Shaman Seeking Serious Relationship, Part 1

When I contemplated who I was, what my strengths were, and what I thought I needed to develop, I came to the conclusion that I was not all that great at love relationships. I had been in a loving relationship with my late husband for twenty-four years, but when I teased out the strands of that relationship, I found myself lacking. Surely, I could have been a more loving wife. So I invited my guidance to help me develop my relationship skills.

I later reminded myself that I needed to be careful about what I invited guidance to help me with. I was first sent to a man I’d known years earlier, a bookseller I was acquainted with and who I trusted to take a look at my large book collection and make a fair offer on anything he might want.

The years had not been kind to him. Cigarettes and marijuana had taken a serious toll. COPD had robbed him of any robustness he might have once had. He came to the house and bought some books. At one point, as we were side by side on our knees, looking at the books on a low shelf, we turned to one another and I spontaneously said what I was thinking: “It’s such a pleasure to spend time with someone else who loves books.”

The look on his face was somewhere between wonder and abject fear.

Later, he sent me a message saying that he was smitten with me. And despite the fact that I was not attracted to him romantically and did not see him as a likely companion, we began a daily e-mail exchange. The message exchanges reminded me that one of the things I had missed since my husband’s death was having a witness to my life, someone who gave a damn and with whom I could share ordinary, everyday happenings. That he was into poetry didn’t hurt either. It seemed to me that I could work on my ability to relate with a man in salubrious ways through contact with this man, and it was clear that he enjoyed the contact. We later expanded the contact through occasional phone conversations.

But he became increasingly more taken with me and I became increasingly annoyed with his unhealthy, depressing lifestyle. He had a right to whatever lifestyle he wanted and he had a right to that lifestyle without the palpability of my annoyance. It was a very bad idea to be developing a friendship with this man, and we eventually ended our regular contact with one another.

A woman in her eighties who was the mother of a gym friend believed that what many men past a certain age were looking for was a nurse or a purse. It seemed like a pessimistic attitude, but not only did my friend with COPD need financial help, he had admitted that what he really wanted was a nurse to fall in love with him. And he wasn’t kidding about that. Surely, most men in their sixties and beyond didn’t want a nurse, a purse, or both, but I had to admit that in my own experience, at least one I knew did.

I was sent an even more challenging relationship on which to practice: a man who had been my lover when he was in his early twenties and I was in my mid-thirties, before my marriage to my late husband. Over the years, he had been in my life as a friend, on and off. The fact that he lived out of state and was married for most of that time made it feel safe. But when he was divorced and my husband was gone, he made gestures to suggest we should, perhaps, reconstitute the relationship.

I did not see that happening. After knowing him for almost thirty years, I’d seen many facets of his personality and, making an amateur psychological assessment (based on my background and education in the field of psychology), suspected that he had borderline personality disorder–easily one of the most crazy-making personality disorders for the people who have to interact with this type. I attempted and failed to eliminate him from my life multiple times before finally getting the job done. Needing to develop my relationship muscles did not, after all, mean that I should be developing those muscles in interaction with someone that dysfunctional. And I knew that good things and good people often don’t come into our lives until we clear out the problematic things and people.

It was not until more than five years after my husband’s death, right before my birthday, that I felt a switch flip internally. I didn’t see it coming and it surprised me. I was being nudged to reconsider dating sites. This felt wholly unnatural to me. I had never been on a dating site and I had not had a date with any love interest other than my husband for thirty years.

But on my birthday, I logged on to the dating site my intuition told me was the one to use, created a moniker for myself, and completed the beginnings of a profile that not only told the truth about my age, but also made who I am and what I was looking for very clear. I didn’t say, “Writer and editor seeking single male,” or “Shaman seeking serious relationship,” but when I hit “enter,” that’s what I was thinking. I felt strangely embarrassed and more than a little ridiculous, but I was out there.

Now what?


Copyright 2016 by Melanie Mulhall



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12 Responses to “Shaman Seeking Serious Relationship, Part 1”

  1. scribblesofnikki Says:

    Good for you, I enjoyed your post-and look forward to hearing more about your online dating. Good luck!

    • Melanie Mulhall Says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. There will be another post in about a week. And because I’m in process, after the first posts covering the first couple of months, it will be very organic. What happened when I first got online is known, but what will happen from this point on is a mystery and an adventure.

  2. TimberDark Writer Says:

    And??? I am glad you have arrived at this point. I also look forward to hearing about your travels (hoping no major travails muddy the waters or stop your progress).

    • Melanie Mulhall Says:

      Oh, my . . . I wish I could say that there has been none of those things thus far, but . . . I’ve already had my heart seriously bruised. It will all come out in a future post.

  3. Helena Says:

    Oh, Melanie! You did it again. This blog is so real and so touching, not to mention redolent with your usual courage to be open hearted and open handed. As always, showing the way,

    • Melanie Mulhall Says:


      If I’m showing the way, we may be in serious trouble. And I’m only partly kidding on that. I’m just another pilgrim going down the road. I will claim open hearted and open handed, though. Part 2 will be posted in a couple of days.

  4. alunatunes Says:

    I am so not interested in love but by golly I am VERY interested in this! I cannot wait for the next installment!

    • Melanie Mulhall Says:


      You made me smile. If you’re not interested in love, what makes you interested in my travels with an open heart? Is it love for yourself you’re not interested in, but someone else’s might be interesting? I am reminded of a writer commenting on the interest in The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. His take on it was that love was a topic everyone could embrace. Next installment forthcoming.

      • alunatunes Says:

        Hmmmm- you always make me think. I am traveling down a path of trying to manage some self love. Maybe that is why I am not interested in love. Hmmm- as always…something to Mull over. Get it? Mull over! (chuckle)

      • Melanie Mulhall Says:


        No question that it needs to start with self-love. But I am also reminded of an old story about a yogi who had gone off by himself to live in a cave to deepen his spiritual practice. A rather playful Rinpoche came to visit him and asked what he was practicing. The yogi replied, “I am practicing the perfection of patience.” The Rinpoche proceeded to mess with him (too long a telling for this reply). When he finally managed to make the yogi come unglued, he said to him, “And now where is your practice of the perfection of patience?” There are numerous bits of wisdom to the story, but a big part of the point for me has always been that it is not until we are in relationship with others that we really develop some spiritual muscles. Of course, that does not necessarily mean a love partner, but love partners are guaranteed to push all of our buttons. Circling back to love of self, I admit that we do tend to project all of our stuff on our love partners until we have acknowledged, cleared, healed, and otherwise dealt with out own stuff. And we’re all a work in process on that, aren’t we?

        As always, thank you for reading and commenting, Tammy.

        Walk in Beauty

      • alunatunes Says:

        What a lovely story! Melanie, I’ve always considered my love relationship a test that God sent me. It is truly a practice in patience!

      • Melanie Mulhall Says:

        Amen, sister. Probably for them too.

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