Like much of the country, weather here sucks. The snow is pretty but it makes me feel claustrophobic after a week of continuous snow. Maybe it’s the claustrophobia that is making me feel some sort of way.

I’ve been seeing Scott over the course of a year at this point. Next week would be one year and we were set to celebrate with a couple nights in a hotel.

But I haven’t heard from him in 2 days now. Dead silence. And as I sit here and contemplate how I feel about this, I come up empty.

My friend says I’m selling myself on a less than ideal relationship and some days I feel that way and other days I don’t.

Have you ever been so confused that you don’t know how much of the issue is because of you? I know I have some negative traits. Lots of them. Scott had tolerated a lot of my negative behavior and makes me want to be a better person. I try very hard to stay positive and not be critical. I try to be very aware now. The problem is, oftentimes my behavior is a result of his and we can’t see eye to eye. I’m not blaming him, I just think it’s both of us creating a discomfort which linger between us.

Let me start with all the good things, the reasons I stay with Scott:

We laugh, so much and all the time. He just makes me crack up even when I don’t want to. This has always been one of my most highly coveted traits in a person.

He’s smart, and the kind of smart I admire. He just knows a lot of things. And when he doesn’t know he researches. He is one of the rare people I defer to for knowledge about many things. I admire this trait greatly.

He’s practical about many things but can also be impractical about others. I like this balance. He has his own Bougie side and isn’t cheap. He knows what he needs to be serious about (like diet and exercise) but will break those patterns to have a Cocktail and a snack.

He’s fun.

He is healthy and very fit. This is an immense turn on and he keeps me on track. We cook and workout together.

He is a good Dad and very close to one of his two daughters. They are like best friends.

He’s great in bed. We had a slow start here but it’s gotten really good.

Things that concern me:

He is stubborn. And once he gets stuck he is immovable.

While he isn’t always quick to anger, once he does he gets mean. I think he has underlying anger issues but he won’t address it. When I see the anger flare I try to immediately back off whatever topic got him to that point.

He can be inconsistent and that plays into some of my worst fears. I like to know where I stand which requires a lot of communication.

He doesn’t have good emotional communication. This dead silence for 2 days is a good example.

I feel he is immature because he doesn’t have friends who are peers. Because of this he hangs out with his daughter who is 24 and her friends. He doesn’t see this as an issue. I think a 46 year old man hanging out at bars, bar hopping and getting very drunk with children is a concern.

He drinks and smokes. He admitted (while drunk) that he knows his drinking is an issue. He doesn’t smoke around me and does his best to hide the smell and taste before he sees me.

He doesn’t have family traditions and strong family values. He is close to one of his daughters and one of his sisters but his family is dysfunctional. In his marriage he didn’t celebrate holidays and such and didn’t establish traditions, so he gets weird around traditions I have (or want to establish with him). this makes me feel as if nothing should be celebrated.

I sometimes feel stressed when we are together for long periods. This is primarily due to the fact that he’s just not busy. His work is very light. If he actually works 3-4 hours in any given day it’s a lot. So that means when I have any break he’s full on with me. I mostly don’t mind but I don’t think he sees how consuming he is. Alternatively, when he’s not with me his communication is highly inconsistent. Those two behaviors don’t reconcile well for me. I don’t expect him to text every 5 mins but I do expect a good morning, good night and a phone call each day. Or at least communication why I wouldn’t hear from him (I don’t feel well, I’m going out etc). These last 2 days are an example. We have had discussions about this and he is aware (and is ok with) my expectations for communication.

Here is what seems to have happened:

Monday: He left by train after 2.5 weeks with me. I text him twice to see if he arrived home safely (not happy he didn’t communicate this without me asking first) and he said he was out with his daughter. He text again to say they were home and chatting so I told him to enjoy his night. No reply.

Tuesday: I received my normal good morning. One text during the day and then nothing. I text him when I was finished with work and he told me he had a headache. I said I will leave him be and said goodnight. I know he doesn’t like to be bothered when he doesn’t feel well. But he could have text during the day to let me know why I wasn’t hearing from him.

Wednesday: I received a normal good morning. I asked how he slept and how he felt. I didn’t hear from him again until a photo of his dinner. I asked how he cooked it. I text when I was done with work and he said he was at the food store and would call when home. That was 7:45. He called at 9:15 while I was getting ready for bed. I replied by text about 15 mins later that I was going to sleep and said goodnight. He said goodnight. I have not heard from him since.

This has happened before. Where I may have not been as receptive as he expected so he determined I was “in a mood” and wanted to “let me have my space” and I would “reach out when I was ready”.

However, I wasn’t in any mood. I was tired and wanted to sleep and said so (I didn’t have my glasses on so I said “robbed” instead of “to bed” but otherwise was clear. There was no good morning on Thursday or Friday.

Is he angry I said “late night at a food store”. Is that the driver here? Who knows.

So I’m sitting here somewhat upset and anxious and not knowing what’s going through his mind. I question if I should be holding out like this but I have my reasons.

We have had a few arguments and hurdles to overcome. Each time I have made the effort to reach out and smooth things over. Every time there is conflict I am the first to try and resolve it. This has made me feel like each time is also somehow my fault. I did something to upset him, he withdraws and so I must soothe. Of course we know not every conflict can be due to one person, and his withdrawal is on him. I have always felt like it was worth it to smooth things over regardless of the conflict and how it started. I felt that he may not know how to Manage conflict within a relationship – and I’m no expert but I felt like the relationship deserved it. I was willing to be the one to set an example of how conflict can be resolved with love.

This time, there was no conflict. This time I simply didn’t answer the phone when he called and I have no idea why I haven’t heard from him. I’m angry, upset, anxious, hurt and confused. I could reach out as easily as he could. I’m not because I’ve reached my limit of being the one to always smooth things over. He broke routine, two days in a row, and he must have his reasons. one partner in any relationship cannot always be the one to attempt reconciliation. This isn’t even a reconciliation though! I’m frustrated and tired.

Things were not this way before Thanksgiving. The period between Thanksgiving and New Years was fraught with tensions and arguments. I felt these were resolved in early January and we have been spending quality time together and both of us were happy and connected. maybe that’s not the case. Maybe he wasn’t. But if he wasn’t he didn’t communicate it.

So that brings me to emotional communication. I over communicate. I ask a lot of questions and I’m curious about everything in his life. I realize he does not have the same curiosity. He says he doesn’t need to ask questions because I will tell him everything I want him to know in my own time. While some of this may hold true, I believe when someone has a strong emotional communication style, they are inquisitive about their partners moods, experiences, and day to day – especially in a long distance relationship.

I’m disappointed. I believe I have tried really hard to maintain this relationship. I do not feel the same from him. I always feel like he is willing to let me walk away. I have told him how I feel about abandonment snd how I have to work within myself to resolve this type of anxious attachment. What if he is avoidant attachment style? Unable to dig deep for the emotional connection. He hasn’t experienced a relationship where someone consistently demonstrates their love for him and says it out loud. I tell him I love him, I miss him, I’m happy when around him. I make sure he hears these things from me because it’s important I hear them too. When he’s here I’m sure to be close to him and touch him (quality time and physical touch are his love languages). Perhaps he doesn’t need the affirmation I do, but I have discussed with him how important the words of affirmation are to me and when he withholds like this I can’t help but feel it’s intentional.

I worry something is wrong yet I can’t be the one to reach out this time. I strongly feel he needs to demonstrate the interest to maintain this relationship.

Relationships with Kids

I know everyone has different relationships with their kids. We all parent differently.

My kids are mostly benign. We don’t have the greatest relationships but they trust me and come to me when they need help. I am home for them. I try to be more of a friend now that they are getting older (18 and 21) but I still treat them like my children and there are lines I don’t cross.

Scott has one daughter she 24 who lives with him. She’s a good girl. She lives in a basement apartment he built out for her and she pays rent and holds down a job. He would like her to be in school be she can’t quite get it together. They have a good relationship. She is mostly respectful and is learning to be a good adult. She adores her father to no end.

Scott parties with his daughter. He told me a story of how “they” took her out when she was 21 and got blackout drunk for 2 days. They both tell the story with delight. I had to turn away in disgust. Not for her, she’s a kid, that’s what kids do – but for him.

I don’t think a parent should be hanging around with his kid and her friends getting black out drunk and footing the bill. I don’t think it’s appropriate.

His answer is “we are free spirits, we do anything, age doesn’t matter”.

When he is out at the bar, often times her friends are there and he’s hanging with the kids. He talks about them like his “crew”. I’ve met them all now, her friends are nice. One night she came to the bar to hang with us a bit and then her friends met her and we stayed and had a fun time. This was the night he smoked and got very drunk. When he is around a fun crowd he loses sight of how drunk he’s getting.

Several months ago he acknowledged he was drinking too much and I added in her was hanging out with the kids too much. He doesn’t have single male friends that are age appropriate but he doesn’t see that as an issue. He has bar friends for his free time. He grew up in another state so his closest friends still live there and his other close friends where he lives now are married – so he is out at the bar socializing.

Should this bother me? I know it’s not the way I parent (or anyone I know frankly) but maybe this is normal in other parts of the country.

I’m trying to suss through so many differences. Does it matter the way he parents if it has no effect on me? No, it doesn’t. But I don’t admire it despite the fact she’s a good girl. I don’t want my kids to see me black out drunk – I have more grace and pride than that. I have more class.

I have never said those words to him: Grace, pride snd class but I realize this is a big divide between us. He makes me feel like I’m too formal and I am not carefree – but I don’t see going out with your kid and getting drunk as being carefree as much as I think it’s inappropriate and not classy.

What do you think?

Wound Tight

I know it’s been more than a minute. But I started work and the relationship with Scott took off.

Dating during Covid changed the way anyone would date long distance. There’s no spending a night in a hotel or a weekend because you don’t want to possibly carry Covid back and forth so we tend to switch off weeks at a time. This created a semi-living situation which his friend dubbed “marriage-lite.” It’s pretty accurate.

And oh is it tough.

I was never entirely sold on Scott from the beginning but ultimately made the decision to try because of many good reasons. There were some outstanding reasons that might have been big enough to stop sooner but I figured times are different, I’m different and maybe it was time to try a new approach to the way I handled things emotionally. I’m not unhappy I did. But ultimately, I’m don’t really feel any different than I did back in the summer.

Scott and I are different. I may have articulated some things that sounded frivolous and judgmental to others. Some of those things have actually lost their bluster as the relationship developed. But as with any couple that spends a lot of time together, the polish wears down and the shiny new thing gets dull.

Were the cracks there all along. Yes. They were. No doubt about it. Some more obvious than others. All highlighted by the inordinate amount of time we are spending together. If we make it past the New Year, we are going to need to slow it down or there won’t be a chance of survival. I’m not even sure there is now. I frankly don’t know how much of this is from the compressed living situation or if it would have happened regardless of current circumstances.

I’ve done things I’m not so sure he can really ever get over, the resentment is already there. He has now done things I’m not so sure I can get past, though mine are not built off resentment. If I were to list everything we’d be here more than a minute, so let me try and recap as best possible. As usual, I need this brain dump because I’m not feeling so great about him/us at the moment.

His resentment is easy to guess. I wasn’t impressed with his job or the money he earned and I voiced hat pretty early on. That ate at him because he believes he has “arrived”. In particular his comments have included “everyone else thinks I’ve got it made except you!” When I pick at him about the things that bother me (and I will get to those) he will say “get my foot off his chest” and get angry, really angry. Add in alcohol and we’ve got an immediate dumpster fire. He consistently says he’s has never been or felt so wrong in his life (this one resonates with me because it is my kids and my x’s complaint as well).

Because his three big ones are accurate (about his job/level of success and my critical and controlling nature), I backed up, a lot. But I’m left feeling that I haven’t made the right choice for myself and I’m overlooking other concerns I have because I’m trying to course correct the concerns he has about me that I agree with. In other words, I acknowledge I have some real crap parts to my personality that I would like to change and this relationship gives me (or gave me) the space to be a better person. The problem with this approach is that almost ANY issue I have now becomes related to me being critical and controlling. Perhaps its true. Or maybe it’s not. That’s where the confusion lies.

So I have just learned that some of the things I deem important have no bearing on me in the context of our current relationship. They might if we have a long term relationship, but they don’t right now. And if the relationship has any chance of survival, I have to keep that in mind and keep my mouth shut.

Do I think this is fair or right? No, I don’t. But I’m willing and ready to try something different. However, as I mentioned, his resentment may have already built to a point where he can’t let go of what has passed. So when other tensions pop up, the anger and resentment from past issues spills out. I don’t know how to fix that or if I can.

The money/job success piece I can’t retract. I voiced my feelings and he already felt the resentment. He didn’t mention it for a long while until he got really angry with me over something else entirely – so that means it’s there, under the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head. I know that right now this has no bearing on our relationship. I have a lot of opinions about his work but I need to shut my mouth. He is very proud of himself and he does like to often say “I’ve made it to the top” or “I’m the best at my job”. It makes me cringe but it has no impact on the relationship. It’s not what I would do.

As far as this goes long term, yes, I see an issue. I equate success with long, hard hours and earning potential. He has no desire to chase that. Now that I’ve spent more time with him I see exactly how much free time he has during a day of work. Does he work hard when he’s working? Sure. But he works 4 days a week for about 6 hours a day. So the money he makes for that level of effort is pretty stellar.

I’ve mentioned he is a storyteller. I knew some if not most of those stories are heavily embellished. Now, I’ve caught several inconsistencies and questioned him. These feel like “white lies” to me. For example, he left to go see someone’s new car one night when we were at a bar. He came back and smelled like smoke. I questioned him and he said the other guy was smoking in his car. I smelled both cheeks so I knew he was lying but I dropped it. The next day we were at his local bar and I ordered chicken fingers. When they were delivered to me the waitress laughed and made a comment about a story. I thought I knew the story (I did know a version of) but turns out a girl was involved. It was no big deal. But he didn’t tell the truth around this girl when he told the story the first couple times. These two things back to back had my hackles up because lying is a really big deal breaker for me and so is smoking. This was when I got the comment “take your foot off my chest” because he thinks white lies to not hurt someone’s feelings are ok and that everyone does it. Well, no they don’t. I don’t and that’s all that should matter. I didn’t penalize him about the girl or the smoking. He knows I’m allergic to smoke and detest the taste. And I could care less about the girl as it’s his past.

Until this weekend I really had implicit trust in him and now my spider sense are going.

But the big one, the really big one, that’s making me feel like it’s over is what happened when we got home after the smoking incident. He was very drunk. Too drunk. His drinking is a red flag to me as well but, again, not something I need to address right away since it has never had any impact on me before this weekend. We got into bed. There was a lot of tension. Then there was an explosion and for the life of me I can’t even tell you what caused it. I rolled over to go to sleep. He flew out of bed, threw the lights on and came right up to my face in anger and screaming at me to get the fuck out of his house. I was scared and I told him to stop being violent and that sent him into another whole kind of rage.

I left the room and slept in the guest room.

The next morning he didn’t address anything (he wakes first by at least an hour). I had packed my suitcase overnight while he was sleeping and my bags were at the door. I came down dressed. He had no intention of resolving the issue. He said he knew his actions had consequences and he would have to accept them.

The short version of this is I initiated a conversation. He acknowledged he flew off the handle but my use of the word violent was extreme and simply made him angrier. He did apologize for losing his temper and threatening to throw me out. I just gave up eventually as I realized he would not see my perspective. When I tried to explain he scared me and there were other concerns wrapped up in the event (smoking, lying, drinking and rage) I could see it was angering him and I wasn’t about to get anywhere. It defaulted to how I treated him in the past and that the tensions bubbled over but were gone now.

Do you give someone a pass for that?

I’m not positive how I feel. I was sad. Disheartened. Scott and I are genuinely friends and get along well. We have so much fun together and really enjoy each other’s company. But when the relationship pieces come into play, it feels like things get off the rails.

I can believe and understand much of what occurred was due to built up resentment. I will accept that he needed to get it out (not the way it happened but he says it’s out now). So, if it’s out for him, do I move on or am I going to always be afraid it eventually happens again?

I had to leave him earlier than expected this week as my son is having surgery. I felt immense relief upon leaving him. I needed the break and I would be surprised if he didn’t feel the same way. Writing this hasn’t helped the way I thought it might.

I don’t know if either of us can withstand another talk. I feel like I need to balance things and tread softly until we get through the holidays. I didn’t even bother to think through some of the other items that bother me because the ones above are the ones that really matter.

Drinking: he likes to drink. We like to drink together. I didn’t realize he likes to drink alone. I didn’t realize how much he drinks. I’m all for getting drunk and having fun, but not on the regular.

Smoking: at some point months in I tasted tobacco and questioned him. At first he admitted he was a smoker many years ago. Then he admitted he smoked cigars. Now I find out he smokes several cigars a day but still won’t say he’s a smoker. He has really made an effort to not let me taste it or smell it before I saw him until now. That was because he was drunk most likely. The next day he said he wanted to sit outside with a cigar (the day after the fight). I asked him later that day if that was intentional to kind of poke at me and he got really mad. But he never ever smoked around me or even suggested it. It felt intentional.

Lying: now that I’ve heard several white lies, I feel like they must be everywhere and wonder what else I’m missing. I can’t speak to him about this right now because it really makes him angry. I have always equated that kind of anger with someone trying to hide more cause that was my x. When anything triggers me and I explain the trigger his standard response is “I’m not them”.

Anger/Rage: there’s nothing to say about this. Damaged people behave this way including me. This takes so much work to keep down and change behaviors. It might not be possible between us if we both have that piece of our personality.

Scott feels his life is free and carefree and I have too many rules. I don’t know how to manage any of this and I truly don’t even know what I feel. Some of it is disappointment in myself for being unable to have an easy no expectations relationship. Why can’t I just let it go and not worry about the future? Maybe there isn’t a future. Should that even matter right now?


I have been unemployed an entire year. More of you count the months post surgery in 18/19. The financial burden is beyond stressful but I had committed to myself I would get through to January before making drastic changes.

While the job market opened up again in my industry in late August, I have had virtually no luck. I have had a lot of interviews but they tend to stall. Some go so well I can’t believe I never hear back from the company. Recruiters are rude and don’t answer emails once you are off their radar. I always ask for feedback when I follow up and I never get it. Not once.

I interview very well. My resume and LinkedIn look great. I know how to search for jobs. I have an underlying suspicion that during my nervous breakdown in 2018 between Tony and the job – I also created a bad reputation for myself. I’m unsure about this but people talk and I was not myself or at my best in 2018. People who know me prior to that last role always recommend me into their companies – and I always get the interviews that go well – and then, they just stop. No follow up from the recruiter (internal recruiters) or the people I spent time interviewing with. Nothing. Silence. I have convinced myself there is something out there I don’t know about regarding my reputation. I just can’t fathom how this keeps happening over and over for roles I am more than qualified for.

In addition, I never thought my experience and title would work so hard against me. I keep bumping up “overqualified” which I also believe is code for ageism, particularly in my industry. When I apply for any role behind one level down from where I was, the companies insist I am overqualified and wouldn’t be happy with the job. They don’t understand why I would take such a low level job.

I have exhausted all opportunities and companies on the East Coast that would be in my wheelhouse. I have applied and interviewed for roles with salaries at a level I haven’t seen since my late 20s/ early 30s. I am willing to take any role that gets me working again in an effort to keep my home for another year so my youngest can graduate high school. I am not fussed about title or level but I do have a minimum salary, which frankly, is a steal. I am willing to relocate.

Nothing is coming up. So many people think it’s easy enough to find jobs at the salary level I could accept – they know me and think it’s impossible “someone” wouldn’t want to hire me. I become frustrated almost instantly when someone tries to talk to me about alternative careers and how to go about getting into them. I have found there seem to be two camps of people. The first is people who have never left their industry, have a career in a very flexible discipline (education for instance) or have never been an executive. The second are the entrepreneurs who have always been the kind of person to chase something and make it happen and have a talent for being able to be successful because of a good decision earlier in their life (for example someone with an engineering or financial degree who leaves their original corporate job to start their own business – again, a flexible discipline). My background is very specific. Sure I have tons of skills that can work in other industries, but you need to know someone to open those doors and have them take a chance on you when you have no direct career correlation.

In other words, it’s bullshit to switch careers at 53 without the right educational foundation or some SPECIFIC skill set that can cross disciplines. I have tried multiple times and failed – even within my own industry. The one shot I had was because a friend opened a door for me and her boss was very engaged with me and willing to take a leap of faith (and then, covid). My entire network (personal and professional) doesn’t seem to have any contacts to help me. I’ve even networked in my fitness community and, while I had offers of help, none amounted to more than suggestions on how to approach a job search.

I’m tired of hearing from people with advice on how to change careers at my age. Yes, I know it’s possible but you need time and money to train and educate yourself for a major career overhaul and I am out of both. I do not have enough specific transferable skills. I cannot seem to get in front of anyone to convince them I could do a job where I don’t have the specific career grooming. One of my greatest skills is my ability to speak and hold an audience – once I learn a product I can master the rest. I’m not talking sales, I would be a horrible sales person, think more along the lines of product development. I know how to build product from the ground up and I believe the product itself shouldn’t matter – but companies do. And so many people are unemployed that the talent pool is massive.

Late September into early October I engaged with 3 large companies on the West Coast. One disappeared and fell off the radar and I don’t know why. One wasn’t ready to move forward due to their own reorganization. And one offered me a job. The one that offered me a job was at the lowest level and salary of which I’ve interviewed for and is clear across the country. Nothing about this role is ideal. But I accepted it and sit on a plane to go visit a city I’ve never been to.

I had no choice. I needed income and I need to be working. Right now the role is virtual so it buys me time. The people are just so lovely and wonderful but I never see myself being satisfied with the company and location. Had this same role been in any other East coast or even Midwest city, I would be probably in a totally different frame of mind.

The stress of being unemployed and then in accepting this role has created the worst migraines. I don’t like to play games – these are good people. I’m sure I can do well with the role (for fucks sake I should be able to do with my eyes closed). I want to do a good job, that’s just my DNA.

I am also heavily influenced by what other people think of me. In my head “look how far she’s fallen” keeps repeating itself. I know none of that should matter, the people I love are just happy I found a job finally. I don’t want to move to this place across the country. If I leave my kids I may never see them unless I travel back and the salary they are paying me won’t allow for that more than once or twice a year. I am sick with grief over thinking about selling a home I’ve lived in my entire life and upending my kids. They don’t even have a full home to go to since their Dad lives in his mother’s basement and the upstairs home only has 2 bedrooms that won’t fit 3 adult kids.

I realize this is a rant but I get angry when I think about my entire career going to waste like this. I did what I had to do by taking this role. I will continue to do what I need to do to remain employed. I’m just miserable. And if I have to actually sell my home and move, I worry if I’m just heading myself right back into another break with reality.

What Still Lies Between

Now you have most of the good stuff so it’s time I get through the pieces that are still floating in my head as challenges.

This part I find to be my self -talk-therapy. I’ve got questions to suss through and I often find myself stepping back from Scott to think: can I do this?

Here’s my running list of what lies stuck between my heart and my head ….

Attraction and Sex: The attraction piece is not fully vetted. I do find myself becoming more attracted to him and wonder if that’s from familiarity.

Sex has improved although there is still some sort of missing component for me. I get turned on by Scott, that is never an issue (so there clearly is an attraction) but at some point during the act, I become too aware that I might not like something. We have started talking about this a little more because I believe he senses it as (from me) well. I’m having a hard time with orgasm. He’s gotten me there a couple times, but not enough for the amount of time we are together. I’m afraid because I’m frustrated I’m not asking for more oral sex and he’s not offering. Our sexual styles are very different. He is so very far behind my more skilled partners that it worries me. Perhaps it’s not that he’s less skilled, it’s just less in sync with me? Either way, something is off.

Part of me balks at talking about “how” I like to have sex. I can absolutely say what I don’t like when it happens, but guidance on what I do like I find much harder. It’s not a recipe. I hate being a teacher with such a passion (my baggage from my marriage) and frankly I’m a horrible teacher. He’s not super intuitive and because early on there was way too much I didn’t like about his style that I’m going to guess he’s holding back in some ways.

I think this is the greatest challenge.

Bravado/Bragging/Gossiping: Without writing a novel and being over descriptive (which I know I tend to do) I’m just going to list a few of the consistent behaviors he exhibits:

He can sometimes behave very immaturely for a 46 year old man and he tends to spend too much time with much younger people in a different place in life.

While he thinks he avoids drama like the plague, he in fact, invites it in. It’s the sheer nature of his personality to pretend not to be involved when he is entirely involved. Like not gawking at a traffic accident and perhaps then even causing your own. He attracts drama. This one I understand. I know this because it’s shit I’ve done with men. But he doesn’t just do it with women but also the kids he hangs around with.

He doesn’t think he brags but he does. Pride is ok when it’s subtle. He wants people to know what he’s accomplished and he needs the affirmation. I am not used to anyone talking about themselves in this manner. I find it very off-putting and don’t really know what to make of it.

The gossip – that’s something I’ve never done and it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He talks to a lot of people and feels like he keeps his most personal information close to his chest. He just doesn’t realize he reveals all of himself in so many other ways than the actual words. To compound this, his 24 year old daughter is busy telling everyone anything else he hasn’t told them. He does the same thing in his personal and professional life. I have my close friends or family (and of course this blog) that I share personal info with and even then, not always outright. Maybe I’m just not as friendly and open. His job allows him enough down time (breakfast breaks, coffee breaks, lunch breaks) that it’s ripe for water cooler gossip. Again, I’m not used to this amount of free time in an office environment.

I know that sounds demanding and I’m not sorry about it. I want him to act his age with or without me beside him. He is super intelligent but the problem is being surrounded (in his social life) by a different class of people than I’m used to. If you don’t think class systems still exist, you’re nuts. And I’m not talking money. This is only related to behavior. He may have been born a hillbilly but he doesn’t need to act like one at 46.

This is a fine line. Where he lives and where I live are very different. When he’s up here with me he exhibits NONE of this nonsense. He sees it won’t fly here. My concern is seeing how much of this is ingrained in his personality. What’s the saying? You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy. Still unsure about the overall impact of this one so I do my best to sit back and absorb what he shares with me with as little judgement as possible.

Socioeconomic: now this is the one related to money. Seeing how he lives was eye opening. He has a great life and does earn plenty for what he wants from his life. This is partially due to location and partly due to ones desire for things/experiences. I’m happy I got to see this first hand. He’s not cheap by any means. The word (we both) came up with for me is Bougie. It’s the same exact word Tony used for me. I have certain ways/things thats I’m Bougie about. I turn my nose up when someone/something isn’t held to whatever that Bougie standard is for me. The good news is I realize the $ is a figure, that’s it, a $ figure. It doesn’t define anything. Sure more money opens more doors but Scott doesn’t care if those doors open for him. I’m still trying to figure out how much it matters to me. Spending time with him in his lovely home, in his life, showed me I really need to evaluate how I truly feel deep down about money. I’ve been spoiled and jaded a long ass time. This remains ultimately unresolved but is no longer a check against Scott if that makes any sense.

That’s pretty much it – not so very different than the initial feelings I identified with him, but softened by the fact he’s such an amazing person and cares for me so much. I need to work through these so they don’t come back to bite me as resentments later – that much I know from my bad marriage.

I do often feel a pull towards him emotionally, I really like him for so many reasons. The negative ones listed above seem to have a pretty firm grasp on me and will certainly require working through. I’m just attempting not to let them override the deeper sense of satisfaction.

Frankly, the biggest red flag in all of this I haven’t even listed because I understand it and think it can be possible, though improbable. Scott fell in love too quickly and already sees our future together. I worry that he’s doing a bit of a dance around my personality because he sees what he wants to see instead of seeing what’s in front of him. Then I question that because he will stop me when he doesn’t like a behavior of mine and I think “oh, he really is taking all of me in and accepting me.” The jury is out on this until we have time under our belt. I hope he doesn’t have too much of a fantasy of me built in his head that, as we spend more time together, comes crashing down into a reality he wasn’t expecting. Only time will tell.

What it Feels Like to Let Go

Since that day in September where I truly decided I was going to give Scott an honest chance, it’s been nothing but easy happiness in our relationship.

As KDaddy rightly suspected, I’ve said some things that are not so nice, and Scott seems to take them in stride and find a way to talk to me about them. One thing that absolutely has not happened is Trixie surfacing. She’s got no place here and no reason to surface, but somehow I also know I’m prone to be crazy. The single most recurring thought I seem to be having is “I would like to see this work” which, in turn, provides my brain with enough pause to keep my mouth (mostly) shut and make better choices. Something has changed in me that is preventing my normal self-sabotage.

Sure, it crosses my mind that I had dating lethargy and little success this last year. The fact that I’m at such a low point emotionally due to my job/financial situation also causes some concern. I don’t think I’m with Scott because I’m settling, bored or lonely. I think I’m with him because he is slowly stitching together the napalm blasted hole in my heart left behind by Tony. Scott makes me feel good about myself and is unencumbered by a marriage. None of the previous men I’ve spent longer amounts of time with were free to pursue me. Each of them took so much from me, and while I felt I was getting something back emotionally from them, the fact was they were taking more than I could ever receive. I truly didn’t realize how damaged I have become, how high the walls were built. I thought I was wide open for relationship and kept making excuses why this one or that one wasn’t right for me.

I really wasn’t ready and didn’t see it. I’m a bit unsure if I’m truly ready now, but Scott is able to somehow see and understand that I’ve been emotionally unavailable and has been patient with me and whatever pace I’m going.

He also says he’s in love with me.

On our first night together at his home, as we fell into bed, the “you know I’m in love with you, right?” came out in such a rush and with such forceful intent that I knew he was really trying to hold back, but the emotion overwhelmed him entirely. I think he was so worried about what I would say or do that he began to sort of shrink back from me. I pulled him close, whispered “I know and I can feel it” and then we “made love” for the first time. He became emotional again during sex and declared a clear “I love you” and we absolutely shared a tender session. Afterwards he sort of offhandedly mentioned he wasn’t used to sex like that. Sex where he was so close to someone and could feel how the other person shared a strong emotion or bond with him. He said he never wanted to feel that close connection before. I didn’t press, I listened and we soon fell asleep. My feeling was he was very anxious about his declaration and then subsequently surprised and pleased with my response.

We had a lot of fun while at his home and I was very comfortable. I’m not going to write about his daughter as there’s still some story there to uncover about how she really felt. Generally speaking she was watching me like a hawk and very angry her cats needed to be locked in her basement apartment the entire time I was there. It’s a beautiful 1 bedroom apartment in a walk out basement. They had plenty of room. She called it animal abuse. He’s told her that’s how it’s going to be when I’m there, full stop, no negotiation. So, like I said, more to uncover there as she separates how she feels about her cats and how she feels about her Dad having a woman in his life.

We didn’t do most of what we planned to do and spent a lot of time just enjoying each other with simple activity. Making dinner together. Sharing coffee on the deck. Taking a lot of walks. Binge watching a show after the half marathon so we didn’t have to get off the couch. Some nights at the bar. Some nights at home. I’m repeating myself by saying it was easy but there’s no better word for it.

I didn’t want to leave when it was time to go. I felt tugging at my heartstrings and I almost cried. By the time I made the 5 hour train ride home and settled in, we had agreed he would come to me in 2 days and spend a long weekend

So we have basically spent the last 2 weeks together full time. I’ve never done that with any man besides my x husband.

I’m sure I’m going to think of a thousand things to write and forget a thousand more, but the real point is we are still smiling and still wanting more time together. Because of the distance we have both explained to our children that they can expect house guests for some time as we figure things out. Talk about a big step for me, the boys only ever bumped into Tony. They are not thrilled about it but they understand why it’s going to be this way.

I did have a conversation with Scott about exclusivity. You just never know these days. I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been anyone else for him since he started seeing me again this summer, but there was for me (though I didn’t say) and I wanted him to know I considered this a monogamous relationship. He “formally” asked me to be his girlfriend as silly as that sounds. I just felt better having a clear Conversational about exclusivity. The reasons are multilayered but include not wanting to take something for granted, wanting to give it proper identification in my own head and, I believe, give him peace of mind as he mentioned “whatever this is” several times to me. I did want him to know that this is a relationship, we are in it. The last night I spent with him at his home I felt like there was a moment where he was about to cry (it was dark and I couldn’t see, but I could sense the change in his voice) when he said he didn’t want me to leave because he was so afraid I would never come back, that it would be the last time. He was almost holding his breath when he said it. I could be very wrong, but I don’t think so – he was scared and the exclusivity conversation gave him a solid foundation. I’m in this with him, I don’t want him thinking that because I’m not in love with him that it doesn’t mean I’m not committed to our budding relationship and seeing how it grows and where this leads us.

That was a bigger step for me than I thought it would be.

Scott is a learning experience for me. A really joyous learning experience. I like how I feel and I like how I’m acting. I feel in control and happy. I don’t blurt out every thing in my head and share every dark secret, and I’m not lying either should he ask a direct question. He is just so very different from me that he takes some getting used to and the more time I spend with him the more I like him. It’s not easy for me to relinquish my imagined control of situations, and he tells me I still do it, but I can feel him gently navigating me and that feels ok to me.

Something Comfortable

I really thought I would have written more by now, but you know how life suddenly fills up the space and the time seems to disappear.

The time with Scott morphed into something other than the full, fun schedule we had planned. Something so much better. The high level view is I arrived on a Tuesday and we went to his local bar (he was so excited about this because no girl has ever been to his watering hole), we ran earlier than anticipated on Thursday, then we were dead on the couch for 2 days after the run so decided to stay home. From Friday until Tuesday we did a whole lot of nothing together. I ended staying until Wednesday. By the time I got home, he was fixing to drive back up to me by Thursday.

Was it the most exciting, heart-pounding never-want-this-moment-to-end time? No. not even once. That excitement isn’t present for whatever reason and I think I am going to have to accept that. I would love to have those butterflies again, but I think I’m just fine without them. More importantly, even without that excitement, I didn’t want to leave him. I found myself in his space fantasizing about how I was going to fit in – which is novel for me – prior to Scott, my feelings have always been how will this person fit into my life. Certainly not the other way around.

The strangest things happened to me during this trip. I let him tease me – like really give me the business (my x teased cruelly so I am very sensitive to teasing). For instance, I’ve been complaining about an extra 10 pounds and he picked me up one day and “oofed” loudly then exclaimed “there’s those 10 pounds!” And promptly cracked himself up. That comment could go way wrong and I found myself shocked in a funny way and then laughing because I knew this man was happy with me just the way I am. He makes jokes and facial expressions I just don’t like and in my head the comment is ready to fly, but it sits in my mouth, unmoving and unwilling to be released into the spoken air. Instead I step back and look at him with wonder at how comfortable he is with himself. Now he tries to crack jokes he knows I won’t laugh at because he finds my absence of reaction even more humorous. This has had the opposite effect on me, causing me to laugh when I don’t think the joke is funny but I think the fact he’s trying to make me “not laugh” is funny. For whatever reason, I do not want to unleash my normal negative commentary and actually find myself thinking before I speak so that I don’t hurt the man who is doing nothing but trying to please me.

This wasn’t a thought with Tony. With him I never had to think about it because he didn’t have characteristics that made me wonder if he was the guy for me. I wanted to be good to Tony because Tony was emotionally good to me. But Tony pales in comparison to Scott’s treatment of me. Never thought I would say that to be honest. I would be a fucking fool not to give Scott my full effort. I think that’s what’s holding back most of my negativity. What I find fascinating is how I recognize it. I see or feel something I don’t normally like and my heart/gut/brain (I don’t know which) have a sort of physical switch I hear in my head that says “don’t” he’s just silly and it’s harmless. A lot of times it says “just who are you trying to impress?”

We made it through 8 days, I went home for 2 nights and he was up at my house again for the past 3 nights.

We are both still smiling.

That’s pretty amazing, right?

Heading towards something new

I wrote this from the train headed towards Scott. It’s a long train ride, almost 5 hours. I would be happier if I didn’t have a migraine.

I have vacillated a bit over what I’m feeling. I want to believe I’m excited to see him but it doesn’t quite feel like excitement. At least, not the kind I’m used to. This isn’t white hot burning butterflies out of control excitement. This is new. I honestly don’t know what to call it. It’s a good feeling. Sort of like knowing what a good meal is going to taste like, comforting.

I am looking forward to being with him for an extended amount of time. I have no doubt we will have fun. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be comfortable. I don’t worry that he will pressure me to behave or do anything I don’t want to do, he won’t even have an expectation. Or, perhaps if he does, he probably won’t let it show. His entire goal will be my pleasure and comfort over the next week.

You heard that right – one week. I knew I was going to need to see Scott on his home turf to begin to understand if this relationship would have legs. I knew we needed some time that wasn’t feeling like vacation time. The opportunity presented itself and I took it.

We will be spending a few days at his home and then a few days in Washington DC. We are running The Virtual Chicago half marathon together on Saturday. This is a good example of how far he’s willing to go for me – the half marathon was something I wanted to do for myself because I needed some focus to pull myself up from a spiraling depression. When he heard I was doing it, he wanted to join me. He is a sincere athlete and will have to hold way back to run with me, but it’s all he wants to do – to do this together and share the experience. I admit, when he said he wanted to do it with me I was really pleased. Then he suggested we run it around the National Mall in DC and, while I’m terrified to run outside (because I just don’t), I love the idea of being somewhere so iconic to mark my first half and being with someone who is going to derive as much joy (and pain) from the experience as I will.

I wish I was the kind of hyper excited I used to get before seeing Tony or Bobby. I wish I felt those butterflies. Once in a while there is a little twinge of something, I wouldn’t call it the butterflies, but it is something. I know without a doubt I will be happy around him – the question remains: is that enough for me? Is it enough for anyone? I just don’t know.

I still consider the fact we are from different socioeconomic classes. I’ve been doing a LOT of reading about that and it’s well written about that it’s a pretty difficult struggle for most couple to overcome this kind of hurdle. I knew I wasn’t imagining things when I feel this way. Socioeconomic diversity is a real thing and a thing that can cause either partner to be unhappy for different reasons. The only way I am going to determine if this is a real-world challenge or a just an in-my-head challenge is to spend time with Scott, especially on his home turf.

I will also be meeting his 24 year old daughter. She is the light in his life and he’s so excited for me to meet her. She’s so happy for him that she’s excited to meet me as well. I think it’s strange and sweet all at the same time. It will be a first for me. They have a very tight relationship. She is lacking a mother figure and I think he sees what kind of influence I could be on his daughter. I don’t feel pressure right now because I don’t know what I want in this relationship other than for us both to enjoy one another.

He went crazy cleaning his house and food shopping for me. His daughter has cats and boy do I hate cats – so there was a big effort in his part to remove all signs of cat hair from the place. I am terrified of all cats so I hope his daughter doesn’t think it’s “cute” to let the cats out of the basement. That won’t go over well for anyone. When someone comes to my home, of course I prepare in much the same way but I have a feeling my home starts in a bit more organized place than his does. He’s been a bachelor for a few years and I know he doesn’t like it. He often hints how he doesn’t bother with things at home because he just assumes his “woman” is going to want to change things. In a way, he’s quite compliant to the traditional roles of man/woman in a relationship which is, in its own way, charming. I like this, it works well for me. He will always care for me.

We started talking about love languages but didn’t get too far other than retaking the quiz and sharing results. I was surprised that acts of service wasn’t his first or second love language as he often comments about the lack of what others have done before me. His top love language is quality time followed by physical touch and then acts of service. Interestingly enough, words of affirmation fell off the top of my list for the first time ever. I suspect this is because I’ve learned to affirm myself in so many ways. I realize I don’t need as much from a partner though I still love to hear it. Also, Scott says so much positive affirmation for me that I find it a little unbelievable. I can’t recall if Tony did it this much or not. I don’t think so. I actually wish he would pull back on the compliments a little so that they felt a little more true. My face, hair, outfit or whatever can’t be perfect every single time but that’s pretty much what he says if I so much as self-flagellate. My traditional go to moniker is usually “handsome” when I’m attracted to someone and I find myself holding this back with him and I feel pretty crappy about it. It doesn’t ring true to me. Little things like this tend to occupy my thoughts when I’m away from him. I’m really trying not to let them consume my thoughts.

In between this nonsense I am happy to be heading his way. As I get closer I am starting to feel a little excitement and I know when I see the happiness on his face I will respond in kind. I know we will have fun, laugh, be silly and enjoy one another. I feel like we can be friends together. I know this is all a great start.

I am so confused …. (part 3)

I think I got most of it all down and out now.

There are more good qualities than challenges with Scott if I was counting. I’m just not sure how the weighted average works out.

After we went away for the weekend and I agonized for a while as well as solicited advice from friends. I dug deep into what I was feeling and tried to explore why I was so predisposed to these thoughts and feelings. I came up with some answers and on some I’m still empty handed.

And it may surprise some of you …. but I firmly decided I was going to give it a go with Scott.

I just needed to wrap my mind around it. I was clear of the potential pitfalls but all of my friends, and I do mean all, unanimously voted for Scott. They know all of the struggles I’ve had and continue to go through and just felt that I deserved someone who adored me with no questions asked. And he does. He really takes me for who I am. Perhaps if there was one quality above all that I treasured in Tony it was this one. Scott has exactly the same quality.

He takes me for who I am knowing I struggle with his job/income and the stereotypes assigned to government work. He doesn’t know about the attraction piece, though we have talked about the disparity in class briefly. He acknowledges we started in very different places and have had significantly different life experiences. He treats me as if I am a prize that he never thought he would win and often seems to be in awe of me.

He has already told me he would move heaven and earth for me if I would just let him.

Scott is a good man. He tells me he has a mean streak that he doesn’t like about himself and I see that coming out as arrogance right now, but I believe him when he tells me, I just haven’t seen it. I can tell his defenses are down around me and I am allowing mine to begin to come down as well. Once I make up my mind about something, I go all in.

I do worry that I’m not always so nice and I can be a bitter pill to take. He seems good at deflecting this quality in me and it tends to have me loosen my reigns – which is very unusual for me. He doesn’t dig in in opposition to me but instead tries to offer alternative viewpoints without pressing me. My need to be right all the time is much less aggressive with Scott and this is unique. A little example of this is when we were walking along on our way to lunch on our weekend away, I stopped suddenly and said “we are going the wrong way!” He said he was pretty sure we were not. As per my usual always-right self I declared “I really think it’s the wrong way!” He asked me to trust him and I looked at him and rather than insist yet again, I just said “ok.” The funny thing was it stopped him in his tracks and he worried that now I would give it to him if he was wrong. I promised him I wouldn’t, that I did trust him and even if he was wrong it was just a little walk on a beautiful day and didn’t really matter. I meant it too. I handed over the reins. I let go. And, of course, he was right. He was also very relieved which was quite funny.

That was the first time I really put my trust in him. The next time was the long ride home in my car. He drove and I was able to fall asleep for a little bit. That’s a sure sign of trust with me. He told me much later how happy this made him because his x-wife and his x-affair partner both hated his driving. I know these are two very little things, but they are important to me. When I don’t need to be in control and I can let go I am happier. I know this for a fact after Bobby and Tony, but it takes a special person to get me to change my behavior. I don’t give up being right all that easily.

I can’t change the job/income situation and have to work towards complete acceptance, and I am trying. I know I’m a snob when it comes to this and part of that is the by-product of living in a wealthy area. Going backwards in income was never a welcome thought before now. I am truly unsure where this lands for me so we will have to see. In an early relationship, this has no bearing so I’m letting it go.

I hold out hope that I will become more physically attracted to Scott. I can’t force this so it’s another thing I’m letting go of. Sex has improved. Our sexual cadence is much, much slower than when I’m very attracted to a man and he doesn’t push me. I only hope he doesn’t feel like I’m not attracted to him. I don’t want him to feel this from me.

After the weekend away and my subsequent decision to give it a real shot with Scott, he came to spend 3 days at my home. We went to a winery one day and the next day we did a bunch of nothing together. He was thrilled I watched football with him and asked a lot of questions about his favorite team (until I fell asleep on his chest!). I made him breakfast and lunch and I think he enjoyed being waited on a little. I don’t think he’s gotten very much positive attention in his life and I get the impression he’s always been the giver. I like to be able to do these small acts of service for Scott because I know how much he appreciates them. We had a fabulous dinner out over the weekend and there’s no shortage of laughter and easy flowing conversation. It really does feel natural with no pretense.

So that’s two long weekends in a month in which things consistently improve. I’d say that’s a win in itself. We text often every day now and talk most nights. A relationship is beginning to form in its own way.

New things I’ve begun to notice and I’m trying to work through:

If I like it, he wants to like it right away too. While this is great, I want someone who maintains their own identity. I decided to run a half marathon and he immediately chose to run it with me. I like a certain type of music and he wants to listen to it all the time with me. I like wine and he will drink it with me. I like shellfish and he will eat it with me. None of this is bad, I just don’t want him morphing into what he thinks is the perfect man for me simply to attract me.

He compliments me constantly. Nothing is ever wrong with me (except he thinks I’m snobby too, who wouldn’t). Again, not sure what I think about this. Of course I want to be all the things to him but it falls flat when every word out of his mouth is how beautiful and special and amazing I am. Again, not really a negative but for some reason it’s overkill?

The last piece: I notice he doesn’t really ask me a lot of open ended questions. He is very in tune to me and pays attention, but he doesn’t seem to try and get to know the way my mind works. Rather, he goes for the outward things like my favorite food, wine, exercise (he joined Peloton because of me) or music. These things he nails because he watches me closely. Tony dug around. He asked about my family, my past, my education, why I liked some things and not others, what I dreamed of, what my sorrows were. Scott seems to be focused on how to please me. He often notes that I ask him a lot of questions and some of them make him uncomfortable to be so vulnerable but he likes opening up to me. But he doesn’t really come up with his own questions. I’m not sure how much this matters right now, we all move at different speeds and Tony’s matched mine exactly in that respect. I think Scott wants to to reveal myself in my own time without his prompting. This has actually made me realize I may not tell him everything (I can actually thanks George for that lesson in fact). Maybe he doesn’t need to buy the cow just to get the milk. I’m not exactly sure what I think of this but there’s a part of me that’s glad he isn’t probing further since I’m not ready to be that far into relationship with him when I’m still tenuous in some respects.

Maybe my reticence is because I may still have walls up. Maybe it’s self-sabotage. I don’t really know. He wants to please me so badly it’s amazing to me, but maybe I don’t want to feel like I’m continuously taking advantage of his crush on me. I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I do feel a certain amount of reticence for an unclear reason.

Next week I will head down to his house for almost a week. With the distance between us (and the cost that brings) it forces longer visits and I think it’s worth seeing Scott in his own surroundings. He’s super excited I offered to come to him and wants me to meet his adult daughter. I have no doubt we will have a great time and I’m looking forward to having more continuous time with him. We will have a mini weekend getaway as well as we’ve decided to run our half marathon around the National Mall in DC. That was his idea and, as hard as it is to impress me, he really doesn’t fall short in this area.

Maybe my lesson is about finding balance. I’m certain there is a lesson in here with Scott. I’ve got a good thing I intend to let run it’s natural course with no preconceived notion of duration or “what’s next.” I’m opening myself up to this pretty great guy and seeing where it takes me.

So there it is, the whole Scott story in a big word dump.

I don’t know what’s next but I can tell you I’m looking forward to seeing him and spending an extended amount of time with him next week and I’m happy to take it slowly for once.

I am so confused….. (Part 2)

For the first time, since Tony, I was so confused about how to move forward. The difference now is that I’m not in love with Scott so the overwhelming emotional component is missing – so why am I so conflicted when my heart isn’t involved?

I finally realized through my reading on intuition that it was because my gut was involved when I didn’t even know it. The battle I had been waging was between my gut and my head, rather than my heart and my head. That’s interesting.

While I’ve detailed so many of his good qualities, there are several that have concerned me from the beginning. I know before I wrote this how shallow some of them sound and all I can say is this: I was raised very differently from Scott, we did not start from the same place and life experiences shape us.

Scott was born into a poor family in the Midwest, the actual backwoods. His family kicked him out in 7th grade and he had to stop school and earn a living. He was married by the time he was 18 and she was pregnant. Knowing he needed to make a change and support his new family, he joined the service for 4 years. Some time after service, he realized he needed more than selling cars or working in warehouses so he went to school and obtained his Bachelors degree. Some time after that he began working for the government and subsequently earned two masters degrees, one being from Columbia. He was in a long and failing marriage that produced two daughters. One who he is very close to and one who doesn’t speak to him. Post his divorce he became involved with a married woman for 3 years. That relationship ended entirely about 6 months before we met. Like me, they were always on and off and he dated during the years of the affair. He owns a home and is stable financially. He has come a long, long way from an uneducated kid from the sticks.

I was raised with everything given to me and my education was expected as well as paid for by my parents. While I made missteps educationally, I fell into management and had pursued a career that was lucrative until 2018. You know I’m spoiled and have been around middle class money for my entire life. I never really struggled to put food on the table the way Scott did. My arguments with my x revolved around how much money I should spend on vacation. I am not frugal and always believed I would earn a pretty decent living. I bought my home post divorce and was going to be able to contribute significantly to my kids college educations. Once I left my role in 2018 and had surgery I never regained my financial or career footing. However, my expectation of my own income and financial situation never faltered, not until very recently. I admire ambition and career success that nets a large financial gain. Since my divorce, that has always been a significant attraction because my x was willing to allow me to bear the financial burden of the lifestyle we were living and I never wanted to feel that way again. Money and earning potential had become much more important to me post divorce because of my experiences during marriage. It actually became a dating qualification. I had grown used to some luxuries that I provided to myself and I didn’t want to give them up. I had fought too hard for status.

Scott works for the government and, as everyone knows, the government caps salaries no matter how good (or bad) you are at your role. Because of this, the government employees also are known to rest on their laurels and do the minimum required work once they pass a certain time in the job. The private sector would fire incompetent or lazy employees, while the public sector tolerates this for some reason and makes it very, very hard to fire someone. The stability associated with a government job as well as lack of incentive breeds a sort of laziness that’s commonly known. This is NOT Scott by any means, I am just trying to set the stage. Government employees also work very standard hours. You put in your 40 hours and not a minute more because there is no incentive to do so. This also creates a fabulous work life balance because the hours are dependable and stable. As long as the employee is willing to sacrifice earning potential, a government role isn’t a bad one to have and why most people never leave them despite their apathy towards their jobs.

Of course I am over generalizing as well as stereotyping. But, based on my experiences, this sort of apathy does exists and breeds a sense of arrogance in government employees. They know they can’t get fired, they know they only need to put in the minimum effort and once they reach the ceilings of their roles, they become big fish in small ponds and that creates a whole other sense of bravado. And this IS Scott. He’s at the top of his game and will likely be in this salary pool and role for quite some time until his boss leaves. He has no desire to go after more because he likes his 40 hours a week and is satisfied with his salary. He has come from nothing so where when is today is a great achievement and it’s ENOUGH for Scott.

But Madeline is wayyyyy more judgmental coming from corporate America and the private sector. Where the harder your work the better potential for financial gain. Where hours and work/life balance are irrelevant. Where you get bonuses, perks and promotions that you and everyone around you equate with success. Where you never assume you are safe or stable so you work harder in the hope it offers some protection when the layoffs come.

With those explanations, the divide between Scott and I becomes evident. He is a big fish in a small pond and definitely has an arrogance and bravado because of it. He also has a lot of time at work to chatter and gossip (I tell him he’s a wash woman and he admits to it). My experience as a leader has taught me not to gossip at work or even be perceived as a friend to all my employees. Scott says the government doesn’t have barriers like this – everyone is friendly with everyone because some people never change level but are age peers. Scott is satisfied with “enough”. The biggest criticism from my marriage and even my children is that it’s “never enough” for me. And that’s true.

I perceive it like this, if Scott is as good as he brags to be (another quality I do not like at all) then why doesn’t he leave and go make double or triple the money he claims he can make in the private sector? He says it’s because he doesn’t want to work any harder – he did it enough when he was young and he’s satisfied with what he’s accomplished. I thumb my nose at this since he’s only 46. I feel he’s too young to be so complacent.

But, that me. He’s happy. He’s satisfied with what he has and what he’s achieved. My fear is that my judgement, which has always existed (it’s not new, I’ve always felt this about people) is never going to go away and I may ultimately resent him the way I resented my x for never wanting “more”. I do feel he should be proud for what he’s achieved from where he started, but I don’t feel a man should be done at such a young age.

That’s the worst of my snobbiness out of the way. It covers almost all the qualities I dislike about Scott: lack of drive or ambition, arrogance/bravado (big fish in a small pond), gossip, braggart and the stereotype of a government job personality.

Unfortunately, there are other concerns.

I am not especially attracted to Scott. I thought he might grow on me but he isn’t. He’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination and he’s very fit and pretty rock solid. He even has most of his hair! He is a bit short for my taste but still taller than me so I’m trying to let that one go. It’s just his overall appearance isn’t “doing it” for me. Combine this with ok sexual chemistry (not horrible but definitely not great) and I’m worried we have a toxic combination. I don’t find myself wanting to call him handsome or wanting to explore his body. Sex has improved but he has already told me I’m the best sex he’s ever had. He has been patient to learn what I like or don’t because sex in the beginning was close to bad. I’ve had some seriously amazing sexual partners – so should I be worried? My older friends tell me to forget about this. If sex is good enough I should be fine. We are getting older not younger. He never pressures me sexually but he really isn’t intuitive. He fumbles more than I would like for someone who claims to have had many partners. I hate being the leader because it leaves me with no desire. This one combined with the job situation worries me.

We come from different classes. Should this matter in this day and age? I didn’t think so exactly but I can see it pretty clearly with Scott. Being raised in a city or suburb of a city versus the middle of the country just creates a whole different person. Can you change that? Probably. He surprises me with some things like understanding some fashion brands but then there are other things that I just don’t get. Like shooting squirrels and throwing them in the grill. I’m unsure which divides can be crossed and which don’t matter. He’s also just lacking that “cool-factor” because of this. Again, not sure how much it matters except that sometimes he really does come across as a hick and I feel a little embarrassed. Luckily he has never done this in public, only in private.

Scott can also irritate me pretty quickly. He often starts stories in his head and then finishes them out loud, leaving me to decipher what he’s talking about and me getting frustrated with an unclear story. For someone as smart as he is, it’s all book smart. He definitely has trouble getting his thoughts out of his head in a cohesive manner.

His humour is a bit low brow for me. Reminds me of my x but I can manage this. He does come from the middle of the country.

So it’s sort of like 3 big negative buckets:

The job/ambition and the type of behavior a government job has created in him



I thought I was getting this out in 2 posts and clearly I can’t. So the rest has to wait for part 3!