How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The summer of 2017 turned out nothing like I expected or planned as much of our lives come to be. There had been so many forces conspiring for most of my life which culminated in this most surprising season.

I had been in a faithful and monogamous relationship with my husband for 37 years when in the spring of 2015, he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. We separated. I was committed to making the marriage work, but he was not so I found myself “single” at age 52 for the first time in my life, having met him when I was 16. Starting to date at this stage of life can be awkward, at minimum, for many. In my case, I was also dealing with a disability from a cerebral hemorrhage 17 years prior which certainly was not a big confidence boost. But, online I went, looking for dates. Anyone who has done this could certainly write a book about the experience. I did end up meeting an interesting mix of men.

They ran the gamut from married, alcoholics, hoarders, unemployed, with some decent, smart and fun guys mixed in. After surviving a life threatening ordeal, I was determined to live life to the fullest with or without my husband. After the hemorrhage, we stayed married for 16 years. I wanted my husband to embrace life with me, but he became depressed and addicted to narcotics. Part of my lust for life included trying to build and maintain a good sex life, but with my husband’s issues, things just kind of froze over in this department.

So, awkward and uncomfortable as it was, I was dating and eventually started to dip my toes into the middle aged and single sex pool. I was vigilantly careful about my safety. I started to have some fun, and had the somewhat startling revelation that I was DESIRABLE. This was exhilarating after so many years of rejection by my husband. I had a few flings throughout the end of 2015, and one more serious thing with someone that lasted into the fall of 2016. The online dating thing was getting boring and not bringing many quality people into my life. I was heartbroken over having to put an end to the one long affair in the fall, but his alcoholism made continuing the relationship impossible. Not much of interest happened after that break up.

At the beginning of June, 2017, 2 very different men popped up on my list of potential “matches”. They both matched with me at around a 90% match rate which was not common in my experience. I went out on several dates with “Joe” who was frankly, not very attractive, but was a real gentleman who had his stuff together and treated me very well. I focused on the positives as much as possible since I had been with men who looked like movie stars, but were basically losers. I was not as excited about Joe as he was about me.

Within a few weeks of meeting Joe, I went on a short vacation to Virginia Beach to visit two very close friends who had also been disabled by strokes at age 35. We have an uncommon bond and have a lot of fun together. Amelia is happily married to a wonderful, supportive husband. Pamela’s husband bailed out of their marriage immediately following her stroke so she had been single for a while before she met the man she lives with currently in what looks like a committed, monogamous relationship. Both women were a bit stunned that my marriage had broken up, and fascinated by my stories of single life. They heard many chapters from my book of online dating. I think Pamela had more of a fascination because she had been there more recently herself. She had suggestions for how to handle every guy on my “list”. Some were too old, too young, generally not good enough for me, etc.

She suggested I take the Summer of 2017 and take a break from serious dating and make it my “summer of being a slut”, especially after so many years of being with only one man. So, I decided this was a good plan and was a way to just enjoy my seeming amazing powers of seduction without getting seriously involved with anyone. Summer is my favorite season and with the attention I was getting online, I was looking forward to having a pretty wild time. I was glad I had this time with my friends and swam, went in the hot tub, went to the beach, went dancing at a club that had a band playing with a drummer I had connected with online, and had a lot of fun because the rest of the summer did not turn out as I expected.

I returned home in early June to find Joe lamenting not seeing me for “2 weeks and a day”! Good Lord! We had been on about 4 dates before I went away, and I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship. Besides, my “summer of being a slut” was about to commence, and I had no desire to start with Joe because there was zero “chemistry” there. The other man I met online around the same time as Joe was Greg. We also had a high “match rate” and started to chat right away. There were a few obstacles to meeting in real life such as each of us had car issues, then I went to Virginia. We really “clicked” as texting buddies, and found quite a bit of common ground through our voluminous digital conversations. Despite not being able to meet right away, it seemed like there was some sort of relationship potential there. Copious witty, flirty and fun banter ensued.

This summer of being a slut quickly got off track due to life forces that were never invited to my party.

I went for a routine ultrasound of my kidneys and the doctor saw a “mass” in my pelvis. He told me to go get a CAT scan and not to wait. So I did.

There were quite a few “masses” all over my pelvis, one of which was the size of a newborn baby’s head. At the follow up at the gynecologist’s office, his opinion was simple and clear: they are large and they don’t belong there so you should get them out. Go see a gynecological oncologist. I didn’t want to see an oncologist! I was supposed to be out having fun being a slut. But, I do take my health very seriously, so off to the gynecological oncologist I went. Luckily, my brother was in town visiting and was able to come to this really creepy appointment with me to be my second set of ears.

I was so nervous at this appointment that my blood pressure read 175/100. I scheduled the surgery that day (July 5th) for July 18th. The doctor offered some reassurance that the masses were not cancerous, but of course there are never guarantees. I was glad that I had some time at my vacation home at the lake with my family before summer came to a crashing end for me on July 18th.

I shared all of this news with both Joe and Greg. I was losing interest in Joe the more he seemed to pursue me. It felt suffocating. He did, however, offer to drive me to and from the hospital and keep me company during my recuperation. I accepted his offer because it was a safe and reliable way for me to get to and from without having to bother my elderly parents, my former husband, or my young sons. Meantime, Greg kept me company via text and email, and could always make me laugh or say something interesting. These were major plusses during this depressing time.

With the surgery looming in 2 weeks, I wasn’t willing to give up on my slut stage completely so I got in touch with a guy with whom I had only had a purely physical relationship. He was my go to for some good sex whenever I wanted, no strings attached. Feeling the uncertainty of life very acutely once again, I strongly felt a visit with “Dr. C.” was warranted before going under the knife. I had had a visit with Dr. C. once earlier in the summer, so these 2 casual encounters were the extent of my summer of being a slut.

I had the surgery on July 18th, stayed in the hospital for 3 nights which was a miserable time. There was one very amusing episode during this 3 day period. I had connected with another man on a different dating site in early June who happened to be a registered nurse. Through messaging he heard about my medical issues and of course was kind enough to offer his “services” for my recovery period, as in dressing changes, wound care, help with showering, etc. Doug was very funny and bright, too. I wasn’t sure about him as a good match for me, but he sounded like a very good friend at minimum. He had asked permission ahead of time for visiting me in the hospital. He had commented on how funny it could be in the future if we hit it off and this would be the story of how we met. Joe had been visiting daily. My parents were visiting and met Joe for the first time.

My mother was shocked to learn that this was the Joe she had heard about as the latest guy I had been seeing because she thought he was so weird looking that it couldn’t be possible for me to be entertaining him. My mother told my father she needed to get something to eat downstairs which really meant she wanted some time to process the shock. Doug texted and asked if he could come visit. I said it was fine but warned him that my parents were there, too.

He said it wasn’t an issue for him and he’d be there at around 2:00. Joe was in a chair next to my bed, my parents were in the cafeteria, and Doug walked into my room. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. I introduced Doug to Joe with no explanation to either about the other except I told Joe that Doug was a nurse. Doug made busy with nurse type stuff, looking at my IV, asking relevant medical questions, etc. My parents returned from the cafeteria so I introduced them to Doug as well. Joe shot me a WTF look. Doug was very cool and stayed for about an hour. When Joe came to visit the next day he asked if Doug was a friend and I told him yes, and that he was a nurse, too.

I had a very large abdominal incision and was sent home with restrictions on activities. No swimming, driving, heavy lifting, sex or horseback riding until the surgeon cleared me at the follow up visits. For the first visit on July 31st, I needed to have about 25 staples removed. I needed to be driven to this appointment as well. Since Doug had been so eager to help throughout this ordeal, and actual nursing care was completely inappropriate and unnecessary, I saw driving me to this appointment as a way for him to continue to be involved and feel helpful.

At this point, after daily visits, I was so tired of seeing Joe I just couldn’t deal with asking him to take me. I was fortunate to be able to hire live in help for 2 weeks after I was discharged from the hospital because I couldn’t even get in and out of bed by myself. Merliene was wonderful, but she didn’t drive. Doug drove us to the appointment to have the staples removed. Having them taken out was a bit uncomfortable, but as time wore on I felt better without them there. I was told to return for another visit in 4 weeks for an internal exam by the doctor to determine how well I had healed on the inside as there had been extensive internal work. The doctor put a 6–8 week recovery period on as his guess for how long my activities would be restricted. I invited Doug in for lunch when we got back to my house, but he had another appointment and couldn’t stay.

It was soon after I had the staples removed and had endured daily visits from Joe that I mustered up the nerve to give him the “it’s not you, it’s me” spiel and broke things off with him.

I’ve had a few excursions with my good friend Bruce for dinners out and to watch a band, the latest of which included some dancing. I am fully bound and determined to make the most of what’s left of the summer.

I have made a great recovery in just over 4 weeks and am looking forward to finally meeting Greg in real life and enjoying what’s left of the summer of 2017 which definitely did not turn out how I expected. I’m still grateful every day to have things to laugh and think about, and of course for my health. The pathology from the surgery came back benign. I will see the surgeon at the end of this week to see how much I will be able to enjoy the rest of the summer of 2017.