Heading towards something new

I wrote this from the train headed towards Scott. It’s a long train ride, almost 5 hours. I would be happier if I didn’t have a migraine.

I have vacillated a bit over what I’m feeling. I want to believe I’m excited to see him but it doesn’t quite feel like excitement. At least, not the kind I’m used to. This isn’t white hot burning butterflies out of control excitement. This is new. I honestly don’t know what to call it. It’s a good feeling. Sort of like knowing what a good meal is going to taste like, comforting.

I am looking forward to being with him for an extended amount of time. I have no doubt we will have fun. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be comfortable. I don’t worry that he will pressure me to behave or do anything I don’t want to do, he won’t even have an expectation. Or, perhaps if he does, he probably won’t let it show. His entire goal will be my pleasure and comfort over the next week.

You heard that right – one week. I knew I was going to need to see Scott on his home turf to begin to understand if this relationship would have legs. I knew we needed some time that wasn’t feeling like vacation time. The opportunity presented itself and I took it.

We will be spending a few days at his home and then a few days in Washington DC. We are running The Virtual Chicago half marathon together on Saturday. This is a good example of how far he’s willing to go for me – the half marathon was something I wanted to do for myself because I needed some focus to pull myself up from a spiraling depression. When he heard I was doing it, he wanted to join me. He is a sincere athlete and will have to hold way back to run with me, but it’s all he wants to do – to do this together and share the experience. I admit, when he said he wanted to do it with me I was really pleased. Then he suggested we run it around the National Mall in DC and, while I’m terrified to run outside (because I just don’t), I love the idea of being somewhere so iconic to mark my first half and being with someone who is going to derive as much joy (and pain) from the experience as I will.

I wish I was the kind of hyper excited I used to get before seeing Tony or Bobby. I wish I felt those butterflies. Once in a while there is a little twinge of something, I wouldn’t call it the butterflies, but it is something. I know without a doubt I will be happy around him – the question remains: is that enough for me? Is it enough for anyone? I just don’t know.

I still consider the fact we are from different socioeconomic classes. I’ve been doing a LOT of reading about that and it’s well written about that it’s a pretty difficult struggle for most couple to overcome this kind of hurdle. I knew I wasn’t imagining things when I feel this way. Socioeconomic diversity is a real thing and a thing that can cause either partner to be unhappy for different reasons. The only way I am going to determine if this is a real-world challenge or a just an in-my-head challenge is to spend time with Scott, especially on his home turf.

I will also be meeting his 24 year old daughter. She is the light in his life and he’s so excited for me to meet her. She’s so happy for him that she’s excited to meet me as well. I think it’s strange and sweet all at the same time. It will be a first for me. They have a very tight relationship. She is lacking a mother figure and I think he sees what kind of influence I could be on his daughter. I don’t feel pressure right now because I don’t know what I want in this relationship other than for us both to enjoy one another.

He went crazy cleaning his house and food shopping for me. His daughter has cats and boy do I hate cats – so there was a big effort in his part to remove all signs of cat hair from the place. I am terrified of all cats so I hope his daughter doesn’t think it’s “cute” to let the cats out of the basement. That won’t go over well for anyone. When someone comes to my home, of course I prepare in much the same way but I have a feeling my home starts in a bit more organized place than his does. He’s been a bachelor for a few years and I know he doesn’t like it. He often hints how he doesn’t bother with things at home because he just assumes his “woman” is going to want to change things. In a way, he’s quite compliant to the traditional roles of man/woman in a relationship which is, in its own way, charming. I like this, it works well for me. He will always care for me.

We started talking about love languages but didn’t get too far other than retaking the quiz and sharing results. I was surprised that acts of service wasn’t his first or second love language as he often comments about the lack of what others have done before me. His top love language is quality time followed by physical touch and then acts of service. Interestingly enough, words of affirmation fell off the top of my list for the first time ever. I suspect this is because I’ve learned to affirm myself in so many ways. I realize I don’t need as much from a partner though I still love to hear it. Also, Scott says so much positive affirmation for me that I find it a little unbelievable. I can’t recall if Tony did it this much or not. I don’t think so. I actually wish he would pull back on the compliments a little so that they felt a little more true. My face, hair, outfit or whatever can’t be perfect every single time but that’s pretty much what he says if I so much as self-flagellate. My traditional go to moniker is usually “handsome” when I’m attracted to someone and I find myself holding this back with him and I feel pretty crappy about it. It doesn’t ring true to me. Little things like this tend to occupy my thoughts when I’m away from him. I’m really trying not to let them consume my thoughts.

In between this nonsense I am happy to be heading his way. As I get closer I am starting to feel a little excitement and I know when I see the happiness on his face I will respond in kind. I know we will have fun, laugh, be silly and enjoy one another. I feel like we can be friends together. I know this is all a great start.

He’s A Nice Guy (Pt 2)

Thursday rolls around and Scott made arrangements at a hotel close to my home and said he would be here around 5pm. He was done with his local work early and ended up arriving around 2pm and I was nowhere near ready. I had that moment of panic that he would perceive me as disinterested but then got a grip and, instead of dropping everything I needed to do for myself, which included my workout, I didn’t and just let him know I would be ready after 5pm as planned. He wasn’t phased at all and told me to take my time, that my workout was important.

I also knew I didn’t have to go overboard with getting dressed for him, and I could just clean up nicely and we would be fine. I have seen a change in how I handle preparing for dates and don’t find myself really going over the top to impress anymore like I once did. In one way this is a relief, but in another sort of sad that I don’t get excited like that anymore. I suppose my sexy outfits and shoes will eventually be for one man who is going to really appreciate the effort I’ve gone to look good.

We met in the lobby and went to his room, once again with no pressure to have sex. We both admitted to being hungry so decided we should wait before getting messy. We also decided we would just eat in the hotel restaurant (which is quite nice, actually). Another pleasant and easy evening ensued. Conversation flows easily, but I still can’t put my finger on what I don’t like about Scott – but there is SOMETHING. Not enough to stop me in my tracks, but it’s there. Its making me a little nuts to ty and figure it out and, perhaps, inhibiting some of my more natural behavior.

Divorced for several years, two older children in college, a steady government job, a home and car. He’s stable and emotionally available. One longer relationship with a married woman so he understands what I went through pretty intimately which was unusual. We like a lot of the same things, we think along the same lines in how we approach things and there is no tension between us at all. We laugh together, but he’s not exactly funny -we just find humor in similar things and I am funny so he laughs at me.

But, for me, there is no excitement. I do miss that.

When we went back to the room we had another fun evening and we did a lot of talking to get to know one another. He makes it clear he is interested in me. He said I don’t know how to take a compliment (is that true? maybe. I am also uncomfortable with a lot of compliments coming from someone when I don’t know how I feel about them). I stayed over and needed to leave early to go for a workout, which again, he encouraged and was impressed that I was committed to my Peloton.

I would like to say he is a consistent communicator, but I haven’t gotten his pattern down yet. He prefers text to talk, which is unusual for a man. He asks a lot of non-text-appropriate questions (like “why are you single”) that shouldn’t be answered in text and require face to face or at least a phone conversation, which I say clearly I won’t engage in text and then he agrees (almost like it’s a test of what I will and won’t answer? I don’t know).

And then, the most confusing part to me – all the words are right. So many remind me of Tony. I have been dying to hear some of this and now its falling flat. But, why? Because its not Tony or because Scott isn’t the “one” they should be coming from? Or am I just smarter and know to keep things at a slower pace? I have this distinct feeling they are disingenuine, but then I think “how could that be” when its so new and its so consistent?

Here’s a snippet of his text to me:

I haven’t stopped thinking about your eyes. Your smile. Your laugh. Your beautiful body. I can’t wait to see you.

(sends a photo of dog on his lap and I reply “that looks comfy”) I’d prefer to have this absolutely stunning and breathtaking women I just met in that spot.

I know I want to hold her. Caress her gorgeous neck. Run my fingers over that sexy collarbone. Kiss her sensual lips. See the pure radiance of her smile. Be in her presence. Being around her makes your mind go blank.

I’m keeping a list of all your favorites (and he names them all…)

I may have spent a minute or ten telling my daughter about this super awesome lady I just met. Told her I would like to figure out how to snag her….yep, I said it. I will own it.

I’m going to need to work at Lowe’s part time (to buy me the things that bring me joy because his government job is low income)

You showed up and I was speechless….you look just like your photos but so much better in person and with such an amazing personality to match. I think you are the most amazing person.

So I should be thrilled, right? I’ve been waiting for this, right? Then why not? He’s so sweet, he’s so nice. Why don’t I want this nice guy? Why aren’t I more excited?

For sure one of my blocks is his income. It feels way to close to my marriage where the disparity will ultimately create issues. But, I don’t know this man and that’s putting a lot of my history onto him or a future with him which is unfair, but I think that’s a solid roadblock for me. I have a sense of luxury that I don’t want to give up -even being unemployed I don’t think I can make such a significant change in income and actually end up being happy (or grateful) about it. I think I’m already spoiled to some extent (which I’ve done to myself). If I am being practical the bottom line is that his current salary cannot afford the lifestyle I am used to and will keep me working until the end of my life. I don’t want that, I already know that. Is that an unfair thought, sure. But it’s the truth. My expectation was that somehow and somewhere someone would be taking care of me, not the other way around. Disparity in income and lack of ambition are some of the reasons I got divorced, this feels close to that – but I also shouldn’t assume just because he chose to stay in a government role that he’s not ambitious, should I?

He may also have a false sense of confidence. This is a total shot in the dark – his confidence could be real, I don’t know, but my instinct is that he’s a bit full of bravado. He doesn’t particularly beat his chest or something so obvious, but there are small indicators of how he thinks he’s “cool” and I tend to think people who really are, don’t need to speak about it. I don’t think I’ve hear him say anything self-deprecating…and this is usually my signal that the man is self-aware and has a sense of humility.

So, I’m at a loss. I don’t think I should cut him loose, but I can’t draw him closer either. Eventually things will work their way out I think and I will figure out whats at the bottom of it.

My friends are beginning to question my decisions with men. Most think I should settle for a nice man willing to care for me. A man who I would be a prize for. Yea, I get the idea, but I need my own prize and “nice” doesn’t do it. That aggression that goes with ambition is attractive to me, and those men are not a dime a dozen but have women who are. They also match and go off the market really quickly. Is it wrong to expect a man of similar caliber? If I find an unattractive man, but he has every other quality I’m looking for – why am I still dissatisfied? (This is what my friends keep saying to me – I’m shooting too high and have to drop the looks piece). So far, I have been unable to cross this hurdle – the physical attraction is a strong pull for me that I can’t seem to surpass.

I have taken a look at my requirements again, and they remain the same and I do realize that my formula may be broken, but despite trying to go our of my comfort zone, I can’t seem to be attracted to a man who doesn’t hit all of these:

  1. Handsome / Attractive to me (which includes height and weight)
  2. Ambition
  3. Physically fit (this is actually much less of an issue anymore, most divorced men are)
  4. Funny and fun
  5. Financially well off – likes a little bit of bougie and doesn’t get upset with mine
  6. White collar
  7. Father
  8. Divorced (or separated living apart of some time)
  9. Great communicator; understand words of affirmation as a love language
  10. Good sexual chemistry

How many of these are total deal breakers and not just desires? So far, it seems without 8/10 it becomes a deal breaker. The list used to be like 22 things, so this is a major improvement! But, even here, my friends think I should be focused on a nice man, and let some of the other things go (all their “nice men” are well off, intelligent and kind – and not good looking).

I’m at a loss lately and I feel like a spoiled brat, but I haven’t figured out what I can give up or even that I should give any of it up. Dan and Tony hit 9/10. Bobby to 8/10. Only Mike hit 10/10 and he wasn’t interested enough in me for unknown reasons. I still daydream about Mike and wonder why not me? I suppose he’s my unicorn.

If I’m not attracted to someone, how do you overcome this if they meet a bunch of other great criteria? Even the dating service I went to debated this with me – saying most women wanted a nice man and were not so worried about a mans looks. I don’t know how you have enough chemistry with someone you are not attracted to -to then go on and have decent sex? If Im not attracted enough to want to kiss them, how does the rest follow?

Ugh.

He’s A Nice Guy (Pt 1)

I was thrilled to have an exploratory interview last week and when I’m not feeling like I will jinx myself, I will write a post about it. It was sort of like talking to adults again for the first time in months! I felt my brain turn on, the adrenal rush my best skills coming out to play.

The interview was early afternoon and I had time to kill between the interview and meeting a friend for dinner. I had been talking to a match for a day or so on Bumble and had mentioned the break. He offered coffee post the interview and I accepted.

Right away there was a good connection. Scott was very responsive in text and conversation flowed easily. I was looking forward to meeting him, and attempting not to focus on his looks. His photos were cute, but not especially my type. I’m trying here.

Meeting him in person was pretty much aligned with what I had thought about the photos, good-looking but just not my type. The bigger disappointment was height as he indicated 6′ and if he was even 5’11” thats being generous. I HATE when guys lie about height. It is such a turn off to me. I was determined not to let the height thing get in the way of getting to know him. But, this shit sticks with you.

We had a nice date and sent a couple hours together before I needed to meet my friend. I thought he was kind, funny, interesting and fun to be with. There was an undercurrent of something I didn’t like and I still haven’t figured out what it was exactly. There were NO obvious red flags which was refreshing. When we left the bar we were at, he walked me to the restaurant to meet my friend. He pulled me in for a nice kiss and we were totally in sync. It didn’t send chills down my spine but it was a good kiss. Ever since Douchebag Jim I realize the importance of a good kiss even more acutely. Jim’s crappy kisses that one date really stuck with me more so than some others. He held my hand on the way to restaurant. I was comfortable.

While I was with my friend he sent a few follow up text to say he was thinking of me and couldn’t wait to see me again. At that moment my friend was telling me how jet-lagged she was and she wanted to cut the evening short. When I told Scott, he asked if I would come to see him (same city, different borough) and my (silly but sassy) answer was “I don’t cross bridges!” He immediately offered to come get me for our second date.

Before he arrived he had done some research on bars in the area and had a fe options. We walked hand and hand to check them out and decided together they didn’t have the right atmosphere for one reason or the other. We landed up finding a New Orleans style bar that was ideal, and it turns out we were out on Fat Tuesday, so the bar had a New Orleans style Second Line band (think mini- marching band!) We settled next to one another into a bench seat facing into the bar. The manager was friendly and kept giving us free Hurricane shots (after 1 I was done and he drank the rest). The music was fabulous and I found myself just sort of falling back into his embrace as we watched them play. We both had massive grins plastered to our faces, between the kisses and the music the night was really nothing short of great fun. It will be a night to remember because of the easy spontaneity.

Of course, now that the night is late and we have been drinking, he is asking me to come back with and I agree. He is very clear there is zero expectation of me, just that he doesn’t want the night to end. As we know, this is the prescribed line at this point in the evening, and I expected it. Unusually, I believed him. There was nothing in his behavior to suggest he would push me.

And he didn’t. Not once. Nothing inappropriate. He made sure I had water on my side of the bed. He wrapped his arms around me gently. Yes, we made out (a lot) and yes we were mostly undressed. He asked if his hands could wander. He asked if I felt comfortable. He didn’t cross any lines I wasn’t allowing him to cross. And then, I wanted sex, so that happened. Again and again until we fell asleep. Sex was good and he knows how to use what he’s got. He is intent on providing pleasure and looking for my cues. We fell asleep entangled and woke up and did it all over again. We were both very comfortable with the other and he was in no rush for me to leave.

The most notable thing to happen during ht evening was a surprise I still haven’t quite processed. As we were fooling around, but before sex, I mentioned my surgeries and scars. Without missing a beat, he lifted my shirt to look at my belly! I was so startled I didn’t know what to think. Before I had a chance to process (anger was the first immediate thought) he said “who cares, you’re gorgeous, your body is gorgeous and everything about you is beautiful.” And, I believe, he meant it because it was so matter-of-fact. But still, I was so caught off guard and just didn’t know what to make of his bold move. We moved into sex after that so I didn’t dwell on it. I didn’t remark on it again until the morning when I said I couldn’t believe he did it. He told me I was nuts to even let it cross my mind and said he wanted to hear the story when I was ready to tell it. The reaction of the men I have had sex with is exactly what Dan told me months ago, no one would care. It’s me, I care, it bothers me. The trick is trying to get over not letting it distract me and Scott removed the distraction immediately.

We walked to coffee together and he saw me to my car. Before I left he was making plans for our next date. He works between two major cities and his home is in the other city, but he stays in one place for a few weeks at a time. I didn’t ask when he would be back again, but I know he is here all the time. He offered to get a hotel close to my home so he could see me the next evening (as his company is paying for a hotel anyway) and I agreed. I suppose that would make it date 3.

The thing is, I don’t know how I feel. I don’t have a good reason not to be into him other than, perhaps, his looks. He isn’t unattractive, he just doesn’t “do it” for me, at least not yet. He’s a nice guy, so whats my issue?

He is interested, I like him, so I agree to the Thursday date. If he could go to the trouble to work from my area and make sure he saw me before he left the city, it was a good sign.