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

Attraction

Class

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

I am so confused….. (Part 1)

Let me get out the dilemma very quickly…..I began talking again to Scott who I determined “wasn’t for me” for good reasons. I know this man REALLY likes me. The talking continued, then we met again for a night, then we ultimately spent a weekend together and had sex. You can read out my initial meeting with Scott here.

And now I’m stumped. I’m so confused.

I don’t know how to write this post exactly but I need a word vomit right about now. I have so much stress in my life right now that I have a persistent and near-debilitating headache every day. I’m hoping this will remove at least one stressor.

Do I write a pro and con list? Do I approach this like I would a business problem and remain removed and analytical about it?

My greatest fear is that my predetermined notion of the man I’ve been searching for is not allowing me to give a perfectly good man a chance. I’m also worried I am leading him on if I continue to see him when I already have concerns over certain personality traits.

Recently I was doing some reading on gut feelings and intuition and a little light bulb went off and I acknowledged something. Scott removes a lot of anxiety from me and I don’t know how. I feel safe and loved with him. I’m calm, happy and content. I don’t feel any of the traditional dating pressures to behave a certain way or look a certain way – I am totally myself with him. I believe a lot of this is because I didn’t really care what he thought of me because I didn’t see a relationship with him working out longer term.

Intuition is based on understanding something instinctively without the need for conscious reasoning. Soon after I met Scott, I fell into analysis paralysis regarding the possibility of relationship with him. I thought of so many reasons he wasn’t right for me while ignoring, perhaps, some less obvious natural feelings. It didn’t help that we only had a few dates before Covid quarantine started and the relationship became fully virtual, and there was no physical interaction.

I’m going to try and lay these out to have a bit of a brain dump. I suppose its a pro/con list in a way.

Scott has all the best qualities of what I loved in Tony. Many are even better. With Scott things have been easy and comfortable. He has seen my not so pretty side because, early on, I had determined he wasn’t for me and didn’t care how I presented myself to him or what he thought. We laugh so much over the dumbest things. We can talk for hours about nothing. He is beyond thoughtful. He would do anything for me. He is always focused on me and I can feel how much he cares. Anything I like he is willing to learn about. He wants to please me. He worries about me. He loves my body despite the scars and age. He’s smart. He has very little, if any, pretense. All of these traits were obvious right from the start and kept me wanting to give him a try.

My initial concern about the early relationship was that the combination of these qualities makes me feel amazing, but I wasn’t sure that I had feelings for the person making me feel good about myself. In other words, I liked how Scott made me feel, but I’m not sure I really liked Scott as a person. After about 6 weeks of quarantine it became apparent to me that I didn’t really like Scott well enough to continue speaking to him – and I knew he really wanted more from me. I couldn’t continue to be unfair to him.

So, I broke it off and I felt relief when I did, so I know that was the right decision at the time.

At some point during my surgery he reached out again and we began speaking. Slowly at first, with an up-front conversation in which I was very clear I could not offer him anything beyond friendship. I am not obtuse enough to think that he didn’t believe there was still a chance of more with me, but I convinced myself he’s a big boy and it was his choice to play with fire.

One weekend as we were chatting, and I wasn’t feeling so great about myself and my situation, he said “I will be right there as soon as you ask” and I said “ok”. This is no small ask – he lives 5 hours south of me. But, he jumped in his car and he came to me. We spent an evening laughing and having fun and he slept in my bed with me. He tried once to kiss me and I insisted that couldn’t happen. We remained on opposite sides of the bed for the evening and had a lovely Sunday before he left to return home.

A couple weeks after that, I had to drop my son off at school in his state. I was further west of where he lived, but he wanted to come meet me before I headed home. He came over once I finished with my son and we spent another evening together. Once again, a fun and laughter filled evening, sleeping in the same bed. Absolutely nothing happened this time except that he held my hand everywhere we went.

After this trip, communication increased and once again became daily by text. I was talking about my birthday and complaining about not having any vacation this year. He suggested we do something together and I agreed to spend a weekend with him, away.

The short version of the weekend was we had an absolutely amazing time. We acted like a couple the first two days, despite the fact we were not having any physical interaction beyond hand holding. But, by Sunday morning something changed for me and I initiated sex. When we were done, he said he was so happy because he wanted to be able to have sex with me “just once more” and if it never happened again he would be content because #lifegoals. The day we spent together Sunday was different from the preceding two days, now we were behaving like a couple and I was enjoying it. Where he had previously gotten on my nerves after about 18 hours together, here we were on day 3 and I didn’t want it to end. I was feeling something very different towards Scott, and it truly surprised me.

After we arrived home and parted, the analysis paralysis began. All the reasons I didn’t want to continue with Scott before were still there – they hadn’t changed. But a new feeling had surfaced, one I haven’t felt since I met Tony: contentment. I felt content, at ease, satisfied and low key happy with the time I spent with Scott.

I began an agonizing two weeks of torturing myself on if I should continue with him or not. I did not want to hurt this man twice. He is so good, so kind and so into me that it would be horribly unfair. My headaches grew so bad by this point I needed migraine meds. I was unfocused and becoming increasingly unhappy. Scott isn’t to blame for any of that – my life is in a shambles for some time now and adding the relationship conflict on top of being without a job for a year was beginning to wear me down and create a permanent anxiety I was having trouble ignoring.

The crux of the conflict with Scott is this: I finally met a man who fills almost all of my emotional bucket (maybe actually all of it) and creates some unidentifiable feeling within me, yet there are characteristics and circumstances I am so hung up on that I can’t seem to get past them – and they are not exactly changeable characteristics or circumstances. Even if they were changeable, I’m pretty sure Scott isn’t interested in changing them. We have a disparate view on one very important quality for me: career and ambition.

Where do I go from here?

(Well, we go to part 2 for now lol)

Shallow Thoughts Could Derail Something Good

I’m a tiny bit worried about this week.

I met a Peloton guy on line. We were flirting in a shared Peloton group and it moved to text, then to phone. Holy cow do I like this guy. Uh oh. I know my triggers.

Jerry hit every single button, twice over. I probably can’t even list all the things I like about him without meeting him. We’ve spoken for hours on the phone and by text – which I already know isn’t good before meeting and I can’t help myself.

He’s all he good things I’m looking for. Let’s start with his voice. It hits me the way my x-husbands used to back when I married him, or Tony’s or Bobby’s….I have always had a thing for the right voice. He’s got a slight accent which I adore. He’s very tall. He has two older children. He’s single. He has a great job. He motivated to have a relationship and is ready emotionally. He is fitness minded. He has a good foundation and support system of family and friends. His communication is like mine.

We behaved like teenagers. We began speaking on Saturday evening and we spoke on the phone for 8 hours. Even I have never done that before (could also be because I fall in love with married men??!!) We didn’t get off the phone until 7am, right through the time change! I lost a whole night, slept for 3 hours before I got started that Sunday, and I still felt like I was walking on a cloud thinking of him.

We are very aligned on so many important things, including understanding each others love languages. I could write a long list but the bottom line is he is exactly everything I’ve been looking for. Believe me, there is a red flag and a big one, but I’m not going to write about it now because its the kind of red flag I’m just going to have to see for myself with time.

It feels so right.

Except.

Except I’m unsure I will be attracted to him and thats disappointing to me. The physical pull is so important for me when I meet someone – its the one thing I have not been able to surpass, except with Tony. I keep thinking its possible this could happen with Jerry, and maybe I’m overthinking it, but I’m literally trying not to get too attached to how much I like everything abut him so I’m not disappointed when I meet him.

I’ve seen his photos. There is something appealing about him, but mostly I’m not particularly attracted. There are some bad photos of him that make me very unattracted, so who knows how he appears in person. My closest (and most judgmental) friend said “he’s not ugly M.” No he’s not ugly.

I’m going to have a very selfish and immature moment here, because this should be my safe space and I’m always honest here. I’m a very attractive woman for my age. Now I am also very fit and active. I bring a lot to the table and I (now) know my worth. Why is it I can’t get a guy of equal physical qualities? I want an attractive guy. I want the type of guy that my friends would compliment with a “he’s cute.” I don’t want to be the girl on someones arm and people comment the guy has a girl better looking than he is. This really bothers me. I realize this is entirely superficial, but it has stopped me from moving forward with a “nice guy” multiple times.

When dating Tony, I recall him looking down at me during sex with this completely euphoric expression, like, “I can’t believe I get to do this with you,” and I understand that “dating down” in terms of attractiveness can be a confidence boost in its own right. On the other hand, while I’m drawn to more attractive people, I’m just intimidated by the idea of dating someone hotter than me. So I don’t want to date someone too hot, just someone as equally attractive as I am, I don’t want to date down.

I am very open to meeting Jerry and trying to quiet this superficial side of my mind. I can see being his friend and confidant, and I love this. Our connection is strong emotionally, now I just have to conquer the physical part. I look at photos of Tony today and I don’t find him any more or less physically appealing than when I first saw his photo, but I am drawn to him, despite the fact he’s not super attractive. My hope is that this somehow happens with Jerry and we can explore the connection that we have.

Personally, the person I had the most deep, chemical attraction wasn’t conventionally handsome. The attraction felt almost indefinable, relying on everything from his looks and style to his mind and profession, to the smell of his skin and the sound of his voice. Deep attraction is, of course, a multisensory experience. But, as un-shallow as I have congratulated myself for being with Tony, I will admit that its mostly someone’s looks which overwhelm any need for a deeper compatibility at the start.

In the meantime, we have agreed to meet as friends with zero expectations. He is coming here to my city so he can go into the studio with me to run with my favorite instructors before the old studio closes and the new one opens. Jerry doesn’t live in my area, it would be a long distance relationship which I am very open to. He will come in Wednesday evening and depart Friday after class. We spoke about it and it is easiest for me to stay with him if I take the early morning classes – so he got a hotel room with two queen beds. I will meet him Wednesday afternoon and then have dinner plans with a friend and will come back to the hotel. We will run together with my other friends on both Thursday and Friday. We have brunch plans with mutual friends both days, and we will spend time together alone on Thursday afternoon and evening.

I am comfortable spending the time with him as a friend should the physical connection not be there. We’ve spoken about it and its clear there are no expectations.

Of course I know this is all risky, but we are both willing to give this a shot. The connection is unusual – when I met South Dakota, it was an instant physical connection, but ultimately we didn’t have anything in common and as the night went by, I could see him becoming less appealing. I wanted to pursue it further, but that didn’t happen so who knows. This type of emotional connection hasn’t happened since Mike and John and thats almost a year ago at this point. Clearly, there is no obvious reason for when and why I am physically or emotionally attracted to someone. I wasn’t particularly physically attracted to Dan and we ended up with some great dates, a mini vacation and some fabulous sex. I am struggling with this one and overthinking it for sure.

For once, I want my heart, brain and twat to fucking agree.