The Candy Man Cometh

He pops up when you want him and tucks neatly away when you don’t. Is this any way for a respectable woman to live?

Forty-four-year-old Amy meanders through the farmer’s market near the new outdoor village in her neighborhood. She loves what she sees and wonders if she and her three children can make a week’s worth of meals from the beautifully displayed breads, nuts, cheeses, fruits and vegetables that line the rows.

Amy decides to buy kettle corn for her 9-year-old son, Jack. Perhaps if she tucks it into his lunch tomorrow he’ll be more accepting of the Asian pear sitting next to it. Doubtful, but worth the try, she decides.

As Amy ponders her children’s lunches, takes in the smells of her new market and sips her eggnog latte, she’s feeling light. Things are going well for the first time in 18 months since her divorce.

She receives a text from Ryan, a guy she’s more attracted to than any man she’s married, dated or slept with. Amy likes him a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Their chemistry is bubbling over in the bedroom, and she hasn’t been with a guy this witty, financially successful and charming in years.

“What are you up to?” Ryan texts.

“At the farmer’s market. It’s such a great one!” Amy replies.

“Up for a hike before your kids come home tonight?”

Amy thinks for a second. “Tempting, but not today. Let’s have dinner on Thursday, though.”

Ryan responds with a “K,” and Amy tucks her phone away.

To Amy, it can sometimes feel like Ryan is shoving for access to her heart like he’s trying to get space on a lifeboat. He so desperately wants in to more than just her pants … he wants in to her life.

And, while Amy is in love with everything Ryan has to offer, she doesn’t exactly share the sentiment. “I’m deliriously happy and feel completely energized and curious when I’m with him,” Amy explains to me of her situation. “Aaaaand, when I’m not, I feel just fine.”

Amy tells me of a time when she spent years in a stale marriage, having stopped growing and exploring with her own creativity and desires. Now, however, her life consists of weekend jaunts with her kids, cocktails with the girls, reading books from new authors, discovering Los Angeles neighborhoods she never knew existed, cooking more, writing more, exercising outdoors.

“Ryan is definitely a tasty appetizer in my life right now,” explains Amy. He’s smart, sexy, funny, motivated … he’s a great catch. I want him around my life for sure, but I don’t want him completely immersed in my life.”

So it begs the question: does a romantic partner – no matter how delicious the sex is or how well you think he might treat your children – have to come on board with you in every way? Perhaps it’s easier to ride this wave of excitement with a guy who’s willing to surf in and out around the kids, your personal adventures and holiday happenings.

After all, there’s so much growing and realizing that happens after having stood in the forest of divorce sorrow. When you finally catch that ray of sunshine, it feels completely energizing. You’ve gone through a huge awakening by recognizing that your marriage was dead, having the balls to walk away and then take on the business of learning from the mistakes you’ve made. Not easy tasks. These things are life changing and liberating in a way that makes you your own little cheerleader. And it feels really good.

Could it be possible to cherish all the goodness that a wonderful love affair brings to your life without having the passion or feelings take over your life? Yes, it is, especially since you get to decide what has meaning in your life … and when.

Which is precisely why you might want to consider a pop-up man. This is the guy who allows you to dip your toes into the pool of lust, great conversation and personal adventure, without fully swimming in a sea of family introductions. Tempting, right?

When your pop-up man is with you, you allow your imagination to pack its bags and travel far away. It’s you and him doing what you two do best – supporting each other, conversing about life, having sex, creating something fun together. The difference, with a pop-up man, is you always come in for a landing: kids get the right kind of nurturing, friends have attention, dreams get realized, and creative ideas become structured. It’s a way of compartmentalizing your romantic life while moving forward on the important things you’ve been working toward … for your kids and yourself. Of course, it’s not to say these things can’t happen with the right full-blown relationship, but it’s got to be the right time. And, sometimes, the right time isn’t just yet.

So, let’s cheers the pop-up man this Valentine’s Day. The guy who’s happy springing onto the scene when it’s convenient for both of you, is ready and willing to have you when you want him … and then more than happy to fold down when the business of your life needs tending. He’s flexible, fluid and fun … the perfect little man with a big understanding of what’s best for you right now. To that, let’s all say in unison, Amen!

About author

Lisa Finn

Lisa Finn is a Los Angeles-based writer who parents, plays and pontificates on a daily basis. She writes fashion and style for CraveOnline and ghost writes for really cool people, doing really cool things in really cool industries. More of her writing can be found at

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