Less Angry, More Thoughtful

After John I absolutely went into an angry swiping frenzy. Ended up speaking to too many men at once and got over it in about 24 hours. I know better.

What I learned over the weekend of angry swiping and needless chatting:

1. My match really needs to have been married with kids. I have yet to find one man who wasn’t that truly understands how important parenting is….unless they want their own family and then we are not a match anyway.

2. My match needs to be aligned socio-economically. I’ve spoken to a few teachers who have off the summer, earn lower-pay, and are generally less ambitious (not saying all, just the ones I’ve spoken to). I’ve been asked a couple times if the career and long hours made me happy. They just don’t understand corporate mechanics. I’m a 30 year corporate veteran, it’s partially what drove me to the success I achieved – there is never a good (or right) answer for “was it worth it.”

3. My match needs to have a desire for “more.” What’s more? I’m not exactly sure but I do know it means not complacent with what you have and where you are for the rest of your life. I’ve spoken to many who have their summer homes on a beach and that’s all they want to do with the rest of their lives – sit on a beach. That’s not for me. Ask me again when I’m 70.

4. On the other hand – My match can’t be hyper-active! I don’t ski, surf, hike, Climb mountains, SUP, scuba or CrossFit. I do exercise every day and have the energy and strength to do more active outdoor activities but I’m never going to be a go, go, go girl. Balance works best for me.

5. My match can’t be too obsessive about my “sexy, thin” body (a common comment pretty consistently now). When the clothes come off, the scars are real. I’m still not convinced it wasn’t what tipped John over the edge so quickly. The man needs to be committed to health and fitness, but not body obsessed. I have also noted that now that I have been with more fit men and am more fit myself, I am less tolerant of someone who doesn’t work out at all. I want to keep this practice so I need someone who is committed to it as well. My life has changed and fitness must remain an important part of my well-being.

6. The man needs to show interest and intellect pretty quickly. I perceive this as someone who knows how to balance a banter with serious questions and is interested in knowing about me and my life and how it matches with his own desires and interests. They will ask about my job, family and children unprompted. When the man is focused on my beauty and we don’t have anything in common, it always feels forced. I avoid the physical match like a plague now.

I’ve realized my long, long list of attributes pretty much shortens to these 6 things (excluding a physical attraction of some sort which always included height). If I can find these 6 things in the initial match and conversation, I will move on.

The other things I want like: kindness, emotional intelligence, travel, trust, honesty, respect and good sex all follow after meeting. I don’t try and dig for these things early in the conversation. If little hints don’t flow naturally, I become disengaged.

As I was thinking about this over the weekend, because I started up too many conversations, I realize that I am quickly drawn in by a natural conversationalist who is quite comfortable in their own skin. All the men I have liked, even a little, post Tony were very successful, ambitious men. I also realized all of them were serious athletes at some point in their lives – which creates that competitive edge I love so much. They were all extremely handsome -even if physically, all very different. And not necessarily handsome to everyone, but absolutely to me.

I have at least narrowed down the characteristics that I am initially attracted to. The ones who meet these criteria, but can’t or don’t back it up with humor and great conversation just fall off the radar.

So who did I speak to this weekend in my swipe craze?

1. Paul – I really liked so much about him, until he told me he was a recovering alcoholic. I actually thought about this for a while and considered if a person who had their own damage might somehow better understand mine…but then decided it wasn’t for me (I’ve been there already). Coupled with the fact that while he has lived apart from his wife for 3 years, he’s still married. We spoke and I sent a text as a follow up to disengage.

2. Eric – handsome and seemed positive until we moved to text. He is a teacher and more than once told me I had “a good life” and questioned if I was happy working the way I do. His text were so dry that it never got off the ground. He was also entirely inconsistent with his text and was boring.

3. Chris – haven’t written him off yet. Handsome (and big which I love!) and divorced several years with a daughter college age. We hit it off and moved to text. He would engage somewhat but never really got inquisitive. If he comes back for another round he will need to show he’s more interested. If not, that’s fine too.

4. Joe – just boring. Nice but boring.

5. Jeff – handsome and interesting but once we began talking and said he had 3 small children, I was out. No more ball games and carpools for me.

There were at least 3 others. All nameless in 24 hours.

I made my excuses to each of them and politely exited.

I am bummed about John and it’s eating me. I felt like “finally” someone! Yay me! And then, nope. Of course it leaves me questioning myself. And blaming myself. For 24 hours I almost let Trixie out to see the light but she never got far…I know my bad behavior (which is why I deleted John from every possible deceive systematically). I know I can not indulge my bad behaviors because it doesn’t really feel good. It’s a temporary fix.

There’s a part of me that is going full force with the negative self talk: it’s something about you they don’t like, you’re too pushy, you’re too relationship orientated, you’re scarred, you’re loud, you’re just it right and you’re not enough for me to want to stick around and get to know you better. I have not resolved this negative self talk and I don’t know how to – I do try, all the time, but inevitably when something like John happens, it comes out again in full force.

Being alone is wearing on me now, I admit. I just don’t think I’m built to be alone. But I am getting better at not wasting my time or anyone else’s with sheer nonsense. When I need the therapy I can’t afford I will write here, meditate, or listen to one of my self help books. I have plenty of down time to exercise and care for myself on weekends. I am focused on keeping myself as positive as possible, but this threw me for a loop – and the others I’ve dated didn’t have this affect on me.

I Almost Punched Him in the Face

I haven’t had a date go completely sideways in a while!  The last dating debacle I had was here. When I dodged a dating bullet.

Gosh, that was all the way back in January….I have gotten better at identifying the weirdos!  Or, at least going out with them- though he was a closet weirdo.

In any case, I had a date with Ed in May.  In hindsight, I admit the chemistry was missing before the date and I shouldn’t have gone.  We had spoken on the phone a couple times and he had some great attributes, but not being married before, no longer than a 5 year relationship, and no kids rang the fire alarm for me.  I just didn’t listen to it.

He had a decent career, though he was also currently out of work.  He had siblings and he took care of his mother and grandmother in their later years.  We had common interests, among them  travel and entertainment.  I thought I should give it a try since my boys are older now and my relationship will be about me with little involvement from my children.  That line of thinking is off, I realize, because my relationships will always have an impact on my children as they watch him care for me and interact with him.

We met at my favorite local restaurant and he had secured a small table by the bar.  You know me well enough to know that I think a man should ask if I want a drink relatively quickly, to me this is dating 101.  He never asked, despite my hints.  He started off with awkward conversation.  Ok, maybe he was nervous, but I didn’t think so, I just think he had zero dating savvy.

I finally got up after 15 minutes (at least) to get my own drink.  He still wasn’t phased.

We started talking about our job searches – and we had covered this quite a bit on the phone.  He claims he spends all day every single day working on his job search, and I challenged him that its not a full time job looking for a job, there’s just only so much networking you can do in a day, weeks or a month.  Perhaps he thought I was knocking his approach as he threw some zingers at me like “you get out of it what you put into it.” which certainly felt like he was telling me I was out of work too long (he doesn’t know the back-story, I don’t share my medical history so soon).  He questioned me like a college professor giving me a quiz on how many people I speak to, what I talk to them about, and how I reach out to companies.  I shared some articles I had read about the best way to approach reaching out to your 1st/2nd/3rd level contacts and how that had worked for me…but he was instant I wasn’t digging deep enough or hard enough.

I started to get a bit put-off.

And then, he threw the biggest bomb at me…..

As we were now heavily debating the approach of how to do a job search, he threw in “well, of course you can sit at home and take your time when you are getting a nice sum from alimony and child support.”

OMG.

Speechless.

I should have thrown my drink in his face and left.  I could barely contain my composure.  But I sat calmly, I know my entire face flushed with anger, and I asked “is that what you think? That I have an income?”

His answer was “don’t all divorced women take their x for all they are worth?  You probably have a good income from him.”

By this time between his opinion on my job search and his utter stupid comment on my divorce I shot back “Now its clear to me why you haven’t had a long relationship or been married.”

His answer “I also haven’t been divorced.”

And I said “No, you haven’t, but I put in 22 great years and have a family to show for it as well as a successful career.  My type of  networking landed me no less than 3 good interviews this month, while yours has done you no favors.  And, for the record, I was the breadwinner in my family and I support my children and home 100% on my own, all without a law degree from Harvard.”

I shouldn’t have qualified anything.  I should have gotten up and left.  But he kept talking, and not even an apology just a comment “well, thats not most divorced women.” and kept going!  I tried to extricate myself and just couldn’t.    This man just kept trying to explain himself and his relationships and how his life netted out (why he never got married or had kids etc).  He was on the defensive but I didn’t care at that point.  And he didn’t care that I didn’t care, I wish I had it in me to be completely rude and exit.

I swallowed the rest of my drink and stood and he asked me to wait while he paid the bill, when he saw I was clearly walking out one way or the other.  He tried to kiss me goodnight and I turned my head.  He asked me out again and I smiled and got in my car.

I didn’t hear from him for several weeks until this week, when he wrote prompting to open conversation.  He literally wrote a text as if nothing had happened at the meeting, telling me he was thinking of me as his gym had installed some Pelotons.    He really didn’t get it.

I get angry even typing this story – but going on that date was my own fault and I knew before I went there was something a bit off about him.   He delivered that zinger so frankly that I know he had no social skills.  Probably didn’t do justice to his lack of social skills because I’ve mostly forgotten about the date from 3 weeks ago.

Well, best of luck to him.

Thank you, next.

 

 

 

 

Strange Days

I am beginning to wonder if thinking of Tony is cyclical. Maybe hormonal related? Or maybe it’s the empath in me. Whatever it is, I am sure it’s some kind of strange intuition because I’m not sure I can believe things are just this random.

I believe Tony is most likely still employed at Peloton. I bought the bike last summer to feel closer to him. Stupidest reasoning ever, but there’s the truth of it. I can’t even make sense of it. I barely rode in the beginning and he didn’t ride at all – he just worked at the corporate HQ.

When I had my last break of texting his wife in early February, I also made the decision that if I didn’t absorb myself into something else that I was going to slip right back into a massive depression. The bike is very expensive and it was sitting there. It was an easy choice that was healthy for me.

And then, in typical Madeline fashion, I became obsessed. This is a good obsession and keeps me focused and healthy. I feel fantastic after so many months of a sedentary and disabled life.

I didn’t think about Tony when I chose to invest my energy in the Peloton, somehow he became less the reason for the bike. I joined several groups for support and quickly joined the Peloton cult. I check in with members every day, ride in a group, and have made friends that I will be meeting in person this weekend. The community is so supportive its insane. I chose to buy into it. (I acknowledge I need to write a post about self-talk….a whole bunch of thoughts have been bubbling up lately).

With that said, there was one ride an instructor called Tony’s name in a shout-out. I can guess this instructor and Tony have become friends. It sucked for a day or so and started me thinking about Tony’s participation in Peloton (because he wasn’t a rider when I bought the bike).

Late last week, Tony has been in the forefront of my thoughts again – which never bodes well. I want to speak to him so badly and have to argue with myself consistently. There is no good outcome from reaching out to him. There is no reason to reach out to him.

Of course it never stops there with me.

Once I started to think of him more consistently again, the thought occurred to me he may be participating in the same Peloton event that I am attending this weekend. Then nausea started to set in. If I were to see him, and possibly with his wife, and certain he would ignore me – it would probably debilitate me and ruin my entire Peloton community weekend.

Then yesterday, I was in the city and was “this close” to taking a class at the studio when I decided to head home instead. Thank goodness my feet took me home because, I took that class on demand later in my day and who was at the front of class: Tony. Same instructor, Tony’s kind of music, and he was seated right at the front of class where you can see him on video most of the class. Of course the instructor also shouted him out and spoke to him.

I didn’t feel sick this time. Instead I worked up my best time ever and sweat mounds of sweat getting through that ride cursing the bastard for sitting there in his life. Knowing he’s back into his perfect life and marriage and just feeling angry. The anger fueled me and I got a personal best record for the ride. I wasn’t done. I went down to my treadmill for another hour-and-a-half and did some walk + run classes to continue my sweat.

If I had bumped into him at the studio, it would not have gone well. His last words to me were “my last impression of you is an asshole. Congratulations”. He means it too. I crossed the line with his wife and his wife told his kids – his worst nightmare come true to look bad in their eyes. I know him well enough to know he doesn’t forgive, certainly not a threat to his family. I am the one who hurt his family and he will always think of me that way. I am sad about it, but that’s my own doing.

This is why I think it’s some strange intuition in me. I started thinking of him and suddenly he actually manifests.

I don’t think he will be at the event this weekend, but as a sort of protection, August is going with me to the Saturday evening cocktail party and concert. It was a last minute decision when I heard from August again and I hope I don’t regret it. He’s about to be thrown into a pool of Peloton crazies and I don’t care. As long as he’s on my arm if Tony should be there.

Complete Break from Reality

It’s my own fault. There is a dark, dark part of me – even beyond Trixie’s antics – that comes out.

I sent the text because I was mad at him for blaming me for attacking his marriage. And then he blamed me for attacking his family and it was more than I could bear. I didn’t even know what he was talking about.

Whatever happened and whenever, it’s my fault. I even told him it was my fault so he would calm down. But he kept attacking and spewing hate. I thought just admitting guilt would make a difference. It didn’t.

I popped.

I hit send:

Hello Kelly,

I am sorry in advance for the disruption this text will cause.  

I am writing because I had an affair with your husband for approximately 2 years from 6/16 – 4/18.  

I have tried to avoid contacting you, but have realized I needed to do this for myself. We fell in love and when he decided to stay in your marriage, we were both unable to let go for a time and then, ultimately, I was the one who couldn’t let go. I have been suffering a deep depression which led to harming myself.  

It is up to Tony to honestly explain to you what he’s done throughout your marriage, and who knows about it. Tony will downplay what happened between us because he is so angry with me, but you should be aware of what happened.

I then blocked their numbers and went out.

I’m unsure how he got through, I could see it was blocked but maybe because I didn’t block on iPad as well?

He called me an asshole and a coward (ripe coming from the ultimate coward, eh?)

I don’t feel ANYTHING.

No anger, hatred or relief. Simply nothing at all. Zero.

I wish I felt worse about hurting her. But she was never a real person in my mind so maybe that’s how it worked when I snapped.

It was an entire absence of thought.

I called my bff and admitted the truth and she loved me anyway but I know how disappointed she is.

She said I should prepare for the worst. I admit I didn’t see his crazy anger as coming at me, but now I can see that a threat to his family could cause this.

I hate this emptiness and nothingness. I feel nothing while another family is breaking down due to my hand.

I haven’t learned enough. I don’t have enough compassion or healing despite all I’ve been through. I’m not worthy of anything if I can’t even get letting go right.

I want to feel bad for her (not him) but I feel empty.

Why do I feel the need to create so much drama? Why can’t I let things be?