Protecting My Heart at 61


“I have to work today,” I said to my new guy, while I watched him drink his black coffee, admiring the way his arms filled his T-shirt and thinking back to the night we’d just shared.  Cocktails in town followed by pizza and beer at my place, followed by slightly drunk, fun sex.  It was reminiscent of my twenties and I was happy to be with a sexy, smart guy who also seemed into me.  We’d been dating for a couple of months, and recently progressed from skulking home from cocktails and dinner in the wee hours to sleepovers with a shower, coffee, and breakfast conversation.

“You have a boyfriend.”  my friend Jess teased.

“I do not have a boyfriend,” I responded a little too emphatically.

Wait, do I?  This was my third attempt at dating someone I met online since my marriage imploded a few years ago and while I am not convinced that the third time’s always a charm, I was feeling  very happy and well loved for the first time in years.

Maybe Jess was right. Maybe he was moving into boyfriend territory. I did put my Bumble profile on “snooze” once we started seeing each other two times per week, because who has the time or the energy for more?  Plus I got a warning about STDs from my PCP and apparently I am still eligible for HPV. So no sleeping around. Plus I liked the guy. I was physically attracted to him and we seemed to enjoy each other.

‘What are you working on today?” he asked, bending over to tie his shoes as he prepared to leave.

Not letting you break my heart. I thought. All of a sudden I was having feelings that went beyond lust and I was scared. I wanted him to leave so I could take him down from the pedestal where he landed and bring myself back to earth. How much more could  my battered heart could take at age 61. What if he broke it?

“Oh you know…the usual Zoom fundraiser ” I smiled.

“Hmm. Well good luck. See you Wednesday? My place?”

“You bet. I had fun last night.” I said, standing on my tiptoes to plant a big and final kiss on his one-foot-taller-than-me frame.

“How about this morning?” he grinned and left.

It was then that I decided that it was much safer (despite the warnings from my PCP)  to give him my body than my heart and anyone who said that it was better to have loved and lost was full of crap.

But he was such a good kisser and we made each other laugh. I climbed back into bed.

Could I give up those kisses now if I knew they were going to end a few weeks, months or years from now which according to statistics, they probably would?  I had no clear answer as I pulled the covers over my head and sighed. My battered heart will need protection, I feared.

And then I smiled when I remembered his deep voice and smooth hands. Oh I definitely have a crush. I couldn’t  wait for Wednesday night despite the rush hour traffic I’ll need to drive through to get there.  He’s cooking. Rather than worry about the future perhaps I can will myself to just enjoy the damn dinner. And whatever comes after.

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