Big Words: Desperation, Communication, Attachment (part 1)

Morning my friends!

Many thanks to all of you who take time to give me insight and advice. I always love the feedback, I never construe it as negative and, in general, unless you are consistently poking at me, I don’t take any offense.

In particular, Jana’s comment from last week resonated with me and I had vacillated between replying directly to Jana’s comment and writing a post reply.

Obviously the post reply won.

First and foremost Jana, thank you. I always appreciate everyone (my whole tribe of faithfuls: KDaddy, Sassy, Morava, Gone, Nich, Maggie, Ann, NBrat) who takes their own time to thoughtfully comment on my blog. It means a lot to me.

So here goes – not everything is in direct response to Jana’s post, but it’s where the seeds were planted for this post.

Quite some time ago, someone on my blog identified anxious attachment syndrome. The first time I heard that on my blog I didn’t know what it was, so I did some research. There is no question I have anxious attachment. Much later, when I went to my therapist, it was one of the first things she identified and wanted me to work on getting back to my inner child so I could determine why and where the anxious attachment syndrome started. I didn’t want to do that work with her at the time. My focus with her then was all about healing, letting go of Tony, learning to be a better parent and building back my confidence. We didn’t ignore the fact that my inner child was crying for help, we did talk about root cause often, but I struggled – and still do – with therapy that makes you go back to childhood to view situations you can not change. Especially when it involves my dead Mother. I do not want to change my perception of my mother because I can no longer discuss any of it with my mother.

I know I am not willing and not ready to take this backwards view. I may never be.

My therapist and I spoke about that. Would I forever be damaged if I didn’t find the roots and forgive myself and the people around me for why I developed anxious attachment? Would I be able to forgive a depressed and anxious birth mother for being miserable her entire pregnancy and affecting my gestational period? Would I be able to forgive my father for loving my mother So obsessively he accepted the fact she wanted children or she would leave him, so he conceded but had no desire to actually raise a family? Would I forgive my mother for the fact that she gave up her life to deal with a depressed and mentally unstable and demanding mother as well as a hyperactive child (who in the 70s was undiagnosed and considered “bad”). Can I forgive them?

Yes. I have already forgiven all of them.

Do I want to think about and try to better understand how those forces built an anxious attachment in me that was created in childhood and then cultivated over 22 more adult years in marriage?

No. I don’t.

I know I have anxious attachment syndrome. But I also believe, as did my therapist, I don’t have to go back to move forward.

I do have to learn my triggers, understand the signals my body gives me and stop neglecting the small voice that says “you are not enough and you deserve less”. Or, more often, “you’ve done something wrong.”

I think, if nothing else has ever come across clearly on my blog – the one thing that has always cut through is my direct and transparent honest about myself.

With that said, this blog is an actual real time blog. I blog entirely top of mind and you all get to look first hand at my craziness, happiness, depression, anger, joy, elation, confusion and frustration. I put it ALL right here in the best words I can find to share with you. I don’t edit myself. I write what I think and how I feel.

Does it come across as desperate many times? Yes.

I am not exactly desperate anymore. I’m sure of this. Do my words sound that way? Sure, I can see that.

But you get a birds eye view of how my mind is churning through every available path and avenue. The choices I can make. The roads I should and definitely should not travel. You’ve seen where Trixie (and her friend Tricia) live. You watch me fold and unfold and refold the same towel a thousand times – fueled by my nervous anxiety.

I felt I needed to be clear about where I am today. I am in a better place than I’ve ever been in my life. My life has taken the best path since February 11th, 200 days ago. I am a drug addict, I have to count the days my head stays straight on my shoulders and I continue to make better choices for myself. I know this.

Right now, I do not believe any man is going to derail me. Do I get sad and frustrated and angry and write about it in the moment? Yes, I do. Because you help me suss out things I didn’t want to see when I wrote the post. Coming back to the comments is like revisiting the crime scene. I have to go through the action again (in my head) in order to reply to thoughtful comments. When I do especially “bad” things – I write about it because it’s the last way I have to hold myself accountable. It reminds me I wasn’t listening to my better senses.

I loved my therapist. I think she did an amazing job in the time we had. I was a big fucking nut to crack in under 4 months. She cut across and gave me tools to manage my family, Tony, getting back to work and developing new relationships. I wish I had more time with her but – as life is – I don’t have the time or money to see a therapist. In place of that, I’ve been educating myself and consuming self-help books by the handfuls, like MMs. It would be ideal to have the resources I needed to stay in therapy for a good long while. It’s just not going to happen right now in my life. I have time for one dedicated “activity” outside of work – my choice is fitness over mental health (assuming there was a therapist who worked in the evening or weekends). This is my choice in life. I’ve learned not to swallow a whale right now. Trying to fit any more in (structure) is going to be too stressful for me. Therapy shouldn’t be stressful. But trying to find the time and money right now would cause even more anxiety. I am fully comfortable with my choice.

There are two very divided schools of thought about how to manage anxious attachment. I always thought this to be be super interesting because the tactics are so opposite one another. And you all definitely reflected the two schools of thought in the comments!

One thought is figure out how to love yourself first.

But the other is – practice. Date as many people as you can and practice identifying and managing the anxious attachment.

Do I love myself? I’m trying. I’m absolutely in the best place I’ve ever been. I consciously work on positive self talk and creating good habits. I will probably always struggle with some form of “I’m wrong, I’m not good enough or please love me and don’t leave me” but I am working on my three worst fears that create my anxiety. Am I desperate? No. I’m not. I experience desperation and rejection within the dating scene, but I am not desperate. I can be alone. I have filled my life with healthy and happy people and habits.

So, along with the agreement of my therapist, we discussed allowing me to practice managing the anxiety through dating. If it became overwhelming I was to stop. And I did – for short periods – if it wasn’t serving me. And now, twice in 200 days I had two back to back events I wrote about that got my goat and I became frustrated. I experienced the anxious attachment in its full form and for the first time in my life I RECOGNIZED my behavior and subsequently controlled it.

That’s a win in my book.

Should it be controlled from the start? Yes! I hope to make that happen. But in the meantime, I’m super proud I had maybe 2 24 hour periods where I worked through it and acknowledged what I felt. I sat with it.

post script: somehow, half this post was cut off and lost. I will try and re-create the second half tomorrow so I can address what I’ve discovered about communication.

Small World

Today was a good day.

The kids and I had a family photo day at a beautiful location. They were not happy about it but we haven’t taken a serious photo in probably 10 years. We knew the photographer and the kids loved her style. She took some seriously fabulous shots. I was so thrilled.

The day was really perfect for an outdoor shoot in a large park. We found some beautiful old stone buildings and the scenery was really just beautiful. My kids hate stuff like this but they did it for me. I so rarely get them like this and I loved watching them interact with one another.

2 of the three agreed to a lovely dinner with me so I treated them to a special place. We were all dressed so nicely it was just wonderful to be out with my boys in a nice restaurant enjoying them. I wish all 3 came, but one can always be difficultly about eating out so I didn’t push him.

After dinner I met a friend at a local bar we’ve been to before. I was all done up for the photos so I felt pretty amazing. The scene was quiet as compared to other nights but we enjoyed talking to one another. The funny thing was, there was a couple next to us where the husband approached us when his wife went to the bathroom. He was simply being friendly and chatting to us. When his wife. Some back she joined us and we quickly hit it off.

The husband, Dave, was flirting around the bar finding other women to come join us and he found two more women similar age and the five of us started chatting and laughing. It was so much fun to meet strong, attractive women that just wanted to be friendly. One woman was exceptionally attractive and had been standing by herself for some time. We welcomed her into our fold quickly and she was so thankful and admitted she didn’t have many girl friends so came to the bar alone just to get out.

She’s very attractive and I can see other women being threatened by her. We started talking and one thing led to another and….she went to HS with Mike! 😂. She looked at me funny when I said I had gone out on dates with him and said – hang on – we are IG friends! She pulled up his IG and handed me the phone to look. Just him and his daughters – BUT – he was clearly very active that evening with IG stories. I hadn’t heard from him all day, so it just cemented the fact something changed for him as he’s had no issue previously sharing his escapades with his daughters.

This woman also showed me some interesting messages he sent her back around Easter. This would be right around/before he moved out. He clearly was trying to interact with her, but she thought it was weird as they were not friends and he was kind of being very friendly out of the blue “Hey! how was your Easter ? Did you have a good time with the kids? “.

She was concerned that he was still married and didn’t hear anything through the grapevine that he had separated. I told her our story and that I had been to his apartment. She wants to ask her friends who know his wife and see if she can find out any more info.

It was pretty hard for me not to shoot him a text with some sort of comment about ghosting me. I was drinking and we were having fun and this came out of left field. Sure, I was curious. I want to know more.

But I forced myself not to care so much about it.

Yea, the twinge was there. It sucked seeing a social media post of him with his daughter from an hour before when a few days ago he would have been sharing the moment with me as well.

I let it pass. I repeated my mantra for when I begin to get overwhelmed and want to act out. I too a deep breath. I continued to focus on these new women I met.

Then I forgot for some hours.

Until I got home. A bit buzzed. And it hit me again.

It was so hard not to write him. So hard. But I didn’t. There is no point. None. He knows what he’s doing. He’s not dumb. It’s intentional either to slow us down or to drop me. Either way, I have no control. No matter what I do, I’m not going to get control either. So I might as well stop obsessing.

I don’t doubt I will have a restless night of sleep. This will be on my mind.

But I won’t do anything about it.

The In-Betweens

I guess it’s been around 3 weeks since I matched with Mike in my swiping frenzy.

Before meeting Mike, my friend gave me a stern talking to about taking a long break from the apps. My short break was too short according to her.

I listened for the moment and deleted 3 of the 4 apps, including the one I met Mike on. I was still in conversation with the other two men on Hinge so I left it open. Plus, Mike seems to be hanging in – I don’t really know for sure.

I thought about what my friend said and took it to heart. I’m really busy and don’t actually have a lot of time to date. Vetting the strangers is tiresome, but well worth the effort because my choices have been good. I don’t want to expend the time because it’s so frustrating but I want the outcome. We know there is no output without input.

Much like a diet or exercise.

So, of course, I realize I am only going to get what I put into it. I have been consciously trying to put positive vibes out into the universe.

I’m just tired. I want a guy I can text chatter with during the day. That I can have a phone conversation with once in a while (not an every night thing). That I can rely on to contact me each day, and not wonder when or if it’s ok if I make first contact today or tmrw and how long should I wait in between text? The dating rules suck but they work.

I feel a little queasy because I haven’t heard from Mike in a day. He was communicative enough while he helped his daughter moving and especially when he got stuck in an airport for 24 hours. But during all that he never said he wanted to see me again. I spoke to him once on the phone and he was perfectly fine and normal, so it must be his overall text style not to write much because he’s chatty in person.

Will I be upset if I don’t hear from him? Sure, of course. Just like John. But it won’t kill me and I actually have a bit better feeling there are guys out there for me – my person is somewhere! I just wish it was easier.

Does he like me enough to continue or not? And why does he have all the power? At least in my head. Why do I still feel like inferior goods?

There is something I haven’t identified because MANY men have done the same thing with me – the excitement, how cool I am, how strong, smart, beautiful etc. I have virtually always impressed in the beginning – but do I give off some weird crazy eyes or something? Do I have a vibe that says “stay away from this nutjob?” I don’t compliment people when I don’t mean it and the compliments I receive are entirely CONSISTENT. So they can’t all be faking or lying – there’s truth in there. They all are quickly attracted but after a second thought they back off.

I don’t even know if I am making sense I’m babbling so much. It’s just been bugging me all day because I haven’t heard him. Ultimately I recalled he had a big day at work yesterday and I ended up texting him later in the day to see how it went. He answered promptly with no fanfare. I frankly asked if he would like to go out again and he said yes.

I suppose I shouldn’t have. I’m so transparent. I just want to know.

I may never be good at dating. My brain just works in an organized, methodical approach. Black and white. Yes and no. I always need an “answer” and have trouble with grey (in life, not at work though). Interestingly enough, Mike is also a Virgo. I made a joke about his methodical approach for things and he agreed with me. But then I also teased about him quietly judging and being critical about everyone and everything and he looked at me with surprise (like “you caught me!” Surprise) and have a big laugh. If he’s anything like me as a Virgo – he’s absolutely judgey (quietly).

Anyway, let’s see what happens with Mike and if I can settle into his cadence or follow his lead for the time being. If the other app, Hinge, nets anything – well then, great. If not, it is what it is for now.

Sorry for the ramble but that’s what the blog is here for! Happy Friday!!

A Second Date!

I did hear from Mike the next day, with an offer to come to his house in the later afternoon because he couldn’t get me out of his mind. I declined because I had to get my workout in and do my Sunday night thing before the week started.

I didn’t reach out, But he had by noon, and I was pleased to see the text I wasn’t really expecting. It was a nice change. Maybe it’s also because when he left, I didn’t have any negative gut check. I was going to be ok either way in any case and I already knew that. It’s a first for me in a very long time when I like someone as much as I liked him out of the gate.

He’s perfectly chatty in person, well-spoken, gregarious and funny. But very, very dry and direct in text. No subtext, insinuation or flirting. This could be another reason I’m not so immediately drawn in. The men I get engaged with tend to be very well engaged in text, I feel like it’s a real conversation. With Mike it’s a bit perfunctory.

And I think it’s ok.

Each night there’s been a goodnight and most mornings a good morning. Maybe an exchange of one text and then I hear from him around lunch every day, checking in. Very simply something like “hey” or “how is your day?” I will answer, ask him how he is and then I don’t hear much back if anything. I am not tied to the message on the phone or the alert chime, but I’m happy when I look down and there’s a message.

I moved from being uncertain about his continued interest to certain. I don’t have to do anything and I will hear from him to check in. Even when he is with his younger daughter or his friends.

He was clear about his plans for the week and weekend while we were together Saturday so I wasn’t really expecting anything from him this week but on Tuesday he asked me over for Thursday. To his apartment. To cook for me.

Knock me down with a feather! This is another first. I forget I never really had many “dating” relationships. Very few. He lives close, we both know we want to have sex again, and after tonight he is with his daughter at her college until Monday night. Of course I accepted. I was due to head to my cousins at the beach this evening but I can always go in the morning.

The strangest thing is, I’m not excited. I mean, a little, of course. But there are two specific reasons I think my little heart hasn’t beat out of my chest yet:

1. I am freaking nervous about having to discuss the wound. I have decided to be proactive by saying: I had major abdominal surgery last year and I’m very sensitive about some deep scarring. I keep a bandage over the worst part of it. I debated if I also include the massive weight loss and why my belly looks like it does and figured I can just write it off the horrible surgeries. What do you think?

2. Here’s the kicker fam, he’s separated and not divorced.

Ugh. A big old ugly ugh.

He is in his own apartment, she works and he works, they are dividing everything in half so there is (seemingly) very little to argue over, she is keeping the house free and clear. They are at the very beginning of mediation.

I’m pretty sure I’m so scarred from Tony that it’s the reason my heart and head won’t engage fully with Mike. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, I could like him so much more, he’s simply at the beginning of his journey and no one has a crystal ball. But history has taught us that most long marriages (he’s married 22 years, separated physically for 6 months) need space after the marriage ends. We need to learn about ourselves before we enter into another commitment.

We could go along happily for months and he could even get divorced in that period and there’s still little Chance his first out of marriage relationship could last. I know this.

Which sucks. Just sucks.

My friends think it’s fine to date him and keep him at arms length IF I can keep my feelings out of it. But, can I? Am I capable? My track record sucks.

I also don’t want to talk to him about it, which I normally want to do. Even when John rejected me I had a desire to “know” why? Just why? I wanted to talk about it. With Mike, I don’t want to take the chance I will hear words that I fall for like “who knows what will happen, I really like you” or “I only want to be with one person and I already know what I need.” Tony fed all of that to me and I believed past the point of belief. I don’t actually want to engage in any serious conversation with Mike. Or any silly and intensely flirty conversation that leads to actually liking him too much. None of this “do you miss me?” Or “did you dream of me?” Nonsense. I don’t want to fall for him so I can hit my head on the pavement some more.

So if I can keep him at arms length….can I remain detached enough to enjoy some company and dates and relax for a bit? Or am I doomed to run head first into another disaster?

This is, admittedly, the very first time I feel cautious. I have never felt a sense of (almost) fear of allowing myself to feel anything other than what I’m getting in the moment. I really don’t know. I just don’t know if I’m capable of it and built to have all or nothing.

For the moment, I will see him and enjoy the evening. I will bare my belly and may end up where I ended up with John (I have convinced myself that was the reason, it’s sunk in and stayed as self-blame). He may think it’s horrid and become turned off. Or not. If that’s the case, I will wait til he asks me out again. I feel like I have a better handle on Mike than I did on John.

We shall see.

Oh – and there it is – a text from him checking on my commute and my arrival time to him. And a little Maroon 5 clip. He can be a little cute I suppose.

I will keep you posted.

Something Happened on the way to that Date

I got aggro enough with the John situation that I opened up a bunch of dating apps and swiped for about 24 hours – relatively recklessly. Not really paying much attention to anything except if I thought they were attractive.

I supposed I started on Saturday evening when I knew things were going sideways and stopped on Sunday evening. Mostly out of frustration. I knew senseless swiping had no merit. It was just a reaction to the rejection.

I agree that too much talking before a date has been the kiss of death for me in (I think) every case (except Tony). After I got over the swiping frenzy and calmed the fuck down, I stayed off the apps a few days while normal life took over.

I went back to the apps midweek, maybe on the commute home, and couldn’t believe the multiple matches and text I have received in the short time I was off. I guess there were a few worthwhile swipes in there after all! I was a bit worried there were too many conversations to start, so I chose 4/5 to write back to so I could see if they led anywhere. I also noticed that John had removed me from his Bumble matches. It irked me but what else would I expect?

There were some really good choices of men and conversation started well with 3. One asked for my phone number quickly so we moved to text. This was fine because I was traveling to my sisters for several days to help with wedding things.

That’s how things started with Mike. Very small conversation, not overly engaged because I was distracted, and we both seem relatively interested. He was handsome and hit 8/10 of my top criteria. I will tell you the two he didn’t hit a bit later.

We had a phone conversation and he got me laughing almost immediately. He was chatty, educated and often poked a bit of fun at himself. He was a nice guy. We agreed to make a date when I returned home Saturday. I was a bit worried I would be rushed and then over-tired, but it would be fun to go out and laugh. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have any preconceived notions or expectations. We didn’t over communicate. Things felt balanced and at ease. He was definitely interested.

More importantly, something else was happening. The strangest feelings have been coming up since the date with John and I love it.

I feel like I’m ready to play again. It felt so good to flirt, make-out and have complete and uninhibited sex again. Good sex.

Damn, how I missed it

I definitely didn’t feel this immediately following him dumping me right quick, but this week it’s eeked back in and suddenly I just feel sexy.

Not like outward sexy looking – like sexy inside and I need to get it out. However, we know I’ve never been really good at casual sex so I don’t know how I’m going to go about getting back in the saddle again without my dance of rejection and depression.

I notice the feeling yesterday so when it came back today I paid a little more attention. I can feel my body craving touch and release. I have to get used to being naked and scarred. I felt awesome when I dressed for the date with John and now I was feeling it again getting ready for Mike.

It felt so good to at least feel sexy again.

I was looking forward to the date and had fun getting ready. He communicated he was a bit excited which I thought was cute.

I knew things were going my way when he arrived before me, secured a bar table and asked me what to order for my drink. This is exactly the type of date behavior I love. I saw him catch his breath as I walked towards him and was a little surprised that I caught him off guard – but he was, and he admitted later that he felt I was more beautiful in person. He wasn’t all googly eyed like Tony, or sexual like John, it was just a lovely kiss on the lips, hand slid to the small of my back and a hug that lasted maybe just a second too long. He had a great smile and bright eyes and no lack of topics to discuss.

We did get into ordering food quickly and he loved that I wanted to share (and you know how I love that!). We really asked a lot of menu questions, had a fabulous waiter and some great advice and decide on what to share. Our meal was perfect, the wine flowed and we chatted endlessly.

At one point when he stood for the bathroom, he came close and I asked him to kiss me. He was unsure about the PDA but I could tell he wanted to kiss so we had a short but lovely first kiss. The kiss on the way back lasted just a little longer. 😉

Soon the restaurant was empty, I was feeling pretty good and neither of us wanted the night to end. I don’t really recall all we spoke about, but it wasn’t heavy talk or history talk, it was just about life in general, a bit like old friends catching up. This was a nice feeling. But…Like talking too much before a date, this is something else I tend to do: let dates go on too long.

He was just so much fun and I guess I was feeling like he was a great way to get over the rejection from John. I wasn’t actually thinking about that at all, just in hindsight evaluating why I chose to invite him back to my home. So, yup, that’s what I did, brought him home to sit on the back deck with drinks – which is really one of my most favorite summer things to do.

We got settled on the deck and as I came out with the wine glasses he asked me what type of music I liked and started to play “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. Then he stood up and pretended he was singing it to me, extended his hand to offer me a dance, and we just danced and sang around my deck – an absolute first for me and so much fun!

All of this time I was drinking and I knew by now if I continued I was going to want to have sex. What caught me off guard was how baldy I wanted to have sex after being so worried with John. I didn’t feel that way with Mike, or I didn’t care. I don’t know which. I just know this had been a slow burn all evening. Something in my mind had clicked – I was going to have sex regardless of the outcome. My brain had already processed the risk of not hearing from him again and somehow pushed it off. I was more than willing to take the chance.

The sex was sooooo good. Way, way better than John because I felt like we were in perfect harmony and it never felt rushed or too heavy. It was just damn good sex. Like 5 or 6 times good sex. Once again I had a dress on so my dress Never even had to come off. I was able to mount him and ride him more than once, be taken from behind as well as lying on my back. The dress covered me. I have no idea if he saw or not. The alcohol pushed any inhibition to the back.

Sex and drinking. Drinking and sex. For hours on end. So much laughter. More singing and dancing. So much fun. Then we both realized he couldn’t drive home so I asked him to stay. My boys were in the house so this was delicate. It was 4:30am by this point and all their lights were off…:so we risked it.

I changed in the bathroom into a long T-shirt. I was pretty drunk by this point. More sex. The vibrator came out. His mouth was on my nipples…and not once did the thought of my belly cross my mind. I have no idea what he saw. My shirt had to be up, but the room was dark. I don’t know.

We slept a few hours and he crept out quietly before the boys woke. He had already said he wanted to see me again. He also repeated throughout the night “Best first date ever!” He left, I was hungover and happy, and fell back to sleep for a while.

When I woke a few hours later, with a very unhappy head, I wasn’t disappointed there was no text from him. I smiled, drink some water, took Advil and went to make coffee.

No sex hangover. No emotional hangover. I had a great night and I was fine with it.

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.

Hinge

So I’m going to try a new dating app called Hinge. Tinder is too much for men who are not serious, Bumble is ok but I’m frustrated after John, and Match is downright disgusting.

So far, I like the app. You have to post 6 photos and there’s 3 questions to answer which can range from funny to serious. There is some required info and some additional info you can add. The filter system is overall better than the other apps. I’ve seen lots of new faces and some older ones from the other apps too. We shall see how it goes.

I’m not pining over John and it may sounded like more than it was since I wrote 3 posts, but it was no more than a good connection he’s not interested in pursuing. That sucks, but such is life.

What did I learn?

There is, in fact, another man similar to Tony in values, communication and behavior. I think that’s what caused the most excitement because he’s the first I found.

My boxes can be checked and I don’t have to compromise. However, it may mean a very long wait for another good man to pop up.

He reinforced that my physical “requirements” in a man are flexible if I feel like there is decent substance. He was 6’1″ but super narrow from his face all the way down – I have always preferred more meat on man. Sex was just fine with a small penis, because he was very good. It definitely isn’t as immediately pleasurable as it is with a larger penis and requires some additional work, but it was nice to learn that doesn’t need to be as heavily considered (and yes, I’ve had almost all large men in my life so I was a bit jaded.).

He was ambitious, kind, emotionally generous and fun. He was a great Dad. He travels often and love the lessons learned from travel. I know my list is long but somehow he checked all the right boxes in the right combination.

I agree too much texting and talking before a date is detrimental. But only because it seems the men can’t manage it – I love it and don’t see how it really matters. I also don’t agree in an immediate meeting without a proper vetting. So I will go back to making good choices and only move forward with the ones I really find appealing so I’m not wasting my time.

So here’s to hoping there are other Tony, Bobby’s and Johns out there who are ready for relationship. And that I can find them through all the flotsam and jetsam of the dating world.

And Now We Wait?

Leaving his apartment was awkward. I thought for sure he would walk me down to my car, but nope. Out to the door and then a finger pointing to the elevator.

That was the moment I knew it wasn’t going any further. Could I be wrong? Sure, it’s possible. However, after all I’ve been through I’ve promised to listen to my inner cues – and they are generally not wrong in the beginning of a relationship.

After a date with a man that was a great date I always knew if they would call. I had no idea if I would hear from John again, despite his repeated words of being a good guy and being so aligned with me. It was a good chemistry but it wasn’t the kind that kept me awake at night. Tony, Bobby, Andrew, Brix (who I flew to CA for), Dan and Dave all come to top of mind as being really excited to seeing them again.

I realized I really wanted to see him again, I wanted to talk to him more and I wanted sex again but there was something stopping me from the “over the top” reaction I normally have. I absolutely had a little butterflies but it was quite moderated.

He had asked me to text him when I arrived home. I knew he was going to see his son for the weekend and we were due to see each other Sunday afternoon (which would have been the first date). But since he didn’t mention Sunday at all, even when I left (no “See you Sunday”) I already felt Sunday wasn’t going to happen.

This didn’t totally eliminate the feeling of being let-down when the conversation had turned into this:

That sounds like a “I won’t be speaking to you today” text.

I was sad but couldn’t help myself so a bit later I started:

No reply to those last text Saturday night.

I woke up feeling like he was going to ghost me and I was both parts angry and sad. He had so much promise and I just want a boyfriend already. I just want to date someone who isn’t attached and who matches my life cadence and he had hit all the right buttons. I was willing to even overlook cock size! 😂. I was so let down this wasn’t getting off the ground and started assuming it had to be me.

What went wrong? Was it the tears or not getting undressed? Was it the bandage and discussion of my surgery’s (which was light and not detailed). Was it just him – he didn’t feel an intense chemistry? I knew without a doubt there was sexual chemistry because we had morning sex and it was great.

I couldn’t let go even though my better sense said stop texting. I didn’t text on Sunday because I felt he was obligated to let me know if he was coming or not if he didn’t want to be a complete waste of a man (I was a bit angry and hurt).

Here’s what I got midday:

As you can see, no further response Sunday evening. I felt mildly better he had at least be kind and text. But this wasn’t the man I was talking to for a week by a long shot. I tried again Monday am with a simple god morning:

And that’s that. Do I believe him? Maybe. Does it matter? He reminded me of Tony in this instant where Tony couldn’t manage me and a drama with his kids sometimes so I would get shut down. Happens that John is exactly same age as Tony and their birthdays are 2 days apart. Is it a Leo characteristic?

I am let down. I had a couple turns in my gut of feeling jumpy to have him text and sad that he wasn’t.

I’m still wondering today but the bottom line is that he knows he needs to communicate with me to Continue. There’s no point in me texting him again.

I do worry it was my scars. That’s going to haunt me. Every man now says I’m so “hot” and my body is so “thin and sexy” and “look at those arms!” And I get it. I look super fit, toned and strong now. It’s appealing to a man who takes care of himself. And a very close friend said my scars would potentially be a dealbreaker – she’s very vain – and she doesn’t know how she would feel. But it’s ugly. And it’s tormenting me.

So there you have it. My “I need to know” is killing me. My tummy gets a little twisty when I think of it – just because it’s the first time in OVER A YEAR I’ve met someone who was a potential.

I do feel lonely now. I do want a partner. But I can’t change the things I want to have in a relationship if I want it to work for me, so that means sit and wait for the next potential and avoid poor choices.

I am sad I haven’t heard from him and it does bother me immensely – perhaps because I see nothing glaring at me that would cause him not to want a second date.

I sent a last text this morning because it’s eating at me. I don’t actually expect an honest reply. But he will likely reply with something.

I probably shouldn’t have sent the last text – when does anyone in these situations tell the truth? But as I’ve been thinking about it I remembered that both August and Tom had the courtesy to say “Thanks, but no thanks” to me and I always say it to a man. He just didn’t strike me as such a player and I guess I missed the cues in there somewhere.

I’m lamenting more over the prospect of an actual match than John himself – which should say something to me. He hit my list attributes one by one and it felt something like a miracle! I will live. It was one date, a great date, and great sex. It also made me realize that no matter how long I wait to sleep with someone my scars are never going away – so I better get that first story/explanation under control for the next time I need to deliver it so I’m not so emotional about it. I would like to believe that someone who really likes you wouldn’t be bothered by my ravished body, but I do think it’s highly possible and I’m going to need to accept when that happens as well.

Adding this at 10am this morning. Pretty clear and straightforward:

Good morning Madeline. Yes, I absolutely owe you an explanation, and every day that passed made it harder to send the message, so thank you for your message this morning. What happened with my boys this weekend just made me think about relationships in general, not really you specifically. You just happened to be here at the time. The bottom line is that I’m not interested in going fast and furious at this point. The communication we had last week wouldn’t have happened if I was here. I was half a world away and the time difference and my free time made it easy and I got caught up. It was really nice though and I enjoyed Fri. I know all this sounds like bullshit, and I would think the same thing if I were in your shoes. I have a million other thoughts but they’re not really important, I’m just not ready for a full blown relationship. I should have said something proactively earlier, I just didn’t even know what I wanted. I’m sorry, you’re really sweet and you deserve the best in the future.

I Don’t Even Understand How Dating Works Anymore….

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written, but honestly there wasn’t much to report.

Adjusting to work and the commute has frankly sucked. I’m between a rock and hard spot to sort of “interview” during this freelance period and show them what I can do so they may consider hiring me. Conversely, I don’t want to give away my best ideas and skills for free since they are not paying me near what I’m worth. I also find myself not wanting to work 60-70 hour weeks being paid less than what I’m worth, even if the pay is fair enough for the current role I’m performing. It’s really a catch 22 at the moment. I work remote Friday’s which I know they don’t love but it’s saving my sanity.

I also realize after all I’ve been through that I no longer have the killer instinct. I know it may come back, but for now I know I still need more rest than normal. I must take care of myself.

Finding a workout balance has been tough at best. I leave at 7am and I’m home at 730/8pm. I’m starving and need to eat which means I don’t start working out til post 8/830. I need to be sleeping by 10 to function. It’s a killer and I’m trying to figure it all out. When I missed my first day in 160 days, I panicked for a moment and then told myself this: I missed the workout because I was having so much fun with my friends. My priority that Sunday was my emotional well being. I truly didn’t feel as bad as I thought (which honestly is the bigger worry, I don’t want any excuses to slip in and take over again). Then, just a few days later, the same thing happened: I randomly missed a workout.

My workouts are simply Peloton related. It could be a quick 5 minute stretch, yoga, meditation or something active. My commitment to myself was to make it part of my life every day. When I make it a priority I always figure out how to make it happen. I can’t figure out how to get the quantity (in time and effort) I prefer but I may have to adjust my lens on what’s feasible when I’m working and commuting.

When I missed the second day, I realized it just past midnight. I missed it because I was on the phone with a man I had matched with and we had some crazy connection. He was traveling in India, so it was his morning to my night. John is the reason for the post, actually.

I matched with John on Bumble. He wasn’t exactly my physical type but he met enough criteria. He was out of my distance range so it was a surprise he came up as a match. On Bumble the woman initiates the conversation and he replied quickly. We both had a lot going on and agreed to exchange phone numbers more quickly than usual. We both happened to be going into the city with friends for the evening. Surprisingly, we kept in touch. We both found each other interesting enough to communicate while with friends. It wasn’t a lot, but it was sweet. And we were both drunk. No sexting. Just funny text.

He was leaving for India the next day. I was still in the city with my friends for another evening. We text chat back and forth most of the day and then he called me when he arrived to the airport. We spoke for over an hour through airport security and dropped calls. We just kept going. He was fun, interesting, intelligent and I enjoyed speaking to him.

I didn’t get the butterflies I’ve gotten so often in the past when a man begins to check my boxes. This didn’t feel like that. I just liked him. He wasn’t overt, it was a really genuinely easy conversation from one topic to another. We had everything in common – and I mean everything. There was nothing we didn’t see eye to eye on and that was truly the strangest part. We weren’t excitable with one another, no one was giddy or coming on to the other – it was just easy. He asked a lot of questions that showed me he was interested. He answered any question I had as well as offered up his own stories.

Off he went to the plane and the communication didn’t stop! He had WiFi and text throughout the flight while he was awake. He text me through his 25 hour journey to India. He was so communicative that I became more interested and engaged after a few days of his attention – no one had communicated like this with me since Tony. He wasn’t as flattering as Tony was (because Tony was in immediate limerence) but he was eager and interested. I started to drop my guard. Within the week I began to expect his text because he was so consistent.

While John traveled for the week, I was having a killer week at work. But somehow, we communicated consistently. No good mornings every day kind of thing, but I knew he was texting me pretty soon after he woke up and looking for me to chat while we had some crossover time. He was consistently responsive. After 4/5 days of text, the conversation had taken on an incredulous tone for both of us – we still hadn’t found one thing, not one thing, that we disagreed on. I finally threw out dance music and he admitted he didn’t like it! But seriously, that was it. Really and truly – every thing else was aligned: family, religion, politics, jobs, travel, clothing, shopping, food, music, exercise, activity, favorite places, friends etc etc etc. it felt like Tony without the limerence. It was more than clear he was attracted, but it never got over the top until the last day before he returned home.

We had avoided all sex talk and it eventually made it around to some teasing. In an effort not to tease him directly but to still share my crazy sexuality, I sent an old blog story I had written. Surprisingly (again, it was common at this point) he wrote me back a sexy story! Bobby and I used to do this and I loved it, but never thought it would happen again! And here it was, happening without any pressure. He just wrote! I had crossed over into shock as did he. We both started to say “how can you be real?” Multiple times.

The sexy talk continued, I admit I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to stop but I didn’t. It wasn’t too crazy but it was a tease. He loved it. I loved it. We made plans to meet Sunday. In between it all we had normal conversation. Some he initiated and some I initiated. I began to get a little excited because I hadn’t met a man like this since Tony. He was arriving home on Friday and then driving up to see his son Saturday. He would come to me Sunday after he saw his son on the way home from his trip.

But, at some point he began to tell me there was just no way he could wait til Sunday to meet me. He wanted to meet me now! I felt like everything was entirely genuine about our connection. I wanted to meet him as much as he wanted to meet me. I had no concern we wouldn’t be attracted. We already wanted to sleep together. He was willing to get off the plane from India and drive the hour to meet me.

That didn’t feel right or fair to me. 24 hours of travel would kill me. I agreed to see him and offered to drive to him. I spoke to my girlfriend about this and she agreed and told me to throw an overnight bag in just in case.

Now I began to worry. The chemistry was off the charts, I knew it would be in person, and if it really did work between us – I was going to have to explain my scars before getting undressed. Because I was getting queasy of this, I finally decided I just wouldn’t get undressed on the first date – even if I did stay overnight with him – that I wouldn’t have sex with him. I should have known myself better, but I kept telling myself I could hold out.

So while I was debating internally – I sent him this text at the same exact time he was typing a text with the exact same thought:

Exchanges like this happened pretty frequently – we were just in the same wavelength.

I included some snippets of conversation – just to show you how equally engaged he was be the end of the week:

I was convinced by his repetition of his interest in me and his consistency in his language.

So, I totally agreed to drive to him on Friday night and wear a sexy pair of heels (part of the discussion above). I was really excited and hadn’t felt the butterflies in so long that I actually wasn’t even sure what I was feeling.

My emotions were saying “hell,yes, real potential here!” And my brain was saying “how good is he at convincing a woman to sleep with him? And if he repeats the body type during the conversation more than once, will he be able to manage my wounds? I don’t think so, he’s going to get grossed out by my naked self”

And those are the thoughts that kept me awake Thursday night. Would I disappoint him? I was so confused.

He’s Nice, but not for Me.

I met a nice guy last week, his name is Rob. Since I’ve had one Rob already I guess this one is Rob2. We matched on Bumble and started and easy conversation. He was engaging and attentive.

Rob had many of the qualities I am immediately drawn to. Good looking enough for me, tall, decent shape, well traveled, older child, divorced and one long relationship behind him. He seemed to have a good perspective on relationships and a good group of friends. So we moved to the phone call easily enough.

When we matched he was in a town close to me, but as I discovered, he lives about 2,5 hours from me. He said he doesn’t mind as he’s had no luck finding anyone closer and his best friend lives in the town where we matched. He was more than willing to travel to me as long as I was willing, in the future, to stay at his place occasionally. I could consider that.

Initially, the only “red flag” I noticed at the start was that he was retired law-enforcement and owned a landscaping business. So far, this type of background has never worked out for me. I’m not judging a person by their career, it’s more about the stereotypical person that chooses a career in law enforcement, especially in a large city. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t fit the stereotype. I generally stay away from engaging a man with a career in law enforcement. But, Rob felt like he broke the mold a little bit and I was interested in meeting him. So, we planned a date where he would drive all the way to me, then stay overnight at his friends so he didn’t have to worry about the long drive back.

Rob is a consummate gentleman. Holds doors opens, pulls out the chair, makes sure the woman is settled and attended to. My drink was waiting for me when I arrived. You know how I love all this things so I notice them quite quickly. We were able to hit off an easy conversation and chose to order some food. I even got the bonus where he cut my food and fed me a few forkfuls. I know it’s silly but I love this kind of attention.

He leaned in to kiss me at the bar and I willingly accepted his kiss. Pretty much a perfect kiss and I don’t mind PDA. There were several more kisses throughout the night and eventually his hands found their way to the back of my head and into my hair. There really is nothing better than when a man pulls you in for a kiss with their hands tangled in your hair and pulls your head towards theirs!

Rob was batting a thousand.

We left the bar hand in hand and went to my car. He pressed against me for some deeper, more intimate kissing. I felt his approval quite firmly against my leg. Then he picked me up and held me against the car. I forget how light I am now and how this is possible so I am startled when it happens. My head goes right to “omg they are going to groan when they try and lift me” and that I must weigh a ton. For a strong and tall man, my weight and body type are not difficult to lift. We stayed there several minutes before he leaned back to let me drop, stepped back away from me and very obviously stuck his hand down his pants to adjust himself. And, as if I didn’t notice, commented on it.

Ok, I don’t know why, but this pulled me right out of the moment. It seemed so crass all the sudden. I know men need to adjust themselves but I guess it was so indelicate that it bothered me? I don’t know. Then it made me think: has this happened before? Well, yes, of course men have adjusted themselves when they are hot and bothered around me but perhaps not so obviously. He also stated the obvious which made it even more obvious! I don’t know, this clicked a weird switch inside me.

We kissed goodnight and parted with the promise of a second date. He threw a comment over his shoulder that I now forget, but whatever it was, it made my hair stand on end. I recall it was less so the comment than how it was delivered. It made me think “there’s more to his pleasant facade than meets the eye.”

The next morning the requisite “good morning” text came through and we chatted on and off via text during the day. We had established, during our date, things we both liked in a relationship and he was clear to say sexual banter was important.

I had a flashback. I distinctly recall a time when all I wanted was sexual banter. That it was an important attribute to starting communication. Oh, how we live and learn! I still occasionally hear from my favorite banter-boy, Randy. A then young 31 to my 46, was hands down all time best at text banter. We had some of the most clever and fun conversations I’ve ever had in my life. When he pops back up now I go a round or two with him just to keep the clever banter juices flowing then ignore or block him for months and months. He ALWAYS comes back. Anyway, while it was a hallmark of my early dating days, banter now is easy and carefree and doesn’t carry as much sexual innuendo and pressure. Every comment is not interpreted into a sexual situation. I don’t even like that as much anymore. I want to be able to have a conversation that isn’t interrupted by a consistent barrage of sexual innuendo (oh hello M, did you grow up much?!). But Rob, well he loves to do this. Many conversations start out with some comment to some reference turning sexual. When I ignore it and he repeats the joke he also then apologizes when he doesn’t get the requisite reactions and says “I hope you know I’m only teasing.” Yes, I know, but I don’t care for it much. Why? Well I assume there are two reasons: I’m not fully attracted to him and I know, could be wrong but my guess is, if I start he will NEVER stop. Every initial conversation starts this way. He does stop after this type of interaction but sometimes gives it a second or third try. I mostly ignore it unless I can make it cute.

him: “I’m hopping in the shower”

Me: “I just got out”

him: “So we are both naked! I would be behind you right now…”

Me: “Handing me the soap?”

Post the first date, this becomes another reddish flag.

We decide on a second date and, again, he offers to come down to me which is generous considering it’s after work for me and therefore probably won’t be a long date.

I figured I could wear a pretty dress and some hot new stilettos I bought. I sent the photo of the shoes (he had expressed an interest in sexy shoes and pedicures) and asked if that was acceptable. He replied with a “hot” and “I better put on a nicer shirt!”

Once again, everything is perfect upon my arrival. He dressed accordingly and looked good. Cold beverage awaits, he stands to greet me and takes my bag and sweater, pulls out the chair and the first appetizer arrives within 5 minutes.. (My favorite food at this particular restaurant, which I had mentioned to him on the last date.). He’s paying attention. The conversation revolves around my new job as it’s parameters are not identified and he’s trying his best to understand and offer advice. I appreciate this, but there are several times where he tries to over-identify a pattern and it doesn’t really correlate to what I’m saying. I wish I could better explain, but it’s as if he’s trying to understand in order to offer me the best suggestion on how I can fix it or approach it – but not in a kind way – in a way that made me feel like I wasn’t looking at my own role properly. It was the bulk of our conversation that evening. I tried, multiple times, to turn the conversation more inward and personal. I asked questions about his family, his childhood memories, his fatherhood in the early years, his travel but all these questions were met with bland, boring answers that had to really be thought about. When I said “tell me one of your funny childhood stories” he couldn’t think of one, then he told one that wasn’t at all funny. Even he didn’t laugh. (His childhood was fine by the way, no trauma so that’s not it). When I asked his favorite things about raising his daughter, he couldn’t come up with anything. Typically a person with an older child will immediately say “I miss my baby” or something like that. It was as though he didn’t have any depth in his life or any depth of expression. He struck me, in that moment, as someone who is totally in their present – I’m not saying this is wrong, just different from what I’ve experienced.

I started to realize I was bored and not laughing. And not one comment about how I looked or the shoes. Maybe not the most important thing, but strange after the shoes had been a topic of conversation.

We left the restaurant after bumping into a friend of mine for a quick chat. My friend immediately commented how fabulous I looked, which then made me think “why didn’t Rob?” It’s a second date, there should still be compliments that are not revolving around sex. He asked if I could take a walk, if the shoes would be ok (oh so he did notice!) and I said yes. We walked to a nearby park and went to a covered veranda and started kissing heavily. While there was nothing wrong with the kisses, I wasn’t excited. He was and was becoming more adventurous with his hands. I had to stop him at my underwear as I had just gotten my period. I cracked a funny joke and he pulled back, made a big show of adjusting himself and said “yup, that was a mood killer”. When I didn’t react the way I suppose he wanted me to – he apologized and said he was just joking. He also talked at length about how he wouldn’t pressure me to do anything I didn’t want to do. I assured him it wasn’t pressure that I simply was inconvenienced. But he kept going. He talks in a meandering pattern that I tune out and I caught myself doing this more than once on Thai date.

By this point I had started to feel apathy towards him. I wasn’t really interested. It was time to go home and I just wanted to go to bed. We parted with a nice kiss and went out separate ways.

I’ve been thinking about the date since.

While I haven’t pointed out any massive alarm bells, something in me is saying “he’s not for you” and I can’t seem to get past that little voice in my head. By three weeks in and two dates I should be more excited than I am, especially when the selection of men is so poor! I also promised myself I wasn’t going to settle out of loneliness and I think that’s part of what’s driving me.

I had resolved to speak to him Saturday and politely exit.

But that’s not how it happened….