Intuition

We have spoken about intuition so many times on our blogs. Women have especially keen intuition when they learn how to listen to it. Mine has certainly taught me much over the years.

We also know I actively ignore it.

It wasn’t intuition telling me not to date Tony, that was simple, straightforward facts I ignored. The intuition came into play during our relationship when I heard what I wanted to hear and didn’t allow my intuition to pick up on mild cues.

For instance, he was always actively worried about being caught post April 2017 when he spoke to his wife. That hadn’t happened in the first year. Then there were so many other cues I just didn’t pick up on as he grew tired with his situation and deceit. It was too hard on him to continue his lie and maintain the facade of “great guy all around.” That title really meant something to him. He spoke many times about his father would be disappointed in the way he handled his marital problems. Tony needed to be “the good guy” as he perceived his Dad. He needs the intact family and perception. There is value in that for him.  I feel more disappointed for him that he will always be “somewhat” happy.

The reason I am rehashing is because I wonder where my intuitive voice is now regarding Tony. It’s silent. Maybe it still believes he could be the one for me. But my brain and heart have stopped allowing it. We have accepted defeat and acknowledged its over. But I do wonder why intuition is silent on that front.  I know I am going to hear from him again.  I also know I don’t have to.  I can’t read any signs of why I still harbor any hope of any kind of relationship.

My intuition with Rob was right from the start. He likes me but he’s just not that into me. He’s not ready for me. That’s going to be ok. His communication style is so far off my own and I don’t like working that hard. I waited until today to send a text “Hey, Stranger” and got back a little bit “busy, busy, work, life etc” but otherwise, nothing meaningful.    I also get the feeling he wants me to have more on my mind….he has referred to me getting back to work more than once!

I’ve met another man online and his communication started up well immediately. Easy back and forth questions. When someone is really interested they always ask about your kids and your friends. We will see how this proceeds.  Some people are just easier to talk with I suppose.

My intuition is telling me to go slow now. I’m ok with that too.

But she’s very quiet on the job front. I have a very deep feeling things are going to net out for me because I will eventually work towards making it right again, I just can’t seem to get there yet.  I do have to force myself to focus on something (even one thing) job related every single day for the weeks leading up to January.

My intuition on my kids….well the good news is the middle child and I work well at home together. But he also falters the most when I’m not here being Mom. It makes me sad to think this child needed a mother at home more than the others and I didn’t provide that. It really hurts. I do try to do more for them that costs me nothing: breakfasts, dinners, special little treats. Mostly food. They are teenage boys.

I don’t have an excuse.  I went to the surgeon today and they cauterised my wound closed and I can go without bandages if I am comfortable.  I will always have a small pool (dip) in my belly and my bellybutton is always going to be off to the side of the scar.  They can slightly improve the appearance next year with plastics, but the damage will always remain extensive.  The good news is that (one) I am alive and (two) my surgeon is very pleased with my progress weight wise.  He released me back into “normal” life today – shower without bandages, exercise, eat well, work and play normal – don’t come see him for 6 months unless something (Like a hernia) comes up.  Ok, I was expecting all that.

Overall, I’m more determined to listen to my intuition and slow down. I also read this amazing letter written by Angela Ahrendts  written to her daughters and it includes advice about intuition.  I worked under her many years ago and wished I stayed closer – she is now and SVP of Apple.  I found this letter to be very inspiring and spot on.

Here’s her letter:

“Hopefully you won’t read anything in this letter that you haven’t already heard from me many times before. I’ve always tried to lead by example when we are together, so I will do the same in this letter by reminding you of a few thoughts that will help you navigate your incredible life journey ahead: Always be present, read the signs, stay in your lane and never back up more than you have to.

I have always tried to be present for you regardless of how old you were, where we were, or where I was. I wanted you to know that I am always there for you spiritually, emotionally and digitally. You never need feel isolated or alone. You know I am on 24/7 for advice, love, or just to share a funny filtered photo, bitmoji or laugh (even though I know I laugh inside). Being fully present, by listening, feeling, empathizing—always holding serious eye contact, and often the touch of a hand—builds trust. Trust builds confidence and confidence enables you to look forward, dream more and focus on others vs. yourself. Being present is the greatest gift you can give another person, and the greatest way to more closely connect with them. When you are present, you are living in the moment vs in your mind. You are seeing, hearing, and feeling another person, and together you are even more empowered to do great things. This is a gift that often comes more naturally to women.

I have also tried to share with you as many of life’s precious lessons and secrets as I can so that when I am not here, you have a solid foundation of learnings and values regardless of what potholes in life you may hit along the way. Stay open; always try to read the signs as you pass by them or they pass by you. I’ve often reminded you that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason or was predestined. Every book you receive, every new person you meet, everything you call lucky is a sign just waiting to be read. It is tough when you are young and so inward-focused, but once in a while you will look back, make the connection and then be more open to and curious about those signs in the future. You see, signs aren’t blatant or obvious. You have to be open and present to instinctively feel or intuitively see them. You’ve seen firsthand, and we have often discussed, the role signs have played in my life and the incredible things that have happened as a result of me listening and reacting to them. You are blessed as sensitive women to more naturally understand this.

You are fully aware of how blessed you are, the incredible gifts you were born with that your brother doesn’t have and the gifts he has that you don’t possess. You know how happy you feel when you are doing what you love and that comes so easily and naturally to you. So please, please, please connect to your passion, and then just stay in your lane. Great athletes, musicians, scientists, etc., all have an expertise that they focus on and perfect. Don’t let anyone persuade you to do anything that doesn’t feel natural or isn’t aligned with your values or God-given gifts. You know what excites you more than anyone else. The sooner you recognize your passions, and the more you focus, the happier you will be and the greater success you will achieve. Still, don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what your lane is yet. The path will illuminate itself so long as you stay present, open to the signs, and follow your passions. It’s all related.

Lastly, my loves, never back up more than you need to, and this means in life, not just when driving. Just as you are blind to what’s behind you while backing up a car, if you keep looking back in life and focusing too much on the past, you may find yourself running things over and over in your mind,often seeing or creating things that never existed in the first place. Even worse, living in reverse blinds you to what lies ahead: Your lifelong dreams waiting to be achieved, your destiny waiting to be fulfilled.”

Nightmare

Early this morning I started to come out of REM sleep locked in a nightmare.

Think of the Conjuring, Annabelle, Insidious or The Ring. Creepy kinda houses or freakish movements and little creepy girls with black hair out to get you. Weird noises, images and a weird house. I was locked.

I started to wake looking at myself in a mirror and saw something evil pass behind me, a blurry image of an evil girl. She was coming for me.

I kept trying to scream and I couldn’t. I wanted someone to help me, someone to hear me, but I couldn’t make a sound. It was stuck in my throat even though my mouth was open.

My head was down as I was trying to figure out why I couldn’t scream and when I suddenly looked up, the girl (there were two girls by then) were right behind me in the mirror with their hands raised in a menacing fashion to get me.

I finally released the scream and woke myself in time to stop the scream midway and not scare the hell out of my kids.

I haven’t been sleeping well the past several nights, so my friend thought Tony was the reason for my sleepless nights (at least subconsciously). But, unless Tony turned into a little girl with black hair, I don’t think so.

I also have only been watching HGTV shows like Fixer Upper, so it’s not from something visually related

My subconscious is working out something. I can’t recall the last time I had a real nightmare.

Any dream analyzers out there?!

How To Be Motivated

I know the theory is one step at a time as long as it’s forward, but I have never been so unmotivated in my life.

My wound will heal really soon – I see the surgeon this week and expect I can be released to exercise. Not that it matters, I should have been walking all this time and wasn’t. I did not lose any weight this month so the surgeon could have something to say about that. I will say my appetite has come back and I now find myself hungry and thirsty when I haven’t been for months. The nurse said that’s because my body had to focus on the wound first and until it healed other functions may slow. Not being hungry was a good thing!

I haven’t gotten a real period since August. I bled a bit in Mexico, which they say is very common after major surgery, but nothing since. I also had cramps the morning I went crazy over Tony’s FB so I am guessing I started ovulating again – and my hormones are always a contributing factor to my level of crazy. Maybe it’s also why I’m hungry, now that I think about it.

It was even hard to decorate the house this year, I have no desire. I like how it feels when it’s done, but it was super hard to get it done. I would have even defaulted to a fake Christmas tree this year but the boys had a solid “no!” Vote against me. I’m happy they did, it gave them skin in the game and they got it up and standing by themselves. Decorating it may be another story.

I keep writing lists for myself to get things done. Then some things (like taxes or medical bills) take so long they suck the life out of you and I won’t go back to it for days. The outplacement service requires attention each week and I’m not putting any effort into that either. I want to get my resume and LinkedIn cleaned up this month. I’m not focusing on big picture items here, but I’m struggling to get through the small stuff.

I have been restless at night since Tony came back on the scene in some way. I am not dwelling but clearly my subconscious is still doing its work in the night.

I have not heard from Rob since the weekend. I am a bit bummed. I have my Match and Bumble on but don’t have any real interest in that work either.

I have done very little Christmas shopping. My kids have truly acknowledged their age and our current financial situation, but I would hate to see an empty Christmas tree on Christmas. These kids are used to many gifts. I was raised that way and have done the same with them. I would rather be clever this year and get them excited with fewer special gifts but my mind isn’t working.

I haven’t showered in 3 days. I do brush my teeth and hair and change my bandages. I don’t even wash my face.

Everyone says “this is not the Madeline I know.” But what if she’s gone – like forever? What if all that happiness, ambition, drive and determination never comes back? What if I’ve lost my defining characteristics?

What if I don’t care anymore?

I am not as sick as I was in the summer, but I don’t know how to get my life restarted. There’s a part of my brain yelling at me to stop wasting this precious time.

When that voice starts I will do something special for the boys. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies and 3 banana breads today. I will probably make them meatloaf for dinner (they love and I hate! Lol). I will try and get in the back garden and prune my plants – better late than never. I know it’s something but it’s not enough. It’s not a life.

I need to get my life going again.

The Conversation with Tony

Post Tony deleting me on Facebook, we communicated a little by text.  He put me back on Facebook when he realized he upset me.  Then he text me again, the next morning.

I engaged after I spoke to my therapist.

There was nothing that was going to change my mind to speak to him.  It had been months – at least since June or July – we had been on the phone.  I’m pretty certain the last conversation would have been in anger.

I have no desire to recap the conversation but I told him about Mexico.  I cried a little when I told him what brought me to Mexico.  He thinks he could have stopped me.  That’s a big fat, no – because he wasn’t leaving his wife – so he’s giving himself too much credit.

I wanted to ask so many things  I wanted to talk about so many things. I wanted validation.  I wanted to apologize for my bad behavior – not so much because he deserves an apology from me as much as I needed to forgive myself for the way I behaved.

For acting crazy and addicted.  .

I got just enough validation that he did believe for a while, enough validation to escape with my sanity intact and be able to delete him again and move forward without falling into the Tony hole again.

I left feeling sad and I said I missed him.  He quickly said we cannot go back to communicating.  I agree with him.

Hanging up the phone without an “I love you” at the end was actually horrible and made me cry.  But, I am ok.  It took a little time to marinate and process, but I am ok.  I didn’t dwell very long.

I deleted photos I had lingering on the phone and came across the last piece of the puzzle I needed.  Validation in the form of the first time he acknowledged he wanted to be with me and what it wold cost him. I didn’t include the whole text string as it’s just for me, but here’s a piece.

That’s it, the last of Tony for a long while.

He will forever be my emotional bar – and he set it so high.  Just like Bobby set the sexual bar so high.

I am going to need to learnt to pole vault I suppose.

Football Party with 6’4″ (part 2)

Driving home from the Elks club, we discussed Rob coming into my home before heading out.

We both collapsed onto the couch and got physical pretty quickly.  Ugh, as much as I wanted him to keep exploring, I was going to have to explain the bandages on my belly.  I wear a 4″x6″ white adhesive bandage right over the worst part of the wound.  The wound is almost closed, but I have a “pool” for lack of a better description, where the abdomen closed.  Its pretty ugly, but the bandage (besides providing necessary cleanliness and protection) covers the worst looking part and you can’t feel the dip because the wound holds the gauze inside and the bandage lies on top, relatively smoothly.

Believe me, this is ugly and when the bandages can come off, I may choose to keep them on, just for vanity sake.

I pause our intimacy and sit up to explain the wound (I have previously told him abut the surgeries, very generally).  He seems concerned, but only says “you are ok now, right?” to which I reply “yes.” and ask if he would be more comfortable in the bed.  He follows me to my room and we undress completely.

I’m happy to know my body is functioning after all this depression and apathy as well as the new drugs.  He’s happy to slowly please me, but of course I notice, he isn’t getting hard.  At all.

Ok, so here’s what I know: Wife died less than a year ago, love of his life, hasn’t had sex for 3 years and never cheated on her.  I’m the first since.

I know this is sensitive, so I ask him if there is something else I can do differently to help.  He says he doesn’t want to worry about it and overthink it, its all so new to him, and he tells me I feel so good and he loves touching and holding me.   He doesn’t stop kissing me or indicating anything less than pleasure, but by now my mind is racing.  This is different than regular ED – I don’t think I felt him hard, ever.  At some point, my brain is so tired I just stop thinking about it and we fall asleep.

I did notice he was hesitant to throw his around around my tummy with the bandage, so I eventually turned facing him to make him more comfortable.

He wasn’t supposed to sleep over.  I was restless but he was sound asleep and I was locked into his arms (and he’s strong and big).  I woke him at 5:30am because he had to take care of his daughter by 7:30am and I didn’t want to be the reason he wasn’t there.

He barely wanted to get out of bed.

Later, mid-day, I text him to ask how his morning went and he responded with “I would rather be crawling back into your bed right now” and everything else was fine.

I am choosing not to focus on this too much, but my radar has been going off since the beginning that he’s not ready, or not into me enough, and his overall lack of consistent communication is tough on me in general.  When we are together, I feel fine, but this was a 3rd date, even if it was an entire day and night.  Don’t want to over think it.

During the week, when we were texting and talking, I asked when I would see him again and he found time to come over for coffee for a couple hours this past Friday.  We had fun laughing, chatting and making out on my couch.   This time I did feel his hard-on….go figure.

But then, no engagement over the weekend. I did send one text Saturday to inquire about a birthday party he was going to – and he responded, but that was it.  I know he considers Sunday his day with the kids, so I wouldn’t have reached out anyway.   We will wait to see what the week brings.

I am a bit bummed because I was so happy with the football party, but I sort of feel neither of us is totally engaged….there’s too much pause in conversation unless I carry it. I realize the reason I fell so hard for Tony was how he responded to me, all the attention he gave to me that I never had.  I need the attention and engagement.

Rob is a nice guy and clearly going at a different pace than I am, so I can be a little patient, but my intuition is telling me its not going to have legs.  I need a “Fuck Yes” date.  Soon.

 

 

Football Party with 6’4″ (part 1)

Why is this post significant?

Because its the first time I felt any genuine joy and happiness for a length of time, the kind that you can’t help but grin ear to ear.

I’ve been in a spiral since April of this year, it all came to a head in August as my job was ending, Tony was treating me poorly when I still believed in him, and my kids were just on my last nerve.  Its when I made the final decision and payment to go to Mexico for the surgery.  Once that decision was made, it was like a door slammed on any sense or will to live.

The only person I pleaded with to help me was Tony, and he wasn’t capable.  To be fair, he wasn’t the right person.

I should have sought help and I didn’t, but now I am slowly recovering from 4 months in a pretty dark place.  August-September- October are still surreal.  November was finally the time I began to hold my head up somewhat.  I know agreeing to the party was risky because the day could come and I would be “too tired” or “depressed” to attend.  I challenged myself with this by inviting a friend for Thanksgiving – which was an immense help because she was a second pair of hands and took the pressure of the disappointment with my family not helping me.

Thanksgiving day was nice.  I was able to tolerate all the foods and had a taste of everything.  I loved having the company of my friend.  My Dad loved having my eldest home from college to watch the game with.   It was a nice day overall.

For the Football game the next day, my friend had asked her boyfriend and I asked Rob, so we were a party of 4, which also made it impossible for me to back out.

The party was hosted by a cousin of mine with a large family.  I am very lucky to always be included because my mother was an only child and well-loved by her cousins.  This particular part of my mothers family is my favorite.  They are such a big, loving family.  Not perfect by far which makes them all that much more relatable.  Good people through and through, generous, kind and loving.  I should spend more time with them and have it on my list of “must-do’s” for the future.

There is a large football game for about 2 hours, then food trucks, tons of food, a dessert table and a real-live Santa for all the children.  All the single “kids” get presents and sit on Santa’s lap.  My cousins hire professional photographers for all their parties so every moment is captured and everyone can come away with their family photos and share on Facebook.  My x and my kids never liked the party.  I never understood why and eventually we stopped going because I was miserable when they were with me.  I have gone alone to some of the parties since just before divorce because I realized they were ruining my ability to have a good time – I was always sad that I didn’t have “my own” family to share it with so sometimes I would shy away if this was how I felt in past years – but I made a point to have “my squad” this time around.  Even if it was just friends and a 3rd date!

I couldn’t help but laugh and smile from the moment I walked in.  My cousin, who helped me greatly through the entire trauma, had spoken to her family and they knew I had been sick – so no one asked a lot of questions.  Rather, everyone was just happy to see me and complimented the weight loss and happy face.  All of my cousins were so loving and welcoming, and there are so many of them, that I found it impossible to be unhappy for any reason.  But the best part, was the company I brought.

Rob played football and was a star athlete. My boy cousins were teasing that he would have to play a lineman since he was new, but he was quickly put into the QB position and they won the game.  I was in and out to watch the game (it was freezing here the day after Thanksgiving) and saw a couple of great plays – but more importantly to me, I saw him laughing, interacting and having fun with perfect strangers.  He wanted to be there.

Inside, my girl friend and her boyfriend were chatting up all my cousins and playing indoor games.  I didn’t have to worry about taking care of anyone except myself!  No matter where I turned there was a safe and secure, warm and happy feeling.  We stayed much longer than I thought I would.  The best part, I got an amazing professional shot with Rob and my cousin posted it on Facebook.  Normally, I wouldn’t post any man, but I just didn’t care.  We both look happy in that photo – and its the perfect capture of the feeling of the day.

I was grateful.

I have forgotten what gratitude feels like in my depression and trauma.  I had been happy for moments, but not true, unfiltered joy the way I felt on November 23rd.

I would like to say the feeling carried through, but the depression is too great a weight as well as my physical recovery.  I slept for 2 days post the party.  But, I think that was ok.

After the party, as we were driving home, my friend decided they wanted to come back to my home for a drink.  I told Rob he wasn’t under any obligation to stay with me, but of course I would love if he did.  He agreed.  We ended up having a few more cocktails at home before the boys decided the Elks club would be a good idea!  I couldn’t believe I was going there again!  Turned out to be packed to the rafters, like a local Cheers bar, and the guys could watch multiple games while the girls chatted away.

I was really exhausted by 11pm and asked Rob to take me home.  I knew I would be too tired for much, but a few kisses goodnight would be a sweet way to end the day.

A little more than that happened and I don’t know what to make of it.

And, I’m trying not to put much more thought into it.

 

Hello There 6’4”

I met Rob on Match. He is super handsome, 6’4″ and a widow. We moved from text to phone and his voice was dreamy. He made me laugh. Definitely enough reason for the first date.

He was having knee surgery so we had to wait to see how he felt, but he claimed he was bored and needed to get out of house so we ended planning a relatively fast afternoon date.

He is better looking in person than his photos and his smile and laugh are infectious.

But, boy, was he hard to talk to. When I feel I’m talking too much I will let the conversation slide to a natural pause. He didn’t seem to fill it easily, even though he seemed aware he should. Somehow, we made it through 3 hours or so together and while I felt parts of conversation were a bit always or unbalanced, I liked him. He was genuine. He is one of those people the “good guy” just comes out of.

Rob was married a long time and lost his wife to cancer last December. He said he knew instantly when he met her in college that she was the one he would marry. She died in a short time after diagnosis and was only 45. Their children are a 16 year old girl and 13 year old boy. Rob said they had a happy, solid marriage. I questioned his readiness and he told me he was ready. He said he is lonely. He spoke to his children after he met me to let them know he planned to be dating. I don’t yet know how I feel about this situation or if I am walking into a land mine. He strikes me as a very genuine man. When we left the restaurant, he grabbed me, pulled me in close, strong hands right up into the back of my hair and kissed me hard – enough to take my breath away.

I will have more of that, please! It was a lovely surprise because I didn’t know what to expect.

One of his favorite things to say is “it’s easy.” Make a left or make a right. Look up or look down. One way or the other. It’s easy. After he explained his life philosophy to me I tried to explain I’m complicated and he rebutted me (and that has happened again and again now). He had said he realized he needed to move forward and didn’t want to be alone, so it was “easy” now.

I waited post first date to hear from him and he made plans quickly for a week later. We set a date but not a place. We spoke once or twice on the phone and vague, intermittent texting but I still got the impression of conversation being difficult. It wasn’t flowing. But I liked him, so I wanted to try again.

The week before our second date he called me to say there was a glitch. I assumed he would cancel, but no, he wanted me to join him at a town event he was hosting at an Elks Club.

Ok, people, at this stage in my life no one is catching me dead in the Elks Club and definitely not for the PAL (Police Athletic league – sponsors local town sports). Before thinking (not good, impulsive Mads) I offered to trade him a family football event if I committed to the Elks. He said he would play football with my cousins even if I didn’t make it to the Elks.

We agreed on the Elks for our Saturday date and the football party for the day after Thanksgiving

He had pulled together and event for the local Dads to get to know one another better because Dads are not as good at socializing as the Moms in his opinion. I suppose he felt that strongly when his wife died as well now that I’m writing this.

He offered for me to being friends, which is also complicated now that I’m not working. Which friend would understand the Elks Club, and who I would also want to spend time with knowing he would be socializing since he was the host. I said no several times and he kept asking. He claims he really wanted me there and I would change my mind about the Elks. Plus, he was inviting his college friends so my friends would have someone to keep company with. I ultimately asked a friend what she thought and she was like “why not!” 3 days later she asked what the Elks and PAL were all about so I figured that’s a sure sign this will be funny if nothing else!

We went to the Elks and it was pretty much what I expected, all men around a bar and pizza/wings chatting in a social hall. We found him easily and met his friends. He is outgoing and gregarious and easy on the eyes. He bought our drinks, introduced us to his friends and chatted. He was interrupted and called away often. It didn’t bother me because we were entertained. It bothered my friend more because she didn’t think it was appropriate for him to leave me alone for so long on a 2nd date.

Let’s be honest – it was a weird second date – but I wasn’t fussed. In hindsight he really wanted me there and made it clear multiple times with “please come” during the week before. He didn’t hesitate to put an arm around me or hug me. He was the host and he is popular. The joke really became that every time he left the table another man would come over to speak to me and tell me a story and “what a good guy” Rob was. By the 5/6th person my friend and I joked Rob was paying them to say that!

Eventually she wanted to go to a regular bar so I found him, tapped him on the shoulder and let him know we were leaving. He tried making his way back but people kept pulling him in different directions. My friend didn’t want to stay so I had to defer to her and put my coat on to make my exit. He said he would be there in 5 minutes.

He was.

He brought his married (even taller and just as handsome!) friend to the bar and the 4 of us had a fun time for a bit. The two of them clicked and left together. We closed the bar around 11 or so and neither of us realized we were the only ones left. We walked to my car and he didn’t leave me until 4am. We kissed, a lot, and talked even more. I wasn’t ready for much more. His hands explored but I wasn’t ready to expose the bandages so I needed him to stop which wasn’t easy. I don’t actually know where the time went or how we passed that much time together. He just didn’t leave. He said it felt so good next to me. Eventually, because we had to leave as we both began to get too sleepy, he asked me to come home with him.

I said no.

That’s like 1000 bonus points for Mads leaving Trixie super confused!

His kids were home. I don’t know the home situation regarding his wife (their bedroom?) and it wasn’t right. Add in my wounds and having to explain that shit at 4am. Nope. I wanted to do more, my body was screaming for more (which is great, happy to know it all still works!) but it was time for one of us to break off.

It was sweet. It wasn’t the crazy mad butterflies I had with Dan (R) or Tony (Bennett). This was a little like a high school crush you don’t want to mess up when you finally get the chance.

I would liken it more to a slow dance. You don’t want the song to end, you enjoy the dancing while you can, but eventually you just part.

Not bad for two dates.

Next up, football party history!

Why I’m Dating

So here’s the thing -most people will say “you’re not ready because you haven’t learned how to love yourself.” Or any version of the “you’re not ready” theme.

You may be right. Maybe I’m not. But no one holds the one right answer. And this is what my therapy is for. Also why I’m writing again.

I believe we are built for relationship and I have been lucky enough to find a therapist who believes this at the core of her practice. We are not meant to go it alone and we all have our versions of that. You can be in relationships with God, husbands, lovers, parents, children etc. Some of us work better as partners and I am one of those people. Honestly, to hear a professional say it has finally put me at ease. Yes, I have learned to be alone and care for myself but it’s never going to make me fully satisfied. I don’t need to sit alone to figure that out anymore.

The therapist and I arrived at dating being an option as we talked about “what does normal life” look like for me going forward? I know I am not the same person I was last year or earlier this year. I have been forever altered since April and its aftermath. The trauma of the surgeries completed something for me. I didn’t want to die. But I don’t know yet what I want to live for.

The conversation turned to how do you start living again? What did you do before? One of those things was dating. My therapist thought there was no harm in doing something that could make me feel good about myself again.

Dating wasn’t the only thing. But this post is about dating and I’m trying to cram a shit ton of thoughts into 1000 word posts and be cohesive. It’s probably not working.

Anyway, I digress.

I turned on Match and Bumble. Got rid of Bumble fast because it worked well at work, but less so at home. Match wasn’t great but ok. Started the conversations and realized I needed to come up with a “story” because NO ONE leaves it at “I’m taking a break from work.” They think there must be another reason. Why do they need another reason? Let it be. I don’t even know you yet!

On another note, I also have to finesse my “executive exit story” according to my outplacement group. Same damn thing as dating. Everyone wants an explanation.

I’m trying to be funny, I’m probably not.

Anyway, so I match easily enough and I set up two dates. Both men are named Robert Thomas …. (something Irish). That’s a full on formula for texting mistakes right there. Both like to be called Rob. I was hoping one preferred a different nickname.

Rob 1 is 6’4″ and he gets his own blog post. He’s a widow. 👍🏻 just clearing that up quickly.

Rob 2 was about 6′, never married and a cop in the city. Not usually my match type but I missed his profession in his profile. By the time I asked, he had already shown he was kind and intelligent and I didn’t get the inkling he was typical of a city cop. We really clicked on the phone. His communication style matched mine. I was excited to meet him. We had a nice date but I wasn’t totally attracted. Something fell flat. We kissed goodnight which nice. We text a little after the date (I always say thank you) and I never heard from him again. That was that.

The bigger deal with both first dates was going out at all. I don’t really leave my home even for errands. So to shower, do hair and makeup and dress is truly a big step for me. Plus, I have to learn a whole new way of eating and drinking since the sleeve. I had no idea how I would manage being out. It’s common to have a lot of weird side effects from gastric surgery so I could get foaming mouth, hiccups, burps, farts, nausea and a whole host of things just from sipping something too fast or eating the wrong thing at the wrong time or eating and drinking together.

These dates allowed me to learn the ropes as it were. To get my public “story” down pat. To ease back into natural communication. I wasn’t expecting to find anything, but was hoping to have a nice time and adjust to being alive. I accomplished that and I’m glad I listened to the therapist.

You all also know how dearly I love my Prosecco. Well, that’s out, possibly forever. No bubbles. And, with a teeny tinsy tummy alcohol will affect me differently. So we are all about white wine and seeing where our limits are. Sipping slowly and making sure we feel good.

Stronger than Yesterday

I received his text before my appointed time with the Therapist.

I didn’t open it until after my conversation with her.

I think I baffle my therapist the same way I baffle anyone who knows me. How does this smart, competent, attractive woman lose her mind in an instant?

But that really was what happened.

Some important things happened in a days time span:

Immediately after my cray: One friend talked me off a cliff, one got mad and refused to talk to me about it and my sister just remained baffled and wanted better for me. This was the first time I realized I was pulling my friends into a hole with me because of my inability to control Trixie. Maybe I knew before but I wasn’t paying attention – but yesterday – knowing these were the same women who worried over my life in Mexico – I couldn’t let that happen. They have been too good to me and for me.

The next morning: The therapist listened and I am pretty sure she never said “do not respond” the way everyone else had. She only suggested “put some time between it.” I had already made up my mind that I was going to ask him why he did that after all this time. But she did say several things that made me pause and think. I cannot jeopardize my friendships and I must learn to control my tantrums. And mostly, I have to start forgiving myself and just move forward. Is it earth shattering? No. I’m just listening and actively participating. Some of your comments were good for me – why do I snap the moment I am rejected by a man? Most importantly, I needed her to hear my mania closest to the time it happened. Once a week I can be pretty good at looking alive and well. She needed to have a dose of Trixie because she hides and bites.

After the conversation with my therapist, I told Tony the truth (via text), why I reached out and then why I went cray. Then I apologized. His answer was that I had “liked” a post and he saw his wife scrolling through every like and he panicked. He apologized and said he didn’t even think I would care after all this time. He said he would “re-friend” me if I wanted. Does it matter? It shouldn’t but it was enough for me. I cried a bit because I knew there would be no more, but I didn’t have to press him for questions and answers on anything else. I felt the need for validation and I wanted it so desperately and I didn’t ask for it.

I was happy I cried. Sometimes I think my new meds are too strong. But the tears were ok. If my friend had not come over I probably would have mourned all day, but she did so I didn’t. Then 6’4″ asked me to coffee for Friday morning. So the day moved with less dwelling than any past contact with Tony.

Steps. Steps ahead. They aren’t great. And I am still angry he made the choices he did. My cousin pointed out that anyone who has to check their husband on social media isn’t living the best life. I admit to taking a little satisfaction in that. I feel less of a need to tell his wife, but I can’t say that’s entirely gone. I’m sure it will go away in time.

The result is that I have to call for help when I slip. I was DETERMINED to find his number. It was a psychological need that felt physical to me in the moment. And I knew it was wrong and ignored the sane part of my brain going: you really forgot his number! Good for you! Had I listened to that cheerleader in my head, I would have dealt with the emotion any way I wanted EXCEPT contacting him. I could have cried and screamed and thrown things and a thousand other ways to express my anger. I would have still given my inner child a voice, allowed a controlled tantrum in a safe place, and moved on. Why do I need the person who upsets me to hear me? He couldn’t help me.

So, fork in the road, almost 15 weeks of no contact and I screwed up. I wanted more from him but I finally “feel” that I won’t get more so I feel a bit more confident about letting go. I know that all sounds crazy, but that’s how I feel. I have to focus on how I get what I need from men in my life. Men who are available. And learn how not to take this crap forward with me into any relationship.

In the summer/fall 2016 I thought I had it all. I never felt “put on a pedestal” in my life…but I got to live and love up in the clouds for about a year before my world began crumbling. The fall from those heights nearly killed me. Losing my job in the fashion I did, and having a boss dismantle my credibility was painful. Today was the first time that I realized that as much as Tony hurt me, the damage from the job is probably worse. I was never great in relationship (or at least my track record from marriage didn’t give me a good foundation might be a better way to say it) but I was amazing in my roles at work and always rewarded well. As I talked through the Tony situation today, it dawned on me that I’ve been allowing myself to dwell on something I can’t repair instead of something I can – causing me to feel hopeless.

I can’t go back to my downward spiral after April. I can’t go back to the black hole I put myself in because I am barely, just barely out of it now. The meds are strong and are probably doing the heavy lifting but now I need to use that for my benefit. The fact that I felt less driven regarding Tony today is a step forward. The fact that I realized I can focus on something I can (at least possibly) attain is a step forward. I’m still traumatized but yesterday and today were good learning days.

And tomorrow I see a handsome man for coffee and have a hair appt in the afternoon. So that’s not so bad either.

The First Downslide

It wouldn’t be a Madeline story without a serious dash of crazy seasoning. But I promised honesty.

I saw Tony last in April. I don’t recall if we spoke on phone subsequently or not, probably. But the last text was mid-August. Full stop. My last text said:

“I am having surgery on Sept 7th that I don’t expect to recover from and since you have decided to be such a jerk and I won’t recover you can expect my letter to you and your wife then.” I was furious at him for being a douche when I was dropping my son at college after I supported him through dropping off two kids to college. He could have been kinder. I should have been less crazy, but that sets the scene.

And I blocked him for a while until I went to Mexico, hoping I would hear from him because he knew the surgery date and my birthday were around the corner.

Needless to say, while fighting for my life, I finally stopped focusing on Tony.

Until I started to feel better and talk about it in therapy.

As my body healed and the new meds kicked in, the desperate addiction I felt towards him increased. I knew myself well enough to know trouble was brewing.

But I did all the right things. I called friends. I diverted myself. I even went on a couple great dates (those stories will follow and were therapy approved dates). I finally felt happiness, real and true, outside my home with my family the day after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day and the subsequent party took all the life out of me. I slept for 2 days following. My cousins hire professional photographers and post literally hundreds of party photos.

To step back to provide context: my x never enjoyed these family parties. He didn’t want to play football with the cousins (boys and girls) he didn’t like to socialize and every year became a struggle. I love this family and would do anything to be included and they always were inclusive to The x and my boys. But towards the end of marriage I gave up on being included. I’m still surprised at all the times I said no and they asked again.

So when the guy I met asked me to a strange second date I quickly said “I will trade you for a football game!” The whole story will follow but, god bless his heart, he was so excited to be included.

My cousins are short – the girls are under 5′ and the boys under 5’8″. So I made a joke to my very serious boy cousins that I was bringing a 6’4″ athlete who could be QB (knowing full well I would never live it down). Everyone he met said “oh! Your Mads 6’4″!” And that’s all they called him all day. 6’4″. He loved it.

He was the star of the game so my cousins loved him. He’s gregarious and wonderful so it was super easy.

I was really happy that day.

So what happened to being out Trixie?

I admit I check often if Tony and I are friends in FB. It was the only social media we remained connected on. He shut it down for months but opened it last week sometime.

My social media stopped when I went in the hospital. But now I had a reason to open it because the photos from the party were fabulous. My cousin tagged me in all of them and they post to my wall.

There is a beautiful photo of 6’4″ and I together. We look like a couple. There’s photos like that with my cousins too, but I know they are my cousins. My cousin also tagged all of 6’4″s football hilights with my name. And they made comments under the photos about 6’4″ doing me proud on the field.

Today I saw Tony had unfriended me on FB. I went into shock. I couldn’t think and my reaction was to reach out. But he has been deleted from my phone for so long I truly could not recall his phone number. So I sent a text to his two emails and they didn’t come back with “delivered”. I scoured the internet with phone combinations for 40 mins until I hit it. I really couldn’t recall it. I called from my phone and it went straight to VM. I called from the house phone and it went straight to VM. I was blocked.

I called where I thought he was working and got as far as reception and hung up and called my friends and admitted my cray.

An hour later he replied that he was flying home, couldn’t text or talk now, and I was never blocked. I apologized and said I overreacted and he asked what prompted it. I didn’t answer.

Will he text me tmrw? I don’t know.

I made it through 7 months of not seeing him and 3 full months or more of no contact and I lost my shit the instant I felt rejection.

My friends say it’s because I have the photos with the guy up and he doesn’t want to see things like that. I interpret that as he doesn’t want me happy. I get confused. Why now? What’s the big deal of FB friends when we don’t communicate any longer?

But it hurt and flipped the Trixie switch.

My call with my therapist is at 10am tmrw. But what can she say that I don’t already know? Why do I keep doing this to myself with a man who clearly doesn’t want me. Or any connection with me.

I have to get to the bottom why rejection causes Trixie to trigger. And I want it to stop. I want to stop thinking about him and wanting him. I can believe he gave me the world and it was lovely but I have to also believe it’s gone for good.

I am angry and embarrassed at myself. And worried about him reaching out to me soon.

I was doing well. But my little child, Trixie, stomped her feet and wanted to know WHY now….why take me off FB now. It was a small and innocuous connection. But it was something to me. And now I’m hurt all over again.