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.

 

 

 

 

Peloton Homecoming Weekend

I committed myself to 90/100 days of exercise and well-being and other than a few sickness blips along the way, have stuck to it entirely. The greatest motivation of all is my Peloton community and I can’t be more thankful to be a part of such a supportive group.

Peloton is about 6 years old and they host something called a Home Rider Invasion once a year. The Homecoming consistents of talks, community events, a sample sale and studio exercise with your favorite instructor. There is definitely an atmosphere of hero-worship with the instructors and everyone wants and opportunity to meet them and ride with them.

I admit, for the first time in my life, to geeking out full fan girl on the weekend. Why not? 3k other riders did! I got a hotel for 2 nights, I participated in all the events, and I rode my heart out and made new friends along the way. I had so much fun. I had invested in a new lifestyle and this felt like coming home to my tribe of peeps.

I wish I could bottle the feeling, but it took me several days to actually recover from the weekend events. I fade very fast now which still concerns me. Doctor appts to follow in the next couple weeks.

I had committed to attending alone, but at the last moment a Peloton friend wanted to come in Friday and don’t have a room so I offered to share mine. I didn’t regret making a new friend and she was super easy to get along with. A bit of a chatty Kathy but I realized I could just walk away from that when I needed. She made my life super easy because she was organized and got us to our locations on time. Friday night was a happy hour and we had a few hundred attendees from the Facebook group I participate in. Some people are very good at this kind of socialization. I have always struggled with it. I wish I was better. I can do a little but can’t sustain. I’m sure there were many more people I would have liked to interact with but I sort of turn inwards thinking I’m bothering people or they are not so interested in me. The night was fun in any case. My roommate was super active in the room but she over ruled any conversation I would have and I eventually grew tired of trying to socialize with her. She’s just a different type of person than I am. She seems to demand attention and desperately wants to share and be part of the group. I’m ok hanging back and enjoying everyone’s enjoyment!

The next day we attended some Peloton events and then there was an afternoon rush. I had a studio ride, a hair appt then a race to get ready to get to a HH. August was due to meet me at the hotel. The studio ride was amazing with some of my Pelo-peeps! The energy was fabulous and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought possible. Meeting people I had interacted with virtually was really fun! I struggled to make my hair appt and back to the hotel fast enough and finally bagged the scheduled HH (I regretted that in hindsight because it was a great HH and even smaller than Friday so better for networking).

I had a fabulous brightly colored silk jumpsuit to wear that set off my hair and newly formed arm muscles (they are getting there!) but just wanted to slow down for a minute getting ready. August waited in the bar for me as I got ready. A few friends stayed behind and we all met to have a drink. August is a striking figure and personable so the girls migrated to him easily. He really made our night easy as he held bags and took photos, always made sure we had drinks and was generally along for the ride. Honestly, I didn’t pay very much attention to him as I was so caught up in the atmosphere around us. I didn’t have any indication that August minded or was uncomfortable and I did watch him early on for signs of this.

We made our way to the massive evening event (think a small concert) and danced the night away. Everyone had so much fun. August couldn’t get over how people responded to me – and I suppose I don’t see what he sees – he felt that I energized everyone around me and people migrated to me. It’s funny that I don’t feel that at all, I don’t like to impose on people and I’m very forgetful about details so I’m cautious about meeting too many people and gathering too much information I know I won’t retain. I wish I could capitalize on this energy and connection August saw oozing from me – I wish I knew how to lead or group strangers in a way that was meaningful. I can do with a very small groups (an I did have small group with me all evening) but I’m no good at doing it multiple times. It does have me thinking that if other people see this compelling leadership ability in me (outside of work) then I should also consider how to put it to further use.

August was a fun and easy partner for the evening. I honestly have no idea if he responds to me, or I to him, but there isn’t much of a connection between us for one reason or another. I feel as though he’s impressed with me, thinks I’m beautiful and intelligent, but has zero clue how to act on it. He doesn’t do anything, absolutely nothing, that makes me feel like he’s all that interested in me or wants me. Which makes him easy to ignore and, perhaps, creates the loop. He needs a lot of direction and I find that frustrating as it’s a throwback to my marriage. But, on this very busy and engaging evening, he didn’t matter.

I also did not think about Tony even once. Someone asked me later if I saw him at the event and I truthfully replied that I had forgotten to look. 10 points for me. Trixie was nowhere to be seen.

After the cocktail party a group of us made our way back to the hotel for food, drinking and dancing. As we dropped things in the room, August made a comment about sex (don’t recall exactly what it was) and I dropped my jumpsuit, leaned over the bed and said “ok!” And he looked at me and laughed and said no woman had ever dropped their clothes so fast for him! We had a perfunctory quickie from behind, no kissing, no touching, nothing but penetration and his orgasm. Got dressed and joined the group. I had already had too much to drink at this point and it didn’t phase me. In hindsight though, he didn’t so much as touch me or show any interest in more than he got.

Our night was spent dancing and laughing before we made it to the room around 2am. August ran and got tacos for the whole group before we departed – there is nothing better than drunk taco! Lol. Then we made our way back to the room because we were due to be back at the event by 10am. August and I chatted while he climbed into bed and packed up and cleaned up. He eventually fell asleep before I crawled in. I was a little surprised he gave me a hug and we fell asleep. I know we didn’t touch the entire night, again. If it sounds dull, it was. It was fine.

We woke the next morning and he was kind enough to go in search of coffee and a valet cart for me. We checked out and made our way to the event. I could tell he wasn’t super enthused we missed food, but he managed on some protein bars. We did some of the morning events and made our way to a hotel nearby for a disaster of a brunch (no service and causing me to be late to my next event so I was full of complaints – they comped our meal). We had fun walking around and chatting and participating. He was such a good sport about taking photos and patiently watching me be an active fan girl. No hand holding. No hugging. No kissing. I do touch my partners, so my hand is generally on his shoulder or arm when I begin speaking to him. Normally a man will react to this by engaging me in a more physical way, pull me closer, hug me, kiss me, put an arm around me. Not August.

It had been pouring rain all morning and we caught a break so took a nice walk through the city. I enjoyed our time together but realize I can’t get a read on him exactly. Some small things send up some cues for me – like I can’t tell if he’s actually cheap or frugal. He’s observant and kind with some things and entirely neglectful of others. And I really don’t think he has a clue how to behave like a boyfriend. I don’t get the feeling his neglect is intentional. I could be wrong but I don’t know. However, if I make any move towards him that’s affectionate his face lights up but he doesn’t exactly respond in kind. I am no longer the kind of person that will go out of my way for a man if they don’t know how to manage their outward affections. I did it for 22 years and it didn’t work. This is where Tony ruled the romance kingdom – I always felt like his beloved. I adored that feeling and it made me feel like a queen and gave me a lot of power. I know I need that. August doesn’t have a clue how to do that. And as ageist as this sounds, I do think it’s a by-product of his generation and his upbringing. Again, I could be wrong but I think I’ve dated enough now to make these generalizations.

We made our way back to the hotel and gathered our things, loaded my car and parted with a kiss on the cheek. I really enjoyed my weekend, was happy to have August there, but he wasn’t the reason I enjoyed the weekend. Had he not been there I would have been fine and wondered if I should have tried it alone. I bet my luck would have been bad – I would have seen Tony and ruined a perfectly good weekend! 😂

I made some everlasting friendships and August committed to working out after meeting so many average people who dedicate their time and energy to this brand. He was surprise they weren’t all athlete types and so many were just “average Americans.” He was an Olympian (sorry, I was schooled that he IS an Olympian- once and Olympian always an Olympian!). This is why I love this community: anyone can excel. All you need to do is show up and do your best and they’ve got your back!

I know Peloton gave me my life back. ❤️

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.

Strange Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course it never stops there with me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Poison

I was doing my usual sweep of social media this morning and saw Tony’s daughters FB. I know it’s creepy I look at his childrens social media, but it’s the last place I can see him. I also know he’s celebrating a wedding anniversary soon and figured someone would post a photo.

I got a video of Tony giving his wife a family trip to Italy because their son is studying abroad.

At first I felt sick. A literal shock rolled through my body. As I watched the video a second time, I was calmer. He looks like the same person I knew but perhaps tinged with cowardice(?) Does that make any sense.

I have a feeling I missed all along he was a little afraid of his wife. I got hints of it along the way, and I don’t think he’s afraid of her per se, but afraid of how she could ruin his life.

I’m not surprised or bothered by the family trip. I know it’s very common after a DDay to plan big moments like this to bond. To invest back into the relationship you were taking away from during your affair.

It’s a morbid curiosity for me to know what happened after their DDay and to learn what my part in the story was. I know it’s none of my business but how do I stop thinking about it?

How do I shut down my brain from obsessing like this? It’s been a year since I’ve seen this man and I’m still obsessing.

I understand what he gave me and why it was so important to me. I understand I will never be with him again. But why do I continue to want connection with him?

Part of me does wonder if the daughter did it intentionally? Her mother told her of the affair – did she tell her about me? Why does this matter to me when I known this is none of my business.

As a last thought, because I was being reckless, I now realize his daughter can see that I viewed her video on FB.

Will I be sick forever? Is my mind entirely destroyed from this affair – never able to get straight again?

I can’t seem to let go. I’m worried I may never let go. I’m worried I can only hold Trixie down for a while before I truly do harm again.

I’m a broken record. People with normally functioning brains can’t understand me. I want to will it all away and make active and conscious good decision to do so. Then something like this takes over and debilitates me.

I dialed his number from a burner and listened to his voice mail. Then I sent a text telling him I missed him. He’s not stupid so he will know I saw the video.

I deleted the burner now and wrote this post to save a little sanity. Next I will do some exercise. I should have put the phone down first and helped myself out of the burning desire to communicate with him but, as usual, the obsession won the fight.

Why, why do I feel some need to speak to him? I don’t have any desire to see him – but something in me wants more from him. More that I know I will not get.

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.

Disinterested

Had a fun date with Duke about two weeks ago. Day drinking in the city is a favorite activity and he chose a great, low-key bar. Traditional, perfect, quiet and most importantly unpretentious.

I met Duke on Bumble. He is a handsome Irish/Italian guy, a bit out of my traditional “type” range but still quite handsome. A bit slim for me – I have always been attracted to fuller men, manly men.  In my opinion, very European – he showed up dressed nicely in his scarf and cap, and vest.

While not exactly initially appealing, his personality grew on me the way Tony’s did – I was thankful to see this happen again as it means (somewhere deep inside) my requirements are adjusting to what’s below face value. That’s good, right?

We sat at a local city bar, both of us had evening dinner plans, and passed 3 hours or more chatting and laughing. He’s super interesting, uncommon I would say, and had great stories. Plus, the Irish brogue was hot!

During the conversation, each one of us asked the other if we matched our photos, profile and expectations. He said he was very pleasantly surprised by me because I was prettier in person, had a genuine smile and was definitely interesting. He mentioned that he found my responses to him to be disinterested – he didn’t feel I was really engaged in meeting him.

He’s not wrong. My guard is up all the time now in these initial conversations. One wrong move and *boom* I’m over you. I’m sick and tired of the probing sexual questions from men and he hinted at that a tiny bit on the phone so I probably shut down. I supposed that can come off as disinterested. I do feel more disconnected than ever from the dating world – the round robin of matching, texting, speaking and meeting is a lot of work over and over and over again.

I was glad he said it. It made me write this post about being scared. It caused me to pause and think on my behavior. He may have caught disinterest but, in hindsight, I realize it’s much more about my fear of moving forward and being vulnerable. I am keeping everyone at a distance I can manage because I still feel the pain of Tony too keenly and because I will need to share my story, if I am being honest, when we get undressed.

I am definitely in a very weird place in my life: entirely uncomfortable with myself….so how can I be comfortable with someone else?

In any case, the date ended and we left the bar and stepped to the side to kiss. A perfectly good kiss that encouraged more but didn’t get heavy. I wasn’t exactly excited but had the feeling I wanted to explore more. He asked me out again and we decided to take it to text to make our next date.

I left feeling like the date was a success….until his text started later that day into the next.