune compromised person by virtue of organ transplant. This meant for the kids to see him they would need to maintain strict quarantine for two weeks prior to their visits. Jane works online education from home so COVID wasn't as big a stretch for her as many people. Basically they adopted a lifestyle of continuous quarnatine (not just two weeks then a break because, honestly, that's a long two weeks to start over on).
Other than a few stircrazy people in a house, their quarantine was doable for Jane. It was also essential. Jane couldn't tell her ex to kick rocks. Her kids need their dad (though he wasn't carrying his whole weight, but still). Further, Jane could not bear the thought of transmitting COVID to her childrens' father potentially and quite possibly killing him. So while the early days of COVID appeared with glasses of wine outdoors on her patio, or in open soccer fields chatting while the kids played ball, it never moved further. Though on the verge of having kissed her, we never made it that far. But I fell for her hard.
Then, about as suddenly as it started, I could see her no more or chose not to - wasn't much of a choice really. you must also understand, Jane is a kind of scientist that is super sharp on things like epidemiology and virus transmission - there were no half-measures or wiggle room. In contrast to Jane, I could not maintain quarantine for two full weeks due to my job. One week or ten days I could do, but not more. John's Hopkins was unflinching about this with her ex - 14 days isolation and then you're safe. I've never seen Jane again. We exchanged texts and emails for a time like an enamored high school kid with a new crush, but eventually we both agreed it was better to go cold turkey than to keep torturing each other with frequent messages. It hurt a lot cutting things off bluntly with someone I was crazy about, but it had to be that way. I haven't been as excited to start up with someone as I was for her in many many years. It hurt a lot letting go. Spoiler alert: I still haven't, honestly - not fully anyway.
And then Beth reached out to me after a month or two in April. Wanted to know if I wanted to go on another date. I agreed. COVID quarantine was taking its toll. I wasn't dating anymore - nothing after Beth and Jane during COVID - but since I knew her already, and as a medical professional, I trusted her COVID practices. We started up. At first it was really just dating in the generic sense. Two people, hanging out, liking each other but much more tame and reasoned than I experienced with Jane. We had all kinds of fun camping and hiking and doing all the things I'd put on a backburner as a single person - I now had a buddy to backpack and explore with and we wasted no time! Beth, single, no kids, no ex, independent, likes the outdoors, cooking, and traveling, is a real catch. Heart of gold. Kind person. Generous person. Our dogs get along great. We travel and camp and spend lots of time together without any issues or fighting. On paper we're a match. But what I don't feel as much, despite all her amazing traits, is the excitement I had for Jane. The "pull." Neither of them know about the other. Neither of them needed to.
But after many months of dating Beth, I still find myself distracted by Jane although we aren't in regular contact except some Facebook post reactions and such. It seems to be interfering with me sexually as well ocassionally. As vaccines approach and distribution begins, I begin to wonder about the day that Jane reaches out, and asks if I want to try to pick up where we left off... And with this, recently things with Beth begin to crumble, because I feel guilty, I feel I'm duplicitous, and I feel Beth isn't being treated fairly - getting what she deserves which is someone who is ALL IN, who is "Fuck yeah" or "no" and not hanging somewhere in-between. I thought that might organically happen during our dating. We "make sense" together, Beth and I, and while there is not the "push away" feeling with Beth, it seems the "pull towards" Beth isn't as strong as what it should be. I enjoy our time together, but it seems maybe we're destined to just be "COVID buddies" and not cut out for the long haul?
But she's also so endearing, and I beat myself up for hurting her by denying her my full presence. It makes me feel terrible because I've been in love before and I think it should "flow" from you in a good relationship. It doesn't so much. Only recently as we've begun to pull apart and had adult talks on our ending relationship (minus the subject of Jane) that I've begun to grow closer to Beth, perhaps ironically. I feel myself missing many things and ideas about Beth. My heart pangs when I see photos from our summer camping trips together. I really care for her and if I hadn't have met the impossible Jane, I think things would be very different between Beth and I. But you can't unmeet someone.
So that's the story of COVID, Beth, and Jane. Can't feel fully committed to Beth because of lingering thoughts of Jane, can't be with Jane because of COVID and we never really started dating so I don't even know how we'd really be together, and sometimes I feel I should just be alone so no one else gets hurt. It's a horribly frustrating situation.