Dating

As the months have passed sitting in my own space (9 months now!) I have had some of my most self-aware moments. I’m not claiming sudden enlightenment, but I do have a new sense of self and can feel my strength and belief in myself coming back to life. I admit, this was a long time coming and it feels great.

As I’ve said before, there was no great epiphany, no secret sauce, no magic pill. I just did it. One step, one day, one molecule at a time. I practiced, failed, tried again and kept going. I paid attention to details I had let pass me by before. Small life details I didn’t have time to notice. I learned to take a deeper breath and hold it before exhaling. As this started to happen, as I took better care of my mind and body – I finally started to heal.

I am much more tentative than I have ever been in my life, I carry some fear around now. I am terrified of losing the tenuous grip I have on my new found sense of self. I am terrified of failing again. Believe it or not, I am hesitant to fall in love again. Maybe a little fear is good and will calm me down and perhaps make me a bit more kind and patient (two things that are not exactly strengths for me). Maybe I can label the fear as learning to be humble and demonstrating gratitude. I think this is something I need to work on.

As I’m sitting here thinking about where I am in my journey and where I’m heading, it occurred to me that dating has fallen off my priority list. It was never a “need to do,” but it’s always been “want to do.” Now it’s “I don’t actually care at the moment if I do or don’t, it will happen in its own time.”

I think I put it out into the universe after that last bad date. I was chastising myself for choosing to go out with someone who had red flags because it just showed me I was more interested in the going out part than the person themselves. I have plenty to keep me busy that I don’t have to waste dates. So a few weeks or about a month has passed where I didn’t engage in any relevant way on the dating sites. Sure, I looked and swiped right a couple times, but never really found what I was looking for. It became background chatter.

I still want a partner and I still believe I will be even better to myself if I have partner – I am certain I am made to be in relationship rather than on my own.

The difference is now I feel a sense of calm that my future partner will come to me when it’s meant to be. Knowing that is frustrating because I wish it was sooner rather than later, but I do believe once I’m healed I will be putting out the right vibes to attract the right partner.

I know what I want, I had it with Tony. I know I can’t recreate that, but I can certainly look for some of his hallmark characteristics. He definitely was a bit of magic sauce, the way he loved me and made me feel about myself. I may never get over the lingering heartbreak and sadness of losing him, but I can put it firmly behind me and look forward to what’s right for me. I now know I can do this.

I’ve met a couple men over the past months that ignited a little spark in me one way or the other. Rather than get depressed that those men didn’t work out, I’m taking the lessons and bringing them forward. I know natural banter is really important, as are decent social/dating skills. I know they have to really be into me and demonstrate it. I know they need to be tall (enough) and handsome (enough) to rev my engine. When these gears click, I slide easily into the next gear without thought. I can feel the difference between a natural and easy conversational cadence and one that requires me to make too much effort to sustain over time. I know I need the man to have children because parenting is supremely important to me. I know he needs to be invested in his job. I can find out all these things pretty quickly – and when they are missing, I don’t try and go looking for them anymore. I simply exit and move to the next, or as I’ve done more recently, just take a little break for a bit.

I had neglected to realize how important physical activity was to many men but I’ve rectified that in my own life and now even look for someone that is more active.

I still have my long, long list of requirements but I’m trying not to use it as my shopping list and instead stick to the above initial cues. If we can have a date where I feel good about our banter and intellectual and physical connection, then I’m all good. It’s been slow going, but I’m now ok with that.

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.

 

 

 

 

So Many Men….So Much Time!

I’m going to take KDaddys advice (from several posts ago!) and try very hard to start focusing on what’s in front of me (a new relationship) instead of obsessing over Tony.

So, I started to think about dating this time around.

I recall when I started my first blog in early 2014, when I was entering my separation stage and starting to go on first dates, that I never really logged my first dates. I was better a talking the sex romp stories. But that’s where my head was at the time!

I wish I counted or captured all the dates before I deleted that blog. I hadn’t slept with many men before marriage, but I made up for all of in the two years before I met Tony!

Now that I’m in a very different phase of life, I decided I should keep a list of my first dates – I feel like I go on so many of them. I probably have double or triple the amount of phone and text conversations before a date is even made. Now I entirely understand why divorced people say dating is such hard work. Knowing what you want and sticking to your choices is tough. But anything else is a waste of time.

Here’s a quick recap of the first dates I’ve been on since I opened up the apps last November.

1. Rob (6’4″) – November/December

2. Brian – January

3. Joe – January

4. Jack – January

5. Matthew – January/February

6. Anthony – February

7. Greg – February

8. Jack2 – February

9. Craig – March

10. Duke – April

11. August – April

Here we are just about to face the first week of May and, as I look at my list above, I don’t think it’s too bad. Some days it feels like more than it is – first dates over and over can get exhausting – but I had a flurry of activity after the New Year and have slowed down to a more reasonable 2 dates a month. Maybe slow and steady wins the race or maybe I’m just over the same thing time after time. Either way, I plan to keep track go forward since I didn’t do that in my first blog!

I think I’m doing better overall with my choices. I don’t feel in any rush to jump into dates just to keep busy – and I have a hella lot of time to fill! I try to reflect on my dates each time and see what I can take forward.  I think I am better at evaluating what is worth my time and energy and where I want to invest.

I absolutely feel differently about dating this time around. It doesn’t feel as frivolous as before which probably has some good and not-so-good aspects to it. I think I’ve matured as far as dating goes and become a little bit more open-minded.

Part of the fun goes away when you stop being frivolous and start focusing on real relationship material.  It’s probably also what turns some guys off to me as well, but if a man can’t say “I am also looking to have a relationship” and instead says “I wills hat happens” it only indicates to me he really isn’t thinking about long term.

I do know I don’t want to be alone, and perhaps, during this more quiet time in my life, I will be better able to evaluate the must-haves from my long list of relationship requirements.

Something Went Wrong

August kept in touch and by Thursday of the week before Easter, he asked me what my Easter plans were. I didn’t have any as my children were with their Dad.

To my surprise, August asked me to Easter brunch at his very posh country club. Then he asked if I would like to come up overnight as well.

Hmmmm…the reasons I had NOT to go were relatively innocuous: I didn’t know if I wanted to undress and explain, and did I really want to sleep with him already? Lastly, was it too soon for an overnight. All my lady friends were split on this decision. I actually did want to go, but had to run those scenarios and how they could potentially play out. I was turned on by him, I was interested, and I would like to go.

So, I said yes and he seemed thrilled. I started to get excited myself. Not crazy like Trixie excitement, but enough to have a little energy coursing through me and the feeling was very welcome after one year of relative flatness.

Then it occurred to me at some point the date was exactly one year since I had sex with Tony and ended that relationship finally. I haven’t seen Tony in one year. I worried that thought would impact my emotional investment. All I could do was wait and see. Of course my first overnight date would be some weird Tony-versary.

I would need to drive over and hour to reach the country club, but I didn’t mind. He also had to take a train from the city for close to 45 minutes. He plans to eventually move back to the area where he had raised his family which is why he belonged to the club. I don’t know much about country clubs but this was relatively exclusive.

Finding something to wear was funny as I only wear black, and have a very, very limited wardrobe because I am so small now. I happened to order a lilac dress that I was about to return, and made the decision it was a better choice to potentially look like an Easter Egg than stand out like a sore thumb. My lady network was split on the dress. I don’t wear pastels. All I can say is thank goodness I did because I fit in perfectly! Whew!

I had a pre-planned hair appt before departing for the date. My hair looked fabulous and I, truly, felt great. I had enough clothes for an army as he mentioned working out, taking walks, dining out and then, of course, Easter Brunch. I was going to be equipped for anything! I selected my favorite black dress and easy heels (what a joy since he’s 6’6″!) and my make-up turned out perfect. I was sincerely excited for the first time since my cousins Football party in November. The feeling was very welcome.

The drive up to the club was stunning as well as the club and grounds themselves. Talk about old money – this was a Vanderbilt Mansion and I had visions of grandeur (I am such a sucker for any type of history). I was in awe. I stuck out a bit with my black dress, heels and makeup but I didn’t care – I knew he was appreciative. When he showed me to our room he pulled me close and I felt exactly just how appreciative he was in our embrace and kiss. I also felt my own passion rise and got a little flush. I think that getting excited only got me more excited!

The setting was perfect. I can’t say enough about how beautiful the mansion and grounds were, I adore old mansions and this one was so well-cared for and in its original condition. Every detail was stunning. I was happy and comfortable, he is a perfect gentleman and I was ready.

We had a fine evening, ultimately deciding to stay in at the club grill room. The food was amazing, and he commented on my lack of appetite again. I told him not to complain because he got all my leftover food – he didn’t seem to mind. We shared well.

He is very much the politician and, in a way, there isn’t a better way to describe him. He speaks to everyone. He has a presence and a demeanor that commands respect. He’s handsome, tall and well-dressed and clearly intelligent. I don’t find any lack of conversation with him, but I also don’t find him to be very inquisitive. I tend to tell my stories openly, but he doesn’t ask much along the way (he does listen, just doesn’t ask for much exaggeration). Since this was our second date, it did cross my mind how much we would have in common so I asked about his social life.

I was a bit surprised to find he didn’t really have an established social life, or activities that he was really interested in. It seemed his primary drivers were work, kids, and politics. He is definitely in a state of flux – had spent the past two years in a lot of change and was looking for his end game. He was looking to establish a community circle again, which is why he was back at this club and looking for residence in the area.

I’m sure it’s unsettling to be in such flux at age 57.

He made a comment I didn’t agree with, but simply listened to: men of an age (he’s 57) don’t have the social circles that woman do. Men tend to rely on their partner at that age.

I did not find that true of Tony. Perhaps Rob was like that, in hindsight.

Our night continued well. We ate. We talked. We toured the house a little – oh my goodness, the house! I was in heaven walking through the gilded age mansion. Then made our way to the room. I wasn’t certain (before the date) how I would feel, but I had no question at the moment. I wanted to have sex with him. His kissing turned me on and he was clearly interested.

The only thing left was for me to explain my wounds. As we lie on the bed, I told him I had quite a bit of abdominal surgery last year and the scars were pretty bad. He basically said things like that didn’t bother him. With that, I undressed in relative darkness and figured what the fuck. I felt sexy. And, if I felt sexy, that would come across.

I could tell how turned on he was. Everything felt great. He did all the right things, though maybe a bit too fast, but once he went down on me I didn’t think much of anything. He was skilled and I was blissful. He asked me what he could do to please me and I asked him to use his fingers which he did perfectly to my delight.

Then, what seemed like very few minutes later, he seemed to either get bored or tired. I was close to coming, but I still had a bit to go and I’m rarely ever easy. I didn’t say anything because not long after that, he pulled off his pants and entered me – leaving me unfinished.

So a couple things happened here: I was a bit taken aback that he didn’t finish. I was surprised he didn’t ask about a condom. And I was a little surprised how fast he was moving.

But in the midst of it, what’s the point? The first time always has the potential to be awkward. He slid in, and he’s quite well endowed so I was thrilled, and he got excited very fast. He had to basically stop. I know this can be tough for a man with a new partner, and I assured him I didn’t mind (I don’t) because it’s only the first time (right?) and he could come as quickly as he liked. So he did, with great flourish.

We chatted and flirted and had sex twice more that evening. He didn’t, not once, make any attempt to pleasure me in any way other than sex. I was much closer to my normal, uninhibited self and made sure my partner was pleased multiple ways. He seemed to enjoy it all. He told me he would fall immediately asleep after his last orgasm and he did.

I was wound up and, since I didn’t have a vibrator with me, ended up eating MMS, chips and pretzels! He said I fell asleep in the chair, but I don’t recall so maybe I did.

When I woke, in bed, I knew we hadn’t touched all evening. I’m not opposed to no snuggling sometimes, but for a first time I was bummed there wasn’t any. He offered me coffee and made a perfect cup to bring to me. We got dressed and took a lovely walk. He’s not overtly affectionate, but he would hold my hand on and off and maybe give me a chaste kiss. He was inconsistent with this – I don’t know if that was in response to me or not. I was beginning to get a feeling he was used to being cared for more than being the care giver.

We had a lovely walk. He asked my opinion on many things, particularly where he would live, and said my input was important. I didn’t agree with his choice of location based on a new apartment building and cost because (from what he shared with me) he needed community and friends and to establish a social pattern – and the location he was showing me wasn’t going to give him any more than a new roof over his head and he wouldn’t step foot out of the apartment. It wasn’t the right location for him to establish himself, IMHO, but he seemed focused on the fine line between cost/location/commute/new building. When I said my opinion didn’t matter he said it absolutely did and really made him think about what was important to him. This conversation felt very relationshippy to me, and I wouldn’t want to weigh in on such big things so early. I was more surprised he was so interested in what I thought.

We also spoke about his 2 relationships post divorce as well as his marriage. He admitted he never really paid enough attention to his partners needs, and how they needed to be loved, but was a very good provider. I asked him if he thought he learned how to do this now and he said he still thought he had a lot to learn and perhaps wasn’t the best communicator. He off handedly admitted he wasn’t really paying enough attention to his partners needs as he was often focused on other things (job, kids, politics etc).

He also told me his first girlfriend post divorce was a 26 year old athlete. I expressed some shocked laughter and asked what they could possibly have in common. I don’t think he loved my response when he replied with “we were both athletes and understood one another.” I let it rest. He admitted the age difference became strange with 20+ year old children.

Went back to the room to get ready and he offered to go the locker rooms so I could have all the space to myself. He asked how much time I needed. He was very considerate of me.

We made a nice looking couple and I met many of his club friends. He introduced me to everyone. We took photos together. He liked to offer to take photos of me. The brunch was massive and I slowly ate my way through everything I wanted. I felt like a child who leaves food on their plate after they taste everything. My stomach was revolting a bit at the amount I was eating. I even had dessert. It’s amazing, no matter how badly I want to eat, I just can’t. I love my tool in this sense because portion control was always my biggest nemesis. If I eat too much I hiccup. Any more than that and it hurts. I have zero desire for the pain (many VSG patients work through the pain in order to eat the food – I would rather break the addiction and avoid the pain, thank you).

As far as I could tell, brunch went well. I made a comment that we didn’t have morning sex and he said he would rectify that with me upstairs. He claimed he hadn’t wanted me to feel pressured (he never came near the bed in the morning at all, not even for a kiss). Once we got there, it was more of the same from the night before. Almost immediate penetration and a quick ejaculation. I lie on his chest contemplating. Not much I could say or do about it. I just figured this needs to be rectified as we go forward. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t exciting or fulfilling.

I did make a comment to him at brunch that I couldn’t tell exactly how interested he was as he wasn’t very inquisitive. He said I tell him quite a bit about myself so he didn’t feel there was a lot more to dive into. Later, he repeated (in a sort of defeated way) that everything was going well “except that” he wasn’t very inquisitive and that he was distracted with important things in his life. That last statement sounded a little barbed I suppose.

We rose soon after, packed and exited. I was feeling a bit disconnected after the afternoon sex. I was driving him to the train station when we came onto the subject (again) of community and what he does in his free time. He indicated his life revolves around his time with his partner and doing the small things on the weekends with his partner. I asked him about travel and he said he had enough of that in his early years and just liked to spend time with his partner. I suddenly felt unease between us. I think it had been brewing, but now I felt it more clearly.

I got a very chaste kiss goodbye and no indication of seeing him again.

I wrote a thank you text when I stopped for coffee on the way home and we had a small chat about a development he saw across the street from the station. He walked over to it and loved it and said I was right about a community that would suit him.

I got the feeling I was being blown off, wasn’t exactly sure why, so I took a risk and asked him if he would like to continue seeing one another.

His response was strange:

Right now I am wiped out and want to sleep… patience me Lioness… sleep tight. 😘

I didn’t reply after that but did say Good Morning on Monday and that I woke with a cold.

I’m not sure what happened to be honest. I don’t know if my contemplations somehow oozed out and turned him off in some way? I wasn’t sold on him, especially after the sex, but I would have gone out with him and given it more time. After all, Tony had a rough start with sex.

I was really happy about the weekend. I was positive and focused. I consciously tried (maybe I failed) to stay open minded and hopeful and true to myself. I smiled and looked beautiful. I felt sexy and certainly he responded to it. But something I did turned him off – I felt the switch on Sunday and absolutely through his lack of engagement in the text.

It’s not the end of the world but it’s frustrating. Yes, my mind goes right to “what did I do wrong?” If I wanted to have another date – what did I do to lose that opportunity? Maybe I don’t fit into the country club scene. Maybe the idea that I don’t want to be in a closed off relationship dependent on my partner was obvious to him (as that’s what he wants it seems). Maybe I said something off hand he didn’t like. I don’t know and that eats at me.

As of writing this I haven’t heard from him but he read my good morning text.

My one friend said “move on, you had a great weekend” and that’s true.

Ah, well.

I would have liked to say at least the sex was good, but the best I can say about the sex was his endowment! No, I take that back. The best I can say is that I felt sexy – my body and mind functioned just as they should and it was great to be back in the game. That’s what I need to take away from this rather than the rejection.

Reappearing Ghost

Well one of my ghosts decided he did want to haunt me after all.

Since I didn’t engage him all weekend before our tentative date, I assumed he was a lost cause. But he showed up on Monday checking in on time and location and also remembering to ask how my weekend with my friend was.

Honestly, it all felt very genuine to me. He knew I had a friend here and he felt our plans were solid. I didn’t think twice and agreed to go and meet August. Still can’t get over what a cool name I think that is!

August is super tall! He is the first man to actually plan an outing for a first date and I was looking forward to exploring the part of the city he suggested. I had worked in the area some years ago and it’s undergoing a massive transformation as a cultural center of our city.

Driving in and parking was super easy and convenient which is a rarity. I had gotten my workouts in during the day, my hair looked good and the weather was mild. I had a new pair of jeans and leather jacket and feeling quite positive overall. Some excitement was creeping back in and the familiar feeling was very welcome. I was happy to be going out and looking forward to meeting him…not much more I could ask for. These days I never know when my depression is going to swoop in and decide I’m not in the mood for whatever I’ve planned and want me to stay on the couch instead. I was thankful my depression was no where in sight.

We agreed on a meeting spot and as I saw him approach, my heart leapt a little just because he is so tall, handsome and had a suit on! I was all “this guy is coming for me?!” kind of excited. Lol. Conversation flowed easily. We walked and talked. Saw some cool sights. Walked some more (20k steps that day! My highest yet!). Enjoyed the weather, city sights and each other. I didn’t feel pressure or disinterest. This was a very easy date.

Then he suggested we go to my all time favorite bar/restaurant/hotel (the bathtub room there is of Bobby fame – but many, many great nights happened at The Standard). I liked that he was in no rush. We sat at the bar and had cocktails. Then he suggested dinner. We were lucky to get a table, even though it was Tuesday. We shared a bottle of wine and some dinner. He noticed how little I ate and made the comment “that’s why you are so thin.” It’s too early to address more so I simply said I wasn’t a big eater. I have also learned to order an appetizer as my dinner so it’s less obvious how little I eat. Plus, if I drink and eat at the same time – it’s 3-4 ounces period – doesn’t matter if it’s liquid or solid. I need to go slow.

I am VERY happy to report I can now drink BUBBLES again! Yes! Life just isn’t the same without Prosecco! I had a Penny Drop cocktail, which is my second favorite (derivative of Moscow Mule) drink!

The only thing I noticed about August was he didn’t ask me many questions. I’m trying not to read too far into this on a first date, but he just doesn’t seem inquisitive (and normally that’s a trigger for me that he’s not interested ENOUGH). We spoke about what he learned from his last relationships and he admits that he didn’t pay enough attention to what his partners needs were. He also admits he has to improve his communication style. I’m going to take those comments of his at face value and see if I can work with his style.

I learned a lot about him because I did ask many, many questions. While he is at the right place in his life for me (older kids, divorced etc) I’m not sure ultimately how compatible we would be. I believe he comes from wealth and the country club scene which is quite foreign to me. Not sure it’s my scene. We shall see.

Another interesting thing, he told me how beautiful I was very quickly and often. He thought I was so much more attractive in person because I was so happy. Eventually he also told me I was quite sexy and I guess I laughed a little. He asked why, and I decided to tell the truth. When I was young (and when I would say sexy about myself) no one ever said sexy to me. I was always cute, pretty, and smart. Never beautiful, sexy or sassy. Now, it’s very common for a man to label me as sexy, even though I don’t feel I come across that way. But he’s not the first to say it radiates from me. This time, I really took that to heart because I haven’t felt it AT ALL in a year or so. Yes, I felt pretty sexy many times during the first 4 years post separation/divorce. But since the end of Tony and all my trauma, it’s not a feeling or attitude I’m familiar with anymore. I wonder what it is that men see and think is sexy? I really don’t know what it is because I still see pretty. I do see sassy come out. And now I see thin. But that’s it.

We had such a nice dinner and then another nice long stroll back to my car. Hand holding and kissing. All gentle, light and playful. Just right and just enough.

The night ended well, with a promise to meet again. He looked at me and said “you’re going to break my heart, aren’t you?” Out of the blue.

I don’t know, August. I don’t know anything anymore. One day at a time. My heart is still healing and my mind is still somewhat broken. Let’s take it slow.

This is Why I Stopped Being Sexy

This isn’t exactly the reason I stopped being sexy (refer to my Scared post), but this got my goat.

I went on a date with a man named Duke. He was an Irish/Italian immigrant, not my traditional “look” but handsome nonetheless and spirited. I met him in the city.

Duke had a great sense of a story and told some good ones. He had a very interesting and different life and I was engaged, though not entirely attracted.

I suppose at some point Duke said I was a pleasant surprise from our text conversation where I appeared disinterested …. that definitely struck a chord with me as I’ve been feeling it lately (see my most recent pity party post).

When Duke made the comment, it turned over in my mind a bit and I debated internally if I wanted to change that perception, or not, with him. He was going to be super easy to flirt with and I could tell he had an engaging sexual style. I could imagine kissing him.

But even as I debated in my head, I couldn’t get the sassy, sexy, fun girl up out of my gut to be present in that bar with him. She would not come out. I had no desire to force it, it didn’t feel right. I tried one of my good stories, and while it came out ok and got its requisite laugh, it didn’t even feel genuine to me. I didn’t share it because I wanted him to know more about me, I shared it because I had a story I knew was good. That’s it. Nothing more.

No wonder I come across as disinterested. I’m disinterested and disengaged from MYSELF .

When it was time to leave, we walked out together, had a lovely kiss goodbye and he asked me out again. He also asked me to flirt with him. I agreed to both. I agreed because I wanted to and it would be fun, it was less so about actual chemistry.

He followed up that night as well as the next day and I tried to keep it light with a promise of a little shower or bra shot as I was getting ready for my evening the next night.

When the time came for my shower, I snapped the promised photo and sent it over, with a small explanation I had not shared a photo like this in over a year so he was “lucky 🍀” I was afraid of his reaction and wanted to provide some (lame) context of why I may appear disinterested when I’m really afraid and that’s what came out instead. I wasn’t ready to be emotionally open with him.

It wasn’t my best as my body is so thin now and nothing appears full anymore – but it is what it is and someone is going to need to love it the way it is now.

His answer:

“Oh dear. Pot of gold :)”

My reply: ”

“You think?”

His reply:

“Shenanigans ahoy”

And that was it since Saturday night.

It bothered me, of course, for a minute. The first god dam sexy photo I take and the guy disappears overnight. He got what he asked for, was obviously disappointed, and ghosted me.  But then, you know what, I didn’t care enough.  I sent him a not so kind message back by Monday, then blocked and deleted him.  I hate when someone pretends to “not be the typical man” and then turns out to be exactly that.

This is exactly what I am afraid of each and every time and why I’ve been holding back with sexy talk and sexy shots. I’m deathly afraid of more rejection. And it happened!  However, I also know you can’t start a relationship holding on to all this fear and expecting some new man to suddenly be everything I thought Tony was.  I want to be safe with someone, and I made a bad choice with Duke, but at least it reminded me why I don’t need to do those things for anyone anymore…..until I really want to and  until I am truly turned on by the person I am sharing it with.

The Ghosts

I met two men on line that I was very attracted to, and had that little flutter of “oh I hope they write and like me too!”

Both turned into ghosts. Multiple times.

August met all the immediate criteria and we hit it off quickly on dating app text. We exchanged numbers and text a bit more for a day or two then he disappeared for over a week. I didn’t think twice because, unfortunately, ghosting is so damn normal these days. After a period of time he popped back up with a good explanation and photos of his kids and asked me out immediately. I let the first ghosting pass, we all get caught up in our lives. We made some fun plans for this week and agreed to speak on phone. He initiated both the date and the suggestion of a phone conversation. Now, he’s ghosted me again! As much as I would like to see him tomorrow, the lack of communication (since Friday) is an issue. If he can’t even text a hello over a series of days and expects me to come into the city tomorrow for a day date, will that be any different after the date? Is it worth the time, effort and cost to take myself all the way into the city to meet a man I will probably like only for him to keep ghosting me like this?

What do you think?

My friends are split decision on August.

Then there is Dave. Dave actually appeared on the scene in 2017 when Tony and I had our first break. Tony couldn’t work up the courage to speak to his wife and I was frustrated so I chose to start dating again. I liked Dave immediately. He hit most of my criteria except for never married and no kids. We had 3 dates, all fun and laughter and he was an amazing kisser. If we had met again, no doubt I would have slept with him. He was a huge turn on for me – and, later, a real sore spot for Tony. After our 3rd date, which went very well, Dave ghosted me. It was disappointing and unexpected but it happened. Eventually I got back with Tony and Dave slipped from my mind. Until now, when he started to appear on every one of my dating apps as a match. He eventually reached out to me to chat and then asked me out. He thought the “dating gods” were trying to tell us something. I really want to go out with Dave…but he’s is as inconsistent with communication as he was the first time and I still get a feeling he’s not all that interested. He doesn’t strike me as the pursuer, I always got the feeling he wants to be pursued. Yes, he asked me out, but it feels half-hearted to me, as though he recalls our chemistry (which he’s mentioned a few times) and figures we can fool around while he looks for his next relationship. He also asked me to come to him – which I did on our last date in 2017 – and couldn’t recall where I lived and wasn’t keen on coming to me. I think he wants what he can get (a for now fling) and isn’t really interested in me.

I think I need to just stop with Dave.

Both August and Dave are the type of man (on the surface) I would like to be dating. But I don’t think I’m getting the reciprocation I need and have a funny feeling I never will.

Do I just stop now with both and call it a day?

What do you think about these ghosts?

Over Before it Started

Don’t talk politics. It’s a key tenet of dating.

But when someone asks, I am honest.

I have republican values for the most part. But I live in reality and have just as many democratic values as well.

What I don’t do well with are extremes, especially liberal extremes which are rampant where I live. So much so, you can’t have a conservative thought without being penalized. That’s like a reverse discrimination.

But, lately, what I find with the state of our country is that if I do much as say I’m conservative the assumption follows that I am Trump supporter. That’s unfair and incorrect. Secondly, my opinion is a valid as the next persons opinion. Because that’s what it is – my personal opinion. I don’t actually get involved with many political discussions as I don’t know enough to hold a strong argument. And here, on the east coast in a major city, I am penalized for NOT being entirely liberal. Which is fascinating to me when that is simply another form of discrimination – don’t they see that?

I was chatting with a man for 2 days via text, getting along very well and he brought up something tax related that I agreed with. Then he mentioned something Republican and I said I understood because I was fiscally Republican.

Here’s how that went down:

And that my friends was the end of that.

The speed at which Erik from Bumble determine my worth as a dating partner because I don’t believe in free health care for all was fascinating to me.

He is right, if he is so immovable and inflexible in his opinions, we are not compatible.

What’s Up With the Phone, Guys?

It’s either some weird moon cycle or I have just had the silliest streak of weird luck. It’s not bad luck because I don’t care all that much, but three times in a week span is a weird streak of occurrences.

I may have written before that men age 50+ prefer phone calls to text. It sort of makes me nuts. I don’t want endless text to get to know someone, but I can vet pretty quickly over text if there is any compatibility before spending my time on the phone.

For me, phone conversation is much more personal and I want to focus on spending time with you and getting to know you. Until I feel some connection in text, I generally don’t like to jump straight to phone.

But this past week I lost that battle 3 times straight.

I seemed to have hit a pocket of men who were so stubborn about phone engagement that I just threw in the towel. Quickly. I didn’t give it any chance to breathe because I got frustrated so quickly.

Rob: I know for a fact we had matched before a long time ago. I didn’t recall what happened, but do recall it was because he ghosted me. We had a little back and forth text and then he called, out of the blue. I was busy working out and text him back when I was done. I suggested it was better to set a time to speak and was he adverse to text? He said he preferred phone. I called him early on Sunday morning, around 11am when I was out walking. He called back at 9:30 pm and I was in bed and not interested in answering. He sent a follow up text to say he “didn’t see” my missed call and text until now. I said that was curious and he got snarky with a comment “I’m not like other people who have their phone in their hands all day.” I call bull shit. We all have phones in our hands all day and we check them. There may be hours that go by, but usually not 10 in the middle of a normal weekend.

Haven’t heard from him again. Don’t care. I’m sure this is what happened the first time around. He told me he had a hard time dating – no wonder why.

*follow up 4 days later: guess what? he calls. No surprise there. We chat. He is really inflexible when he talks about his life. Everything is regimented. I work hard to get him to loosen up and I can tell he’s a good guy but I also get a distinct sense we are on different pages. We decide to meet and ultimately that goes sideways. Everything is a negotiation. I don’t want to negotiate. It’s a first date, choose a place by me and set a time. Don’t ask me to drive halfway for coffee. I end up texting him back and saying no thanks. I can be just as inflexible.

Ken: wasn’t sure about him when we matched but our conversational cadence was nice. He is very fair and blonde and not normally my physical type. Over the course of 3 days we text, we spoke on the phone twice and I felt it was time he asked me out, but there was no indication of doing so. I didn’t say anything, but by day 4 when he called again (always out of the blue, never letting me know when he was calling) and I was working out, he seemed to get frustrated that we hadn’t spoken on the phone for a day (we missed each other a few times the day before).

He had left a long-ish message about how he was suspicious about voice mail that was “boxed”‘rather than a personalized greeting. I don’t know him well enough to know if that was a joke, I assumed it was, but the intonation of his voice on the message didn’t sound like a joke, at all. However, I made a joke back that I was a drug dealer.

Haven’t heard from him now in several days despite sending a message to speak on phone 🤪

Personally, I think too much text and too much talk before you meet does create false expectations. When I find someone I like in phone conversation, I get my hopes up only to be *mostly* disappointed by the person IRL. If he had made a move to ask me out or indicate when he would like to see me, that would be different. But these were exploratory phone calls and I was interested in getting to know him too well before we met.

Greg: honestly this probably deserves its own blog post but it’s also probably funnier to me than anyone else. In any case, we text and he wanted to talk rather quickly so I agreed. He literally hit on a topic that made me want to jump through the phone and throttle him multiple times – I have NEVER had an experience like that before. He is in a parallel industry so he was trying to get me to understand the problems with the fashion industry (my area of expertise). And he kept at it, like a spike in the side of my head. Until I got hot and stubborn that he needed to stop insinuating I didn’t understand the woes of the industry. After we got off the call and I cooled down I made a little joke over his topic and suggested challenging an expert in her area on the first call is perhaps not a great dating tactic. We had some better banter and then he sent photos. That was it for me. No grown man should be making duck lips under any circumstances. And, I said so. He shot back that it was being silly and that’s the last I heard. Thank goodness because a man who makes duck lips in a photo and antogonaizes a woman on the first call is clearly not a nice dude.

So there you have it.

My extraordinarily opinionated view of how online dating should work. I have developed a lack of patience for rigidity even though you may say my behavior is rigid. What I have experienced is that men who are comfortable in their own skin and the sucky world of dating can banter, accept a text phase and ask a woman out pretty quickly. I don’t judge the men above because they have their own criteria based on their own experiences – and each of them wanted to spend time on the phone that I didn’t – so no harm, no foul. There seems to be a fine balance and we all have to walk a tightrope.

On to the next batch. Let’s see if I’m any more patient this week? 😂🤣

Cleaning Up

Since we spent some time in The Chem Lab, I realized I needed to do some clean-up.

I know that initial chemistry is not the be-all end-all of making good dating decisions. But compatibility is important. When I looked at a couple of men on deck, men I was going to invest another date into, I knew deep down we didn’t have the compatibility OR the chemistry to continue.

I also wasn’t really giving a fuck about any of these men on deck, so what’s the point?

I don’t think I mentioned Joe.  He was appealing and kind and we made a date.  Joe was lovely on our first date. I was immediately not physically attracted to him but allowed that to pass. What hit me more strongly was his deep desire for a long-term relationship where he would do everything to please a woman, and the woman would reciprocate. Sounds like me, right? That’s what I thought to until he started to talk about his past relationships and all that he invested into them. There was a very obvious undercurrent that everything he did was a waste of his time. Years long relationships where the woman never showed any real interest in him until he “had enough of being taken advantage of.” I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was a good guy, maybe a bit boring, but a complete pushover. I honestly felt a little bad when I text him a day or so after our date to let him know I wasn’t interested.  I just couldn’t find any connection with Joe.

Matthew was a different story. I have been convincing myself that Matthew had all the key qualities I was looking for except for Chemistry and I was willing to see if that changed with more time together. I was so focused on chemistry that I ignored compatibility. Once I had the realization that most things Matthew spoke about were not interesting to me or didn’t seem to ring true (like when I asked about the end of his marriage), I knew we would have a hard time keeping the conversation flowing. He also, more than once, glossed over my current health and job situation, boiling it down to “being temporary” without diving into any specifics. I was getting a strong feeling he was creating a picture around me that wasn’t really founded on Madeline, but his interpretation of what Madeline and Matthew could look like. He was excited about “Madeline on paper” (my new favorite term) more than actual damaged Madeline. My final cue was telling him about my surgery. There was ZERO curiosity or empathy, and only “that’s all in the past and those things don’t bother me.” It hasn’t sat well with me since he said it. I was also getting the sense of a mean streak. No one specific thing but my gut was pretty solid. I told Matthew I wasn’t feeling we were compatible and said goodbye.  I felt relief which was  sure sign I was pushing forward something I wasn’t engaged in.

This left Anthony – who, at one point suggested I call him Tony and I almost died on the spot! No thanks, I just love the name Anthony! For the first time, Anthony is in my industry so there is zero lack of discussion. He has older children. He is an entrepreneur. Well traveled. Handsome and secure. I like him, not bowled over, but definitely very interested in meeting him. So we have a date set and I’m looking forward to it.

The only other man on my radar had been the Magic Man but I haven’t heard a word from him since Monday morning when he replied to my “safe travels” text. It’s a shame someone so interesting slips away so easily, but that’s his choice.

I’m leaving the apps down again for the week to take a break. They were off all last week to get through these connections. I feel busy enough again and less distracted at the moment so I think a short break is good for my head.  I’m noodling over what finally feels like the end of Tony’s tenured hold on me.  More posts on that to follow.