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.

I Just Realized I’m Scared

Oh, I’ve just had a moment full of tears.

My tears don’t come easily these days. I know it’s the meds. I know those meds keep me pretty clamped down emotionally. I hate it but know it’s critical right now to keep me from any more Trixie antics.

At least I know when the tears come, they are very deeply seated emotions rising to the surface.

For the first time in a long, long time I cried for myself and not for Tony.

I had a date yesterday, which was lovely, and I will write about him, but we hit on two subjects (thankfully very briefly) that struck me so hard that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

The first was my own statement that I’m beginning to realize I am most likely undateable to the caliber of man I’m attracted to. That’s because I’ve been out of work for 7 months with no job opportunities in sight. I realize that’s very scary to a divorced man who may have had a family and wife who already took most of his livelihood

The second was his statement, that I come across as disinterested. He is right. I’m not only disinterest but detached. I’m sick of the dating game and all its nuance.

I had the gut feeling when we touched on these two subjects that I should be exploring this a bit more. That’s when I came to the realization that, at the core of these feelings is a feeling I am not accustomed to having: I’m scared to death.

I’m scared of so many things that the tears don’t stop as I write this.

I’m afraid I won’t find a job.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to find another “Tony”.

I’m afraid I will fail again at work and in relationship.

I’m afraid to leave home now that I’ve established routine for the boys.

I’m afraid my body is so ugly now that I can’t have sex.

I’m afraid of the continuous persistent feeling of being demotivated and absent.

I’m afraid of losing the material things I have gained.

I’m afraid I don’t want sex because maybe I’m in menopause. Im terrified of losing my sex drive but it’s gone for certain at the moment.

I’m afraid I’m going to give up the one healthy routine I have created because every day is still a battle of will to get moving. Even after 54 consecutive days.

I’m afraid of not being good enough – the core belief I have struggled with my entire life. I have failed at all my relationships and my recent job. I’m not what anyone wants because I am so broken.

Am I bitter and mean? Have my insides curdled? Have I dried up?

Exercise helps, but now I exercise to chase the boredom demons away and don’t do ANYTHING else. Sure it’s good for me, but it’s all I accomplish now. I joined all sorts of Peloton activity groups and cheer people on – a false attempt of motivation – are people really able to use these groups as springboards for motivators in lieu of having a real support community (physical people around you, not a virtual community) ? I try to immerse myself in their positivity, I put on the virtual game-face and join the challenges and activities, but I don’t FEEL anything.

I feel unhinged from everything. Floating.

I am still an empty, demotivated, decommissioned human.

I have been trying to move away from that place. Trying so very hard. But when I took a good look at myself from the outside, I realized that – even though I don’t spend all day on a couch – I am no different than I was back in November after coming home from the hospital.

All I’ve done is dress up an empty vessel – put on a game face – trying to fake it and hoping I make it.

The couch has now become replaced by exercise (ok thats positive ) but there is nothing else driving me. The deep abscess within me feels like an endless black hole of nothingness. I thought I found the edge and was pulling myself back over it, onto solid ground. But I’ve realized I haven’t. I don’t know that I’ve ever been truly scared before. Scared to move, scared to feel, scared to believe in anything ever again – myself included.

Crazy Talk

I’m writing this to get it out of my head. I haven’t told anyone but the blog about looking at Tony’s photo and obsessing, but I haven’t been sleeping well and generally feeling a funk.

I know it has to be from that darn photo. Nothing else has changed.

I’ve now spent almost a week dwelling on the fact that he’s back in his marriage full time, he lied to me in November to say “nothing had changed between them” because I recall that bonding/hysterical sex is a real thing after finding out about an affair. So chances are he’s in a better marriage now than he was before.

It makes me want to vomit that I am obsessing and he’s getting on with his wonderful life and wife.

I want control now, of my thoughts, my ability to STOP caring about this man that nearly took life from me because I allowed it. I want to STOP worrying about someone who could care less for me.

I have to STOP thinking of how great I might have fantasized it could be because it was never anything but fantasy. We had a time, a season and now it passed.

I’m still thinking a lobotomy is my best option.

How Do I STOP This Ridiculous Obsession?

Writing because the only reason I can think for feeling such apathy today is because of that damn wedding ring photo?

Right? It must be.

I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get off the couch. I have slept poorly two nights in a row. The only positive is I can’t reach out to him to start an argument or any trouble. Both he and his wife are deleted from my phone.

Why, why, why! Do I obsess like this after all this time. It’s going to be 1 year in April since I’ve seen the man. 2 years in April since I’ve know he would stay married. I am angry with myself. I want to change and every time I think I make progress I manage to bang right into a brick wall. Head first.

I do feel sick with grief in an odd way. Not crying, but entirely apathetic.

What can I do? How does this stop?

I have seriously thought of going to get hypnotized (does that work?) or a lobotomy. I cannot seem to pull myself from this gutter.

Obsessing

I found myself obsessing about Tony’s photo of him and his daughter and the fact he was wearing his wedding ring.

I was driving into the city to meet a friend for brunch and couldn’t get the image or thought out of my head. It kept spinning round and round.

And then my heart started to ache and I wanted to cry. Truthfully, for all the tears I’ve cried over Tony, I thought they were done. I had felt when I spoke to him in November that I had cried my last tears over him.

But this felt different somehow. This was physically painful again, all the way from my belly and a big gasping sound. I thought for sure I would be sobbing…..

I didn’t.

I just lingered in the feeling, willing myself not to cry and ruin my makeup and my day. I took big gulping breaths and tried to calm down but somehow the vision of the ring on the hand was twisting my insides.

I couldn’t feel anger or anything else. Just intense grief. I convinced myself that if I didn’t cry right now that I would wait and have a good cry once I got home later. I pulled the pain in deep, breathed in and gathered myself and paid attention to my driving. I had obsessed long enough to be close to arrival.

I forgot all about it while with my friend. I am too embarrassed to even mention to her what was in my mind. I felt a lingering sadness but not the same pain.

I’m writing this post to account for the feeling, and the passing of the feeling and wondering what will come next. The feeling was so painful. I don’t want to delve into that place of deep sadness and grief again. I didn’t like being caught by that feeling today.

I don’t really understand why the photo effected me that way.

Stalker

Short story, for my own accountability.

I was trolling IG and came across Tony’s daughters IG and she posted a photo of them tonight.

He was once again wearing his wedding ring.

I wasn’t shocked by the ring per se, just shocked to see him in a photo as I haven’t seen him since last April or any photo since he lost weight. But, my eyes did go right to the wedding ring.

I tried to dig deep to determine what I was feeling. Why I still troll. Why it matters to me to know what he’s doing in his life.

I know it shouldn’t matter.

The only thought I had was – that’s priceless – he’s wearing a ring after 5+ years of no ring and 15 years of infidelity.

Maybe he’s making a statement that he’s invested back into his marriage. Maybe she’s making him wear it. Maybe his guilt put it back on. Maybe it’s to show a unified front to his kids. Maybe he finally wants to do what’s right. Either way it shows he’s invested himself, somehow, back into his marriage.

And very, very strangely, I have a hope (for Kelly) that she get back the man she deserves because that man, the one I loved, is well worth having. She should get all of that good stuff.

But him, well I hope she makes him suffer for at least a little while and he’s miserable for all he did.

Obsessing

My therapist suggested I write letters to whoever I need, then let go.

I have never really been able to get to a succinct enough letter for Tony or my x. I suppose that might mean I’m still to attached to all the reasons those relationships didn’t work out.

I’ve been waking up each morning subconsciously thinking about Tony. I don’t like it one bit because I can’t stop my mind from waking me like that. The pattern this past week seems to be the lies he’s told me and my struggle to determine what’s true or what I want to hold on to as the truth.

My brain is like a target missile when I obsess over something. Looking for the truth. Looking for the moment I missed the clues and connections I should have been making. I don’t even know how my subconscious keeps coming back to him. I am really and actively trying to NOT think about this man every minute. Seriously though, NONE of it matters anymore and I CANNOT seem to get it through my thick skull.

I tried meditation and it was about gratitude and love and sure enough, he was the first thing to pop into my mind that I’m grateful for.

I may just come to accept I am fucking nuts that I can’t move on almost a year after the final end and two years past the moment I knew he wasn’t leaving his marriage. I understand what gifts I received from that relationship and I understand I can take them forward. I don’t understand why I can’t just fucking let go already.

I know all the wonderful reasons I loved him and line for him. I know what I was given and what I lost but for Christ’s sake, it’s got to go. I’m never speaking to or seeing this man ever again in my life. He’s done, out, erased. Finite.

I just want to stop obsessing. I do not know how to control this and it makes me crazy how he consumes me. Even crazier that he moves on with his life and intact marriage/family. I want him exorcised or lobotomized from my brain. I want him gone already.

In The Chem Lab – Part 3

One day of amazing connection and fabulous conversation and I’m left floating on a cloud.

Until I’m not.

Two days post our conversations brought Radio Silence from the Magic Man.  Nothing all weekend.  I know he’s flying out to Chicago early am so I sent one small text and left it at that.

I watched myself again, trying to analyze what I was feeling and why.  I feel disappointed and sad, confused, but since its much too early to care, just left empty.  I haven’t lost the bit of self-realization I gained, but two days after, I don’t find any more motivation than I had the day of the call….in other words, I am still sitting on the couch doing a bunch of nothing, except (at least) capturing whats going on in my head.

There was no intentional attachment but I clearly become more hopeful than appropriate from one day of conversation with a man I never met. Is this because it’s so special/infrequent/desired? Does the chemistry between us affect the attachment part of my brain?

I wonder what it is. I’m really trying to understand myself here.

About a month ago, I connected with Tom and had a similar initial experience. We had a fantastic, long phone conversation and I found him appealing and interesting on many levels. Then I shuttered the explicit sex talk.  However, Tom, like Matthew, never got me laughing and he never moved from chatting to asking me out. Humor wise he was less dry than Matthew, definitely more manly, but I don’t recall the gut connection I got so quickly with the new Magic Man. It was a day or two of good, sincere connection with Tom and then random text here and there until I finally wished him good luck after a month of not even asking to see me.  Part of me think I will hear from him again, randomly, in the future.  If I don’t, its fine.  If I do I will ask him what his intentions are.  I’m not afraid of some strangers opinion of my needs and why I ask about their intentions, too many of them lie.  At least, I’m not afraid to say what I think any longer.

Both Tom and Magic Man are older than 55, which is a bit out of my normal age range (since dating, I have preferred slightly younger men).  Both highly successful, wealthy career men.  Could this just be a different type of nonsense I’m experiencing?  Are they more wise to the ways of some women that they invest quickly hoping for an early payoff?

Let’s think about what I’ve learned:

  • Length of initial conversation is irrelevant
  • Good physical looks start an attraction but it’s not what makes my heart skip a beat in conversation, that’s all in my head
  • Tone of voice, cadence and delivery of conversation matter greatly to me. I am quickly turned off by lack of intelligent conversational skills which draw out my own ability to banter.
  • When I am confident and sassy, my “rules” relax (for instance when is it ok to start speaking about sex and when does it make me uncomfortable?).

Have I somehow conditioned myself to expect the behavior of a married man  – is that kind of attention different to a single man, or is the communication cadence going to be different?  The only feedback from single friends is I invest in someone too early, but not that I shouldn’t expect good communication behavior.  Magic Man seems to have to same cadence I do, which is perhaps what makes the butterflies take flight.

This leads me to another thought – did the communication style remind me of Tony?  Well, yes, but only in hindsight.

Today I didn’t necessarily come away with lessons as much as questions. One day of conversation isn’t enough to evaluate or analyze more than I already have. I think my point in writing these 3 posts was to recognize that chemistry will happen and no list of requirements will determine if it’s there or not. The list serves as a platform – initially men need to meet some of my criteria to move forward or I find them unappealing almost immediately. Once the criteria is met, chemistry has to happen on its own, there’s nothing I can do to create it.

In The Chem Lab – Part 2

Friday afternoon the air outside was bitter cold and I found myself reflecting on an earlier conversation with my bff. I was comfortable and bundled in blankets and the thought that Matthew wasn’t right for me continued to nag at me. I didn’t want to make a rash decision to end what hadn’t even started, nor did I want to continue something that I was already feeling leery over.

I started to think about why Matthew seemed right to on paper but was falling short in person. I pulled up my relationship requirements list and took a stab at it. He hits many of the criteria, which isn’t an easy thing to do. But there was an undercurrent of something that just wasn’t right. The magic wasn’t there.

I dismissed thoughts of Matthew for a while in favor of going back to the dating apps. I had the intention of deleting and taking a break as I had a few men in the pipeline that had started conversations recently and I had enough. I deleted Match, OKC and POF. Then I got to Bumble and noticed the one man I swiped right on earlier that day had sent a fabulous reply. I engaged despite the fact he would make a 4th man I was chatting with when 3 is generally my limit. I often break rules faster than I make them.

The man quickly asked for my number. Now, I have a bit of an issue with men around my age – they LOVE the phone. I neglected to truly understand this because I was dating a married man. Tony called quite often but also spent a considerable amount of time on text – why? because he was in a situation where it wasn’t wise to be calling me but he wanted to stay connected. I loved how much we were connected. I am definitely over the top when it comes to communication, which isn’t for everyone. But older men seem to want to get the 1st phone conversation out-of-the-way quickly and I want to vet them a bit in text. But I gave my number and requested he text first.

Soon after, he text and we started a rapid fire conversation.

I had an a-ha moment and started to pay close attention to my cues (which is hard to do in the thick of a getting to know you conversation)

*Chemistry Lesson #1: easy banter is organic, it doesn’t come from longer or more conversation, it’s instantaneous. I can’t create it.

We text effortlessly and quickly back and forth about family, life and vacation. Easy, peasy. I was laughing to myself when the phone rang in my hand because I knew it was a matter of time before he called.

Over an hour and a half of conversation flew by. Laughter on both sides was obvious and immediate.

*Chemistry Lesson #2: I just learned that no matter how good my punch line in a story is, if the right person isn’t engaged, I don’t even want to laugh at my own jokes. We laughed with one another, repetitively.

*Chemistry Lesson #3: when I’m laughing, I’m relaxed and happy and tell my best stories. I don’t have to think about creating conversation. Topics are endless and interesting.

The first call ended with a promise to call again soon.

*Chemistry Lesson #4: I couldn’t stop thinking about him after the call, but then he text to tell me he couldn’t stop thinking of me and my heart skipped a beat.

He called back that evening and we spoke another two hours. Do you know we even spoke politics, race, marriage, relationship, child-rearing and divorce. The cadence was easy and I wasn’t fearful of what to say or how I said it. I literally felt my blood rushing through my veins and felt like the woman I was when I met Tony: confident, sexy, sassy and self-aware.

*Chemistry Lesson #5: my confidence is nearly unbreakable when I feel secure. (Self-reflection: how do I do that all the time, and on my own?)

I had something like an out-of-body experience during this conversation as I watched myself morph from this depressed, sad, pathetic woman into all that I was. I felt my energy change. I felt desire rise. It made me feel like I wanted to do something again.

I felt excited.

Please don’t interpret this as me wanting to get married to this man tomorrow. I’m simply having my own epiphany. This feeling has only come twice before in the past at least 9 months: once when I went with Rob to my family party and once when I saw my latest resume after multiple iterations and self-doubt (future post). So 3 times since Thanksgiving I truly felt myself again. This incidence forced me to realize its starting to happen more often (which is good), albeit very slowly. It also caused me to take notice of the physical cues I’m giving and receiving so I can be more intentional and mindful of what makes me feel strong, happy, confident and capable.

It made me desire to feel good again.

I know it’s not up to this man to make me feel good, but I am taking what’s in front of me at the moment and running with it.

The conversations uncovered a mass of similarities and likes between us. He joked and asked me to marry him and by the end of the conversation he said he was already in love once I said “fuck” without thinking twice about it. We didn’t address anything sexual or even hint at it through all the conversation until the very end….when he asked if I would dream about him. The teasing was gentle and silly and only made me want more.

*Chemistry Lesson #6: there must be other cues I am ignoring when other men say things very similar and I don’t like it or my guard goes up.

We said goodnight.

I waited for the good morning text that didn’t come. I sent one around 10:45 and we started another round of banter, but the morning took off on a purely sexual twist and quickly led to a phone call. However, my son entered the room and he heard me say good morning to him and automatically changed the subject (I was thankful for that). We spoke for about a half hour. He had to jump off phone to make his plans for the day, we text a little bit more and went our separate ways.

But, just before he stopped texting he sent a cock shot.

It stopped me in my tracks! One because it was beautiful and two because I wasn’t expecting it.

Unfortunately, I knew I had to set down my rules, as I had done with Tom.  I did it a bit differently since there was chemistry, I told him he shocked me into speechlessness, but we couldn’t do this before we met.  Now,  I haven’t heard from him all day, and even though I know he’s with family its sort of a downer but I’m optimistic.

Let’s see what the days ahead bring or not. Of course I would be sad if it came to nothing but I had a lightening bolt of a moment: it will happen again. I will feel the magic again, or at the very least, parts of the magic again. And it’s been so long, so very long since I’ve had hope of any kind that I cherished this interaction with this man. I want to be in this moment for a while so I wrote about it and shared it with you. I want to find myself again and for a very brief time speaking to him, I saw her. Her light was strong and bright and blazing.

It’s been too long dull and it startled me that she showed up out of nowhere like that. Now I know she’s still in there and I had almost started to believe she was lost to me entirely. My heart has been playing cruel tricks on my mind because it’s battered, bleeding and broken. But maybe that’s finally starting to heal.