Dating in the Time of Covid pt 1

Turning dating apps back on after 4 months was certainly interesting. It seems people from all over the place just wanted connection, even if it was virtual. I have played enough virtual games in my life to last a lifetime and, while I don’t rule it out entirely, tend to stay away from such nonsense anymore.

To the delight of my friends, I’ve finally mostly matured in my dating behaviors. I avoid any/all married or separated men. I don’t engage in sexual conversation (there is one exception to this which I will write about). I don’t go backwards (and plenty of these showed up during quarantine). I stick to my “rules” for meeting someone (again, mostly). I try, really hard, to make better decisions about who I am giving my time to – virtually or physically.

I’ve made some mistakes and I recognize what they are. I’ve been ghosted and don’t know why. I’ve text with some crazies and had to block them. I’ve gone on some pretty good dates and some not so great dates. I’ve kissed men again and I’ve had sex. Having sex was a big damn deal since the surgery…..I have a nice long scar from breastbone to pubic bone, but at least its flat and not a big hole in my stomach. I am much more confident about getting undressed, I don’t really care what they think once I decide I’m going to have sex. Unfortunately, I do still care what they think when I like them and want to meet them -I am not sure I can ever get over this fear that I’m too old, not thin enough, not fit enough, or somehow damaged and ugly because of my multiple surgeries.

I have taken the time after this first round of dates to really think about the things that are not only important to me but attractive to me. I learned during quarantine (thanks to George, he will get his own post) that while the jury may be out on a mans looks, certain qualities make me feel intense attraction. I believe this is how I fell so hard for Tony to begin with.

So, lets rewind a little and go back to just before Covid and then early quarantine …..

Scott: I met Scott in February and we went out a few times and spent two night together. He didn’t live here but came to my area for work. He was instantly smitten. We had a lot of fun and I liked him. Physically, I wasn’t instantly attracted but I was attracted enough to his qualities have sex with him. We laughed a lot which I love. He is very funny. We had a good time the same way. We truly enjoyed one another. And he is a good guy. But, there were things in the beginning which I couldn’t quite identify at first. Those reasons became very apparent during quarantine and, while I won’t go into them, it solidified my decision not to move forward with him. I was honest with him that I didn’t think we saw our future the same and we agreed to stop pursuing a relationship. I knew how much he liked me and wanted to build something, he was very clear about it and it was a joy to have someone care like that again for the first time since Tony. But, it was unfair to lead him on and I did the right thing. We stopped speaking entirely for about a month before he reached out. I know he stalks my social media and he saw I was having surgery. We started chatting again while I was recovering and now we have become friends. I hear from him most days by text. He is a good guy, just not the guy for me. I have moments where I question why I let him go, but every once in a while he says something that reminds me, and I’m good with my decision. I like having him in my life.

Jerry: He was the last man I went out with pre-Covid. I had a strong suspicion I wouldn’t be attracted to him in person and I was right. It was very hard for me to find the same connection in person that we established on the phone. We enjoyed 2 nights together in the city, there was some physical activity, but not sex and it wasn’t great. Once we parted we had some text but not much. I guess he felt the same I did. After some time one or the other of us reached out over a Peloton something or other and we remain friends. We have never discussed that weekend.

That was it prior to Covid quarantine…..then I shut down all the dating apps during quarantine. What was the point, I get addicted to virtual talk and I knew this wasn’t good for me – and then I did it anyway! Of course I did. I met another Peloton guy that was pursuing me and to whom I wasn’t initially attracted. I let my loneliness and my idea of an “ideal match” get the better of me during quarantine. I also reached out to an old flame via social media (and no, it wasn’t Tony).

George: I’ve never met George and he lives in another state. He pursued hard to meet me and engage me and eventually I let him in. Physically he was far from my type, but we both got pulled me into a false sense of intimacy with a question game we played. Text turned to talk and face time. We dove deep. Then, we began to debate, almost argue, much too much and too quickly. We both appeared to be similar on the surface, perhaps to want the same things, but we were not a match for many, many reasons. However, I got sucked in to the attention and the “idea” of what George represented. He was smarter than I and suggested a break until we could meet in person. I definitely had a moment of rejection here, maybe more than a moment. It passed and I know, in hindsight, it was a mistake we both made and he was the better person to call it off after a month of overly engaged conversations. The best thing to come of this: I learned a BIG lesson, one I should have learned long ago and for some reason I have neglected to even try to learn.

George gave me more than one gift in his rejection. He doesn’t know this (and I wouldn’t dare give him the satisfaction lol), we still text a bit and have remained friends. George was a man to admire – he has a lot of great qualities and is a really good human being. It wasn’t until it was over and I took a good, hard look at why I “lost” him that I understood how to use the reasons we fell out to my advantage. Post coming.

Mike: This was my fault. I saw Mike on IG and reached out with a joke. He reached back and we chatted on IG. I had deleted his contact last summer for fear I would continue reaching out to him when he was clearly no longer interested in me. Mike is a bit of kryptonite for me. I really like him and he is as close to ideal as I have gotten to since Tony. Even more so than Tony since he’s single. I still don’t know why he doesn’t want me and it doesn’t matter anyway, he doesn’t, and he’s still single. Anyway, during quarantine he moved off IG and text me directly. The small talk turned into a request for dirty talk and several cock shots. I did not reciprocate, but the feeling of let down was awful. I felt like someone punched me, but it was my own fault for letting him back in to begin with. This tennis match went on for a couple volleys before I had to stop. I still can’t help myself with him, I want him like me for chrissakes and he just doesn’t. I need to get it into my head. I haven’t been able to fully help myself from sending him a message here and there on IG, but I never engage beyond light chatter and I don’t have his phone number saved. I need to let it go but he sticks because there’s been no one like him in 2 years. I’m the idiot here. His cock is as beautiful as ever. Sigh.

Tony: of course he gets a spot during quarantine, but not for the reasons you might think. The short version was he continued to come back to my social media, to the point where he followed me. I am pretty sure at this point it wasn’t him but his wife, but who really knows. I finally sent a long-ass message on IG, a really long message, that sounded intentionally pitiful and sad. Listing all the reasons he might want to come back to me and how I can’t really ever live without him. I made it sound as pathetic as I possibly could. Was there any logic to this? No, I don’t think so. It was pretty dumb and pathetic in itself, but it god rid of him (or her) for a long, long time. Then he came back with a flourish. When he came back a couple times I sent a message that says “awww you miss me?” and he disappears again. Then I stopped doing this entirely. I don’t care. Let him look. He’s taken up 4 years in my head and caused immense damage, I needed to stop any engagement even when I tell myself its harmless. I am done with Tony as much as I will ever be done with Tony.

So, there you have all the pre / during quarantine excitement I experienced. The good stuff didn’t happen until after the hospital when I re-opened the dating apps and made the decision to put myself out there again. More to come!

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

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