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!

Little Tiny Pity Party

I’m having one of these for myself at the moment. I’ve felt it coming in between the dating, my sisters wedding and no work. I’ve been able to put it off but it’s finally arrived – and like all things Madeline – it sucks the physical energy from me which I have no control over.

It’s always amazing to me how strong my unconscious mind is that it can control my body.

I always worry now about falling into a deeper pit of depression. Last year was some serious wake up call to just how strong my mind is when it’s blackened by depressions and anxiety. You know I don’t even recall last summer or getting to Mexico. I feel like it happened to someone else. Even lying in hospital for the 5 weeks I’ve nearly forgotten.

At the moment I am truly worried about finances. I am heavily in credit card debt for the first time since divorce and see no immediate way out. I can begin to dissolve my retirement savings but trying not to do that until next year due to the tax implications. There are NO jobs out there. Literally none. And we have entered into a dead zone for job hunting around the holidays now.

I am sad that another holiday season will pass without a man. I’m reflecting on the fact that I’ve never had a really solid relationship since my teens/early twenties – if you can even count those. I question all the time what I’m doing wrong that I can change to find a match. I’m not looking right now as I promised myself a break – which I need – but just trying to evaluate a better way to go about making a good match.

Luckily, one of the 3 big issues from last year that caused the breakdown has improved drastically. My kids have really matured during this year and I’ve found a better cadence with them. It’s not always perfect, but they have matured to the point where everyone is more comfortable at home together and there’s little to no daily struggle anymore. Yes, of course, at their ages this should be expected – but a year ago it wasn’t happening and I was at my wits end being a parent. I realized I wasn’t communicating enough with my kids. I was protecting or shielding them from anything I felt they shouldn’t worry about as children. As much as some of this was right, my mistake was not speaking up more often. About how I was feeling, about life in general. I’m learning how to do this with them now and find they are much more communicative with me.

Im struggling with getting out of bed, and once I do, getting off the couch. The funny thing now is – I work out – then get right back on the couch. I need to self-impose a schedule despite the fact I don’t have anything specific to do. I also need to assign myself small tasks to complete each day. I know what I need to do, I’m just failing at actually doing it.

I had committed to a weekend Peloton event which I’m now regretting financially since it will be expensive. But I had already paid for more than half and it’s a healthy event (good for mind and body) so I am following through with it. After this, finances must be on lockdown so I don’t create additional debt. My sisters bachelorette and wedding put me back a few thousand and I didn’t even give her a gift yet (I’m sure she didn’t like this but I explained I will have to owe her).

Speaking of my sister, she wasn’t so great in the lead up of the wedding or the wedding day. I sat back and did what I thought I should, when I should. I felt like I was invisible as compared to how she treated her friends. It was a pretty crap feeling but I had felt it coming since her shower and had already experienced it at her bachelorette. I know this added to my general feeling of malaise. That, and the fact that I didn’t have a date at the wedding and my boys were bored out of their minds. I considered speaking to her about it but I’m pretty sure I’ve decided to just let it all drop. The relationship will tip back to normal now that we don’t have to be full on with one another.

Trying to get through this moment and looking forward to a fun weekend filled with new friends and activity and a nice Thanksgiving.