Butterflies (of the Love and Dating Variety)

butterflies in dating new relationship boyfriend girlfriend single parents mom dad mother father after divorce with kids

“So, I heard your boyfriend is cute,” my friend said to me when we got together two weeks ago. We hadn’t seen each other since last year, a shocking realization considering we live only 20 miles apart, and were catching up before an open mic event in the Big City. I’d planned to tell her about Greg once the performers cleared the stage, but she couldn’t wait. “Kathleen told me you brought him to her party. I want details!”

All of my friends are happy to learn I’ve met a great man, but let me tell you – it’s the married ones who know they’ll never have to experience the awkwardness of a first date again who seem to love to hear about my dating life most of all.

So as the tattooed and pierced and vibrantly coiffed milled around us, we sat at our tiny table in the dim theater and I told her about meeting Greg and how I’d thought he didn’t like me for the first 20 minutes. I explained that we both enjoy running and listening to 90s music and that if things work out, like, really well for us, we’ll have an obnoxious amount of children together. As in need-a-bus amount of kids. She nodded while I told her I hadn’t yet discovered anything about him that irritates me or gives me pause. We laughed about how he’d met my kids just that week but they don’t yet know the significance of the meeting – I introduced him as simply a friend.

She said she was thrilled I had found Greg and then asked, “Do you get butterflies and everything around him?”

I had to think about that one, so I sipped my wine and wondered about the term butterflies.

“You know, I don’t,” I replied. “Don’t get me wrong, I think about him all the time and the attraction is undeniable, but as for the butterflies I used to think meant I was infatuated with someone – nope, I don’t get them.”

One of the things I’ve found is different with Greg as I’ve spent more and more time with him over the past 12 weeks (isn’t it slightly ridiculous the way I automatically age our relationship in my head in terms of weeks, the way I did with my babies?) is that I don’t feel any of the nervous energy I did with past boyfriends or dates. When I think of butterflies as I’ve known them, I think of the excitement of a new connection but also the anxiety, as well – the wondering, “Is he going to call? Does he really like me? Is he seeing anyone else?” Part of the feeling of butterflies, at least for me, came from uncertainty and doubt. With Greg, so far, I feel… calm.

It’s pretty freaking awesome. Instead of a feeling that this person is going to flit unpredictably in and out of my life, I have a (perhaps naive) belief that he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

I love to spend time with him but I don’t feel like he’ll disappear on me if we spend a child-free day apart. If he goes hours without texting me I assume he’s busy, not that he’s losing interest, because, hello, I am busy, too, and it doesn’t mean I care about him any less. I don’t think, “Hmmmph, he didn’t pay enough attention to me today,” I think, “What can I do to show him I’m thinking about him today?”

Ask me again about butterflies this weekend, though – I’m supposed to meet his kids, and they’re savvy enough to know I’m their dear dad’s girlfriend. I may not be nervous about Greg, but meeting some tweens who’ve been building images of me in their heads for a few weeks is making me quiver in my flip flops just a bit.


(Oh, totally unrelated but I know some of my readers are curious – I have an appointment to get my nose pierced this month. Greg and my friend Elsa are going to go with me to hold my hand, though I’m not sure Greg is 100% sold on the idea. But I love that he hasn’t tried to talk me out of it.)


Image of the butterfly used under creative commons license by Joel Olives, and altered by me.

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